In the last couple of days, we’ve seen the Tory Party mock up Jeremy Corbyn as both a chicken and as Colonel Sanders. The reasoning being that Corbyn is a “chicken” because he is afraid of a general election. This playground prank, rumoured to be the work of James Cleverly, has backfired spectacularly due to some obvious problems.
Firstly, as many have pointed out, how can Corbyn be both the chicken and Colonel Sanders? That simply doesn’t make sense. Secondly, Jeremy Corbyn has strongly signalled his intention for a November 2019 general election. Why would he let his political rivals choose a date more suitable to them? Corbyn holds the cards, right now, and he quite rightly does not want a general election to be a second EU referendum – he recognises the two things are distinct and should remain that way. Thirdly, the Colonel Sanders mock up made Corbyn look cool, and Labour supporters simply adopted this, renaming “JFC” – Jezza for Change. Indeed, many were thanking the Tories for a great new logo and campaign slogan. Fourthly, a photographer has suggested the Tories stole an image from him for their chicken mock up, insisting he hasn’t sold a single copy of that particular image.
But this JFC farce is not the only time a PR stunt has backfired on the Tories. Dominic Cummings has recently tried to reframe Boris Johnson as an anti-establishment #PeoplesPrimeMinister. This prompted Twitter users to draw obvious comparisons between Johnson and Corbyn’s records.
Johnson proudly boasted in a live TV debate: “Can you think of anyone who stuck up for the bankers as much as I did?” Indeed, his Chancellor Sajid Javid is an ex-city banker, and Johnson’s first promise as prime minister was tax cuts for the rich. Not exactly a people’s prime minister so much as a banker’s prime minister.
Contrast this with Corbyn, who says of bankers: “When they say we’re a threat, they’re right…” Corbyn warned of the dangers of banking deregulation and was ultimately proven right with the 2008 crash. Today, he promises to take on the bankers, and in the process, create a Green Revolution – and far from being pie in the sky, his plans were recently backed by 80 leading economists in the Financial Times.
Johnson’s claim to being the People’s Prime Minister is one Orwellian step too far. We all know who the real people’s prime minister is, and the establishment is running scared.
There have, of course, been other moments when Tories have tried to discredit Labour, only for this to backfire. Earlier this year, Tom Bower released a book on Corbyn, entitled: Dangerous Hero, which contained many factual inaccuracies but got one thing very right – the title. Corbynistas up and down the country were saying “You know what? Corbyn is a Dangerous Hero and so are we!” Cue thousands of users adding the hashtag to their Twitter names.
Another slur that caught on was the cool sounding “Corbyn outriders” which again quickly appeared in names of Twitter users. Yet another example was the charming “Magical Grandpa”. And how about the edgy sounding “Semi-Marxist cabal”? If you’re going to pitch yourself as a people’s prime minister, Mr Johnson, you might want to avoid language which emphasises the anti-establishment credentials of your opponents…
Anyways, that’s all I can think of for now. Can you think of any others I have missed? If so, let me know in the comments!