Opinionomics | 26 May 2012

Must-read comment analysis. Featuring fiscal expansion and free banking contraction.

1. Why the political left should adopt the 'flat tax' (Independent)

Mary Dejevsky argues that Ed Miliband should support a flat tax, but neglects to mention the massive spending cuts that such a move would entail.

2. Fiscal policy can’t cure all Britain’s ills (Financial Times)

Chris Giles argues against the recent calls for expansionary fiscal policy...

3. Chris Giles: evidence based analysis, but not so the conclusions (Not the Treasury View)

...and Jonathan Portes argues against Chris Giles

4. This call to end free banking is an insult (Guardian)

Phillip Inman is not a massive fan of Andrew Bailey.

5. The weak demand for equal opportunity (Stumbling and Mumbling)

Chris Dillow argues that once there is some oppportunity, people don't value any extra very highly.

Infrastructure projects underway. Good project, or a risky waste of money? Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader. Getty
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Can Jeremy Corbyn win the 2017 general election?

Does the Labour leader have a chance of becoming prime minister?

 

After less than two years as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn is leading the party into a snap general election. This isn’t the first vote of national significance since his election, however, since he was in office during the 2016 EU referendum.

It’s also not his first serious challenge: after the Brexit vote, his MPs voted “no confidence” in him and Owen Smith challenged him for the leadership. Corbyn saw off that threat to his position convincingly, so can he pull out another electoral triumph and become prime minister?

Can Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister? The polls

Since May 2015, the Conservative Party has consistently led in the polls. The latest polls gives Labour ratings in the mid-20s, while the Conservatives are on the mid-40s – numbers which, if borne out at the polls, would give Labour its worst result since 1935.

But should we believe the general election polls? Glen O’Hara, professor of modern and contemporary history at Oxford Brookes University, points out that the polls have been wrong before, and could be overstating Labour’s collapse. However, a 20-point gap is far outside the margin of error. A Corbyn win would be an unprecedented upset.

Can Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister? Electoral record

At the 2016 local elections, Labour did not gain any councils and lost 18 seats and 4% of the vote. James Schneider, the co-founder of Momentum who is now Corbyn’s head of strategic communications, said this showed Labour was on the right trajectory, but it’s a disappointment for an opposition to make no gains. And at the Copeland by-election this February, Labour lost the seat to the Tories – the first government gain in a by-election since 1982.

Can  Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister? The verdict

Jeremy Corbyn’s path to power would be one of the greatest surprises in British politics. But unlikely doesn’t mean impossible. It would take some extraordinary events, but it could happen. Check out the latest odds to see how the markets rate his chances.

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