A general election is in the offing – time for another anti-Semitism smear against Jeremy Corbyn

This is an absolute disgrace:

It’s the latest anti-Jeremy Corbyn piece by the Sunday Times reporter responsible for manufacturing such nonsense, Gabriel Pogrund.

You may remember that Mr Pogrund included a series of – let’s call them what they are – lies about This Writer in an article published on February 4 last year. If you need to refresh your memory, you can read my response to that piece here.

The Sunday Times was forced to publish a correction on January 13, when the press regulator IPSO ruled against the newspaper after I complained in the strongest terms possible. Here‘s my account of that.

Mr Pogrund based his allegations about me on a leaked Labour Party report to the party’s National Executive Committee. I had a chance to read that report as it was included in the charge sheet sent to me in advance of my disciplinary hearing before the party’s National Kangaroo Court National Constitutional Committee and it would be fair to say not only that the information it contained was wildly inaccurate in many parts but also that Mr Pogrund took liberties with it.

So I would strongly advise that anybody reading his current article should treat the allegations therein with extreme caution.

Don’t get me wrong – if any of the allegations against Labour Party members that are featured in the article are accurate, they are deplorable and those responsible deserve to be drummed out of the party at the very least. However:

At no point in what is visible of the article on the Sunday Times front – which is all that is available to me at this point, and I’m damned if I’ll spend another penny on that hack-rag – is there any confirmation of its information from a Labour Party representative who would know about it.

No evidence is given to show whether the claims about particular individuals are accurate or merely allegations.

And nothing in the visible part of the article directly connects the claims it makes about alleged interference in Labour anti-Semitism investigations with Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Yet the headline clearly refers to the individuals listed in the piece as “Corbyn’s anti-Semite army”.

The piece carries comments from Tom Watson, of whom current opinion among Labour Party members can be summed up as follows –


– and from Margaret Hodge, who has become a “rent-a-quote” for people writing smear stories about Mr Corbyn.

I think the Labour leader has very strong grounds to take Mr Pogrund and his newspaper to court for defamation.

This is a critical time for the people of the United Kingdom.

Hysteria over Brexit is at fever pitch, with Theresa May in negotiations with a Labour team on a way to save the process from the disaster she has made of it.

If the talks fall apart, it is possible that Mrs May will trigger a general election in the hope that a new Parliament may be able to support one of the options available.

And in this context, The Sunday Times publishes a piece smearing the leader of the Opposition.

Fortunately for sanity, it is also published in the context of a long line of smear pieces against Mr Corbyn that means it is unlikely to be taken seriously by anyone other than the Tory-supporting media who have a vested interest in repeating its claims until people who are easily-led start believing them. Expect a segment on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr ShowSunday Politics and possibly even Politics Live on Monday (April 8).

The rest of us are more likely to agree with this:

Still, there is enough in the article to demonstrate an intent to lower Mr Corbyn’s standing in the opinion of right-thinking people generally – damaging his reputation at a time when he may be about to lead the Labour Party into a general election. And I see no proof that the allegations in the article are accurate, or that Mr Corbyn has been involved in what it claims.

When Conservative MP Ben Bradley tweeted a false allegation that Mr Corbyn sold national secrets to Communist spies, Mr Corbyn pursued him with a threat of legal action if he did not apologise – and so he (eventually) did.

Let’s look forward to similar action from Mr Corbyn over this.

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  1. Jeffrey Davies April 7, 2019 at 5:12 am - Reply

    Trouble is all around my home town they say Corbyn not fit to rule most believing BBC itv newspapers radio crap it’s beyond now a joke that the peasants can’t see how they being played

  2. G Millward April 7, 2019 at 7:46 am - Reply

    Jeremy Corbyn as PM will instigate Leveson 2 … thus is what they are afraid of. For what it’s worth I have reported this article to IPSO

    • Paul Townsend April 7, 2019 at 9:03 am - Reply

      Yes and he came straight out the gate and stated he would ‘break up the media’ I remember thinking at the time that was a mistake, if he hadn’t who can say where we’d be now, not me…

  3. James April 7, 2019 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Mike – a problem: confirmation bias dictates that a lot of people seeing the link to your post will simply see the Sunday Times rag’s headline in the photo header and take THAT as the message, without reading further. How to combat that…?

    • Mike Sivier April 7, 2019 at 11:11 am - Reply

      How do we even test whether that is happening?

      • Paul Townsend April 7, 2019 at 12:31 pm - Reply

        I just had a look and don’t think someone would, (I usually land here from the email link) but there’s always those that want to believe it anyway… Just a thought, but do you really need to show the frontpage image in the link? Free publicity for the hate rag’s and all that… I don’t have a suggestion on how to avoid it though…

  4. Stu April 7, 2019 at 8:38 am - Reply

    Even the Sunday Heil are in a panic giving financial advice to “Corbyn Proof” your money, demonstrating their real agenda – protecting corporate interests at all cost !!

  5. nmac064 April 7, 2019 at 9:13 am - Reply

    The relentless propaganda continues. I doubt, however, that the Tories want a General Election now, they know they will be – quite rightly – annihilated.

  6. John Smith-Warren April 7, 2019 at 9:17 am - Reply

    The Labour Party are anti Jew? In this country there are about 300,000 Jews but there are about 3,000,000 Muslims so a much higher proportion of our population is Muslim – fact. So why does the Sunday Times keep quiet about the anti Muslim core of the CONservative Party?
    If believing it is wrong for the Israeli armed forces to bomb/shell innocent Palestinians then I too am anti Semitic but not because I don’t like Jews but simply because I believe it is wrong to bomb/shell innocent civilians.
    What the Times and all other “newspapers” should be reporting on is the failure of the Tory party to deal with their anti Muslim members – and MPs – properly or even answer questions in the House on the issue.

  7. trev April 7, 2019 at 10:14 am - Reply

    The same sort of vile smears are routinely spread on the neoliberal mouthpiece website called Labour Uncut.

  8. Liz Douglas April 7, 2019 at 11:52 am - Reply

    This .. 49 mins ago
    Leaked emails ‘show Labour inaction over anti-Semitism complaints’ https://www.enfieldindependent.co.uk/news/national/17556345.leaked-emails-show-labour-inaction-over-anti-semitism-complaints/

    • Mike Sivier April 7, 2019 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      That’s pretty much the Guardian piece.

    • Simon Dewsbury April 7, 2019 at 5:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks Liz. Worth reading as it does make clear the LabourParty response is that it’s smears and deliberate misquoting. And it means that I don’t have to go near the Sunday Times.

  9. Allan Howard April 7, 2019 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    The Tories will only call a general election at the point where they have consistently been ahead in the polls by 15 to 20 points for several weeks, but this Sunday Times hit-job does remind me of the hit-job the ST did on Neil Kinnock in 1992 just a couple of months before the general election and when Andrew Neil was the editor – ie the front-page headline story Kinnock’s Kremlin Connection.

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