Corbyn and Labour myth busting – doublespeak, distortions and smears
This article is designed to persuasively address the continued attempts to defame the current Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn’s character and political career. It is all very transparent. The excessively wealthy media moguls in this country, who unfortunately control how news and knowledge are proliferated, don’t want Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.
Let’s just think about it. The media is repulsed by the prospect of a Corbyn premiership for the same reason as the banks, the businessmen and, of course, a majority of his own parliamentarians. Corbyn is anti-monopoly, anti-inequality, anti-excess and supremely democratic. His policies would limit and regulate the power of these establishment figures and make progressive changes that are desperately needed to make this country more equitable. After the categorical failure of austerity, the announcement that real wages are continuing to fall, the failures of the gig economy with productivity depreciating, ideological cuts to public services and the inexplicable success of Labour at the last election, the bankers, the businessmen and Corbyn’s fellow politicians, have been silenced.
There is a begrudging recognition that times are changing. Just look at Theresa May’s catastrophic Conservative party conference and how, not only the language of the left has been sequestered, but now its policies as well? (energy caps, student debts, young people and housing). My point is, the last bastion of the establishment remains the media. And it is not to be underestimated. The Independent conducted an inquiry into media bias and found that 75% of coverage misrepresents Jeremy Corbyn. Therefore, let’s take some time to discuss some of the media’s favourite Jeremy Corbyn distortions and smears as well as, dare I say it, some very interesting establishment doublespeak. For those of you who have not read Orwell or perhaps trust politicians and their language a little too much, there is a definition included in the references.
Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party are racist
I have deliberately used the word ‘racist’ to highlight the ridiculous doublespeak committed by establishment figures. It is surely oxymoronic for even the most outspoken Corbyn critic to include his name and racism in the same sentence. Perhaps this is why the media focus on anti-Semitism. Whilst I cannot go into the historical nuances of anti-Semitism, many can identify the recent trend that left-wing politicians, who express criticism about the Israeli state’s practices in the West Bank and Gaza, have been identified as anti-Semitic. This has also been true for anyone who sympathises with or supports the Palestinian cause. We must not forget that the label of anti-Semitic has been applied to Jew’s themselves, whether that’s the critical ‘New historians’ in Israel or the late Gerald Kaufmann, father of the commons, who was labelled anti-Semitic for claiming the British government had become ‘pro-Israel’ with ‘Jewish money, Jewish donations to the Conservative party’. The Labour party is the traditional party of the British Jewish population, but polls show support has declined as the Labour party became more critical of Israel. Regardless, Corbyn has a proven record of campaigning against racism.
Threat to national security
When it comes to foreign policy, Jeremy Corbyn has been on the right side of history for 37 years. Even despite his own party voting for unpopular interventions, like the Iraq war in 2003, and the Tories widely excoriated interventions in Libya and Syria, Jeremy Corbyn has voted against all ill-advised military excursions. Unfortunately, with an abundance of dramatic irony, we now live in an age when wanting to unilaterally disarm your nuclear arsenal means that you are branded a ‘threat to national security’. Yes, this is another example of almost laughable doublespeak. At the same time, Theresa May has brokered an expensive deal with the DUP, to many, a breach of the good Friday agreement. The DUP are a party with direct affiliations to loyalist paramilitary groups. She has also continued selling arms to Saudi Arabia, despite their proven usage in the war with Yemen. But her character has not been subject to defamation in the same way despite these catastrophic arrangements. Corbyn tried to negotiate with Hamas and Hezbollah, rather than inciting military action, he listened to the separatists in Ireland when no one else would to restore faith in the possibility of political dialogue. This might make Corbyn a ‘terrorist sympathiser’ but it makes the Thatcherites, New Labour and Theresa May terrorism creators and enablers.
Lastly and perhaps most libellous of all these smears is that Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party are undemocratic. Not only has the presence of Jeremy Corbyn ignited a return to pluralism within the Labour party, although many New Labour Blairites tried to prevent this, he has also ignited a return to pluralism in British democracy. For many years, Labour and the Conservatives converged on critical issues and this is perhaps one of the greatest reasons for political apathy in British politics. The same cannot be said now, with 64% of 18-24-year-olds voting, the highest since 1992 and 63% of 18-29 year olds voting Labour, Corbyn has breathed new life in to British democracy and the Labour party. Often demonised, the Labour fringe group Momentum has been branded full of ‘Trotskyist entryists’, the group’s activities have been described as intimidating and their increasing influence in the Labour party has been signified as a worrying trend. Momentum and its role in reigniting grass-roots politics is central to encouraging democracy in the Labour party, and it also responsible for the massive rise in youth voting. Its platform is providing a voice for people who felt politics was pointless and it has utilised social media to galvanise support for active campaigning in an extremely effective way.
