‘Desperate’ and ‘pathetic’. Tory James Cleverly goes after Corbyn’s son.

James Cleverly and Jeremy Corbyn
Joshua Funnell

The Conservative Party lacks policies and its government is imploding. But now, out of desperation, its new strategy iseems to be attacking Jeremy Corbyn’s family.

Conservative Party deputy chair James Cleverly has gone after Corbyn’s son for renting out his ex-housing association property on Airbnb. But Cleverly’s desperate smears have been called out and backfired.

Cleverly repeating the Mail on Sunday

On 17 February, Cleverly tweeted the following link to a story from the Mail on Sunday:

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It was also repeated by the Conservative Party Press Office:

The story says that Tories charge Seb Corbyn with being a “hypocrite” for renting out his ex-housing association property. It claims this contradicts Jeremy Corbyn’s comments about Airbnb and John McDonnell’s criticisms of selling off the public housing stock.

A glaring problem with the story

There was, however, one glaring problem with the story. As Ash Sarkar of Novara Media pointed out:

The Guardian’s Owen Jones was harsher, highlighting the audacity of any Tory taking the high ground over housing and landlordism:

Steve Howell is author of the book Game Changer: Eight Weeks That Transformed British Politics, which documents the rise of Corbyn. Howell suggests that Cleverly’s tweet could even be defamatory:

And Howell clarified his point:

‘Desperate’ and ‘pathetic’

The Conservative Party and its right-wing media supporters regularly use smears to damage their opponents politically. This was the case when the Daily Mail attacked Ed Miliband’s dad for ‘hating Britain’. And even death didn’t save ex-Labour leader Michael Foot from being accused of spying for the Soviet Union. But going after Corbyn’s son is another low point, and echoes the recent experience of Labour MP Kate Osamor.

It’s also a strange tactic for a Tory to criticise profiteering from right-to-buy schemes. After all, the Conservatives introduced the scheme that allowed profiteering to happen in the first place. It also helped cause a housing crisis by putting public housing into the unaffordable private rental sector.

As Jones said, it’s a “desperate smear”, but it seems that anything goes now for the Tories. No matter how personal and self-defeating the attacks may be.

Featured image via YouTube – Sky News / YouTube – CNN

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