The parallels between Venezuela, which has just defaulted on its sovereign debt, and Zimbabwe, which has seen a military takeover, are striking. What is more, the thinking which led these two countries to disaster has some uncomfortable parallels here in Britain.

Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, whilst Zimbabwe was once known as ‘the bread basket of Africa’. Both should be happy, prosperous and rapidly developing countries, where no one goes hungry, but of course they are not.

The starting point is that both countries elected charismatic demagogic leaders intent on radical change. Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980 as the victor of the liberation struggle, first as prime minister and soon as president. For 37 years he was the master of Zimbabwe. In 1999, Hugo Chavez came to power on the back of widespread dissatisfaction with economic mismanagement. He rapidly set about carrying through his Bolivarian Revolution. Chavez would doubtless still be president today if cancer and the Grim Reaper hadn’t intervened. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, carries on his programme, though he lacks his predecessor’s charisma.

Both countries had large-scale seizures of private businesses. In Zimbabwe, around 4,000 white-owned farms, which formed the backbone of the economy, were expropriated, leading to famine. Similarly, Venezuela has experienced widespread expropriation of private businesses.

Needless to say, when you expropriate private property, the economy tanks. The Venezuelan government then imposed price controls, which as anyone remotely aware of how markets work could have forecast, inevitably led to shortages. One particularly unpleasant shortage was of toilet roll. Expats were reduced to bringing in toilet paper in their luggage and bribing customs officials with a percentage of it, so that they could get the rest into the country. Natives weren’t so lucky.

As a result of the gross mismanagement of the economy, and especially the seizure of the productive white-owned farms, Zimbabwe suffered hyperinflation from 2004 to 2009. This ended with dollarisation and the country giving up entirely on its own worthless currency. The IMF estimated that Venezuela had 500 per cent inflation last year; the country is now in hyperinflation.

By 2007 an estimated 3.4million Zimbabweans – a quarter of the population – had fled the country. Similarly, Venezuela has experienced large-scale emigration, particularly of the middle classes, driven by the economic mismanagement and repression.

Repression is another theme that these two benighted countries have in common. In the early 1980s, between 10,000 to 20,000 people, mainly from the Ndebele minority, were murdered by the Zimbabwean army’s notorious Fifth Brigade, in atrocities known as the Gukurahundi. The last two Zimbabwean elections were widely believed to have been rigged.

In 2015, the governing party lost the Venezuelan parliamentary elections. President Maduro made it clear that he would do anything necessary to prevent the opposition coming to power. He started by replacing the entire Supreme Court.

Remarkably, whilst the people of both countries are ground ever deeper into poverty, the political and military elites have enriched themselves to an astounding extent. For example, the family of the late President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela are reputed to be worth several billion dollars. When Solomon Mujuru, the husband of Zimbabwe’s then vice-president Joice Mujuru died in suspicious circumstances in 2011, his fortune was reportedly £7billion. Whilst the figures may be somewhat exaggerated, they certainly sit ill with the Marxist ideology of both ruling parties.

What unites these two countries and distinguishes them from other more economically competent ones is the determined pursuit of Marxist economics. Unfortunately, the economic views of Jeremy Corbyn and the Momentum movement are not greatly dissimilar.

Another theme is the extreme extent to which the leaders give primacy to politics over economics. For example, Robert Mugabe was content to reduce his country to famine in pursuit of his goal of driving out the white minority farmers, who were the backbone of the economy. The parallels with two key characteristics of the Scottish National Party are worrying – monomania about independence and a complete lack of interest in economics.

Another commonality is the demonisation of anyone who disagrees with them by those that govern. Again, there are worrying parallels in attitudes here. The SNP have long been known for the aggression of their ‘cybernats’ and the general demonisation of unionists.

Under Jeremy Corbyn hardly a week seems to pass without another Labour party figure being exposed as an anti-Semite or a vicious hatemonger. The man himself has a long history of associating with anti-British and anti-Western groups including Sinn Fein and various Islamists. None of this could possibly reassure a sane person that he was a fit and proper person to run this country.

Of course, we live in a democracy. It could never happen here, could it? Unfortunately, I think it could. In my view, the essential elements are present in the minds of various leading figures in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party and also in the SNP leadership. These are: a devotion to Marxist economics, the single-minded pursuit of ruinous objectives and contempt for all opposition and the electorate.


  1. Good article and I had similar thoughts just yesterday re Corbyn and the SNP. Previously, I was proud to have some Scottish ancestry but then Salmond and Sturgeon arrived on the scene.
    Is South Africa not the next to follow Venezuela and Zimbabwe?

    • I agree. Personally in retrospect I regret that the Scots Nats didn’t win their referendum. Then we could have got rid of them for once and for all and left them in their own cultural Marxist paradise. England for the the English I say.

