It’s a reasonable question, considering that paper’s less-than-illustrious history.
This Writer must admit to more than a little surprise when my enjoyment of a quiet Sunday afternoon was disturbed by a host of messages on my Twitter feed, outraged at a Jewish Labour donor complaining that Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are “Nazi stormtroopers”.
In fact, the phrase used in the article was “Sturm Abteilung (stormtroopers)”, which is a reference to the SA of Adolf Hitler and his Nazis but not a direct mention.
It seems strange that the media outlet we know as the Heil would use this as a term of abuse.
Wasn’t the paper’s former owner, the then-Lord Rothermere, a Nazi sympathiser who advocated alliance with Hitler’s Germany in the 1930s? Here’s a clue: Yes he was.
The paper has continued to be rabidly right-wing throughout its publishing history, so it came as quite a surprise to see references to Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters being made in what This Writer could only interpret as – in the Heil‘s language – glowingly appreciative terms.
“Well,” I thought. “It makes a change from being labelled Trotskyite insurgents!”
Then I read the article and its the same old (sorry) Trot we’ve all seen before.
Michael Foster comes across as a sad Blairite with an axe to grind.
He accuses Mr Corbyn of creating “a brand of politics alien to this country, defined and delivered by a divisive, aggressive holier-than-thou cadre of hard-Left socialists with no real policies to speak of, no defined social and economic objectives, just a call for the committed to take this journey with them down the Yellow Brick Road” – none of which is true.
Nothing about Mr Corbyn’s policies is hard-left. Mr Foster simply uses the label because he knows it will provoke a knee-jerk reaction; the decades-old fear of “Reds-under-the-bed”.
Mr Corbyn has plenty of policies and objectives – both social and economic. Only today he unveiled a plan for a cradle-to-grave, free, National Education Service. Apparently Mr Foster won’t see that as a good thing.
“In the midst of this, something is rotten. You are either with them, or you are labelled as being against them and so excluded, briefed against, often threatened and intimidated.” Wrong again – Mr Foster is discussing his own side of the Labour Party; the right-wingers. Mr Corbyn has done his best to remain inclusive, despite the attempts of many former colleagues to divide the party. You don’t need me to quote examples.
“If you are like me, a Jewish donor to Labour, you are smeared as a Blairite conspirator, plotting to falsely use the accusation of anti-Semitism to damage the Left.” Can Mr Foster cite any examples of Mr Corbyn or his camp actually making that suggestion about him? It is true that anti-Semitism has been weaponised against the Corbyn campaign, but This Writer knows of no specific mention of Mr Foster taking part in this.
But then, it has been a long summer (so far). Perhaps I missed it in all the hysteria…
…over incidents like the following: “Angela Eagle with a brick through a window [FALSE – we don’t know how the window was broken. At least Mr Foster doesn’t say it was Ms Eagle’s office window, but then, as it was the Heil that revealed it wasn’t, this would have created an inconsistency], Stella Creasy with a mob outside her constituency office [a DISTORTION; Ms Creasy withdrew a complaint about a mob outside her house when it was shown that it was a demonstration that passed peacefully outside her office], or Labour general secretary Iain McNicol with a letter threatening court action unless he secured victory for Corbyn at an NEC vote [INACCURATE: legal action was promised if Labour’s NEC voted to keep Mr Corbyn off the ballot paper in the leadership election. No pressure was put on Mr McNicol to secure any kind of victory for Mr Corbyn – merely to abide by party rules]”.
Foster goes on to rubbish Mr Corbyn and his team over their respect for the rule of law – hardly a point on which his own side can claim the moral high ground after doing everything it could to gerrymander the rules of the Labour leadership election to suit their own side.
He claims Mr Corbyn is a hypocrite for wanting to abolish the House of Lords yet also nominating Shami Chakrabarti for a peerage – even though Mr Corbyn is on record as saying she is opposed to the unelected upper house and would therefore be an excellent person to work for its abolition from within.
He claims Ms Chakrabarti’s report on alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party was “anything but independent” – without a scrap of evidence to support the slur.
I could go on and on but why spoil your fun? The article is here if you can be bothered to read it.
Incredibly, this means that opponents of Mr Corbyn remain perfectly comfortable hurling not only lies but also outrageous insults at supporters of the incumbent Labour leader – we can add “Nazi stormtroopers” and “Sturm Abteilung” to “Trots”, “anti-Semites”, “rabble” and “dogs” – without the slightest hint of irony, even though the slightest hint of the word “Blairite” or “neoliberal” makes them scream like babies whose ice cream has been stolen.
Sadly, Mr Foster is unlikely to read this article. If, by any chance, he did happen to chance across it, I have just one message for him:
In future, the best thing he can bring to this debate is silence.
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