THE BLOG

Not Fit To Protect Us?

24/04/2017 17:29 BST | Updated 24/04/2017 17:29 BST

Taking the first question at PMQs last Wednesday Alberto Costa, the Conservative MP for South Leicestershire, entirely understandably and I'm sure entirely intentionally posed the Prime Minister a question designed to set the General Election campaign off with a set of themes that the Conservatives will run with consistently until June 8th.

Costa asked Mrs May "Strong countries need strong economies. Strong countries need strong defences. Strong countries need strong leaders. As the nation prepares to go to the polls, who else in this House, apart from my right hon. Friend, can provide the leadership that is needed at this time?"

Strong economies, strong defences and strong leaders: very intentionally three strands of one argument that the Tories will be making continually to prove a point that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to govern; Theresa May is.

Traditionally it's those three themes that pollsters tell us are central to the way we determine who we vote for.

It's those three themes that Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party know that they must be working on incessantly to reduce and eradicate large Tory leads in each area before the first week of June.

So Corbyn's Sunday appearance on the BBC's Marr show, particularly when asked about entirely reasonable hypothetical questions on defence, must have had Labour strategists weeping into their Chai Lattes.

Asked about letters of last resort the Labour leader declined to say that he would authorise use of nuclear weapons. Asked about renewal of Trident he shilly shallied, calling for defence reviews. Pressed on airstrikes and whether he would authorise drone attacks on ISIS figureheads he prevaricated offering no real answer.

As every voter, every Britain, knows the first priority of any Prime Minister must be that of the defence of our nation.

I'm certain that the Conservatives, and for that matter Tory supporting media, have long been producing a folder of stories designed to bring Mr Corbyn's fitness to protect the country into question.

They will have the stories of Corbyn supporting unilateralism; of his historic closeness with members of the IRA; recordings of him calling terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah friends; photographs of him lining up to shake hands with Bashar al-Hassad.

Those sort of things all raise legitimate questions in the minds of ordinary people.

Perhaps the most telling quote from Jeremy Corbyn's interview on Marr was "I'm no supporter or defender of ISIS in any way."

When an aspiring Prime Minister even has to clarify such a point on national television, to say that he is not a sleeper for those wanting harm to us all, it's certainly not unreasonable to have concerns about his capacity to put Britain's security first.

For countless voters Corbyn's failings in this area alone will be proof enough to ensure he never has to make difficult decisions that real leaders often do.