After last night’s interview with Andrew Neil, Jeremy Corbyn desperately needs to change the conversation. He attempted to do that this morning, presenting a set of leaked documents that he said showed the NHS would be sold out if the Tories won the election. But the problem for Corbyn is that these documents don’t show that. Yes, the US wants to extend patents on drugs—which would push up their prices—but there is absolutely no indication that the UK has agreed to this.
It is tempting to compare Corbyn’s desire to get the idea going that the NHS will be sold out as part of UK/ US trade deal to Vote Leave’s warnings about Turkey joining the EU. But there is a crucial difference: it was government policy that Turkey should join the EU. This meant there was a kernel of truth behind Vote Leave’s claims on this question. Corbyn doesn’t have that on his side.
The last 36 hours have been bad for Labour. There is some tightening in the polls but they need momentum and it does feel that theirs has been broken by recent events. The chief rabbi’s denunciation of Jeremy Corbyn was remarkable and Labour’s handling of the story has made the situation worse.
At the same time, Corbyn’s interview with Andrew Neil has highlighted the myriad ways in which he is unsuited to be PM—take your pick from his refusal to apologise over anti-Semitism, his failure to appreciate that issuing government bonds increases government debt and his uncertainty about how to deal with the leaders of Isis.
This matters because Labour need not just to fire up their own base but also to win over tactical voters. It will be that much harder for them to do that given how Corbyn’s failings have been exposed.