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Judiciously leaked, a late draft of Labour’s manifesto appeared last week, which at least meant that, unlike the others, people would read it. The leak seemed to do no harm – policy discussion is Labour’s least bad arena, compared to the personal qualities of the leaders or the parties’ organisational skills. And policies there were aplenty.

Cunningly –was this deliberate? – the manifesto was a little shorter than 1983’s, heading off jokes about the longest suicide note. Some reactions were predictable – the Tories and the press launched into it, while on the left many like Aditya Chakrabortty, never knowingly undersold, grumbled that it was “not radical enough”. Larry Elliott, a critic of Blair and sympathetic (if sceptically) to Corbyn’s vision, was keen. Joseph Harker loved the “genuinely progressive” manifesto, and made the clueless, yet offensive, suggestion that Corbyn v May was the equivalent of Macron v Le Pen (if anything it’s Mélenchon v Fillon, a very different bouilloire de poisson).

Nearer the centre, Ayesha Hazarika employed techniques of irony from her stand-up comic career, noting it was “genuinely fascinating” and that “Corbyn’s Labour is now a proper, real-time, leftwing political experiment and we will know the results on 9 June.” Yet although she, Watson-like, was emphasising JC’s ownership of the manifesto, more ominous was her claim that “There’s nothing you can argue against in this wishlist”, a word also used by Jonathan Freedland.

But hold on – for Freedland, this is a wishlist of “admirable hopes and laudable plans” that puts Labour “in front on policy.” Eh? Polly Toynbee, a prominent JC critic, gushed about “a cornucopia of delights”, “a treasure trove” that “could make this country infinitely better.” Will Hutton liked “its bold willingness to confront the way contemporary capitalism is stratifying the labour market into a new mass precariat and conferring enormous rewards at the top, while crucial public services are being starved of resources or compromised by putting the profit motive first”. Greg Rosen thought it was restoring the legacy of New Labour, while Martin Kettle detected warmed-over SDP. Mr Kettle went on to say that “Only those on the centre-left whose hearts and brains have calcified irrevocably against every traditional marker of a government for the common good could fail to respond to at least some of these possibilities”. The Guardian’s leader welcomed it as a bold step.

This is extraordinary, because the manifesto, as well as being a wishlist, is a pretty cretinous one, with virtually everything that could be wrong being wrong. Granted, it is there chiefly to make a point, from people who expect defeat and won’t have to implement all this stuff. But even so …

The NHS will simply absorb whatever money is pumped into it, as it did under Tony Blair, without some creative thinking. Why 10,000 new policemen, when crime levels are only equivocally correlated with police numbers? In the face of an upcoming pensions crisis, why on earth reverse essential increases in pension ages? Why nationalisation and public ownership of utilities, when we know from experience what a poor level of service government agencies provide? Why restore an enormous subsidy for the wealthy by abolishing tuition fees, in the face of evidence from Scotland that it has a negative effect on social mobility? And how could we soak those earning more than £80,000 to pay for all this without severely distorting the economy? Increases in corporation tax will tend to push up prices, lower wages and reduce income for pension funds. A Robin Hood tax will exacerbate any post-Brexit exodus from the city, dramatically decreasing the hoped-for take.

So why is the so-called ‘sensible’ centre-left so overjoyed with this drivel? It’s revealing – Jeremy Corbyn is rather like the Freudian id of the left, a “chaos”, “filled with energy reaching it from the instincts …  no organization, produc[ing] no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle,” to quote the New Introductory Lectures. The soft left has an ego that understands the reality principle, but Corbyn has taken them back to cosy dreamland. The admiration of this manifesto really does show that even those who believe that Corbynism is doomed are Corbyn wannabees, incapable of coupling their social conscience to a realistic view of economics and human behaviour.

Surprisingly few commentators of the centre left were prepared to face down their ids. Andrew Rawnsley forensically trashed the idea that the manifesto was in any way radical, while Kezia Dugdale, who looks like she will have a torrid election night, impressed by reiterating her understanding that increasing the role of the state requires tax increases for everyone, not just the rich.

Labour has a worse problem than 1983. Then, it was clear that the party had swung too far left. Now, if Labour does take a thrashing in June, a debate will begin over whether the problem was the extreme ideological positioning of the party and its hundreds of thousands of clicktivist members, or just the incompetence of the current leader. Ms Toynbee has already begun that debate, drawing the wrong conclusions: “good policies in this manifesto will wrongly go down in history as ‘rejected’ by voters – when all they will have rejected was Corbyn”. In 2015, the pleasure principle overcame the reality principle, and on this evidence it’ll happen again this Summer.

Kieron O’Hara is an associate fellow of Bright Blue and associate professor and principal research fellow at the University of Southampton. The views expressed in this article are those of the author, not necessarily those of Bright Blue.