The lost confidence of British voters

Conservative leader Boris Johnson and Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during a televised debate leading up to the November 19, 2019 London general election. Jonathan Hordle / ITV / via REUTERS

Analysis. The question arose at the end of the first part of the debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson, Tuesday, November 19, after a good half hour devoted to the Brexit issue. "Does truth matter in politics? ", asks journalist Julie Etchingham to the prime minister. Without dismay, Boris Johnson answers: "Yes, yes, the truth is important. " In ITV's studio, the audience laughs loudly.

How to take the former mayor of London seriously on such a sensitive issue? Often accused by his opponents of being a compulsive liar, he did not hesitate, during the 2016 referendum campaign, to say that after the Brexit 350 million pounds (410 million euros) a week would go to hospitals rather than in Brussels, a big lie. Most recently, he assured that the British exporters to Northern Ireland would have no customs document to fill, thanks to his "deal", contradicting Steve Barclay, his Minister of Brexit.

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The ITV journalist goes on the attack: "To tell the truth, in politics, does it still matter? " This time, the Prime Minister ignores the question and returns to his favorite field, repeating his campaign slogan: "Let's get brexit done! " ("Let's realize Brexit!"). A little later, media and politicians discover that the Conservatives have dared to rename their official Twitter account "FactcheckUK" during the debate, to better "Check the information of the Labor", main opposition party. Even Twitter is cracking off an official protest. Faced with the bronca, the Tories hastened to rename the account, but none of their leaders apologize.

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Confidence has never been so low in this campaign, the third in five years ahead of the parliamentary elections of December 12, 2019. This discredit is valid for all camps. Labor's ultragenerous program (83 billion pounds of additional annual public spending) has raised much more doubt than enthusiasm, fueled by a largely anti-Jeremy Corbyn press.

The tarnished image of Jeremy Corbyn

On the other hand, if the leader of Labor is doing quite well during the debates, his personality divides. His sincerity does not seem to be in doubt, unlike Mr. Johnson. He has a long history of activism, left-wing convictions, and has always been wary of the European Union (EU). But accusations of anti-Semitism in his ranks, which the party took seriously only belatedly, seem to have tarnished its image for a long time. The chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, Ephraim Mirvis, even intervened, Tuesday, November 26, in the Times, to denounce the 'Poison' Anti-Semitism in Labor, and ensure that Mr. Corbyn "Is unfit for the highest functions".


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