Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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Gaby Hinsliff's Anti-Corbyn Rant

Mick Hall on How Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff turned an important news story about leading young Tory Mark Clarke into an anti Corbyn rant. Mick Hall is a Marxist blogger @ Organized Rage.

Cameron's photo on Conservative Futures homepage.(wrinkle free by Photoshop)

When Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff turned an important news story about Mark Clarke having finally been expelled from the Tory party for bullying and sexist behavior, into and anti Corbyn rant, her paper's political reporting reached a new low. House of Cards? Westminster is more like The Apprentice)

Mr Clarke was the chair of Conservative Future, a Conservative party spin off for the under thirties. Despite a number of complains about his wretched behaviour having been made to senior Tories over the last year, Sayeeda Warsi, Grant Shapps and Lord Feldman being the most prominent, nothing was done to remove Clarke from a position of power.

The Tory Party finally had little choice but take these complaints seriously when 21 year old Elliot Johnson, a Young Tory activist killed himself leaving a note which said he was being bullied by members and supporters of the party shortly before his death.

If Hinsliff reported it as a straight news story, as indeed her paper did the following day, it would have been fine, but she then linked Clarke's despicable behaviour and the tragic death of Mr Johnson with the ongoing struggle for the democratic soul of the Labour Party.

Hinsliff's attempt to link the bullying of the former Tory parliamentary candidate with Corbyn's supporters is unworthy, but sadly sectarian journalism of this type has been par for the course in the Guardian since Jeremy was elected party leader.

At the very least one would have expected Gaby to have mentioned the Tory Party leader in her column, after all Mr Cameron is the man who's in overall control of the party and it's his photo which adorns the Homepage of Conservative Future. As recently as July of this year the Tory leader gave Mr Clarke his full support, when he told the Conservative National Convention that Clarke’s project, the now disbanded Road-Trip campaign, would continue until 2020.

But it seems not; one wonders if this was because Cameron has form when it comes to bullying, making sexist comments, and behaving outrageously when he was a young Tory.

Last April during a Commons exchange, he repeatedly urged Angela Eagle, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, to "calm down, dear" and later refused to apologise, dismissing his comments as "light-hearted" banter. Ms Eagle rightly thought otherwise." He also told one of his own MPs, Nadine Dorries, that he knew she was "extremely frustrated" and then joined in the laughter his double entendre provoked amongst Tory MPs.

If we add in the excesses of the Bullingham Club and Cameron's exploit with a pig's head, one would have expected Gaby to at least question whether Clarke may have been emulating his Party leader?

But no, she preferred to go on a witch hunt against Corbyn's leadership:

Labour has just had its own surge of young, mustard-keen activists brought in by Jeremy Corbyn. Many are joining Momentum, a grassroots movement-within-a-party promising to make politics almost as exciting as Road Trip, where the idealistic and naive will inevitably rub shoulders with veterans of the viciously personal 1980s struggle between soft and hard left. Already, some old Momentum hands are muttering dark threats against Blairite MPs. And so a new generation learns that this is what politics is all about.
No name, no pack drill, just nasty innuendos, but then she is not alone in this low journalism. Over the last weeks the media is attempting to turn the truth on its head by claiming Corbyn's supporters, both within Parliament and the country at large, are plotting and scheming against the Blairites and other LP MPs. Whereas the truth of the matter is the opposite of this, as given the facts any fair minded person can see.

In the last week alone we witnessed Pat McFadden, Lord David Blunkett, Frank Field, John Mann, and countless other unattributed Blairite MP's, along with relics from the dodgy dossiers regime like Alistair Campbell, going behind the back of the democratically elected party leader and muttering to members of the media dark threats against him and those he appoints to his staff.

To his credit Corbyn has attempted to move the party away from name calling and petty spite so prevalent in the Blair years. He's trying to embed a new type of politics based on the main issues he supports, the NHS, anti austerity, the economy, foreign wars, renewal of Trident, democratic accountability, personal freedoms, etc.

True old habits die hard, but given the left has a history of internal bickering the discipline they've displayed in recent weeks is a sight to behold and very welcome indeed. If only the same could be said about the Blairite wing of the party.

Lessons from the LP leadership campaign

No matter how much the media and Neoliberals attacked Jeremy Corbyn during the campaign, with their lies, half truths and innuendos, they were unable to dent his public support. Now he is leader of the opposition the intensity of these attacks have moved up a gear and articles like the one by Gaby Hinsliff are coming thick and fast. To Jeremy's credit he ignores them and ploughs a straight farrow, offering people a real alternative to the stifling and fanatic neoliberal economics of Cameron's regime.

Hinsliff mentioned a duty of care. Perhaps it's time she paused and considered what her own duty of care is towards the fair and free vote which elected Corbyn LP leader.

Unlike in the past he was not anointed party leader in a smoke filled room, but in an open democratic process which not only enhanced our democracy but inspired tens of thousands of young people to take part in the democratic process for the first time.*

She should consider if the Blairites and their allies in the Media and City manage to unseat Corbyn by underhanded skulduggery, a whole generation of young people who are the bedrock of his support, may come to see some truth in the old anarchist slogan "If voting changed anything 'they'd' abolish it."

In the second half of the last century we had 30 years of bloody mayhem in a part of the UK, because a section of society found their democratic avenues of struggle were closed off. The last thing we need it a repeat performance on this side of the Irish sea.

As to the Guardian, its continuous attacks on Corbyn's leadership shows it's lost touch with the people who really matter, its own readership.* * The two most recent opinion polls, for all the media bile and spleen, show support for Jeremy Corbyn's policies are holding up. His cautious approach to airstrikes on Syria and support for anti austerity policies are more in line with the British people than those of Cameron.

* Hopefully Gordon Brown will be the last LP leader to gain the post this way.

* * Apparently the Guardian has been a flood of letters and complaints about the paper's hostile coverage of  Corbyn's leadership.