Is Jeremy Corbyn's radical Labour manifesto eye-catching or eye-watering?
FT deputy opinion editor Miranda Green says credibility among ordinary voters is key when it comes to Labour's most leftwing manifesto in a generation
Filmed and edited by Petros Gioumpasis
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Labour's manifesto is a manifesto for hope.
To cheers from loyal supporters, Jeremy Corbyn has unveiled Labour's manifesto, hoping to win over enough of the less committed members of the British electorate to deprive his Conservative rival Boris Johnson of a parliamentary majority in the December 12 election. The centrepiece is billed as a transformation, promising a Green New Deal, more social housing, and major new funding for the public services.
We will make those at the top pay their fair share of tax to help fund the world class public services for you.
The proposals for higher taxes at nearly £83bn are much larger than the £48.6bn of extra annual tax and spending in the party's 2017 general election manifesto. Is this package eye-catching or eye-watering? Well, it depends which side you fall of Labour's chosen dividing line between what Mr Corbyn called the wealthy and the powerful, who he said should be ignored, and the rest of a volatile and discontented electorate. Surveys show an extraordinarily high level of the public is still undecided on which party to back at this election. And Labour is betting that many may be hankering for change after nearly a decade of underfunding in the public services and a standard of living that has failed to improve for many.
But the Institute for Fiscal Studies has branded the plans colossal and, crucially, not credible. Paul Johnson, of the IFS, called the package 'the biggest set of spending increases, and the biggest set of tax increases, and the biggest set of borrowing increases we've seen in peacetime history.' Meanwhile, businesses will blanch at a hike in corporation tax alongside increases in income and wealth taxes, plus a list of nationalisations, and a windfall tax on the oil industry that may go down badly in Scotland, plus a fudge on protecting freedom of movement for EU citizens after Brexit.
We will secure a sensible deal that protects manufacturing and the Good Friday Agreement, and then put it to a public vote alongside the option of remaining in the EU.
On this, the greatest decision facing the country for decades - Brexit - Labour maintains its commitment to holding a referendum on its own negotiated exit deal, without making its position clear if that happens. But the pollsters say, helpfully for Labour, that the NHS has now overtaken Brexit as the most pressing issue for voters. It has already offered a way for Mr Corbyn to turn the conversation onto future trade deals between a Tory government and the bogeyman Donald Trump. 'Not for sale', for sale cheered his audience.
Attacks on privilege in the form of private schools were, as anticipated, slightly toned down. And again, Labour promised free university tuition for all, plus free broadband, and a lot of other free stuff that could prove tempting unless - and here's that word again - voters see this list as not credible. Rather than, as Mr Corbyn would prefer, as radical.
I am so proud to be launching our manifesto tonight.
A day before, the Lib Dems had launched their manifesto. And although their moment in the election spotlight was overshadowed by royal scandals, the party were keen to emphasise that remaining in the EU will deliver a £50bn boost to the government's spending powers. These figures were plausible, said the Institute for Fiscal Studies, but only if the Brexit issue was completely and finally settled. And that is a promise that no party in this election can credibly make.