It entered my head as I watched and listened to well-paid and privileged commentators on the ITV Good Morning Britain show savage Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey for the answer she gave to a loaded question during a live TV interview the night before about the launch of her Labour Party leadership bid. She was asked to rate Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and she replied 10 out of 10:
“I thought Corbyn was one of most honest kind principled politicians I’ve ever met … I’d give him 10 out of 10, because I respect him and I supported him all the way through.
“What we can’t ignore was that Jeremy was savaged from day one by the press ... We have a role as party to develop the image of our leader and to put them forward in the most positive way, but we also have a duty to rebut criticism and attacks. As a party we needed to have a rebuttal unit, a clear structure in place to rebut the attacks against him.”
It was an honest and therefore heartfelt answer to a question designed to generate criticism whatever she said. A lower mark would have allowed critics to accuse her of disloyalty. The fact she gave Corbyn full marks endeared me to her. She drew attention to a fact established by rigorous research which is completely ignored by the mainstream media muppets with their prepared and viciously anti-Corbyn agendas.
Corbyn Most Vilified and Smeared UK Politician Ever
She referred to her Party leader being ‘savaged from day one by the press’ and has subsequently been ridiculed by the media and political opponents for doing so. Yet the facts of the matter are irrefutable. Jeremy Corbyn is the single most smeared politician in British political history.
Within months of being elected Labour leader in 2016 he was the victim of a barrage of false, distorted, biased and negative stories, with academic analysis concluding that an incredible 75% of all stories about Corbyn were wholly misleading:
“Most problematic in this regard, according to us, is the persistent association of Corbyn with terrorism. In some newspapers, for example in The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express or The Sun, between 15 and 20 per cent of their Corbyn-related coverage associates him with IRA, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and/or terrorism”.
This unprecedented and utterly toxic coverage continued with a vengeance leading researchers and commentators to conclude by July last year:
“In 2016 we ran an opinion piece titled ‘Think Corbyn is a loser? Oh dear, you’ve been brainwashed‘. This was referring to the amount of smear in the UK press directed at the Labour leader. But, it seems, things have got a lot worse for the UK’s official leader of the opposition”
Corbyn Was Fatally Undermined By Blairite Remainers
So Rebecca Long-Bailey is absolutely right to draw attention to the press and media treatment of Corbyn in any analysis of his performance and the fact he was continually subjected to devious and destructive undermining from within by his own MPs, including his Deputy leader who betrayed him at every opportunity. The establishment of a robust and effective ‘rebuttal unit’ to defend future leaders is definitely a good idea. However such a unit will only be effective if the internal gutter-sniping is also addressed.
In fact the internal undermining was at the root of Corbyn’s failure to capitalise on his fantastic and against all the odds performance in the 2017 general election when his leadership with a radical socialist manifesto managed to secure the biggest single swing to Labour since the 1945 general election. He came within a whisker of defeating Theresa May in 2017 despite being written off beforehand by everyone in the out of touch media. His commitment to implement the 2016 Brexit result aligned with his strong anti-austerity and radical wealth redistribution message was very popular and won him 12,858, 652 votes, a 40% share of all the votes cast. That was a massive 10% increase on Ed Milliband’s vote share in 2015.
The nasty and vexatious press and media coverage was very real and the socialist manifesto was attacked as unrealistic and too radical but he almost won regardless. In December last year that 12,858,652 total was slashed to 10,265,912 votes. Labour lost almost 2.6 million votes between the 2017 and 2019 elections. It was the same leader and the same radical socialist manifesto but what differed was the commitment to implement the Brexit decision taken by 52% of the electorate, mostly working class, in England and Wales.
Corbyn’s internal opponents completely undermined his leadership and PM challenge by forcing Labour to dump its 2017 Brexit manifesto commitment. Brexit is a single important policy issue to many voters, hence Labour were punished for reneging on their promise and Corbyn carried the can for a policy his Remainer MPs, like leadership contenders Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry, foisted upon the party with threats of disruption if didn’t accept the new line. Now these very people deviously attack Corbyn and blame his leadership for the defeat; lacking the courage and moral fibre to admit that it was they who got it wrong.
Rebecca Long-Bailey Must Address Ridiculous Trident Policy
There is much to admire in Rebecca Long-Bailey. She has a proven track record of fighting for socialist policies and against injustice and inequality. However she will have to raise her game in some significant areas.
Her response to the question about pushing the nuclear missile button was stupid and cowardly. Choosing to murder and incinerate millions of innocent people and destroy large parts of the planet in the process doesn’t make you a ‘patriot’ or a ‘strong leader’, it makes you a cold-blooded murderer and tyrant.
