BORIS JOHNSON has been under virtual house arrest since Theresa May called the election, but Lynton Crosby has released him for his speciality — personalised abuse.
Yesterday’s diatribe against Jeremy Corbyn, claiming that EU negotiators would have the Labour leader for breakfast, took equal billing with the Tories’ obsession with portraying Corbyn as an IRA supporter.
He has been tarred consistently with this brush because he urged a negotiated solution of the Irish conflict rather than backing an unattainable military victory.
To achieve the goal of securing a ceasefire he met Irish republican representatives, treating them as serious political voices rather than violent extremists beyond the pale of respectability.
For all the vilification against Corbyn we know now that successive British governments maintained contacts with IRA leaders throughout the violence ever since Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and four other IRA leaders were flown to London in 1972 for talks with the Tory government.
To resurrect slurs that are outdated and false betrays political desperation.
The same applies to Johnson’s characterisation of Corbyn as a timid mouse to be eaten alive by EU bureaucrats.7
No British politician has attracted such a concentration of ridicule and misrepresentation — including from right-wing Labour MPs who couldn’t accept that Corbyn was elected party leader overwhelmingly, twice.
Throughout this ordeal he has remained positive, polite to those trying to undermine him and committed to concentrating on political issues rather than personal insults.
Johnson had the chutzpah to salute Theresa May’s “bravery, strength and purpose” to explain her adoption of a dementia tax that will open pensioners treated in their own homes to limitless costs for social care.
If the Prime Minister is brave, strong and purposeful, why is she afraid to debate face-to-face with a weak, pathetic opposition leader who would be eaten for breakfast by EU negotiators?
The reality is that May is capable of reading speeches written for her that stress the “strong and stable” mantra that is already boring the pants off the electorate.
But she is incapable of thinking on her feet and debating political issues or even engaging with members of the public who haven’t been vetted by the Tory apparatchiks, especially now that the general election landslide she was led to believe was certain is receding into the distance.
Only Tory Central Office knows whether overconfidence led it to spurn traditional supporters in the highest age bracket by backing the dementia tax, ditching the state pension triple lock and abolishing winter fuel payments for all but the poorest pensioners.
The same applies to its criminal decision to deny around 900,000 children from low-income families a free school lunch, which for many of them is their only hot, nutritionally balanced meal of the day.
Work & Pensions Secretary Damian Green, who seems to have supplanted Chancellor Philip Hammond as the Tory economics supremo, lost none of his arrogance in defending the Tories’ corner against John McDonnell yesterday.
No, there would be no rethink of the dementia tax, he declared. Nor was it necessary to cost manifesto commitments, as is always demanded of Labour.
“Trust me. I’m a Tory politician,” summarised his position.
This might take fewer tricks than he imagines in the wake of Corbyn’s surge in popularity, especially among students who back abolition of tuition fees, which has helped persuade two million more people to register to vote since April 18.
Today is the deadline to sign up and to play a part in bidding farewell to this bunch of arrogant, wealthy Tory bullies.