Blog Archives

Media 83: BBC in the dock again

Setting aside the ‘left-wing’ partisan views, two BBC insiders – former senior BBC figures – have disputed the frequently brandished depiction of BBC ‘impartiality’.

Media Lens quoted Greg Dyke, a former BBC director general, who believes, ‘The BBC is part of a “conspiracy” preventing the “radical changes” needed to UK democracy.’ He says that a parliamentary commission should look into the ‘whole political system’, adding that ‘I fear it will never happen because I fear the political class will stop it.’ And recalled the words of Sir Michael Lyons, former chairman of the BBC Trust, who said there had been ‘some quite extraordinary attacks’ on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by the BBC.

Reading ML’s (Killing Corbyn) dissection of the role played by BBC News – in particular, its political editor Laura Kuenssberg ‘fed’ by two public relations companies – recalls the classic display given as she attempted to ‘down’ Jeremy Corbyn. A would-be demolition expert, Laura completely abandoned her regular target after a good performance in the last general election and avidly described the losses and distress of Theresa May

       

In December it was reported that Labour MP Chris Williamson was invited to appear on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme to discuss the mainstream media ‘blackout’ of the news about Jeremy Corbyn’s award from the International Peace Bureau.

That ‘blackout’ would almost certainly still be in place if the award had not ‘gone viral’ on social media and it was pointed out that the MSM had given extensive coverage to Theresa May putting a star on a Christmas tree and to William and Kate receiving a Blue Peter badge.

Of late Momentum has been firmly in its sights – an easier target than Corbyn

Aggressive moi? Birmingham Momentum

Failing to toe the policy line, Norman Smith, the BBC’s Assistant Political Editor ‘tells it like it is’ – and describes meeting a group of Momentum supporters in Brixton and finding no-one fitting the hard-left stereotype:

“What Steve, Samira, Nadine and Roland (and we add hundreds of thousands) have in common is an enthusiasm fired by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign. They are Corbyn’s foot soldiers. Steve – a self-confessed “middle aged, BBC Radio 4 addict”- says he joined the Labour Party ‘about 20 seconds’ after Mr Corbyn’s victory. Samira also joined after Mr Corbyn won. “For the first time”, she says, “I felt there was somebody I could stand behind and that I could trust”.

The latest issue: the BBC’s role in portraying opposition to gentrification profiting developers, evicting local residents, as a left-wing power grab

There is widespread opposition to the destruction of estates where thousands of families lived, small businesses trading for generations, in this case by a private fund, the Haringey Development Vehicle, owned jointly with the developer Lendlease. Read more here.

Last night the SKWAWKBOX published exclusive evidence showing a BBC journalist leaking sensitive information to an anti-Corbyn activist in the London borough of Haringey

It included the journalist’s personal opinions about the case and about statements made by the complainant against the councillor. It commented, “The leaking of the email and the information it contained raised serious questions about the ethics and appropriateness of sending it – and about the BBC’s impartiality in the way information and claims were presented”.

The identity of the journalist and councillor in question, along with details of the information and the untrue claim, will be released shortly in a separate Skwawkbox article.

 

 

 

o

Advertisements

The truth: countering the rhetoric of the Murdoch press

As the Labour Party membership decides who will represent the party in elections, based on their record and politics, the Times and the Sun call the democratic process a plot and a purge.

The Times headline: “Moderates (aka ‘Tory-lite’ Blairites) forced out by hard left in Labour purge” is accompanied by a photograph of two deselected councillors of pleasant appearance.

The Sun is cruder: “The RED REVOLUTION: Corbynistas launch widescale plot to take over Labour from the bottom up by kicking out moderate councillors”. Its article shows a picture of Momentum supporters – one looking extremely aggressive.

The reality: a few of the Momentum supporters in Birmingham – a varied and thoughtful crowd

Steve Walker sets the scene: “The ‘MSM’s latest smear, aided and abetted by the centrist ‘usual suspects’, is that ‘hard left’ Momentum ‘bullies’ are unfairly deselecting poor, abused centrist councillors in places such as Haringey . . .

