TO SOME analysts, the so-called ‘Red Wall’ was not lost due to Brexit or Jeremy Corbyn in 2019.
It had been lost years earlier when New Labour took Britain into the Iraq War.
Though the invasion was backed by the Tories, the military move is still seen as a tenet of the party’s legacy, along with the financial crisis.
Shop worker Angela Wilkinson, 52, voted for the Brexit Party in 2019, telling the Daily Mirror she drifted away because “of the mess they made of the country, and the Iraq War”.
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Jeremy Corbyn briefly challenged this perception – a clear anti-war veteran (albeit too anti-imperialist to some), it was Labour that was voting against foreign invasions – for once.
But when Keir Starmer chose troop cuts as his proposed attack of choice on Boris Johnson at PMQs this week, he could have ruined all of Corbyn’s valuable work in the area.
On Wednesday Sir Keir questioned Mr Johnson over troop cuts (from 82,000 to 72,000), and a later tweet confirmed the party has reversed Corbyn’s approach to the Armed Services.
There’s no doubt that being perceived to be strong on defence is important in some Northern areas, but there’s little use in trying to out-flank the Tories when it comes to military expansion.
All that does is alienate your younger voters – and of course, those families who have lost loved ones fighting abroad.
Labour would do better off supporting the view that soldiers should not be sent abroad, unless it’s unavoidable, and pledge to help veterans at home.
Talking of pacifism, Starmer’s ideological ally in the White House (in theory) is facing renewed questions over his response to North Korea’s testing of ballistic missiles.
But the Supreme Leader’s threat is likely to be ignored in light of the pandemic, an expert told contributing editor James Moules.
Here’s the best of the rest from this week:
John Magufuli’s death doesn’t mean coronavirus will be taken any more seriously in Tanzania, an academic has said.
But on a more positive note, the reddening of Latin America seems set to continue with Lula’s return to politics.
The Israeli election – its fourth in two years – has provided another political deadlock, with Netanyahu short of a majority.
Interestingly enough, the United Arab List, an Israeli-Palestinian party, is most likely to play kingmaker this week.
Netanyahu has, remarkably, held onto power throughout all the turmoil. Could this be his final weeks in office?