There is no justification ever for using nuclear weapons. They are immoral and illegal. The consequences of use is Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) and only one of the 27 countries Britain is leaving behind in the EU possesses a nuclear weapon but just about all of them have higher pensions, lower child poverty and better employment conditions. They sleep easy at night without the alleged ‘deterrence’ of nuclear weapons.
Indeed only a tiny minority of nations possess nuclear weapons and the 190 or so nations that don’t live without constant fear of attack. These weapons are not just morally reprehensible and legally indefensible, the most indiscriminate weapons ever created by mankind, they are also socially and economically obscene. The NHS in England is in a critical condition due to years of cuts, education is in a sorry state and homelessness due to lack of affordable social housing is rocketing. But the Tories and Labour remain wedded to a ridiculously wasteful expenditure of £205 billion to renew Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system. What a completely outrageous set of priorities and dastardly level of political leadership. There is never enough for schools and hospitals but hundreds of billions for vile weapons of mass destruction?
Rebecca Long-Bailey should have grabbed the initiative and stated categorically that under her leadership Labour would adopt the anti-nuclear weapon stance of the SNP in Scotland and implement a unilateral nuclear disarmament policy diverting the billions saved into socially useful production and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the process. In case she didn’t notice the SNP has won the last four Scottish and General elections on that explicit commitment. It is not only the morally, legally and economically correct policy to adopt it is also popular when you explain the case without fear.
Neither Corbyn nor Labour Are Anti-Semitic
Rebecca Long-Bailey was also poor on the question of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. She allowed that particularly false narrative to condition her answer instead of blasting the baseless nature of the media manufactured claim and highlighting the indisputable fact that of all the political parties in the UK it is the Tories with the biggest problem, not the Labour party. Under the spotless anti-racist leadership of Corbyn Labour has opposed anti-Semitism and racism whenever and wherever it raised its ugly head and anti-Semitism is not a problem unique to Labour but much more prevalent within the Tories and society as a whole. More British Jews vote Conservative than Labour but anti-Semitic views are more prevalent within the Tory party than the Labour party.
Strong Leadership Bid Statement
Rebecca Long-Bailey’s leadership bid statement did however contain much credible and inspiring content. With firmness and skill she took a swipe at other candidates with less principle (Starmer/Thornberry) who entered the race with undue haste exposing the plans that must have been hatched months before when unity behind Corbyn should have been the priority:
“I haven’t rushed to announce my candidacy because I wanted to take time to reflect following the devastating results in December. I didn’t emerge from the election with a ready-made leadership campaign because my every effort during the election went into campaigning for a Labour victory. I’m not driven by personal ambition, but by my principles and an unwavering desire to change our country and our world for the better”
She followed up that clever jab with a powerful left hook which I’m sure will strike a chord with many of Labour’s 500,000 members:
“And those principles have led me here. I’m not your typical politician. I’m not a millionaire or a landlord, and I didn’t go to a posh school. Instead I’m a lifelong socialist, dedicated to our movement and determined to do my bit. You’re as likely to see me on a picket line as you are at the dispatch box, and you can trust me to fight the establishment tooth and nail.”
Pro-Trade Unions and Anti-Establishment Is Good For Me
Long-Bailey laid down a marker about who she is and what she is about. Not afraid to associate herself with trade union picket lines and a willingness to fight ‘the establishment tooth and nail’. I admire those words. They are the words of someone who rejects the grotesque inequality of power and wealth in society that the class ridden House of Lords, Honours system and billionaire owned mainstream media protect and promote at every turn. She is the standout candidate to replace Jeremy Corbyn. Sure she is as yet untested at the highest level and has to change her position on nuclear weapons and the media manufactured anti-Semitism narrative but she has endorsed the radical manifesto and claimed credit for much of its content. Unlike the others who agreed it, fought under it and now seek to knock it and rubbish it at every turn.
Member of Parliament for Salford and Eccles since the 2015 general election and the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet since February 2017 Rebecca Long-Bailey has been an able, committed and loyal member of the Labour party under Corbyn. Her party will never recover the massive ground lost in Scotland until they change their anti-democratic position on the constitution and recognise Scotland’s inalienable right to choose independence but her working class roots, trade union associations, forensic debating skills and, above all else, her loyalty at such a difficult time for the Labour Party makes her the one to back for those who see Labour as a socialist anti-Establishment party and not a pale Tory-lite charade.
Shut It Piers Organ – You Are a Bully and a Cad
I don’t have a vote in this election contest and will not vote Labour in Scotland while they oppose independence but mainstream media pundits and assorted idiots like Piers Organ (if he can’t use Rebecca Long-Bailey’s proper name why should we use his?) are pontificating daily about the unsuitability of Rebecca Long-Bailey because she adheres to the socialist policies developed and promoted by Corbyn and John McDonnell so I reckon I have even more right as a fellow socialist to endorse Long-Bailey and encourage socialists within the Labour Party to back her.