“The background to this is the ‘Haringey Development Vehicle’ (HDV) – a hugely controversial and many would say hare-brained scheme championed by senior, right-wing Labour councillors whereby thousands of social homes will be handed over to a developer in what campaigners have termed ‘the £2 billion gamble’.

Owen Jones is equally clear: “What has actually happened is this: Labour is choosing candidates to stand as councillors in next year’s local elections. In some cases, members have democratically decided that some sitting councillors should face an open contest. This happened automatically until a rule change last year. Calculating that they will lose to a left-wing alternative, some have stood down. Others have lost. This is not a “purge”. This is what is known as “democracy”.

He assesses the recent history of the Labour Party . . .

“Before the Corbyn surge, many Labour parties were hollowed-out husks, the playthings of ambitious hacks, lacking roots in their local communities. Council candidates were selected at poorly attended meetings: yes, often because of stitch-ups. In the last two years, Labour has blossomed into one of the biggest parties in the western world. In Hornsey and Wood Green – one half of Haringey – one in 14 voters are now members of the Labour Party. Many of these members are full of inspiration and optimism – they want to replace our bankrupt social order, not tinker with it – and expect their representatives to be accountable to them and their values”.

and notes the renewed media campaign against Momentum

The frequent portrayal of Momentum as a group of extremist zealots is driven by political and corporate establishment fears backed by a press reliant on advertising patronage, who – increasingly – fear the election of a government headed by Jeremy Corbyn.

Jones concludes that the democratisation of the Labour Party is a good thing – essential to the building of a democratic socialist society.

 

 

 

m

Career-minded ‘moderates’ and radical ‘Corbynites’

Times journalist Hamish MacDonnell writes of the Scottish Labour leadership campaign as being ‘expected to turn into a battle between the anti-Corbyn and moderate wings of the party’.

Later he amplifies: a “battle between those who want the party to become more left-wing, in tune with Jeremy Corbyn and his hard-left Momentum followers, and those who are more moderate”

Translation:

  • hard left Momentum followers: people who want to see social justice in the country
  • the ‘more moderate’: career-minded people – sometimes described as ‘Tory-lite’ who would only slightly mitigate the worst excesses of ‘Broken Britain’ if given the chance.

Wholesale radical reform is sought by ‘Corbynites’ – and what a threat that is to the vested political and finaial interest with which most moderates are entangled – or hope to be.

No candidate has yet to declare that they will stand, but the frontrunners — one from each side of the party — have made it clear they are almost ready to enter the fray.

Richard Leonard, former union organiser with the GMB, is seen as the pro-Corbyn candidate with trade unions (the bogey) ‘lobbying hard’ for him. No reference was made to trade unions Unite and Community, to which Anas Sarwar, of Labour’s ‘moderate’ wing, belongs.

Since this was written, both men have announced that they will stand for election.

 

 

 

l

A new kind of politics would place able loyalists above able opportunists

On the blue leaning Labour List website, Cllr Luke Akehurst refers to ‘entryists’: “We should continue to be intolerant of any sectarian antics from Momentum . . . We must fight to keep Labour as a broad church democratic socialist party with many traditions within it”.

Clive Efford, who leads the 75-plus Tribune group of Labour MPs relaunched last year, was one of several former critics who have heralded Corbyn’s performance in the campaign. He spoke out on the same site, calling for the existing shadow cabinet to be rewarded by keeping their jobs after Corbyn’s health spokesman, Jon Ashworth, urged the leader to “strengthen the squad”.

The shadow team were appointed in the aftermath of the summer “coup” last year, and several of the group, including Barry Gardiner, Angela Rayner, Andrew Gwynne, Emily Thornberry, Ian Lavery, Richard Burgon and Rebecca Long-Bailey proved to be effective shadow ministers. Efford said this work should now be recognised: “Jeremy has got a shadow cabinet that remained loyal and allowed him to perform extremely well during the general election.”

