— TSE (@TSEofPB) May 7, 2016
As a Muslim I was appalled at Goldsmith’s campaign, as a Tory I’m appalled that Goldsmith’s campaign makes Corbyn as PM more likely.
When your own sister criticises your campaign and praises your opponent as a good role model, when the media runs a quiz asking Who said it: Britain First or Zac Goldsmith? deep down you must know you’ve run an ignoble, divisive, and poor campaign that may have long lasting consequences. As an intelligent man, Zac Goldsmith should have seen the risks of these tactics and told his campaigning team he didn’t want to campaign like this. Last August, Goldsmith led Khan by 8% in the opinion polls, and should have stuck with the campaign strategy that saw such leads.
As we see on The Observer front page in the tweet above, it is very easy for the Tory Party to regain the mantle of the nasty party and has the potential to re-toxify the Tory Party brand, that David Cameron has worked so hard to detoxify. With David Cameron very publicly endorsing Goldsmith’s attack lines at PMQs a few weeks ago, there’s no way for the Tory Party to disassociate themselves from the campaign, and blame it on a candidate going rogue. Those Lib Dems across the country who switched to the Tories in 2015 maybe put off from voting Tory in 2020 because of this campaign. The impact of this campaign may resonate outside of London.
Unless Sadiq Khan appoints Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as his Deputy Mayor or introduces Sharia law, he can justifiably say all the Tory attack lines about him were bunkum, which ultimately could help Jeremy Corbyn in 2020.
It isn’t hard to imagine during the 2020 general election campaign, the Tories using some of the attack lines they’ve used on Khan on Corbyn. Corbyn’s rebuttal will be a very simple, they said the same about Sadiq Khan and those attacks were nonsense, and that’s even before he can cite several Tories who have publicly condemned the Tory campaign, one of whom said the campaign “probably increased our risks of suffering terrorism.”
The campaign may be a pointer to the forthcoming EU referendum, with both sides already engaging in ludicrous project fear campaigns, where it feels the choice is down to for voting for economic Armageddon if we vote to Leave or having 77 million Turks moving to the UK shortly after we vote to Remain.
Memo to both camps, tone down the hyperbole, criticise your opponents with plausible criticisms and not make it appear that victory for the other side was foretold in The Book of Revelation. A bit more hope and a little less fear please.