Aside from all of this, Corbyn democratically selected what should be in his election manifesto, conceding on high-profile issues like Trident. He recently outlined plans to appeal to the NEC for more powers for members and to change how the party selects leaders, MPs themselves and most importantly how policy can be decided deliberatively. Crucially, his policies are also popular across the electorate according to many independent polls. The video below reveals how popular his policies are but also how the public has been poisoned against him. Predictably, the notion of Jeremy Corbyn being undemocratic is yet another example of establishment doublespeak.
By Felix Nobes
The Guardian, ‘The Guardian view on austerity economics: it failed’ (2017) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/14/the-guardian-view-on-austerity-economics-it-failed
The Guardian, ‘UK households ‘at breaking point’ as real wages continue to fall – as it happened’ (2017) https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2017/sep/13/pound-one-year-high-uk-jobs-report-pay-squeeze-business-live
Wallace, Tim, ‘UK resigned to endless productivity gloom’, The Telegraph (2017) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/10/10/uk-resigned-endless-productivity-gloom/
Mason, Rowena, ‘Theresa May’s speech to Conservative party conference: key points’, The Guardian (2017) https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/oct/04/theresa-may-speech-conservative-party-conference-key-points
Cammaerts, Bart, ‘Our report found that 75% of press coverage misrepresents Jeremy Corbyn – we can’t ignore media bias anymore’, The Independent (2017) http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jeremy-corbyn-media-bias-labour-mainstream-press-lse-study-misrepresentation-we-cant-ignore-bias-a7144381.html
Doublespeak: language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words
Orwell, George, ‘1984’, Penguin (1949)
Mason, Rowena, ‘Gerald Kaufman’s ‘Jewish money’ remarks condemned by Corbyn’, The Guardian (2015) https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/nov/03/gerald-kaufmans-jewish-money-condemned-jeremy-corbyn
Liphshiz, Cnaan, ‘5 reasons why some British Jews are supporting the Labour Party, despite charges of anti-Semitism’, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (2017) https://www.jta.org/2017/06/02/news-opinion/world/5-reasons-why-some-british-jews-are-supporting-the-labour-party-despite-charges-of-anti-semitism
Bennet, Ronan, ‘Jeremy Corbyn has been on the right side of history for 30 years. That’s real leadership’, The Guardian (2017) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/16/jeremy-corbyn-leadership-david-cameron-libya-labour
Fenton, Siobhan, ‘The Tories are forming a coalition with a party backed by terrorists’, The Independent (2017) http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/dup-conservatives-northern-ireland-coalition-ulster-defence-association-paramilitaries-peace-process-a7782631.hmtml
Ross, Alice, ‘UK approved £283m of arms sales to Saudis after airstrike on Yemen funeral’, The Guardian (2017) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/23/uk-arms-sales-to-saudis-continued-after-airstrike-on-yemen-funeral
Sayal Rajeev, ‘Jeremy Corbyn says he regrets calling Hamas and Hezbollah ‘friends’’, The Guardian (2016) https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/04/jeremy-corbyn-says-he-regrets-calling-hamas-and-hezbollah-friends
Butler, James, ‘Stop calling Jeremy Corbyn an IRA terrorist sympathiser, it’s simply not true’ (2017) http://www.huckmagazine.com/perspectives/opinion-perspectives/jeremy-corbyn-no-ira-sympathiser/
The Financial Times, ‘Youth turnout at general election highest in 25 years, data show’ (2017) https://www.ft.com/content/6734cdde-550b-11e7-9fed-c19e2700005f
Stewart, Heather, ‘Tom Watson sends Corbyn ‘proof of Trotskyist Labour infiltration’ (2016) https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/10/tom-watson-sends-corbyn-proof-of-trotskyist-labour-infiltration
Elgot, Jessica, ‘Labour review to ask NEC to agree more powers for members’, The Guardian (2017) https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/19/labour-democracy-review-asks-nec-to-agree-more-powers-for-members
Waugh, Paul, ‘Labour Party Membership Soars By 35,000 In Just Four Days – After ‘Corbyn Surge’ In 2017 General Election’, The Huffington Post (2017) http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/labour-party-membership-soars-by-33000-in-four-days-since-general election_uk_59400feee4b0e84514ee930f