As Johnson desperately bashed Corbyn this week, here’s what the Labour leader was doing

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn
Ed Sykes

In his first conference speech as Tory leader, Boris Johnson tried to present himself as a “moderate”, while throwing around tired old smears and lies about Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. Unfortunately for the PM, though, he and his party revealed their hard-right colours this week. And at the same time, Corbyn was showing exactly why he’s the perfect person to take them on.

Thatcherite elitism is back

Johnson has formed a hard-right government in Margaret Thatcher’s image, with critics calling him an “ardent Thatcherite” and even “worse than Thatcher”. And in his cabinet are proud Thatcherites who want even further cuts to public services and the welfare state.

With this in mind, it was little wonder that the PM’s speech was heavy on rhetoric but light on policy. He continued to suck up to army elites, backing “our superb armed forces around the world”. He also insisted, for anyone in doubt, that the Tories are “the party of capitalism”. And he even claimed his party had “tackled the debt”, despite the national debt sitting at almost £1.8tn in August 2019 in comparison to just over £1tn in May 2010.

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As Johnson offered “more tax cuts to the rich and corporations”, shadow chancellor John McDonnell aptly pointed out that “this was a speech to a small right wing cult”.

When the PM spoke to supporters on 1 October, meanwhile, there were calls to put ‘traitor’ Jeremy Corbyn in a “noose“. The Tory Islamophobia crisis was also spiralling out of control, leaving former chair Sayeeda Warsitruly ashamed” of her party. And in general, Tory MPs and backers haven’t exactly been presenting the “moderate” image Johnson hopes to paint:

Calling out the hell that is Tory Britain

Corbyn, meanwhile, was busy holding Johnson’s party to account for the elitist policies that have been wrecking Britain for almost a decade. He was:

  • Highlighting the systemic roots of the homelessness crisis:

 

Standing up to the hard right – in parliament and on the streets

At a time when the far right is on the march, and its media cheerleaders are calling public figures ‘traitors’ or ‘enemies of the people’, Boris Johnson and his elitist backers are uttering increasingly warlike terminology. Brexit has to happen, the PM says, if MPs are to be truly safe.

In this environment, Corbyn is reminding us all just why the above groups hate him so much. They like to smear him as a ‘national security threat’ or a ‘terrorist sympathiser’; but he’s a veteran anti-fascist who ‘doesn’t do abuse‘, and he has famously won numerous peace prizes. And he showed us why this week by:

  • Celebrating the first black politician to conduct prime minister’s questions:

(Here he is speaking about the battle on its 80th anniversary)

  • Celebrating Gandhi’s 150th birthday:

But this isn’t new – Corbyn has fought against fascism for decades. And with the far right on the rise again today, we need to resurrect the fight of anti-fascists of the 1930s and 1980s. We need boycotts, strike action, innovative protests, and if necessary physical action to resist the violence of the far right and their elitist cheerleaders.

In this battle, Corbyn is one of the strongest allies we have. And that’s why he’s the perfect person to take on an increasingly hard-right government.

Featured image via Press Association (PA) and Sophie Brown, with additional content from PA

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