David Edwards of Media Lens responds to a Guardian article by Polly Toynbee in which she suggests that voting for Jeremy Corbyn would amount to a ‘betrayal’ of the electorate by quoting Ian Sinclair’s argument that in fact it is Toynbee, not Corbyn, who is out of touch with public opinion.
Sinclair noted that Corbyn supports a publicly run NHS, a position supported by 84 per cent of the public, according to a November 2013 YouGov poll. In addition:
- ‘He supports the nationalisation of the railways, a position backed by 66 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.
- ‘He supports the nationalisation of the energy companies, a position supported by 68 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.
- ‘He believes the Royal Mail should be publicly owned, a position supported by 67 percent of the public, according to the same poll.
- ‘He supports rent controls, a position supported by 60% of the public, including 42% of Conservatives, according to an April 2015 YouGov poll.
- ‘He opposes the retention of Trident nuclear weapons, a position John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, notes is supported by a “smallish plurality” in “the majority of polls”.
- ‘He strongly opposed the 2003 Iraq War, which was also opposed by the more than one million people who marched through London on 15 February 2003.
- ‘He has long pushed for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan, a position favoured by 82 per cent of the public, according to a May 2014 YouGov poll.’
Thus: ‘Corbyn’s key political positions are in actual fact supported by a majority of the British public.’
Edwards ends: “Like Blair and the rest of the establishment, the Guardian and other corporate media claim their motivation is to preserve Labour’s electability, rather than to attack any and all politics that stray off the ‘centrist’, ‘modernising’ path.
“In reality, it could hardly be more obvious that this collection of profit-seeking, corporate enterprises – grandly and laughably proclaiming themselves ‘the free press’ – is opposing a threat to their private and class interests”.
The cycle of mistrust between people and politics ratchets up. Matthew Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation, has warned that “currently we are facing a candour deficit as well as a fiscal one”.
In the Guardian recently, Polly Toynbee wrote:
- “Never – probably – in the history of political conflict will so many be misled by so few as in Wednesday’s autumn statement . . .
- “George Osborne will be the wolf in sheep’s clothing, bearing sham gifts to the NHS, road users and, maybe, orchestras . . .
- “He will trumpet 3% growth and falling unemployment while rattling past rising debt and deficit – targets missed by light years as benefits spending shoots up due to housing costs and low pay”.
- His raising of the personal tax allowance and higher rate thresholds will give £35 a year to the bottom tenth and £649 to the top, with most money going to the top half.
- ISA limits are up to £15,000 a year – and yet who, on average UK wages of £26,500, can save that?
“Labour is trapped by staying in the me-too rhetorical territory, agreeing with the Tories and the Lib Dems that the public can’t take much honesty . . . The truth will kill those who try it, they fear”.
But the really significant truths now beginning to ‘kill’ the mainstream parties are not those political manouevrings noted above.
The clues to the real distrust are in points four and five above. As a reader emailed: when politicians have relatives, friends and investments in all the corporate and financial sectors they are hardly likely to do otherwise”.
Another Anglo-Saxon attitude: see America’s Progressive Cynic cartoon caption:
Increasingly aware of this connection, the British public is turning to several small parties who are, in the main and as yet, untainted by such ‘success’.
The unconvinced should turn to the register of members’ interests and see how much wealth is being amassed by many prominent politicians in the two main parties.