Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t make it easy for himself, does he?
He could have chosen as his new Director of Communications someone whose skills in media management were better known than his personal political views.
Instead he chose Seamus Milne, a hate figure on the right of the Labour Party and of pretty much everyone else to the right of that. A man whose strongly expressed views on terrorism, Israel and the United States align him precisely with the long-held views of the Labour leader.
In this appointment, Corbyn has stuck two fingers up at his detrators. “You think I’m going to compromise my views just to be popular? Just to be elected? Well, look who I’ve just hired!”
The problem is that he’s also stuck two fingers up at the only people still (perhaps) willing to give him a chance: those who stuck with Labour in May 2015.
Corbyn (and Milne) would have a hard time relating to these voters. They would struggle to understand, let alone empathise, with people who regularly buy tabloids such as The Sun or the Mail. They would shake their heads in bewilderment on realising that they’re more likely to read Richard Littlejohn than open up a Twitter account.
These Labour voters are rather fond of the Queen, or at the most can’t summon the energy to get much exercised about an unelected monarchy either way. Their sons and daughters join the army and risk their lives in foreign lands. In doing so, these young people fight with the blessing, not the contempt, of their proud families.
These people, many of whom probably voted Labour in May through gritted teeth, would be appalled to read – as they will now certainly do – the opinions on such matters of the man to whom Corbyn has entrusted the task of communicating Labour’s message.
They will view Milne’s explanation of Islamist terrorism at home and abroad as an apologia for such acts. They will recoil at Milne’s view that the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby “was not terrorism in the normal sense” and at his glowing descriptions of Iraqi insurgents attempting to blow up those voters’ sons and daughters wearing British army uniforms.
Corbyn has chosen unwisely. Milne, so contemptuous of traditional working class attitudes to Queen and country and to the newspaper mediums by which such attitudes are reinforced, will serve only to remind voters that his boss’s views are exactly the same.
This article was originally published by the Daily Telegraph