You can always tell when Tories are afraid of someone – they produce newspaper articles saying that he’s rubbish.
Today (Tuesday, June 16), the Torygraph has published a character assassination of Jeremy Corbyn by former Labour supporter Leo McKinstry, who now writes for the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, alongside the paper in which this piece appears. It seems clear from his CV that he turned Right after leaving Labour.
Mr McKinstry would have us believe that Corbyn is “not a serious politician” but a “permanent rebellious adolescent”. Can he substantiate this abuse?
No. In fact, if the piece is intended to put people off Corbyn, then it backfires badly.
McKinstry writes: “He was certainly a hard-working, energetic MP, as well as a powerful, if sometimes histrionic, speaker – like his hero Tony Benn.”
Corbyn’s hero is Tony Benn? Terrific! Tony Benn was one of the greatest Labour politicians of the modern age and anyone following in his footsteps is to be applauded and supported.
“A Blairite member of the last Labour Government once told me that she trusted Corbyn more than the moderate Chris Smith, Islington South’s long serving MP, because the former was less slippery and opportunistic.” Again – terrific! McKinstry is saying that Blairites like Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and even Andy Burnham are “slippery and opportunistic”, making Corbyn clearly a much better choice.
“Yet in part, Corbyn’s supposed decency comprised unthinking subservience to a bewildering array of causes, such as the internal Labour factions like Socialist Organiser or foreign movements like Palestine Solidarity.” Socialist Organiser was a Leftie newspaper that closed down in 1995 – 20 years ago. McKinstry split from Labour in the same year. McKinstry changed his mind. Whatever he thought of Socialist Organiser, who is he to say Corbyn can’t have also modified his views in the two decades since that paper folded? From his point of view, he might as well criticise Twenty-something journalists (who enjoyed such reading matter) for the comics they read in the 1990s.
It is interesting that he marks Palestine Solidarity as a socialist organisation, and we can read between the lines to work out what he thinks the right-wing view must be. Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s website clarifies that it is “an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation” that “campaigns for peace & justice for Palestinians, in support of international law and human rights & against all racism”. That seems a worthy cause to support – especially when one considers the brutal attack on Palestinians by Israel around one year ago.
“Nor was he always the epitome of chivalric tolerance that his supporters now proclaim. In 1981, for instance, he demanded a purge of soft-left MPs – such as Neil Kinnock – who had failed to back Tony Benn for the Deputy Leadership.” Soft-left? Some would call them right-wingers who paved the way for Tony Blair and the neoliberalism that is causing Labour such pain today. Some would say Corbyn was right to call for such a purge. Some of us would like to see such a purge today.
McKinstry’s claim that Corbyn supported the IRA is another matter: “This is the man who sympathised with violent Irish Republicanism in the 1980s, invited IRA representatives to the Commons a fortnight after the Brighton bombing in 1984 and, at a Troops Out meeting in 1987, stood for a minute’s silence to “honour” eight IRA terrorists killed in an SAS ambush.”
“Sympathised with violent Irish Republicanism in the 1980s”? How do we reconcile that with the fact that Jeremy Corbyn won the Gandhi International Peace Award in 2013 for his “consistent efforts over a 30 year Parliamentary career to uphold the Gandhian values of social justice and non‐violence”? We can’t.
This Writer tends to believe the Gandhi Foundation’s point of view. After all, peace in Northern Ireland was won by talking out the problems between all parties – not by meeting violence with violence. And it is a fragile peace. Why risk stirring up ill-feeling by raking over coals that have long since become cold?
In the end, all this article can bring is personal insult. McKinstry says Corbyn’s stand against a Grammar School education for his children led to the end of his marriage. As a Grammar School boy himself, perhaps he was well-positioned to understand their drawbacks, and in any case his domestic arrangements are not a subject to be discussed in his leadership campaign and it is low of McKinstry to mention them.
