Turkey has launched an assault on Kurdish-held areas of Syria following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from the border region. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied that the US gave Turkey’s offensive the ‘green light’ via that withdrawal, but Trump himself did point out that the Kurds didn’t fight in World War Two. Yes, you read that correctly. Addressing concerns about the potential ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kurds, which have been raised by Labour and the leaders of 13 major trade unions, the US President said: “They didn’t help us in the Second World War; they didn’t help us with Normandy.” He added: “With all of that being said, we like the Kurds.”
It is worth reading this extraordinary thread of tweets by a CNN reporter for a run-down of the absurd remarks offered by Trump yesterday. For instance, when asked about ISIS escapees, the US President said: “Well, they’re going to be escaping to Europe.” On the wife of a National Security Agency employee who fled the UK and was given immunity after killing British teenage Harry Dunn in a car crash, Trump commented: “Those are the opposite roads… I won’t say it ever happened to me, but it did,” apparently admitting to driving on the wrong side of the road in the UK.
Guess who else is casually talking in a lawless way? Our own Prime Minister and his government ministers, of course. Asked on Peston whether it would be appropriate for Boris Johnson to send a second letter to the EU after the Benn Act-mandate one, which would basically say ‘lol jk, we don’t really want an extension, they made me write that last one’, Andrea Leadsom replied: “Absolutely”. The BBC is entertaining the idea that this ludicrous scheme might actually work. All of this plays into the narrative planned out by Downing Street: we tried our best to leave without a deal – and we would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling Remainers.
Jeremy Corbyn is giving a major speech today, in which he will call the Queen’s Speech taking place next week a “farce” and a “cynical stunt” ahead of a likely early general election. And on that subject, the Labour leader is set to robustly defend his party’s refusal to back a snap poll with a focus on the deceitful behaviour of the Prime Minister. “We’re ready and champing at the bit. There’s only one reason it hasn’t happened yet: we can’t trust you,” he will tell voters in solid-blue Northampton. Read this piece for a thorough preview. Johnson is untrustworthy, and unlike Labour he isn’t offering real change – that’s the message Corbyn will hope to communicate today, and in the upcoming general election campaign. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.