Jeremy Corbyn’s Campaign Re-Launch: Danger Ahead

Having outlined my thoughts on how Labour should resume its campaign (here and here), Jeremy Corbyn plans to focus elsewhere.

In a speech later today, Jeremy will focus on the causes of terrorism, listing Western involvement in the Middle East as a primary reason for terror attacks at home.

He will call for a different approach to foreign policy and defence, focusing on unity, peace and diplomacy.

Much as I agree with Jeremy Corbyn on this – and it is, indeed, a debate which needs to be had – it is almost certainly the wrong time to hold it.

People are still reeling from Monday’s attack. They want solutions. They want to know how – in the context of this election – each Party plans to keep us safe.

People aren’t too intersted in “why” the attack happened. They simply want to know how it can be stopped in the future, and which Party is able to deliver this with calm, sensible policies; not political posturing and existential diatribes.

The Labour manifesto contains serious policies to ensure public safety. It has detailed plans to rebuild our security and public services so we are better protected against attacks – both cyber and physical, and plans to ensure our emergency services are properly staffed and valued.

The Conservative manifesto contains none of these things. Theresa May, as mentioned in previous articles, has slashed police budgets and dropped police numbers by 20,000 as Home Secretary.

People don’t want a “tit-for-tat” campaign strategy, and it’s important to raise these issues with care. Andy Burnham demonstrated this brilliantly on Thursday’s BBC Question Time.

Labour has the policies and political will for a valuable response, which can provide detailed answers to the uncertainty we face but, instead, is choosing to open-up a new debate which no one (currently) wants to have.

While Corbyn chooses to focus on the cause of the attack, Theresa May has mobilised the military, attended NATO and drafted new plans to “fight online extremism.”

Which leader looks like they have a plan to do something about this?

The Prime Minister has the power to act now; which is why Jeremy Corbyn needs to demonstrate the Labour Party has a clear plan to implement when elected next month.

Labour has closed the gap again in another YouGov poll, conducted after the attack, narrowing the Conservative lead to just 5 points.

Jeremy does not need to risk alienating the public at this stage. The stakes are not yet high enough. We’re gaining ground – consistently – and mainly because of the domestic policies outlined in the Labour manifesto (providing security in our everyday lives).

Labour could demonstrate its plans for security and safety through its manifesto pledges, exposing the fact the Conservatives have none.

Instead, Labour has chosen to focus on an argument no one can win.

Experts have different views. And, while the traditional political arguments on the causes of terrorism can apply readily to previous attacks, they seem to bear almost no relation to the attack on Monday.

People dont want to feel blamed for an atrocity that happened at any time – let alone just a few days ago.

If Labour is to maintain its rise in the polls, it needs to focus on winnable arguments. It has plenty, as I’ve written elsewhere. And these can be used to outline a Labour government which values security in all aspects of our lives: in public safety, in defence, in work, in education, in our health and in retirement.

This is a platform the Conservatives simply cannot – and have never – delivered.

So let’s maintain our focus. Let’s keep talking about the policies. And let’s ensure Labour continues to climb in the polls.

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