“From his black Leninist cap to his ever-present beard, there is something of the stage proletarian about him. His keen lack of vanity is its own kind of pretension” … in McKinstry’s opinion, which is intentionally insulting.
“The greatest irony of all is that this self-serving iconoclast…” Self-serving? Tell that to the Palestine campaigners or the Gandhi Foundation. “Who has spent his Parliament career defying authority and sneering at careerists…” Justifiably. “Is now seeking the leadership himself.” Because he believes Labour deserves better than the pale Blue “careerists” it has at the moment.
“Labour will truly be doomed if he comes close to winning.” What a load of right-wing politically-motivated tosh.
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Most Conservatives would be very pleased for Corbyn to be elected as leader. He is even more unelectable than Milliband. However, they will be concerned that his presence could split the left wing vote and neither Corbyn or Burnham get elected. It is a strong possibility that splitting the vote will mean a Blairite candidate being leader. That would be a serious worry for Conservatives. Any left wing leader means failure for Labour at the GE as it always has done.
You think a vote for Burnham is left wing? Ha ha.
I note that you find Corbyn more spellable than Miliband.
A Blairite leader would not bother the Tories at all. Blair got into power on the belief that his government would significantly change the UK’s direction. It failed to do this, which is why Cameron has been able to drag the country as far backwards as he has.
A Blairite leader would ignore the wishes of Labour’s grassroots, encouraging members to abandon a party that no longer represents them. A Blairite leader would signal the end of major opposition to the Conservative Party, perhaps for a generation to come.
Once the Tax credit cuts, housing benefit cuts, child benefit cuts and all the local government cuts start to affect even more people then the only option will be a left wing government.
Labour lost the election for being TOO NEAR the Tories of that fact there can be no argument. Had it not been so then the Greens and SNP who had “Left wing” manifesto’s would have polled no votes at all.
UKIP’s vote was all about immigration and nothing else, something else Labour will have to tackle.
Anyone who gets criticised for believing Labour has too many Blue careerists can only be good for said party.
A purge of Blairite supporters would probably be the best thing that could happen to the Labour party at this time people are sick of hearing about “hard working” and “aspirational” people especially when they don’t have the means ( jobs) to become hard working and subsequently the funds ( wages) to become aspirational.
Can`t wait for Jeremy Corbyn to take the country by storm. Fantastic… after we rolled over for The Tories. As Pandora found out…when everything else had been taken from the box, the one thing that was left was, HOPE.
Hayfords says “Any left wing leader means failure for Labour at the GE as it always has done”……really………… you mean left wing like Clement Atlee who presided over the biggest change in society for the good of all the country not just the few, you mean left wing like Dennis Skinner who regularly gets cheers and respect from the under 25s for his strong stance on right wing agendas….you mean like Harold Wilson, who presided over the boom time of the 1960s and the white heat of technology?…………yes it took Jeremy time to get the MPs nomination but frankly if Chuka Umuna is as representative of the Labour party today as Blair was yesterday….maybe it wasn’t surprising……………and maybe when the careerists see how populist an anti-austerity politician is………..well they may join the Corbyn bandwagon!
To be fair, I don’t mind careerists who have been inaccurately whispered and pressurised and persuaded into broadly right wing positions by the spinners in Westminster…….because when they actually get to realise how real people feel they may change their tune…………..
Thank goodness Mike we have you to draw our attention to the devious and politically biased comments by some who really would be better off keeping out of the Press. As you comment “What a load of right-wing politically motivated tosh”.
While I have always abhorred the IRA’s methods, their ugly tendency to blame anyone but themselves for the atrocities they committed, and their ability to view all their imprisoned members as ‘political prisoners’ when most of them were imprisoned for murder, I have always sympathised with their ultimate aims, and I see no reason for Corbyn to be condemned, even by the Telegraph, for sharing that outlook. Corbyn never approved of the IRA’s terror attacks, even if he approved of the idea of greater autonomy for Ulster.
