No, Simon Jenkins – it’s your lie about Jeremy Corbyn that is a step too far

Simon Jenkins speaking at Policy Exchange, the right-wing think tank described as "the intellectual boot camp of the Tory modernisers". So now we know his politics [Image: Policy Exchange].

Simon Jenkins speaking at Policy Exchange, the right-wing think tank described as “the intellectual boot camp of the Tory modernisers”. So now we know his politics [Image: Policy Exchange].

Back when I was working in print journalism, we had a rule that anything going into the paper had to be fair and accurate. It seems The Guardian has thrown that rule away.

Simon Jenkins’s piece on Jeremy Corbyn and Nato is about as inaccurate and unfair as can be.

His claim that Mr Corbyn said he would not aid a Nato ally under attack is entirely inaccurate and prejudicial. Here’s what was actually said:

Q: How would you, as PM, react to a violation by Putin of the sovereignty of a fellow NATO state?

JC: You’d obviously try to avoid that happening in the first place. You’d build up a good dialogue with Russia to ask them / support them in respecting borders. We’d try and introduce a demilitarisation of the borders between Russia, Ukraine and all the other countries on the border between Russia and Eastern Europe.

What we cannot allow is a series of built up of troops on both sides which can only lead to great danger in the future. It’s beginning to look an awful lot like cold war policies, at the present time. We’ve got to engage with Russia, engage with demilitarisation in that area to try and avoid that danger happening.

Q: Smith says that we would need to come to the aid of a fellow NATO member who was the victim of aggression from Russia as that’s in the NATO deal. Would you do that?

JC: That’s in the NATO treaty. I would hope that we could strengthen our relations and activities within the OSCE , the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which includes Russia and every other state.

We cannot allow a military build up which is going to lead to some calamitous and incredibly dangerous situation.

Q: But would you get involved militarily?

JC: I would want to avoid us getting involved militarily by building up the diplomatic relations and not isolate any country in Europe to bring them ….(interrupted)

Q: Would you get involved if you had to?

I don’t wish to go to war; what I want to do is achieve a world where we don’t need to go to war, where there is no need for it. That can be done. (loud applause)

Saying he would take steps to avoid having to go to war at all is nothing like saying he would not support an ally.

Jenkins’s words are hugely prejudicial. Suppose people voted against Mr Corbyn on the basis of this lie? It’s highly unlikely it would result in us being lumbered with Owen Smith as Labour leader but if enough of these lies are allowed to proliferate, who knows what could happen?

A complaint to Ipso is in order, for all the good that might do. The article must be retracted and Jenkins should make a public apology.

What on earth is Jeremy Corbyn on about? When asked at last night’s leadership debate in Solihull whether as prime minister he would aid a Nato ally under attack, he said no. “I would want to avoid us getting involved militarily. I want to achieve a world in which we don’t need to go to war.”

The implication in this is that Corbyn wants to withdraw Britain from Nato.

Source: Jeremy Corbyn’s dismissal of Nato is a step too far | Simon Jenkins | Opinion | The Guardian

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37 thoughts on “No, Simon Jenkins – it’s your lie about Jeremy Corbyn that is a step too far

  1. Thomas walker

    who really cares about a Tory rag, with a circulation the same size as the Tory party,178,000.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      So The Guardian is a Tory rag now, is it? Its founders must be spinning in their graves.

    2. Tim Sims

      Mike,
      Thanks for the transcript. Don’t care much about Simon Jenkins or even the Guardian’s integrity in this case but do care about what Labour Party members in the first instance are to make of what JC really meant.
      If JC’s response to whether he as PM would get militarily involved if Putin violated the sovereignty of a fellow NATO state are to take steps to avoid having to go to war, do you think he was saying he would then go to war if those steps failed?

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Yes, he would honour the treaty.
        But he would be taking the steps to avoid a war, long before Putin actually violated anybody’s sovereignty. That’s the whole point he was making.

