Corbyn creeping up on May

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA
1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA
The suspension last week of general election campaigning in the wake of the Manchester attack could hardly have come at a more crucial time for Jeremy Corbyn and Labour.

They were suddenly halted in their tracks as they were creeping up on the Conservatives in the opinion polls, largely because of the Tory muddle over home-care costs for the elderly. It remains to be seen whether they can regain that momentum between now and June 8.

However, the gap between the two main parties is still considerable in the polls and a Conservative majority looks likely, although given recent political upsets, it would be wrong to be dogmatic about that.

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The cautious Theresa May continues to warn that the Tories need lose only six seats for what she calls a “coalition of chaos”, of anti-Tory parties, to come into being and put the Prime Minister on the opposition benches.

The last word May wants to hear is ‘landslide’, because that encourages complacency, and what may have looked at the start of the campaign like a foregone conclusion, no longer applies.

Meanwhile, under Tim Farron’s energetic leadership, the Liberal Democrats may well improve on their present dire position. They are helped by the fact former leader Nick Clegg, who led the party to disaster in 2015, is now little more than a Mr Nobody. So the Tories need to watch their step and not be too smug between now and polling day, less than two weeks away.

- Voters should beware politicians who are increasingly using euphemisms to disguise their mistakes. ‘Clarity’ is one used by Theresa May the other day to mask what was said to be her gaffe over home-care costs for the elderly. What she didn’t admit was that she got it wrong. Then there is ‘mis-speaking’ for ‘lying’, used by Hillary Clinton when she was caught out saying she had been met by a gun battle when she once landed in the Balkans.

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Now the word ‘censor’ has been censored. Documents are now no longer censored but ‘redacted’, a word that simply means ‘edited’. And then there is our old friend ‘quantitative easing’, Whitehall-speak for printing money. So be on your guard.