According to The Guardian, The Tories are running a social media advert which runs simply:
“A vote for Labour is a vote for Corbyn”.
The simplicity and apparently obvious truth of this statement makes it seem almost Zen-like. It has the touch of Lynton Crosby about it. He’s the man who won David Cameron his last election. Also Boris Johnson’s in London, Australian prime minister Howard his 4 elections and now according to the pundits is about to deliver another Tory win next month.
And yet the sentence’s seeming unarguability is at the root of the whole election campaign on both sides and indeed the scrap within the Labour Party itself.
The Tories think it’s their strongest argument. Plenty of enthusiastic new members of Labour, Corbyn supporters, agree with the statement and think instead it’s Labour’s strong point. Meanwhile, other ‘core’ Corbynites agree with the statement but think it’s going to consign Labour to a big defeat. This latter group doesn’t think the election result is the main point, though, since they’re concentrating on maintaining control of the party.
Finally, New Labour folk, like those campaigning to hold on to Labour’s only Scottish seat, are anxious to make it clear that the statement somehow isn’t true since Labour is so far behind now that the ‘Corbyn factor’ has already been ‘discounted’. This is important for them, because they’re running a campaign which says; ‘If you vote Labour you won’t get Corbyn, just a good local MP who will hold the Tories to account’.
Of course, both sides are ‘correct’, as with much political dialogue. So we start out with what seems a reasonable statement in respect of what it denotes. But of course that denotation rests upon an assumption about how parliamentary democracy works and perhaps the point here is that this assumption does not apply at this election. Then we move into that trickier and more arguable zone of what that statement’s connotations are.
Oooh. Get me. Where does the real truth lie? That’s up to you and the philosophers.
Here’s Freddie, where I and millions of others started out a long, long time ago.