Those who can’t support Corbyn may vote tactically

Is it conceivable that the opinion polls could possibly get it wrong in forecasting Theresa May continuing as prime minister or will Jeremy Corbyn defy all the odds to win a mandate to run the country?

We are told by the prime minister that it was necessary to call the general election at short notice to speed up some of the Brexit negotiations and that the decision was not a personal one.

Yet her audiences have heard in no uncertain terms that the election call was “to make me stronger”. From Churchill to Attlee and Blair, no one ever put forward such a cry.

So who is ready and alert for this election? Labour has not yet recovered from the big reduction in the support gained by Tony Blair. Corbyn concentrates his campaigning on his favourite negative message, which is to attack the middle classes.

Suzanne Moore writing in the normally sympathetic Guardian said: “Labour is stuck with Corbyn and the party is hamstrung by the inflexibility of the leader and his vainglorious egotism.” Strong stuff,
but similar comments may be heard in Parliament and at constituency Labour Party gatherings.

Corbyn’s campaign concentrates on himself as the man to oppose the establishment and the system.

His speeches strongly echo those of Bernie Sanders when Sanders was bidding to become president of the US. He, too, spoke with some anger against the middle classes and said he was “sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment policies and the establishment media”.

Sanders failed and now Corbyn fails to realise that to win an election, you need to gain the support of all sections of the community and not to alienate any. For the Jewish community, there will be few supporting Corbyn with any enthusiasm.

He has had numerous opportunities to recognise and condemn the anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli discrimination on campus.

His failure to speak out robustly and provide leadership within the ranks of the higher echelons of Labour and its advisory committees has saddened Jews and non-Jews alike.

He shows no desire in building bridges towards Israel, a country that historically has such strong natural links with Labour and working class movements.

The friendship has been a longstanding and valuable one, comprising joint visits and conferences, all of which now sadly find themselves under strain.

I have much admiration for those non-Jewish Labour MPs holding marginal seats who have made such a powerful contribution in speaking up for Israel when walls of silence prevailed.

So then a coronation for Theresa May seems on the cards. The snap General Election will allow her to control the hotheads
in her party.

Importantly though, concentrating on the European issue has left her vulnerable to the charge that resolving serious domestic issues, with health, education and social services high on the agenda, appear sidelined.

And the game changer? In the absence of clear support for either of the main parties, tactical voting may provide an answer.

About the Author
Eric is a former Labour Party MP
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