Conservative lies are a backhanded compliment to Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, evidence the Tories are worried they’re losing arguments and support.
Theresa May’s “challenge” to the Labour leader over student debt shows, intentionally or otherwise, the ailing Prime Minister possesses a hitherto hidden sense of humour by repeating her party piece, the Monty Python Black Knight routine.
She is a Tory leader without a leg to stand on who lost her grip the moment that little tear was shed at a squandered Parliamentary majority so challenges from her are hilarious, May failing to learn a lesson from the last campaign.
Smears only stick if they are credible, rooted in at least a fragment of truth and believable to a general public which has more important things to do, such as discussing whether Sunderland will bounce back into the Premier League(I fear not) and will the new Dr Who be better than Peter Capaldi (hard not to), instead of studying old interviews line-by-line or re-reading election manifestoes as the nights draw in.
And the Tory lies about Corbyn, Labour and student debt are not credible. Not credible to students. Not credible to voters. The confected broken promise is credible only to blinkered Tories and the criminally ignorant, a Venn diagram charting a considerable overlap between the two.
So the lies are a sign the Tories remain worried, very worried, by Labour’s threat from the Left to the Right’s failed austerity and miserable politics of lowering pay and living standards, destroying public services and reducing life to a profit and loss balance sheet. Another world is possible, democratic socialism gaining in attractiveness. Community co-operation, people working together in pursuit of a common good, is an old idea winning new traction as the Tory ideology of rampant, selfish individualism, a creed benefiting a minority or, to re-coin a phrase, for the few not the many, is plummeting faster than the Brexit pound.
Which is why we whiff the sheer desperation of a drowning May inventing Labour U-turns, her brass neck in danger of triggering a world shortage of the metal when a glance in the mirror would remind Mrs Loser she’s broken more promises than a paroled offender recalled to jail.
If she wants to read a document misleading the public, flick through her own manifesto, though I for one am delighted she can’t fulfil pledges to scrap free school meals for infants, return fox hunting or steal winter fuel allowances.
Mendacious May was at her worst in the final Prime Minister’s Question before the summer in response to what sounded suspiciously like a whip’s handout to Bob Blackman, Tory MP for Patsy Central, inviting her to talk about Labour and not what is within her power. On reflection, little is within her power so she’d sit down and say nowt if bashing Corbyn wasn’t a brief distraction from her looming fate.
Anyway, May said: “At the election Labour vowed to deal with student debt. Labour were going to abolish student debt, now they say it wasn’t a promise at all.”
Really? No, not really. Yes, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell have not only said Labour isn’t promising to abolish student debt, they correctly stressed Labour never promised to abolish student debt. Students knew and know that. The confusion exists only in the minds of May, Education Secretary Justine Greening and puppets like Blackman.
There never was this vow from Corbyn. The wilful representation is a thread leading back to Corbyn’s NME interview during the election when Labour’s leader said fees would be abolished from the 2017-18 academic year and, if in Government, the party would ease repayments.
Asked what he’d do for former students burdened by debts running into tens of thousands of pounds, Corbyn replied: “Yes, there is a block of those that currently have a massive debt, and I’m looking at ways that we could reduce that, ameliorate that, lengthen the period of paying it off, or some other means of reducing that debt burden.”
He even went on to say “I don’t have the simple answer for it at this stage…” so Tories inventing the simple answer of abolition is a panicking party reverting to tired, invented smears because it has nothing positive to say about the future.
If I was Corbyn, I wouldn’t be worried. I’d be ecstatic. The Tories are still fighting the last election they lost.