In their attempts to discredit the new Leader of the Opposition, some of his political opponents are stooping to incredibly low depths.
A service was held today to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Those present were there to honour and remember those brave men who gave their lives defending the our skies from Luftwaffe attacks. Given my close involvement within the Royal Air Forces Association this is, naturally, something close to my heart.
Yet the talking point from today’s service of remembrance seems to be the actions of the Labour Party’s new leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Specifically, the fact that he dared not to sing the national anthem.
Now, I’m certainly not a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, I think much of what he says can be written down and used as toilet paper, but my immediate reaction to this latest “insult” is a resounding “so what?!”.
I may not agree with Mr Corbyn on many, many issues, but he is, unlike those candidates he defeated in the race to the leadership, a man of principle. He has campaigned on what he believes in during his 30 years in the House of Commons and hasn’t been afraid to defy the leadership, rebelling over 500 times since 2001. One of the criticisms from his opponents is that he has the gall to stand up for what he believes is right, not what the leadership of the day believes will win them votes. It is difficult for me, as a democrat, to find fault with that.
Today’s event is, as far as I’m concerned, no different. Mr Corbyn is a staunch republican, he believes the monarchy should be abolished. Why then should he be forced to sing a national anthem that, rather than instilling national pride amongst all citizens, is merely an ode to the sovereign of the day? Much as I support the monarchy, I’ve never been a huge fan of the current national anthem, patriotic though it may feel when singing it. But that’s another post for another day…
Predictably, it was Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Soames who was wheeled out to make this particular attack. As the grandson of Winston Churchill, it must have seemed that the attack would carry more weight coming from him. Sir Nicholas, who joined the House of Commons on the same day as Mr Corbyn, said that his silence had been “very disrespectful to the Battle of Britain pilots who gave their all”.
Disrespectful to the Queen, maybe, but to the Battle of Britain pilots who gave their all in defending the free society we still enjoy today, thanks to them, it most certainly is not. Mr Corbyn is, as far as I am concerned, as free to decline singing praise to the sovereign if it is against his beliefs as I am to criticise every ludicrous policy he may concoct and promote. The brave Battle of Britain pilots fought to defend our freedom, and making use of that freedom, even in a service of remembrance honouring them, is most certainly not being disrespectful to them or their memories.
Jeremy Corbyn, as leader of the Labour Party, is about to start proposing a number of policies that could damage Britain, and everyone who believes in Britain (even those of us who have moved abroad…) should make the potential damage clear before he wins any real power. However, political opponents and the media alike seem to be focusing on Jeremy Corbyn the man, rather than his policies, and look set to scrape the bottom of the barrel and try to make their personal attacks even more vicious than those against Ed Miliband.
By all means, attack the many crazy policies Mr Corbyn has, but attacking him personally, especially (absurdly) for being true to his beliefs, will only drive those who are fed up of the current style of politics into Mr Corbyn’s outstretched arms, and make the prospect of seeing his dangerous policies put into practice ever more likely.