        • And we will get more.
          Corbyn’s big advantage was that he was not Blair, or a Blairite.

          Corbyn is now solidly in charge, and deserves to be, even though I would never vote for him.

          The Conservatives’ problem is that Major and Cameron stuffed the Conservative constituencies with Blairites, and, supine, global do-gooders, mainly women.

  2. Alas in the schools and now also in the colleges they are trying to churn out obedient Corbyn ‘think’-a-likes who will soon have the power to vote and bring their big sugar-daddy into power. We have be far too complacent as to what is going on there with our future voters.

  3. “Demonisation” is well chosen. Many mainstream views are now treated as heretical, even illegal. British police forces neglect actual crime, in favour of hunting for online “hate crime”. Say something that offends against the orthodoxy of the self-appointed élite and you get the rozzers at your door. Commit five burglaries a night? They couldn’t be less interested.

    It’s a bad sign when the authorities turn free speech into a crime, while ignoring real crime, because that is exactly what despotisms do. Condemnation and outright suppression of free speech are occurring from numerous angles: dog-whistle accusations of islamofauxbia in the media; dismissal by politicians of swathes of society as ill-educated, racist, or generically, even genetically, “deplorable”; “hate crimes” legislation and hypocritical civil rights commissions; censorship of right-of-centre views by Facebook, Google and Twitter; rampant intolerance of divergent opinion in universities.

    Canada’s Parliament recently passed a motion, M103, condemning islamofauxbia, which is a non-existent problem, invented by muslim brotherhood adherents to stifle criticism of islam. At the time, since the motion was just that, not a law, the notion that M103 could be used to stifle free speech was ridiculed. A peaceful protest against the motion required a significant police presence, to protect the demonstrators against masked “antifa” thugs, who, footage shows, had no desire to discuss the issue, but were there to intimidate and to silence.

    This is becoming routine in Britain, Germany, Canada and the United States. Robert Spencer, expert on jihad, wrote very recently of his experience at Stanford University, where his speech was sabotaged by university staff, who deliberately packed the lecture theatre with protestors, preventing willing listeners from entering. The cynicism would be breathtaking, were it not now routine. The intolerance on university campuses is inculcated, indulged and endorsed by those with a duty to protect free speech.

    That mentality is rife among Corbyn’s followers. May, Rudd and Greening are too spineless and lacking in principle to oppose it.

  4. I’m actually genuinely astonished that (given his history with Venezuela and the Middle East) Corbyn doesn’t have a long history of making positive statements about Zimbabwe or having press photographs taken with him shaking hands with Mugabe, praising his “African Socialism” and justifying the government theft/intimidation/murder by “anti-imperialism” and quoting selective sources

    My cartoon on the unfolding mess:

  5. The Duke of Wellington said in 1830 that extending the franchise would wreck Britain, and unfortunately it looks like he was right..

  6. People should rightly be terrified of labour, not so much with corbyn, he is just the avuncular gimp who is the frontispiece of some seriously deranged zealots who are and maintain the power behind the throne.

    This is not a joke, if the UK electorate were stupid enough to elect the labour party there will be no further elections, you may think that he, they, labour hasn’t the wherewithal – yes they have and they’re nothing to do with Britain nor need to bother with western morals and illusions of democracy, neither.

    The other problem is the tories make light of it, some even think that, the tories are complicit with the rise of the Communists – labour and I for one, wouldn’t argue it.

    • “Avuncular,” if you mean “the daft uncle living in the garret that we don’t usually let out whilst we entertain company…”

      • More than slightly embarrassed and yes, that’s the impression one derives, it is also one to which the lavs prefer to project to the majority voter, ie harmless. Old uncle Joe back in the days of the first the Communist superstate – played on it.

  7. Yes, but how did either country get to the point where their populations were prepared to entrust the future of their country to a Mugabe or a Chavez? I’ve always believed that dysfunctional leaders spring from a dysfunctional political culture that has resisted reforms so long that they are imposed violently and willy-nilly, instead of gradually and consciously, as happened here in Britain over several centuries.

    Looking at the history of Venezuela we can see that its democratic institutions had rotted from within long before Chavez launched his failed military coup in 1992. From 1958 to the early 1990s Venezuela had a two-three party system not unlike our own, in which power rotated among a small elite who grew rich leeching off the oil and arranging stitch ups among themselves to keep insiders in office regularly. This bloke is one example:

    Of course it all ended in tears ( and gave us this very interesting book:

    Mugabe’s rise is more easily explained, just one of the last of the original African “Big Men”. Most are dead now, or were booted out of power in the 1990s/2000s. But Zimbabwe was late to the decolonialisation party, and Mugabe has vampire-like powers of fending off the passage of time (how many other leaders do you know who would be negotiating with coup leaders in their mid-90s?), so he is still with us. People like him mushroomed up all over Africa to replace the departing colonists. Whether or not you agree with his rise means going back to our grandparents’ debates on how fast Africa should be decolonised. Most of them thought it would only be happening about now, hilariously. But look on the bright side, once Mugabe is dead in a few years, and his current VP follows him (75 y.o) shortly after, we will see what the 21st century generation of kleptocrats can do in their stead.