“We questioned whether voters would be prepared to get behind Jeremy at a general election. The opinion polls suggested we were right about that. But it has to be said that Jeremy is a brilliant campaigner and did extraordinarily well. People have had a good look at him and found that they can get behind him. They see him as a credible leader.”

 

 

 

 

mm

Media 54: the latest proxy Corbyn onslaught – on Labour supporters

Rattled by Labour’s Oldham by-election success and three other recent by-election victories, right wing journalists are now moving away from gripes about Corbyn’s national anthem silence, and his consistent support for moves to stop wars, to focus on those of his supporters who have high incomes.

99%-3

They ignore those of the 99%, the people to whom Corbyn has given hope, and who continue to support him, as seen in audience reactions, by-election wins and Labour Party membership figures.

The FT’s Janan Ganesh (below left) enlightens ‘poor whites’

janan ganeshPossibly influenced by UKIP defeats in all four by-elections, Janan Ganesh whose articles I usually will not read, earlier wrote approvingly: “Political apathy in the UK is perfectly respectable”. Now he writes hopefully: “Years will pass before we know the consequences of Jeremy Corbyn’s time as leader of the opposition Labour Party but the alienation of working-class whites, UKIP’s quarry (sic), has to be among them”.

He hopes! And, trusting in the power of the press, he is trying to achieve this. His arguments are too specious to repeat but may be read here on free registration for anyone who wishes to spend time in this way.

Ganesh writes about ‘’poor whites, especially those who line the eastern edge of England and populate the deindustrialised north” – subhuman? – whom he believes Corbyn has alienated: “Many will not vote. A few who can swallow their ancestral aversion will go Tory”.

UKIP fits the bill?

He appears to prefer a UKIP resurgence: “UKIP still has what it takes to win the larger share of these votes: economic populism, rhetorical bluntness, name recognition. The shambles of its leadership is not fatal. Populism does not attract people looking for a government but people bored of having their plain sensibilities laughed at. If Mr Corbyn leads Labour into a general election, UKIP need only stand still to move forward”.

With an ego enhanced by his entry as one of Debrett’s 500 most influential people, he then refers to the return of the ‘perfumed Islingtonian’ !

giles corenAnd the unwholesome Giles Coren (right) in the Times (scroll down his entry – but avoid the even nastier Esquire article) adds substance to this trivial attempt to alienate Corbyn supporters: “a cabal of wealthy north London professionals who have taken an interest in Labour because they haven’t much else to do”.

“Labour is the new hobby for the idle rich: Corbyn’s revolution is a Woosterish indulgence for Islington millionaires. They’ll join any protest, if they’re not in the Dordogne”.

Readers who can face it may read the article here — at a price: “A disproportionate number of Labour members who have joined since the 2015 general election are ‘high-status city dwellers’ pursuing well-paid jobs,” reported The Guardian on Thursday, after getting its hands on leaked data commissioned by the party.

Ganesh adds that protests/demonstrations are “Weekend japes, in other words. Because being a Labourite in 2016 is nothing but another leisure option for the seriously rich. Like sailing or collecting wine or riding to hounds”.

Messrs Ganesh and Coren have no idea what is happening outside London

Labour’s new strength lies in its core supporters who do not read these articles and would discount them if they ever wasted money on them. The establishment has been ‘rumbled’. Here (below) are a hundred or so of the thousands in Birmingham who attended Corbyn or Momentum gatherings. Far from wealthy, their incomes will have been hard-earned . . .

momentum first city meeting

Face it: at long last advertisement/corporate dependent mainstream media and their corporate-political masters have lost their former influence over most of the general public – and that is a wonderfully healthy and hopeful development.

Michael Dugher: of poor judgment – or worse?

In a recent Newsnight programme, as some speakers pointed out, having a leader with certain ministers ‘facing in different directions’ is not a viable game plan – and Jeremy Corbyn was urged to ‘establish a coherence’. Ahead of the media today, the Labour Party website gives the full list of the current shadow cabinet ministers.

