Syria: Have the UK news media ever been as desperate to convince the public of a lie?

151201Corbyn fight against IS

That’s right: Jeremy Corbyn is keen to fight IS – but he wants to do it in a way that actually has an effect.

Confused? You should be.

After Jeremy Corbyn allowed Labour MPs a free vote on whether to support David Cameron’s call for the UK to take part in air strikes on Syria, the lickspittles in the Tory-supporting news media got busy pretending that if the vote goes Cameron’s way, it will be all Corbyn’s fault.

But wait – Corbyn is against air strikes, isn’t he?

That’s right. But the media want you to think that, by allowing a free vote, he’s giving his MPs free rein to support the Conservatives. In fact, he has put all the responsibility onto them. If they support air strikes, the blood will be on their hands, not his. And their constituents – who are overwhelmingly opposed to another Middle East adventure (as these episodes are euphemistically dubbed) – will not forget.

The case in favour of warfare, as put forward by Cameron last week, is ludicrous – and has become fertile ground for satirists. Here’s an example:


Let’s break it down: The infographic is pointing out that previous interventions in Iraq and Libya have destabilised those nations, making them a home to terrorists – exactly the opposite of what we were told would happen. Innocents will be killed in huge numbers – even if we knew where the terrorists were hiding, it would probably be behind children or the sick, in schools or hospitals (as we have previously experienced). Dropping bombs on Syria will increase the outflow of refugees. Our bombing will have as little effect as that of the other countries. When bombing Syria was last debated in Parliament, it was against President Assad, and therefore on the same side as the terrorists, and if we had gone through with it, Daesh/IS would now control most of Syria; how can anyone possibly argue that the current plan would have a better result? The last is self-explanatory: Any dire consequences will go to another interminable inquiry, in the hope that people will forget about it (fat chance).

These are only some of the reasons Jeremy Corbyn opposes Cameron’s air strikes plan. Here’s how the UK news media have explained it:

Rick Burin: Cameron wants us to go to war. Corbyn is voting against. And THIS is your headline?

Rick Burin posted this on Twitter and commented: Cameron wants us to go to war. Corbyn is voting against. And THIS is your headline? David Schneider, posted the same image with a more satirical message: “Cameron chains himself to Downing Street railings to try to stop war but bloodthirsty Corbyn won’t be stopped!”

Emily Maitlis, tweeting ahead of last night’s edition of the BBC’s Newsnight, gave us: “Tonight: Have splits in the Labour Party just made air strikes on Syria a whole lot more likely?”

The Newsnight report prompted at least one complaint of serious bias in its reporting.

Conor Pope, writing in the curiously anti-Corbyn LabourList, told us: “Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn stood to address Labour MPs and peers about the outcome.

“It was, apparently, a bizarre scene. The two appeared to contradict each other on almost every point. While the whole Shadow Cabinet was in agreement about how the four tests set out in the Syria motion at Labour conference needed to be met, Corbyn and Benn are at odds about whether they have.

“The meeting lasted an hour and forty minutes, with lots of backbenchers wanting to have their say, and Corbyn delivering lengthy answers to every inquiry. But angsty MPs were increasingly irritated at Corbyn’s perceived reticence to answer questions directly.”

Oh, really?

Here’s Eoin Clarke on Twitter: “A momentous day for Labour. MP after MP lined up to articulate why they would be opposing Cameron’s vote to bomb Syria. The Tide is turning.”

Who do you believe?

Jeremy Corbyn himself told Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2 that only a small number of diehard Labour MPs would be supporting air strikes: “There will be a large majority of Labour MPs voting against the war. There are a small number who are very diehard in supporting the war.”

He said imposing a whip would have been pointless: “They would probably have supported the war whether there was a whip or not.”

(The whipping question prompted a very pertinent comment from David White on Twitter: “The same people criticising Corbyn for allowing a free vote are the ones who’d have criticised him if he’d imposed a whip.”)

And Mr Corbyn repeatedly appealed to any remaining Labour MPs who were still considering voting with the Tories to think again: “Think of the complications and the implications of what we’re doing and please cast your vote against supporting this government’s military endeavours in Syria.”

