For those who indulge in the occasional spot of ‘Corbyn Bingo,’ there is no better quote to find on your card than “he’s principled.” It’s the default retort for Corbynistas whenever the reasoning behind their support is questioned; a handy way for them to let the interviewer know that both they and their messiah are morally superior to the usual political crowd. It is piously asserted by both ‘credible’ politicians and journalists (I’m looking in your direction, Abbott and Jones) as well as the doe-eyed socialist new wave who adorn their denim jackets with ‘Jez We Can’ badges and feverishly chunter on about that thing they read in The Guardian this morning. Yes, it’s nigh on impossible to sit through a 3 minute piece on ‘Jez’ without his indisputable ‘principles’ coming to the fore. The only problem is, it’s a complete and utter fallacy.
In the minds of Corbynmaniacs, “he’s principled” is a triumphant argument-ender; an irrefutable fact that their candidate is a man of exceptional morality who has ascended above the Westminster muck. It’s a manoeuvre lifted straight from the ‘Intro to Holier-Than-Though Leftism’ textbook: claim the moral high ground and nothing can budge you. Unfortunately, upon examination, Corbyn is certainly not camped on any higher moral plane than the rest of us. His unabashed habit of associating with vile anti-semites and ex-IRA types, along with the litany of repugnant soundbites littering his media back catalogue - “F*ck the rich” being the latest discovery - should make him unelectable on their own. Had a Tory happily fraternised with such woefully unpleasant characters, you can be certain that incensed Lefties would be calling for his head - along with other valuable appendages no doubt - but because Corbyn is the new symbol of the Far Left, he gets a pass. It’s the evil media illuminati trying to take him down because they feel threatened, apparently.
There is also the question of where his so-called principles actually lie. He has featured on the billing of such a diverse collection of events over the years that it’s hard to keep track of what good old principled Jez actually believes in. Let’s get one thing straight though: Jeremy Corbyn is an arch-bandwagon-jumper. He has never encountered a cause too undignified for him to support. The man is a protest politician, plain and simple, and when those he supports are found to be particularly unpleasant people - as has happened on a multitude of occasions - he either has a convenient bout of selective amnesia or angrily refuses to acknowledge his political missteps. Principled? Don’t make me laugh.
Of course, even if this specious image of a holistic saviour basking in his own unimpeachable morality were true, is that the sort of man who could successfully run a country? In short, no. To govern effectively, one must tread the murky line between moral preference and realist solution. There is no space, in modern politics, for a leader who wishes to eschew nuclear deterrents and allow tax-payers to opt out of military funding: the naivety of that sort of thinking is quite staggering. Neither is there room for a principal who wishes to fire up the money-printing presses in order to fund bloated public services and bring back the welfare state, passing on the inevitable fiscal fallout to future generations. No, government is not about happy-clappy idealism and the assertion that the moral high ground is enough. Government is about making the tough decision, not trying to wriggle out of it.
The Prime Minister yesterday revealed that the government had executed a targeted drone strike in Syria to take out British nationals who were actively plotting terrorist attacks on the UK. These were young men hellbent on murdering scores of Britons, and with no other means of reaching them, the choice between their deaths and the potential deaths of innocent British citizens had to be made. It is at a time like this when a leader’s true qualities are revealed, and David Cameron chose, in the face of a predictable onslaught from the Left, to take the morally difficult option in order to defend his countrymen. If you ask me, that is what being principled really looks like.