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Wasn’t The Guardian forced to analyse its own coverage, only a few days ago, amid complaints that it was overly critical of Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn?
The verdict was that some articles had taken an overly-‘anti’ tone – but they’re still coming. Today’s Observer (the Graun‘s Sunday sister) has three in a row.
Yvette Cooper: ‘You can be strong without being extreme’ begins with the tagline, “The Labour leadership candidate says she understands the frustration and anger of Corbyn supporters but warns against losing the wider electorate.”
It continues: “The wholly unexpected obstacle to Cooper’s ambition to be Labour’s first female leader is the hard-left Jeremy ‘Jez We Can’ Corbyn.”
So Jeremy Corbyn is “extreme”, is he? He’s “hard-left”? When was that decided?
Most rational thinkers in the UK now accept that Corbyn is absolutely not “extreme” or “hard-left”. He’s left-wing in the classical Labour mould, in line with most of Labour’s loyal membership. If labels like “extreme”, or “hard” are to be applied anywhere, they would more properly belong with fellow candidates Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and especially Liz Kendall, whose attitudes – in Labour terms – would be described most accurately as “hard-right“.
Here’s another article – no headline this time, just straight into the aggro: “With Labour fixated by Corbyn, the Tories have taken advantage of a feeble opposition. Here’s how they did it…”
The text itself makes no mention of Corbyn – he’s just a handy peg on which the sub-editors have hung a headline. The author, Daniel Boffey, accepts that Labour could not be at full strength while the future leader is unnamed and shadow cabinet members have no idea whether they are likely to remain in their posts.
Finally, we have Jeremy Corbyn suggests he would bring back Labour’s nationalising clause IV. Apparently we are supposed to think this is a bad thing but the text of the article betrays the headline once again.
“I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that’s restoring clause IV as it was originally written or it’s a different one,” is what Corbyn actually said.
He’s telling the country that, as Labour leader, he would listen to the wishes of his supporters and work to give them what they want.
That’s better than Burnham, Cooper and Kendall rolled together – and much more than the likes of David Cameron, Boris Johnson or George Osborne would ever willingly provide (although we know that their offers aren’t worth the air used to speak them or the paper on which they are written).
This Blog is happy to support Jeremy Corbyn – if only for one simple reason:
He is the only Labour leadership candidate to have shown any support for the Early Day Motion calling for the Conservative Government to publish statistics on the deaths of Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance claimants (EDM 285).
In fact, he co-sponsored it.
It was signed by 93 other MPs in the week or so between its creation and the day Parliament went into recess for the summer. I’ve been reminded that Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall cannot sign EDMs because they are members of the shadow cabinet and are barred from doing so. Why haven’t they spoken in favour of it, then? How many of their supporters have signed it?
What does that say about those other leadership candidates?
Does it not tell us that they are happy to collude with the Conservatives in keeping the casualties hidden?
And here’s another good question:
Why aren’t newspapers like The Guardian asking Burnham, Cooper and Kendall about that, rather than stirring up non-existent muck about Corbyn?
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