      2. Tim

        Diplomacy is all well and good but suppose potential aggressors won’t talk to you or are intransigent? Churchill was of course correct when he said: “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” (And Churchill is best remembered for being a Prime Minister during the second world war. He himself, having been a soldier, was in point of fact a very reluctant warrior.) But what would Corbyn do if British diplomacy and overtures to peace fell on deaf ears? What then? If negotiations broke down and push came to shove what would he actually do? And that is the trouble. People don’t know and so find it impossible to put their trust in him.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        Did you not read the article?
        Mr Corbyn would honour the UK’s treaty obligations.
        As he said.

      4. Geoffrey H Taylpr

        Mike I reckon that what he meant, was what he said. That’s the beauty of Corbyn, he says what he means, and means what he says.
        He doesn’t go on for codec messages or double talk.

      5. Tim

        Actually, Mike, I was talking generally not specifically about the treaty. Is Corbyn capable of ordering British troops into action unilaterally, off his own bat, when not forced to do so by a treaty obligation agreed by others?

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        Oh, is that what you were doing?
        I see you’re starting to have to nit pick, to find a way of criticising him.

  2. NMac

    Sometimes I wonder whether some people would welcome a major war. They certainly make it sound as if that’s what they would like. JC talks common sense, but the establishment doesn’t want to listen.

  3. Florence

    It’s gloves off time. Obviously there is no chance of them stopping Corbyn winning the election, but they don’t care how much collateral damage they do, Like simple outright lying, with this sort of Yellow press. The Guardian may not be “a Tory rag” quite yet, but it has spent far too much time & words on trying to damage Corbyn and his supporters to be considered remotely centre / left, despite it’s now tattered reputation.

  4. Dai

    Its a neo_liberal rag, they are all establishment oriented, Corbyn wants to collapse old politics and build a new society where voters get a say in policy making, comparison s with Clem Attlee and a touch of Kier Hardie I would say.

    There are no reliable papers on the rack in the morning.but I need a paper for my horses, otherwise I wouldn’t bother.

  5. Di Finch

    Corbyn has also said..at a Trident rally..NATO should give up , go home and go away…so it does not appear that if he was elected Prine Minister he would be pro NATO..and may well attempt to pull this country out of it.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Well, there are questions that need to be asked about Nato. For example, back in the 1980s or 1990s, there was an agreement that, if the Soviet Union disbanded, Nato would not expand beyond its then-current boundaries.
      Now Nato countries border on Russia.
      Knowing we’re part of an organisation that has reneged on its commitments, I’m not surprised an honourable man like Mr Corbyn is less than enthused at our membership.
      Still, there’s always the possibility of reform.

  6. BRMB

    All he had to do was give a plain, no-nonsense answer, a yes or a no.

    I’m a Corbyn supporter, but he makes life very hard with his inability to just answer the bloody question!

      1. Tim Sims

        The frustration is that his answers to both this question and the question about what should happen now in the immediate aftermath of the referendum – are both really important and have both merited you putting energy into some textual analysis of the questions and/or his actual words to assert to your readers what you think he really meant (ie presumably in case we misunderstood his words when faced by meanings offered by others). He knows the mainstream press is anti-JC, so this openness to misinterpretation on these two critical issues offers them a bit of a gift.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        He explains himself very thoroughly and carefully. There is no openness to misinterpretation. The question is why you should suggest there is, and why Mr Jenkins would try to lie about what he said.

  7. SJ NM

    Not sure if this has been covered before, but it seems the DWP has “not always been open and honest when dealing with the media on the state of the Universal Credit IT programme.”

    https://ukcampaign4change.com/2016/07/20/inside-universal-credit-it-analysis-of-a-document-the-dwp-didnt-want-published/

    Universal Credit seems to be little more than a social experiment being tried on some of the poorest in our country. The fact the government is inflicting this miserable system on thousands of claimants when it is not even fit for purpose says everything.

