The day after the bomb at Manchester Arena Theresa May and her election strategists decided that party campaigns for the general election on June 8th should be suspended. The other political parties agreed to suspend their respective campaigns; to not do so would have appeared to be insensitive. No time limit was set for the duration of the suspension.
Two obvious points about the campaign suspension are
- The Tories have had next to no campaign so far compared to increasingly successful campaigns by Labour, SNP and Plaid Cymru.
- Although the Tory Party has suspended its campaign the party’s enablers in the media are continuing to campaign on the party’s behalf.
Suspension of campaigns disrupts Labour surge
Intelligent, humane and workable manifesto pledges by Labour have contrasted sharply with the Tories’ woolly vague promises that are speckled with grotesque threats. Equally, Jeremy Corbyn and his cabinet colleagues have been consistent, clear and personable compared to May and her colleagues’ scripted platitudes, wild contradictions and evasiveness.
The most recent two weeks of the election campaign have been almost solely a Labour campaign battling gamely against a biased media. Theresa May has continued her strategy of invisibility – May’s invisibility. This strategy was chosen because of May’s lack of strength when scrutinised closely and because of the hollowness of the Tories’ manifesto. Also, the Tories’ election campaign manager Lynton Crosby wanted the media focus to be on Labour and Corbyn with the expectation that criticism of Labour’s policies and its suitability for government would prevail and encourage people to vote Tory as a safe option. This has backfired as Labour have benefitted hugely from being in focus.
Tory-supporting media is continuing with the Tory election campaign unabated
The section of the media that is most supportive of the Tories has no intention of being bound by a request for a suspension in electioneering. The Sun, Mail, Express and Telegraph are continuing with their lies, misrepresentations and inventions. Indeed, the entirety of the Tory campaign is little changed during the suspension as most of it has been conducted by the media and not by May and her colleagues. The difference is that, because Labour has suspended its campaign, the Tories’ voice via the media is the only voice being heard.
Additionally, the right-wing media is using the terrorist attack as a tool with which to attack Corbyn. The false and ludicrous claims about Corbyn’s attitude, statements and actions regarding the Irish Republican Army are being repeated relentlessly because there has been a terrorist attack this week. For Paul Dacre, Tony Gallagher, etc. dead children are just an opportunity to conduct a dishonest political campaign. Meanwhile, ghouls at the same newspapers are harassing the Manchester bomb’s victims and their families to try to obtain photos and quotes.
The Tory use of the terrorist attack in Manchester
For the Tories, the usefulness of the election campaign suspension is not the only beneficial consequence of the terrorist attack in Manchester.
Alongside the use of the terrorist attack as a political tool for the media to attack Labour – described above – Theresa May is wallowing in the chance to present herself as “decisive” and “in control.”
Aided by compliant broadcasters, May is making well-timed interjections wherein she makes dramatic proclamations and announces attention-grabbing changes in strategy to tackle the threat of terrorism. Her objective is to create a public image of herself (and her government) as strong, forthright and effective. Of course, it is all completely and utterly empty. Throughout May’s shambolic tenure as Home Secretary even her Tory colleagues noticed that she never actually did much, what she did do she did badly and occasionally she would pop up with a platitude-ridden mini-speech that portended of profundity but actually was ephemeral. (I said “well-timed” above because the timing of her speech to announce a change to the terror threat level was not random. It cleverly allowed her speech to take the lead in late-evening TV news and next day newspapers above reports on the beautiful vigil in Manchester earlier on Tuesday evening.)
May’s “decision” to use the military as a supplement to the police is merely an admission that the huge cuts in police numbers over the last seven years have had a noticeable effect. (May’s successor as Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, was made aware of the cuts’ effect on police morale when she spoke at the police federation conference last week.) It is clunky posturing, pointless and has no purpose other than attempting, vainly, to massage her weak and wobbly image.
Don’t let the con artist get away with it
The parties who oppose the Tories must not allow themselves to dance to Crosby’s tune. Theresa May has descended into a clown figure but she is backed by a mob of unethical scoundrels who will glibly exploit the slaughter of young concert goers.
The opposition, particularly the Labour Party, must
- Reactivate their election campaigns when it suits them, not when it suits the Tories
- Respond boldly and loudly to media attacks that occur during the campaign suspension
- Be willing to ridicule the daft posturing of May and her colleagues regarding their anti-terror strategy and policy
Theresa May, and Hammond, Rudd, Fox, Davis, Johnson, etc. have no morality, no integrity and are persistent liars. They are dim-witted gimps of gangsters. Nothing is taboo to them in their attempt to con the electorate into voting for its enemies. All opposition must retain confidence, clear sightedness and not be distracted or sidelined.