    • Nothing hilarious at all about what your grandparents thought. They were correct. The problem in Zimbabwe, and Venezuela, in truth most of Africa and South America, is that they tried principles used by educated worldly people, (Britain and the United States) without the education to understand the importance of the underlying morality. They turned democratic forms into a power grab. It is precisely congruent with what Corbyn is doing because we are no longer educating our people, and the schools with the best reputation are often the worst.

      John Adams was probably more correct than he knew, “The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”

  8. Yes, it could happen here, largely because of dyed-in-the-wool Labour supporters who would happy vote for Momentum candidates whose actual policies they would abhor, simply because their names appear next to the word “Labour”, and who do so consciously for that reason. If you know people like this (I know a few) please do what you can to convince them otherwise.

    • One of the funniest things will be the old duffers turned out onto the street to make way for migrant families. Those who vote Labour “because me granddad did” without a thought for the policies or the consequences.
      Once it happens to them they might just change their tune, but then again they’re so dense they’d probably vote to sleep on a park bench !

  9. we have two generations of people in this country who dont remember the nationalised industries the blackouts the rubbish piles the weekly reports on the new price of a loaf of bread the constant violent strikes the army putting out fires in decrepit old green godesses

    and now we have jezza and his gang of marxists much much more ideologically driven than the likes of wilson and co, if these maniacs get their hands on power I doubt whether they will give it up without violence

    on the upside we wont have a problem with 500,000 immigrants a year cos no one will actually want to come here

    • “on the upside we wont have a problem with 500,000 immigrants a year cos no one will actually want to come here”


  10. It is perhaps the only way forward, a short sharp shock to wake the people from the idiotic slumber and the slow march to certain destruction which May is leading us.
    If the choice is between Red Theresa and Red Corbyn, then we might as well chose the latter for both are the same and so are the outcomes, the only difference is the speed at which we arrive.

    Remember last time we had a far left Labour government? That bankrupted the country, but it pit an end to Socialism for decades as people remembered what it means. The only problem is that Todays so called tory party has no one of any calibre, they are all entitled posh boys who have no passion or drive. A cabinet of second hand car salesmen with pretty low morals yet a selfish greed for personal gain.

    • “A cabinet of second hand car salesmen with pretty low morals yet a selfish greed for personal gain.” LOL!

  11. What is Theresa May currently offering that is much better than what Corbyn could offer? Therein lies the problem. We know who Corbyn is and what he believes, and, should my fellow millennials have any common sense and numeracy, one can avoid him and his ideas. It’s the shapeshifting Conservative Party, go-go dancing for votes on any aisle, that makes it possible for Corbyn to become stronger. People like Corbyn because he is sincere. On the other hand, the Conservative Party has betrayed even their own voters, most recently before this last and disastrous election. A conservative Party in Britain would be a decent start. Next, a Conservative Party that can present an opposition faction that doesn’t resemble a pack of zombies would be even better. Someone who could challenge Corbyn on his un-mathematical, shortsighted and destructive plans for Britain in the House of Commons and WIN Britons over to the benefits of self-sufficiency, personal responsibility, law and order, a small state, family, excellent education, economic freedom and competition, strong defence and patriotism, would be a God send. But I fear no one will be up for the task.

  12. Hyperbole like this doesn’t help those who want to make a serious case against a Corbyn led Labour government. Although when people said that the Conservatives under Cameron and Osborne would take from the poor and give to the rich, for political rather than economic reasons, despite Cameron’s assurances to the contrary, that did turn out to be true so I suppose you can never be sure that the implausible won’t become fact.

    However Corbyn isn’t a revered and much worshipped revolutionary war leader credited with defeating tyranny and liberating a people, in the way Mugabe still is to far too many, inspiring unquestioning acquiescence and blind obedience from a population that ought to know better having witnessed the rise and fall of umpteen tyrannies, previously, but doesn’t.

    It kind of daft to compare wildly different individuals in fantastic and made up ways. For example Theresa May could turn out to be a much greater Prime Minister than Winston Churchill, although, based on recent events, I reckon that’s about as likely to happen as Corbyn doing a Mugabe, both eventualities having fractional mathematical probabilities associated with them very close to zero I would imagine.

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