London (GPA) – Speaking to reporters in Westminster today, head of the U.K. Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn called for real changes to British policy in fighting terrorism.
With only days to go before a snap election called by the Conservative Party under Theresa May, a major question now looming over the debates is terrorism. While many commentators expected this week’s suicide bombing in Manchester to boost the poll numbers in favor of the Tories, it now seems that labor is closing the gap from 20% when the election was called to now only 5%.
Many thought May would benefit due to her association with Brexit, which was passed in part by voters rejecting refugee quotas enacted by the European Union. Now, with the election too close to call Corbyn has come out to address the attack in Manchester by saying something most people already know but long overdue; the war on terror is not working.
Starting with the obvious, Corbyn made clear that acts carried out by people like the attacker in Manchester were completely unacceptable. He prefaced his statements by making clear that “No rationale based on the actions of any government can remotely excuse, or even adequately explain, outrages like this week’s massacre,” but then followed up with real criticism of western policies concerned with fighting terrorism.
With that out of the way Corbyn made his statements that now appear to be outraging the powers that be in the U.K. who have vested interests in continuing the west’s perpetual war. “But we must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism,” was all Corbyn really said that seems obvious but is clearly completely out of line in the allowed European/US discourse.
Corbyn promised that, should Labour be placed in charge next month, the party would seek “foreign policy [that] reduces rather than increases the threat to this country.” Corbyn also displayed what should be considered real support for the working men and women enlisted in the U.K.’s armed forces, expressing that the military should only be deployed abroad when real there are real threats to the nation’s security.
Corbyn’s remarks were blasted by everyone in the political establishment from the Tories to the Liberal Democrats. Conservative defense secretary Sir Michael Fallon said Corbyn’s thinking was “muddled and dangerous” by “implying this attack might be our fault, might be Britain’s fault as a result of our foreign policy.” Fallon is notorious in some circles as a Tory agitator who in the recent past has frequently attacked Corbyn, even using the tired trope that a victory for Labour would be welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Another politician to quickly condemn Corbyn was foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who was meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to accept an apology for the leak of British intelligence on the Manchester attack to US media. Johnson called Corbyn’s remarks “monstrous” and said it was “absolutely extraordinary and inexplicable in this week of all weeks that there should be any attempt to justify or to legitimate the actions of terrorists in this way,” despite the Corbyn leading his remarks with the disclaimer explaining that wasn’t his intention at all.
With the snap election only 12 days away and the loss of the comfortable lead formerly held by the Tories now almost non existent, could these comments continue that change? It’s unclear at this moment what will be next (as has been the case this whole campaign period), but Corbyn has now officially made rethinking the war on terror a part of the Labour platform in terms that are understandable and often already expressed among the masses of regular people, both left and right, throughout the west.
Also published on Medium.