Thursday, 28 April 2016

Venezuela - a basket case study and how we could become the same

Last year Jeremy Corbyn said "we celebrate...the achievements of Venezuela, in jobs, in housing, in health, in education".

Do you think Jeremy is celebrating Venezuela's announcement yesterday that it is introducing a 2 day working week because of its energy crisis? (see

This would be the same Venezuela that has the world's largest proven oil reserves , even larger than Saudi Arabia, though admittedly they were revised upwards to that figure a few years ago when the heavy oil of the Orinoco was judged economic, which at today's price I rather doubt. (see or many other sources). Either way, Venezuela is swimming in oil.

To be fair, Venezuela is also suffering an El Nino drought, which has dramatically reduced levels at its main hydroelectric dam. However, Venezuela is also a classic example of how left wing ideologists always get it badly wrong. Since Hugo Chavez's party took control in 1999 the country's economy has collapsed due to catastrophic mismanagement, according to Luke Johnson (Sunday Times Business, 17 April 2016). Venezuela has become the world capital for murder, inflation and basic goods shortages. Its currency has declined by nearly 95% in two years, the judiciary and media have been corrupted, electricity blackouts were already routine, inward investment has dried up and quality of life has deteriorated alarmingly (though not according to comrade Corbyn). Chavez nationalised the oil industry and, of course, it fell apart.

None of this had to happen if Chavez and colleagues had not followed Cuban style policies, leaving Venezuela's citizens to pay the price.

What worries me most about the EU referendum is not actually the result in terms of remain or leave. What worries me most is that, whatever the result, the Tory party will descend into bitter feuding, leaving the field clear for Labour, given the LibDems enduring unpopularity. If we vote to remain the UKIP protest vote might recover, spelling real problems for the Tories. In normal circumstances, leaving the field clear to Labour would not worry me unduly, but Corbyn's Labour does worry me. Many people have told me a Corbyn lead Labour party would be unelectable. But I've been saying since Labour took leave of its senses and appointed him that a 2 horse race is never a forgone conclusion. Governments get unpopular, tired, stale and careless.

Warnings about the Labour party of Foot and Kinnock and disasters that fortunately never happened are probably lost on the millennials. But just look at Venezuela, lauded by Jeremy Corbyn and be very afraid.

1 comment:

  1. Corbyn is an idealist who sees what he wants to see, he is no leader. What he is however is the beacon for all those Labour Party members trying desperately to return their Party to socialism or to reclaim their Party from the 'Red Tories'. I quite like that phrase 'Red Tories' as it does neatly sum up Blairism and New Labour. As an opponent of Labour this old Liberal hopes it will I hope end in tears. But one last thought, isn't Corbyn better bet then than appalling man Burnham who in my view will say whatever folks want to hear to advance his own cause?