There are many who agree with him, like Charlotte L Riley, who tweeted: “I am confused as to why Corbyn is getting the blame here rather than, say, Cameron, who actually supports bombing.”

Ian Jones asked: “We need a debate so we can ask Cameron if he’s going for the set – human rights abuses & war crimes.”

And Eoin Clarke (again) added: “Fully understandable that David Cameron has refused the request for a two-day debate on Syria. He knows his argument for war is very weak.”

But all of these sensible comments are being drowned out by a mass media that is determined to have a Tory war and blame it on the Labour leader.

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7 thoughts on “Syria: Have the UK news media ever been as desperate to convince the public of a lie?

  1. amnesiaclinic

    Good post, Mike. That’s why you make sure you own the media so you can turn and twist everything. I thinks we did in 2013 we need to flood our MP’s with emails and phone calls. Have done both to mine.
    Like many of us, I was delighted when we got the MP’s to support not bombing. It seemed like a real step forward for democracy and learning from the lessons of Iraq and Libya. However, I do remember soon after a paper by the military stating war needed to be made more ‘palatable’ to the public. I will see if I can find it again. It would have been on David Icke’s Headlines.
    After all, it is only in war that money is made and not in peace.

  2. John Gaines

    Der Reich meejha are carrying on the tradition that each and every insane claim by Der Fuhrer Cameroon the congenital liar, is the equivalence of the Sermon on the Mount…….except the Russkis got there First:

    “But even the massive airstrikes can’t replace a ground force that can conquer Raqqa. The available forces are mainly those of the Kurds and other militias. One militia that was set up in recent days to protect local people from ISIS isn’t keen on cooperating with the Kurds for fear they’ll take advantage of the campaign to conquer the city themselves.

    The Kurds, who have been gaining against the Islamic State on the outskirts of their territory in Syria, are in no hurry to join the battle on Raqqa or the planned drive on Mosul in Iraq. The Kurds demand that the coalition forces protect the Kurdish towns along the border with Turkey and that Turkey stop attacking Kurdish targets in Iraq”

    Eventually it will be BOOTS on the ground, then BODIES, our young peoples Bodies: will we trot them down some shagging High St, to keep up the pretence that lying Politicos really give a crap.

    I have just finished listening to Senior Generals licking Tory backsides and pretending that ‘THEY’ KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING:

  3. Florence

    One of the British military estimated 40,000 of the said 70,000 ground forces were actually al Quaeda (and referenced USA troops dislike & misgivings about “supporting [al-Quaeda]”). Other analysts have said that this massive over estimate of 70,000 includes forces that may be anti-Assad but are just as united against Western forces and intervention. The numbers also include the Kurds, who have already made clear they will not take part in any activities outside the Kurdish area.

    None of this seems to be seeping out beyond the broadsheets and alternative news sources. We will end up once again with some “adventure” that will damage millions of lives, and the figures being bandied about on the numbers in the HoC to be for & against this move seem to imply a massive majority for Cameron, but if that were so, why did he need Labour to have a free vote to be sure of victory given the true numbers likely to rebel against Labour policy?

  4. john blacker

    OK – lets assume the ” lets bomb” argument wins for one second –

    IF we were to bomb ISIS weapons factories we may have to blow up places in the UK and the USA if not France, Germany & Isreal with almost all of Saudi Arabia.

    If we were to bomb ISIS oil we would certainly have to blow up All those Turkish ships, Turkish refineries and kill ALL of Turkeys presidential family as they are ISIS’s number two.

    So — when do we start the carnage?

  5. Clarence B

    “…Tory war…” or Zionist Jewish war for ‘Greater Israel’. I mean let’s get to the point shall we.

  6. geavox

    So… let me get this straight… It’s Cameron who is advocating strikes, and 397 MPs supported him… but it’s Corbyn’s fault for giving his MPs a free vote?
    So… if he had wielded the Party whip the press would now be calling him “A Fascistic” combined with “tyrant”,”despot”, “dictator”, “autocrat” and (rightly!) throwing in his face his claims of wishing to be a democratic leader.

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