That deeply disappointing, unsupportive deputy leader Tom Watson, misguidedly led tributes to the departing Michael Dugher (left), who previously worked in public relations as government lobbyist for American multinational Electronic Data Systems (EDS), one of the government’s largest IT contractors. He was one of several lobbyists who were elected to parliament in michael dugher2010.

His other media claim to fame is as Vice-Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, a title still used in today’s Jewish News article though he is listed on the LFI website as a supporter. Dugher has condemned academic and economic sanctions such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign which sees Israel as an apartheid state (putting it mildly) and alerts the public to multinational companies complicit in its activities.

Abysmally poor judgment?

In March, as vice-chair, Dugher gave a keynote speech at the ‘We Believe in Israel’ conference, where he said, “Each time I visit Israel, my admiration for that great country grows.”

Extremely short memory?

The far from radical BBC News reported that 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip and that the number of civilians killed during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge offensive raised international concern and condemnation. Admiration????

Corbyn israel 2100 strikesIsrael insists that its forces acted ‘according to the highest international standards’

Corbyn’s strength comes from his wider support in the party and Dugher, with other careerist Blairite MPs, rounded on the establishment of Momentum – new grassroots volunteer-led groups – following Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership contest.

Progress supporters and ‘their acolytes in the commentariat’ (Woods) compared Momentum with the now renamed Militant. Caroline Flint MP acidly warned that the new group could “destroy” (right-wing) Labour and Michael Dugher said it was “crazy” of supporters to establish it.

 first meeting2 cross section momentum l

Truth is the casualty here; first-hand experience to date is of four-square solid citizens: Birmingham Momentum who care for the 99%. Above: a cross-section of the 120+, eminently sane and constructive. Check its Facebook page.

Conspiracy theory? Yesterday the writer was told that when Indian rulers wanted to destroy their opposition, they ‘planted’ people within the movement. No need to do that here. Though in public meetings (notably Question Time’) applause is all for the new Labour movement, careerist hopefuls, including Watson, Flint, Dugher, Ben Bradshaw, Jess Philips, John Mann, Simon Danczuk, Mary Creagh, Mike Gapes and Tony McNulty continue to be enormously helpful to the Conservative government and media.

As Steve Beauchampé, a wise observer, said by email: “I agree with Danny Finkelstein on Newsnight (that Corbyn should) lead, dispatch his opponents in the Shadow Cabinet where necessary, don’t apologise, tough it out and set out a firm platform of policies”.

Media 52: Mainstream media protect their sources and paymasters against a leader who is “exposing the smoke and mirrors designed to keep us in our places”

Margaret from Swansea (and a co-founder of VIP) recently sent a comment by email:

The vitriol launched against the polite, intelligent, principled new leader of the Labour Party by media and politicians, including members of his own party, isn’t really so surprising. He is rocking their nice, comfortable boat and quietly threatening the pillars of capitalist society – exposing the smoke and mirrors designed to keep us in our places. He dares to say that austerity comes from an economic ideology – that there IS an alternative! We don’t have to carry on in the same destructive direction, laying waste to planet and people; we could be more compassionate and use our intelligence to produce a better world.

What a threat a thinking, honest politician must be to the industrialists and their friends!

The FT’s George Parker and Jim Pickard have now been joined by a John McDermott to continue their mission to diminish a leader perceived as a threat to the affluent

jc4Below a picture of Corbyn conveying the image of him as a dictatorial rabble rousing agitator (omitted), they assert that “the gap between Mr Corbyn and the MPs he aspires to lead has this week widened to a chasm”, quoting one ‘hostile senior’ Labour MP. “But how’s it going to end?” A good question which they answer correctly, switching to truth mode:

“Mr Corbyn is sustained by the knowledge that 250,000 ordinary party members and supporters backed him . . .”.  A friend of Mr Corbyn said: “He’s quite relaxed about all of this. People are still rooting for him. All that support that was there for him still feels like it’s there.”

