Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t even been elected Labour leader but the campaign to undermine him begins today. David Cameron will give a speech on the economy, in which he will warn that Corbyn will threaten Britain’s security — a strategy I wrote about earlier this week. According to today’s Times, the Prime Minister will make his first significant attack on a Corbyn-led Labour by focusing on the threat to Britain’s financial security:
‘I have watched with some bewilderment the Labour leadership election of the past few months.
‘Whoever wins . . . this is now a party that has completely vacated the intellectual playing field and no longer represents working people. It is arguing at the extremes of the debate, simply wedded to more spending, more borrowing, and more taxes.
‘They pose a clear threat to the financial security of every family in Britain. There’s only one party that understands the big question facing our country, and one party that is developing an answer to it — and that’s the modern Conservative party.’
This echoes a similar message George Osborne used in an interview with the New Statesman this week. The Chancellor suggested that the Tories do not ‘fear’ a Corbyn leadership in the same way as other candidates because the party would vacate the centre ground:
‘There’s no doubt that Liz Kendall’s ideas would have caused us the greatest problems . . . Some of the arguments Tristram Hunt makes, or Chuka Umunna – those ideas are clearly the ones that would most challenge the Conservative Party, because they attempt to occupy the centre of politics. [Jeremy] Corbyn wants to vacate the centre and ignore those voices.’
But with 24 hours until the new leader is announced, the Tories are not leaving Labour’s self-destruction to chance. Even if Corbyn doesn’t win, the Conservatives can argue that the party’s mad bad left is stronger than ever — not least thanks to the thousands of new members who have joined the party — and whoever is the next leader will have to listen to them in a way that hasn’t happened for decades.
But Corbyn appears to be confident of winning, reportedly already choosing his shadow cabinet. The counting process is underway and tomorrow morning, we’ll find out if Corbynmania has fallen short, or if his grassroots army delivers the result bookies, pollsters and many Labour MPs are expecting.