Jeremy Corbyn was set to counter his critics with a speech detailing Labour’s response to the threat of terrorism, marking UK political parties’ return to national campaigning today (May 26).
His speech comes after YouGov revealed that Labour has rallied in the opinion polls – even after losing days of campaigning while Theresa May appeared regularly on TV talking about the response to the attack in Manchester – and now stands just five points behind the Conservatives, with two weeks of the election campaign still remaining in which to finish closing the gap and build a respectable lead.*
Thanks to The Canary, it seems we have a preview of what Mr Corbyn will say. This Site will not steal our fellows’ thunder – you should go there for lengthy passages – but here’s a taste.
On the threat of terror attacks, it is believed he will say: “No government can prevent every terrorist attack. If an individual is determined enough and callous enough sometimes they will get through. But the responsibility of government is to minimise that chance – to ensure the police have the resources they need, that our foreign policy reduces rather than increases the threat to this country and that at home we never surrender the freedoms we have won and that terrorists are so determined to take away.”
On domestic policy, he will say: “Labour will reverse the cuts to our emergency services and police. Once again in Manchester, they have proved to be the best of us. Austerity has to stop at the A&E ward and at the police station door. We cannot be protected and cared for on the cheap. There will be more police on the streets under a Labour Government. And if the security services need more resources to keep track of those who wish to murder and maim, then they should get them.”
Crucially, he will accuse the architects of the so-called “war on terror” of increasing the threat of it in the UK: “Many experts… have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home… We must be brave enough to admit the ‘war on terror’ is simply not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from [other] countries.”
Of course, the speech has already attracted a certain amount of attention on the social media…
So much for that political truce. Tomorrow Corbyn will claim that Tory police cuts & interventionist foreign policy have made us unsafe.
— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) May 25, 2017
I loved Francesca Martinez’s response to this:
I think you'll find It's called the 'truth', Nick. https://t.co/Azd73JvVPR
— Francesca Martinez (@chessmartinez) May 25, 2017
And this one:
Jeremy Corbyn won't 'claim' anything. He'll be stating the truth. And more people are waking up and listening to him… https://t.co/MKCkzuFdYz
— The Spezial One (@OllyverTweet) May 25, 2017
This is also good:
Tomorrow, the British public will see that Jeremy Corbyn is the candidate who will stand up and tell them the truth. May + Rudd floundering.
— Matt Turner (@MattTurner4L) May 25, 2017
Of course there are naysayers too. One sent me a very colourful dis-infographic using lots of the attack lines we’ve seen used against leading Labour figures – and running aground with the claims that Mr Corbyn is a supporter of terrorism. As these claims have been proved false, there’s no reason to pay attention to any of the others. I won’t publish the image because that much nonsense is bad for the eyes.
This will be a major chance for Mr Corbyn to stake out the political – and moral – high ground after the hiatus. His supporters will need to be ready to counter the wave of right-wing disinformation that is certain to follow. One message is vital:
Vote Labour on June 8 – for the sake of our national security.
*Of course, nobody should believe the opinion polls or use them as anything other than a rough yardstick. They have been wrong far too often to be treated any other way. And remember, this is a general election – your vote is not a bet on the winner.
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