As conservative Peter Hitchens explains in the Mail, “ If (like me) you have attended any of Mr Corbyn’s overflowing campaign meetings, you will have seen the hunger – among the under-30s and the over-50s especially – for principled, grown-up politics instead of public relations pap”.

The FT continues: “If MPs mount a coup the party membership could still re-elect Mr Corbyn: his allies are seeking to clarify the rules to ensure that he would automatically end up back on the ballot sheet . . . Even Mr Corbyn’s critics admit it could take several years before the “Corbynistas” realise their alleged mistake and in the meantime the Labour leader is trying to tighten his grip on the party.

How do the FT journalists describe this ‘grip’?

“Grass roots members of the Momentum pressure group are telling dissident MPs to keep quiet or face deselection at the 2020 election”.

momentum first meeting city

Not true; in a recent meeting of the Birmingham group (above), only one in a hundred made this suggestion and it was not accepted by the group.

The FT ends: “Ultimately Mr Corbyn’s fate will be determined at the ballot box: he needs to show his critics that his “new politics” appeals beyond a hard core of supporters. The Oldham West by-election next month, where Labour is defending a majority of almost 15,000, will be a crucial early test”.

The writer hopes that this contest will follow the pattern of the three successful by-elections which have been ignored by mainstream media.

Unreconstructed Blairites test the patience of most Labour Party members

Yesterday a reader, who has been taking his MP to task about her resignation as a shadow minister, was referred to her assistant to hear ‘an explanation that anyone with half a political brain can work out what they would be told anyway … ‘ He writes:

“Her thought at the time was that the most important thing was that Labour should be well placed to win the next election, which she feared might be undermined by having Corbyn as leader. But now that Corbyn has become established as the new leader she is now committed to supporting the party under his leadership.” kind of thing.

He added a link to a Guardian article in which the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone said that MPs who regularly defy Labour whip should face reselection, adding that being an MP shouldn’t be regarded as ‘a job for life’.

simon danczukOne such, Labour backbencher Simon Danczuk, who regularly writes spiteful and disloyal articles about Jeremy Corbyn in the Daily Mail, said he was prepared to stand against Corbyn as a stalking horse if the party suffers setbacks in the May elections.

Labour MPs who do not agree with Corbyn’s key policies could face legitimate challenges in their constituencies. If large numbers of new members join a local party because they supported Jeremy Corbyn’s policies and the sitting MP is undermining the leader, they will naturally challenge him or her.

Shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, told the Andrew Marr Show that Corbyn told a recent meeting of the parliamentary Labour party there would be no change to the existing rules on the selection of MPs. McDonnell stressed: “We are opposing any threat to individual MPs. We are not in favour of reselection of these MPs. The democratic processes in the Labour party will take place on the boundary commission in the normal way.” This will mean that local parties only trigger a full reselection vote if they are unhappy with their MP’s performance.

momentum logo and pictures

McDonnell denied the allegations of conspiracy theorists – including Labour MPs who oppose their democratically elected leader – who say they fear that the new Momentum group set up by supporters of Corbyn and backed by the leadership, will try to oust them as candidates in the run-up to the next general election.

The current Labour leadership always takes the democratic stance and so does not favour organising to reselect parliamentary candidates.

Labour opponents of Corbyn – a small minority defined by recent voting patterns – fear that redrawing the parliamentary boundaries as part of plans to shrink the size of the Commons from 650 MPs to 600, will provide the perfect opportunity to move against some Labour MPs.

The are highlighting an interview by Seumas Milne, given well before he became Labour’s executive director of strategy and communications. He said: “The Tories are planning to bring in new boundaries for constituencies around the country. That will mean there will have to be reselections, there will have to be new selection procedures to pick Labour candidates for those constituencies. That is surely a statement of fact.

times shot2 libby purves

MPs who do back the popular policies proposed by the new party leadership are not at risk – but those who do not inspire their constituencies with the hope of the fairer and more humane society which Corbyn has inspired (above), may well not receive the support they would need for reselection. If they had the courage of their convictions they would not even wish to serve in the regenerated Labour Party.