  8. Tim

    Poor old Jezza. The world has never been without conflict and violence and probably never will be until the nation state disappears and we all live under a world government. Global warming and environmental degradation pretty much guarantee that the world will become a much less safe place, with much more conflict, in the future as agricultural land become desert or flooded and fresh water become scarcer with a much bigger world population competing for it. Could Corbyn actually order British troops into action in order to save lives in extremis? He seems to have no real awareness of the issues. Jezza is not the leader that any country needs in our modern troubled age.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      What a lot of speculation.
      Where you discuss Mr Corbyn, you provide weak opinion rather than fact. He seems to be on top of the UK’s treaty obligations!

    2. Zippi

      We don’t need a world government. Before there was country, there were peoples. The concept of country was imposed on those peoples by foreign powers and look at the problems it has caused. Global warming and environmental degradation are nothing to do with peoples but corporate interests, which, like most of our ills, are not to the benefit of those peoples. I suggest that much conflict is engineered. What, exactly, are we protecting, when we intervene?

      1. Tim

        Read the old testament, or any kind of ancient history, and you will see a world riddled by tribal warfare as one group of “people” tried to outdo another group of “people” for resources. Before money: before globalisation: before corporate interests. Oh, boy! You sound like Jezza. You people are in for such a shock in respect to what’s coming around the corner.

  9. Roy Jones

    On the Guardian, and in particular Simon Jenkins. Those striking miners among us from 1984-85 are smiling away at his contention that the Guardian had a rule about the accuracy and fairness of facts in the paper. He didn’t and neither did the Guardian as far as we were concerned.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I was the one who said the press had a rule about fairness and accuracy. It’s too late to do anything about it now, but why did you not bring legal action against the paper for libel, if it was wronging you?

  10. katythenightowl

    I’m getting so very weary with the smear campain that’s been pitted against JC, and for far too long, now.
    We all, as taxpayers, are providing the money for MP’s very high wages, and all they seem to do for it, is to act like schoolkids fighting in the playground, instead of representing us all within Parliament, with at least a modicum of truth, and sobriety.
    I’ve come to the conclusion that this money being paid out to them, should maybe be pulled back from them, if they don’t, or can’t, stop squabbling.
    Is it too much to ask for a bit of honesty from our MPs and, as far as the press is concerned, some reliable reporting?

  11. hanspan

    From what I can see JC has not said he *would* go to war, but also hasn’t said he *never would*.

    To me it seems eminently sensible to stay wiith a restrained attitude of “it depends” – leaning towards “not unless we absolutely must”.
    I don’t want to be automatically part of something warlike because someone else thinks we should. I absolutely agree that we should try all avenues of diplomacy before agression.
    I also get that we can’t ever say never – I might, under some circumstances, agree that a violent answer is the only option.

    1. Wanda Lozinska

      Q: Smith says that we would need to come to the aid of a fellow NATO member who was the victim of aggression from Russia as that’s in the NATO deal. Would you do that?

      JC: That’s in the NATO treaty.

      This implies that he WOULD honour the treaty, if all else had failed. Do we really want another warmongering PM? I thought they weren’t so popular nowadays, seeing as their actions have brought about a rise in terrorism, including attacks in the UK. Russia sees the recent accumulation of troops on their borders as a threat. This is not the way towards peace.

  12. David Goldthorp

    I find it incredible that when the actual facts come out Jeremy was on the right side of reason and it’s once again some right wingist that as reported it as he interpreted. It’s no wonder more and more people are flocking to Jeremy. I actually believe people are starting to wake up to the truth about what is happening in this world. But we need more alternative news sources reporting these things because you cannot rely on the mainstream media any more, due to them being owned by right wingers. They just hear something and report something completely different to what was really said.

    1. Wanda Lozinska

      Mike Sivier does a brilliant job on here, as does The Canary and Another Angry Voice. There are others. All post on Facebook. It’s important to get the truth out to as many people as possible. Many still believe what they’re told in the papers.

Comments are closed.