The real minus for the IRA was that they missed Thatcher and killed innocent people in the Brighton bombing, even Tebbitt survived, alas his poor wife fared not so well.
I can’t say I approve of this comment because I don’t approve of terrorism in any form. You’re right that Thatcher and Tebbit were terrible people but martyring them would not have been the answer. Despite the obvious fact that she was a Tory, I had sympathy for Tebbit’s wife then – and, in fact, for him – and I still do today.
Oh, and Corbyn’s marriage was already coming to an end before the matter of his son’s education first came up anyway, as confirmed by Corbyn’s brother when speaking on BBC radio yesterday. So not only is McKinstry’s remark unfairly close-to-the-bone, it is also untrue.
Look, why is there so much consternation as to what the Reich wing press publish, this is crap they feed to their dumb ass readers, and they would never in a lifetime consider voting Labour…no loss.
I’m glad that Corbyn is now included in the leadership challenge. Labour desperately needed a left wing candidate. Whether he is really the man to lead the party is neither here nor there at this point. If the Labour membership support him (as they should), it will give a clear signal to the Blairites that they are no longer welcome.
I didn’t support Labour in the last election, but if they start getting their act together, and get behind a left wing Leader, I will seriously reconsider my position.
As to the article, if the right wing press are making a big deal about it, then Labour would definitely be going in the right direction. They are supposed to be the party of opposition. It’s time they started acting like one.
Sadly, the article referred to by McKinstry is all that the torys need, a coat-hanger of abuse that can be waved in the face of sensibility. It will all be nudged from fiction into ‘fact’. I expect more rabid right-wing rants, until Mr Corbyn is depicted as a ‘latter-day Che’, in red-star-bedecked beret.
However, you are correct in detecting the quivering bowels in the toffocracy……
Well Chris the Sheeple swallowed all the Tory media’s B/S in the run up to the election so no doubt they will take what the Wail tells them as an absolute truth, Jeremy Corbyn is a, dare I say it? A Socialist? There I’ve said it. Socialism has been a dirty word for far too long in the Labour ranks.
Excellent piece Mike – The Tories are terrified #Corbyn will reignite the working classes and Unite the Left into Action xxx
Excellent article Mike and yes of course the Tories are afraid and all those who tend to lean towards the right…It will be refreshing to see a left winger who does have a conscience despite all attempts to discredit his name….he has my vote!!
Jeremy Corbyn’s name is getting mentioned more and more, when he is always said to be a rank outsider.
Owen Jones is backing Jeremy Corbyn.
Tony Benn as a hero for Jeremy Corbyn, also bodes well.
Polls show the public want Jeremy Corbyn.
The right wing press doing a character assassination on Jeremy Corbyn, only shows that Labour MPs have a landslide SYRIZA candidate in him.
People saying Jeremy Corbyn winning the leadership of Labour will make then unelectable show how remote political parties have become.
Labour lost the last 2 elections, because Labour voters do not vote for any party nor keep themselves registered to vote, the most.
Labour lost its voters in England and Wales.
It is Labour voting areas that have the biggest non-voter rates.
It was a Labour voting area in England that held the record in May, with a 51 per cent non voter rate.
A Labour with a leader of Jeremy Corbyn is a real opposition in parliament as shown by the words… Jeremy Corbyn “was certainly a hard-working, energetic MP, as well as a powerful, if sometimes histrionic, speaker – like his hero Tony Benn.” …
There is only one speaker left in parliament that is anyway close to that. The Beast of Bolsover (\Dennis Skinner) now in his 80s. When he stands up to speak, parliament hushes to listen.
Just think of a Labour full of the likes of Dennis Skinner, Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn.
Real socialist rhetoric resounding on the floor of the House of Commons.
I think people would pay to watch that from the balconies.
If Labour don’t vote in Jeremy Corbyn, then Labour is dead as a doornail.
Jeremy Corbyn is the people’s choice.
He’s had my vote since I heard he was thinking of standing.
