The Labour Leader has punched his own party in the faceby John McTernan / February 26, 2016 / Leave a comment
Read more: Jeremy Corbyn can lead the Labour party back to power
Saturday 27th February is a big campaign day for the Labour Party. Every activist will be out campaigning for the UK to stay in the European Union. It is a huge political issue. One that is existential for the country and which will determine the kind of country we live in. It is about fairness, prosperity and the future. Open against closed. The very emblem of progressive politics against conservative ideology. This is Labour’s moment, and on top of everything else the Tories are divided—the one thing the public hate more than anything else in a political party—while Labour are united.
So, how does Jeremy Corbyn intend to press home the Labour advantage? By changing the subject completely. He is going on the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) march against the renewal of the Trident submarines. Politics is famously a contact sport and the art is often in just punching—repeatedly—on a bruise. As usual, Corbyn has ripped up the play book: he has decided to punch Labour in the face instead. Defence, as much as the economy, is a traditional Labour weakness in the eyes of swing voters. Unilateralism, or as the electorate understand it: “giving up your nuclear weapons while others still have them”—is not merely the emblem of a party weak on defence, it is a sign of a party who are not interested in power.
The worst thing about Corbyn attending and speaking at this CND rally while Labour’s message of the day is that Britain should stay in the EU is that this is not the worst thing he has done to undermine the case for staying in it. Lyndon B Johnson was often asked why he tried never to talk about the Vietnam War. His typically pithy response was “If your mother in law had one eye and that one eye was in the middle of her forehead you wouldn’t have her at your cocktail parties.” Don’t, in other words, draw attention to your weaknesses. As previously observed, Corbyn loves to reverse conventional wisdom. And this…