Momentum: the BBC’s Assistant Political Editor reassures apprehensive right-wing Labour and Conservatives – or does he?

Corbyn 4 logo support jc

Momentum, the grassroots organisation set up in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s election victory, currently has about 60,000 supporters, charges no membership fee, organises mostly through social media and has around 50 local groups across the UK. Its aim is “to create a mass movement for real progressive change”.

Why is it described by ambitious fear-mongers as a hard-left organisation?

Norman Smith, the BBC’s Assistant Political Editor ‘tells it like it is’ – and describes meeting a group of Momentum supporters in Brixton and finding no-one fitting the hard-left stereotype:

“What Steve, Samira, Nadine and Roland (and we add hundreds of thousands) have in common is an enthusiasm fired by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign. They are Corbyn’s foot soldiers.

jeremy corbyn (2)“Steve – a self confessed “middle aged, BBC Radio 4 addict”- says he joined the Labour Party ‘about 20 seconds’ after Mr Corbyn’s victory. Samira also joined after Mr Corbyn won. “For the first time”, she says, “I felt there was somebody I could stand behind and that I could trust”.

He reports that Labour MP and former shadow minister Emma Reynolds says there is a suspicion they are really about de-selecting MPs.

Are her words prompted by the uneasy conscience of disloyal Blairites and career politicians who don’t accept the democratic mandate given to the new leadership and the policies designed for the common good – and are attempting to undermine it – appearing closer to the Conservative Party?

Media 47: FT would-be king-breaker once again subserviently represents financial and political interests threatened by the prospect of government for the common good

peter obornePeter Oborne recalls that in the 1990s the political process was captured by the ‘modernisers’, first with Blairites in Labour, and later in David Cameron’s Conservatives and the main parties looked and sounded identical.

They abolished real political debate – anyone who disagreed with conventional opinion was labelled an ‘extremist’:

“All three mainstream parties despised the views of ordinary voters. They produced identical leaders, in their mid-40s with no experience of the world. They viewed politics as being about technique rather than ideas. They viewed political argument as akin to advertising margarine or soap powder . . . The triumph of the spin and focus group-obsessed modernisers led to the collapse in trust in politics, especially among the young. Blairite contempt for Labour’s working-class supporters led directly to the rise of the Scottish National Party and then Corbyn’s election”.

JC standingHe adds that we should celebrate Jeremy Corbyn, who is “the first authentic leader of a mainstream political party since Margaret Thatcher. It stands to reason that he should be hated and plotted against by the political establishment. Just like Maggie Thatcher 40 years ago, he despises everything they stand for. They despise him back”.

However, under the inaccurate and emotive title: ‘Jeremy Corbyn faces race to tighten grip before being ousted’, Jim Pickard once again rehashes criticisms, failing to mention the 211 MPs who supported the new administration’s economic policy and preferring to focus on the minority of 21 disaffected Blairite MPs.

The corporate-political nexus resents the resurgence of democracy, in particular fearing the new Momentum organisation gathering in many areas of the country, with a membership drawn from the hundreds of thousands who have regained hope of a better future.

Ken Livingstone recalls his early days when he became head of the Greater London Council in 1981: “The level of the media intensity is quite something, it reminds me every day of how the papers reacted in 1981 when I became GLC leader. It took me time to get everything organised, it will take Jeremy Corbyn time. But he is focusing on the economy rather than trivial stuff, he is doing the right thing.”

One aide said that the new leader had been genuinely collegiate in his discussions, allowing members of the shadow cabinet to air differences of opinion during their regular weekly meeting – instead of whipping them into submission – civilised and truly democratic.

Oborne is “wholeheartedly cheering on Corbyn” who has ”brought a wonderful freshness to British politics”.

Those who want to read the FT text can register free of charge and read it at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0816611e-73f8-11e5-bdb1-e6e4767162cc.html#ixzz3oquBSwES