Jeremy Corbyn seems to have learnt that leaving the Conservatives implying that a possible alliance between the Labour party and the Scottish National Party (SNP) is about to be forged, won’t turn out for the best.
In a written statement, after the Commons authorised the snap general election on Wednesday, the Labour leader said that “there is not going to be no coalition deal with the SNP and a Labour government. The SNP wants to break up the United Kingdom, it has no interest in making it work better. Independence would lead to turbo-charged austerity in Scotland-not progressive politics.” The Labour party showed slow reflexes in answering to Theresa May, who warned that “Britain will be run by a ‘coalition of chaos’ if voters are tempted by a plan by Nicola Sturgeon for a progressive alliance of SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrats.”
The SNP found themselves between the Tories and Labour when Nicola Sturgeon said to the SNP MPs in Westminster that “if the parliamentary arithmetic lends itself to the SNP being part of a progressive alliance to keep the Tories out of the government, then the SNP will seek to be a part of that, as we said in 2015.” Two years ago, Conservative election strategists managed to slim Ed Miliband’s chances to win the election by putting up billboards showing the Labour leader together with Alex Salmond. The Labour loss paved the way for Miliband’s resignation, and although Corbyn was an outsider, he managed to become leader of the party.
It seems that the Tories tried to seize the opportunity for a second time, but this time they didn’t manage to do it. However, this doesn’t mean the Tories will reduce their criticisms against Jeremy Corbyn. Defense secretary Sir Michael Fallon took advantage of his trip to Estonia and attacked Corbyn’s ideas regarding the British defense planning and expressed the opinion that Vladimir Putin would be happy to see the Labour party win. “Russia will be watching Labour’s feebleness that Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t supported the deployment of 800 British troops in Estonia. Putin would certainly welcome feebler British defense. Any undermining of our commitment to 2% defense spending or any gutlessness in response to Russian aggression would certainly be welcome by Moscow,” said Fallon, following the world trend of mentioning Putin’s name in every election campaign.
While Fallon and the rest of the Tories are on the path of war against the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn delivered his first major speech of the election campaign. He started his speech saying that “the dividing lines in this election could not be clearer from the outset. It is the Conservatives, the party of privilege and the richest versus the Labour party that is standing up for working people to improve the lives of all. It is the establishment versus the people.” Echoing the views of SYRIZA, the Greek governing party and of the Spanish Podemos, Corbyn tried to turn the election campaign against May into a battle against the establishment. In a part of his speech, he mentioned that “in a sense, the establishment and its camp followers in the media are quite right. I don’t play by their rules. And if a Labour government is elected on 8th June, then we won’t play by their rules either. It is a rigged system set up by the wealth contractors, for the wealth extractors.”
Corbyn went on to mention the names of companies that should be worried if Labour wins the general election. “If I were Southern Rail or Philip Green, I’d be worried about a Labour government. If I were Mike Ashley or the CEO of a tax avoiding multi-national corporation, I’d want to see a Tory victory,” said Corbyn aiming to get the votes of citizens that are disappointed with the tax system in the UK.
In the Q&A that followed his speech, Corbyn refused to rule out Labour holding a second Brexit referendum, on the final deal. Pressed by journalists, the Labour party issued a formal statement on this matter, saying: “We have consistently demanded a meaningful vote in Parliament and as the government, will bring the deal we negotiate to Parliament before it is finalised to ensure democratic accountability.”