Alastair Campbell knows a thing or two about winning elections, and though the current Labour party isn’t in a very pro-Blair kind of mood, they would be wise to listen to the old spin doctor just one last time.
“You cannot win a general election if [you are] behind on [the] economy and leadership,” he tweeted last night, concluding: “Add security as a negative, and it is rout time.”
He was sharing his analysis after a period in which Jeremy Corbyn has substituted serious politics for student union-style tokenism.
Having already lamented the death at American hands of Osama bin Laden, the Labour leader now refuses to distance himself from the appalling views of the Stop the War Coalition – an organisation of which he was, until very recently, the chairman.
This rag-bag collection of the angry and the ignorant has claimed that France bears responsibility for the horrendous attacks in Paris because of its military action in the Middle East.
Then came Corbyn’s confession that he is “not happy with a shoot-to-kill policy” against terrorists rampaging on British streets.
These views, which belong to the pacifist fringe of student politics, will ensure that Labour, in its present guise, will never be taken seriously by an electorate who are alive to the threat posed by terrorists and who expect a government to do all it can to keep them safe.
Basing your political response to the threat of heavily armed suicide bombers taking over a British theatre or shopping centre on some misty-eyed belief that such attackers could be reasoned with is simply not good enough.
Much has been said about the damage Labour’s economic policies will do to its credibility in the eyes of voters, but this damage will be as nothing to that done by a perception that its leader simply isn’t up to the fight that now presents itself.
When it comes to security, Corbyn has failed every grim test with which he has been met. If he wants to be little more than an anti-violence campaigner, he should return to the backbenches and write pamphlets. If he wishes to become Prime Minister, he should wake up to the reality of the threat posed and to the expectations of the British public, with whom he is wildly out of step.