Thursday, 20 April 2017

The June Election and Personal Attacks

Well, away we go! On June 8th, we will go to the polls. I was surprised at the alacrity with which all parties received the announcement by Theresa May. No doubt there will be much lively and productive debate, but some pretty tawdry ad hominem attacks as well. I know that such attacks are part and parcel of every general election campaign, but they seem to be particularly virulent this time, carrying a residue of ill-will from the EC Referendum campaign. Some of these attacks are downright facile. For example, there was the storm of criticism directed at Theresa May for calling a snap election, having previously declared she would do no such thing.

Well, the critics were right to attack Mrs May on this point, but are we really so surprised? After all, don't all politicians make promises and never fulfil them? Just about every prime minister of this country within living memory has been accused of similar behaviour. Apparently, Mrs May decided to call the election while on a walking holiday in North Wales. Perhaps the fresh air went to her head?
More seriously, and much more maliciously, there are the scurrilous, intensely personal attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. These attacks have been relentless, beginning from the day he became Labour leader and rising to a crescendo at the present time. Most of these attacks come from the right-wing press. A media report from the London School of Economics (LSE) - click on here to read - says:
"Corbyn is systematically ridiculed,scorned and the object of personal attacks by most newspapers.Even more problematic were a set of associations which deligitimised Corbyn as a politician,calling"him"loony,"unpatriotic,"a terrorist friend"and a dangerous individual"
This campaign continues as I write. Today's Daily Mail carries a story about Corbyn's brother attacking the BBC, but makes no serious evaluation of Jeremy Corbyn's first major speech. Even Corbyn's appearance has been ridiculed. The previous prime minister, David Cameron, (remember him?) taunted Corbyn about his attire about a year ago. Perhaps inevitably, some voters are affected by all this antipathy. The Huffington Post quoted a Nuneaton woman last year as saying of Corbyn:
"You want a charismatic leader and to me he's more like Worzel Gummidge".
Does Jeremy Corbyn need a change of image?
Er, well, maybe not that one, and perhaps this is all a red herring. Speaking personally, I shall be voting on issues, not personalities or publicity. It is a sad feature of our democracy that some voters allow themselves to be influenced by appearance, distortion and downright abuse. 
Having said all this, however, there is one politician who, in my opinion, deserves public opprobrium - but isn't getting it. That man is David Cameron. People who did not welcome this forthcoming election should bear in mind that we are only in this situation because of  the EC referendum result - the referendum that Cameron thought he could win. He didn't, and now we go to the polls to make Brexit easier - which is what the Tories want. If Cameron had not called that stupid referendum - and let's not forget that he didn't have to call it - we would not be facing an uncertain future, there would have been no rise in hate crime, no bitterness and division among friends, families and political parties and no election in June.
Cameron looks a bit flustered - is he standing for re-election?

1 comment:

  1. I cannot see how criticising May for calling an election in 2017 after she had repeatedly stated that there'd be no poll until 2020 is in any way facile.