Jeremy “Straight Talking, Honest Politics” Corbyn revealed as being all fur coat and no knickers over writing off student debt …
“I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after.
“I will deal with it.”
A Jeremy Corbyn or an Angela Rayner pledge is only a Labour pledge when John McDonnell says so?
“I don’t want to promise something we can’t deliver”, said John McDonnell on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
And if scrapping student debt is only an aspiration then how much more of an aspiration is ending the benefit freeze and scrapping the benefits cap? Emily Thornberry said Labour could not commit to doing either:
Corbyn, McDonnell and Rayner, just politicians by any other name?
“But what rankles most is that since the manifesto, Labour has made more spending commitments – for university students.
The Labour manifesto pledged to abolish all university tuition fees. Corbyn then announced that fees would be scrapped as early as this autumn. But on top of that, he told the NME that he would also look to retrospectively wipe out or reduce the student debt of people who’d already graduated under the £9,000 fee system.
This would be a burden on capital spending, and so wouldn’t effect Labour’s deficit costings, but there are other debts that could be more urgently wiped than those of students – particularly given that the biggest beneficiaries will be the highest earning graduates.
Light years away from Labour’s manifesto and the Corbynite circle running the show, households have been burdened with council tax debts as a result of Tory cuts to council tax benefit. These debts pile up year on year – and the other benefits debtors receive are then docked to repay it. The Guardian reported last year that nearly 200,000 people were having their benefits docked to repay these debts. It’s all a bit more urgent than retrospectively clearing student debt.
How aware of this Corbyn’s inner circle are is anyone’s guess – do local government figures get a hearing? Plenty of Corbynites talk about ‘debt’, but handed an opportunity to do something about it, they prefer to clear student debt than wipe the crisis debts of the poorest households. It suggests a middle class cabal that only takes action if an issue is dumped loudly and repeatedly on its desk. Which sounds a lot like politics as usual.
In any case, Labour has bet big on the student and youth vote. Digging into the ugly mess of council tax debt doesn’t win headlines and doesn’t buy votes. Corbyn is betting that clearing student debt does. It smacks of a grubby, cynical ploy that prioritises bussing middle class students to the polls over people with genuinely unpayable debts.
Maybe this would all be fixed in a Corbyn government. Maybe he’s just holding fire during the election. Maybe he would suddenly ditch his manifesto deficit commitments and axe the benefit freeze. But there’s nothing in the manifesto to say that he would, and all else is projection.
Or maybe it’s all just ‘good politics’. But that only counts as a compliment inside the Westminster bubble.”