Labour: playing at the politics of fear

Labour campaigners were seething over their frothy coffees this morning, after the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express hit the stands with anti-Corbyn headlines. All three papers have run ridiculous, scaremongering front pages labelling the Labour leader and his allies terrorist sympathisers.

John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and Corbyn are ‘apologists for terror’, according to the Mail. The Sun, sporting a tagline reading ‘We Are Not Afraid’, attempts to make people very scared indeed with an investigation into ‘Jezza’s Jihadi Comrades’. The Express simply put: ‘Vote May, or we face disaster.’

Corbyn may be many things, but he is not a terrorist sympathiser. This dredging up of his historical involvement with Sinn Fein, along with footage of him speaking at tiny rallies decades ago, is cheap. It’s quite clear that Corbyn and his colleagues want to defeat ISIS.

But when it comes to terrorism and the politics of fear, Labourites don’t have a leg to stand on.

Since the attack on London Bridge, Corbynites have been falling over themselves to blame May’s police cuts for the attack. Earlier this week, Corbyn supported calls for May to resign, and his media cheerleaders have turned old Tory attack lines on May. ‘Theresa May is a threat to the national security of this country’, tweeted Owen Jones. ‘Theresa May cannot be trusted with our national security’, wrote the New Statesman yesterday. This is the flipside of the tabloids’ message this morning: you should be scared of this leader becoming prime minister.

Since the attack, both the Conservatives and the Labour Party have indulged in their fair share of scaremongering, with both sides clambering over each other to bring in more police, clamp down on more freedoms and state that they are the ones who are serious about ramping up security in response to recent attacks.

Even worse than the lurid fascination with who Corbyn sat next to on a bus 20 years ago is the hypocrisy of his supporters, who have simply been beaten at their own game.

Ella Whelan is assistant editor at spiked. Follow her on Twitter: @Ella_M_Whelan

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