Labour will always be attacked as ‘Reds’, ‘irresponsible’, anti-business’ etc no matter who their leader is or what their policies are. But as the official opposition we are still guaranteed a platform. So why not go back to our roots and stand up for the huge and growing swathes of people being harmed by austerity, and those doing their best to support them? Four years is plenty of time to present and sell an alternative vision for how to run a country, if Labour have the will and the vision to do this.
like many activists I am delighted that the twitter and FB campaign got Jeremy onto the ballot. I sense desperation not only in the ranks of the toffocracy but also the Blairite camp offering non members a chance to vote for £3 one off payment. I think we should put the brakes on this. What is to stop the Cons organising for their supporters to vote in there choice. This to me is a dangerous tactic. Membership should be suspended until after the election.
Did you see Andrew Pierce rip in to him too last night on Sky paper review?
No – I don’t have Sky!
Mike, you may know your politics, but you know nothing about television! The Sky paper review in question is on Sky News, which is of course available on Freeview.
I tend to use the telly for watching DVD boxsets these days. 😉
If corbyn is elected as labour leader and have my mind set then David Cameron should be very worried as i would give him hell and i have friends in high places and they to would give him hell
i would suspect that corbyn is not at my level for a fight but none the less he would be a darn sight better then Burnham and co as corbyn is the only person to tap into the 15 million non voters at the last election and i do believe that if that group kicked in to playing there part the next 5 years would be utter hell for the conservatives and labour would walk to victory big time
Cameron is just a bully he has done nothing for the working class both lower or middle they cant even afford a mortgage and in many cases there rent only a kamikaze person would vote for that type of politics and corbyn needs to understand that or get out of politics once and for all
if i was in politics you could forget eastenders that’s for sure i would be so pro EU UN we would clamp down on the conservatives so hard we would make them accountable for every misdemeanor that they have brought about and in just that alone yes their days would be numbered
Evan if Jeremy doesn’t win at least it will open up the fallacy of austerity. It will also show the muppets that blindly swallow Tory lies that there is another way to run the country. Above all look at what Greece and Spain are doing.
As a fully paid up member of the Labour party, I am voting for Jezza!
How can ‘supporting Irish Republicanism’ be a negative thing? If you don’t support the aims of Irish Republicans – and I don’t mean you have to support their methods if that stoops to terrorism – you must surely be in favour of continued imperialist occupation of Ireland.
Please don’t – you’ll start a big debate about Ireland and this isn’t the place for it!
Yet another excellent Blog Mike, but for any person with a half working brain the clues are in the papers this alleged journalist McKinstry scribbles his tripe for, and as you so clearly point out his article makes Jeremy out to be a decent upstanding fellow that we’d probably vote for if that’s the best muck they can throw at Mr Corbyn who incidentally has my vote for leader.
Have you not seen the #ToriesforCorbyn hashtag on Twitter? Many Conservatives, including high profile commentators such as Toby Young, are actively supporting Corbyn to the extent they have purchased Labour membership to vote for Corbyn in the election.
Perhaps you have missed my article about #ToriesForCorbyn.
Members of the Conservative Party cannot also be members of the Labour Party, by the way.
You use the word ‘can’t’ as if it had any meaning aside from laughability in this context.
No, they can’t. You cannot be a member of two political parties in the UK. I know this from an issue that arose a little while ago. A Tory who was interested in joining Labour but wanted his memberships to overlap. Couldn’t happen.
Yes they can because I just did. I am sorry if this defies the laws of your personal physics.
I am a Tory and this morning I took out a £3 Labour party membership specifically so i can vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership election.
Thank you for your candour. I’ll forward your message on to Harriet Harman as an example of why this part of the election mechanism must be changed.
Sticks and stones.
He he. You lefties always talk about freedom and solidarity but at the first opportunity, it’s the Stasi.
What rot. You wrongies always talk about freedom but what you mean is corruption.