From David Cameron’s official Twitter account this morning:
The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family's security.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) September 13, 2015
I think it’s crass and unbefitting of someone who holds the UK’s most major political office, but it shows how the Tories think they can play Corbyn. I am however not altogether sure this will work, or at least not quite as the Tories expect.
Cameron’s tweet was elegantly juxtaposed with with Corbyn’s own views here:
Voilà. De qui faut-il avoir peur exactement? Who is really threatening people in the UK here? pic.twitter.com/jxK6qagf9V
— Sandrine Roginsky (@enirdans) September 13, 2015
The assumed rules of the British politics game are that one should rise to the critique posed by Cameron, and fight fire with fire.
What happens if Corbyn simply doesn’t? That he goes about politics his own way, that he plays to his strength – that he is seen to be honest and somehow partially above the fray?
This is precisely the way Ken Livingstone succeeded as London Mayor, attracting people who ideologically did not agree with him to vote for him; it’s no surprise that Simon Fletcher, ex-Livingstone aid, helped mastermind Corbyn’s victory.
The prime danger, it seems to me, is that any comment about Corbyn assumes the rules of British politics are either as they were in 1983 (with Foot’s disastrous election), or 1997 (when Blair won with a very disciplined campaign). UK politics is not in the same place now – we do not know how well those parallels hold. We do not know how Corbyn will behave. We do not know how or if he will temper his views. Hell, we don’t even know how to deal with a Labour leader who does actually have views any more – and so everyone, from Cameron to a lowly blogger, has to do a bit of recalibration. Then set that in the context of a Labour Party that’s adding members fast, and Corbyn being the unlikely leader of something that might be larger than he is.
We cannot know where the Corbyn victory is going to lead. No Labour-leaning person ought to write it off straight away. It might be unfashionable in political commentary, but that Corbyn’s victory leaves so many questions unanswered is what makes this fascinating.