The war on terror is simply not working: says Jeremy Corbyn
Yesterday morning (26th May) Jeremy Corbyn delivered a speech marking the end of the temporary pause in election campaigning following the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester on Monday night at a pop concert. Corbyn said that the war on terror, words used by numerous politicians over the last 20 or so years, is simply not working, going on to add that, "We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.”
This brought immediate criticism from Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary accusing Corbyn of “very muddled and dangerous thinking” that implied blame on Britain for somehow bringing the Manchester terror attack on itself. Which is, of course, complete nonsense as the Labour leader said nothing of the sort and indicates that Fallon himself has the "muddled thought", particularly after his car crash interview of a few days ago stammering and mumbling his way through his response to questions on the conservative party manifesto and welfare reforms.
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, also criticised Corbyn’s speech, saying: “I don’t agree with what he says, but I disagree even more that now is the time to say it." adding "That’s not leadership, it’s putting politics before people at a time of tragedy.” The problem that Fallon and Farron have is that the Labour leader is absolutely right in his analysis and perhaps had they listened to the actual words, which in fact took a very small part of the text, rather than attempt to score cheap political points, they may have realised that the vast majority of people in this country actually agree with what Corbyn said on this point. The "war on terror", is not working and there is ample evidence of this being the case. If it were working we would not have witnessed so many terrorist attacks in towns and cities all over Europe (and beyond) over recent years. The Manchester atrocity on Monday evening is the latest in a list of atrocities over recent months and years in London, Birstall, Walsall, Glasgow, Paris, Stockholm, Brussels, Ankara, Tunisia, Thailand, and a hundred other locations around the world.
Within a couple of hours, Boris Johnson, renowned for engaging mouth before any other part of his body added his "contribution" to the criticism with the absurdity that the Labour leader had "attempted to justify or to legitimate the actions of terrorists"
Later still, Theresa May speaking at the G7 summit in Sicily, through a mouth even more contorted than is usual even for her, uttered the most preposterous lie of the day when she said that Jeremy Corbyn had stated that "Terror attacks in Britain are our own fault". Which is the most reprehensible and outrageous distortion, even for a Prime Minister famed for her ability to lie and avoid questions with an almost straight face.
The prize of the day for biased and partial interviewing must be awarded to Andrew Neil for his performance during the "Andrew Neil 2017 Election. Leader Interviews" programme on BBC 1 last night with Jeremy Corbyn. In a television slot of just 30 minutes, Neil contrived to ask a question about the Manchester bombing and then spent the next 20 minutes or so interrogating Corbyn about his "links" to the IRA and bombings during "the troubles". The questioning was vulgar, boorish and abusive, filled with interruptions and shouting down answers. The remaining 10 minutes was filled with "questioning" in the same manner, on the subject of Trident and Corbyn's personal position on the subject as opposed to the party position. Only for a few seconds right at the end, was there any mention of Labour party policies, albeit that the Labour leader did manage to hold up a copy of the party manifesto,"For the many not the few."
This whole programme was in stark contrast to the treatment meted out by Neil during the Leader interviews programme where Theresa May was the subject. Her performance was hesitant, evasive and muddled and yet Neil failed perhaps by accident or more probably design, to press the Prime Minister in the same aggressive fashion as he pressed Jeremy Corbyn.
Now that this day of hysterical smear, distortion and lies in the media, on television and from conservative politicians is past, we must now get back to what this election is really all about. Housing, Welfare, the NHS, workers rights, school funding, freezing tax, VAT and National insurance for 95% of our population, pensions and the triple lock and all the other policies which are of pressing concern for our people.Probably 90% of Jeremy Corbyn's speech yesterday was about policy and yet the media concentrated on "terrorism". Even in this, the media distortions failed to mention Corbyn's comments that "Security does not come on the cheap" or the promise to adequately fund the security services, the police, the army and the A&E facilities, or even the statement that Austerity must stop at A&E and the police station door".
It was a very bad day for media and television yesterday and an even worse one for Fallon, Farron, Johnson and May. They must not be allowed another term in office to lie, distort and inflict their pernicious policies of cuts and austerity on the people of this country. There may even be a case, after the election, for examining in detail the role of the media and television and their "political" reporting and coverage of the election.