It was sixty minutes of unsubstantiated allegations, disgruntled gripes, ridiculous verbal insults and pathetic accusations. Most of the dross was delivered with the sincerity of tears rolling down a crocodile’s scaly skin as it drags its latest unsuspecting prey underwater to be devoured.
by Tommy Sheridan
All of it presented by a jackal in human form with a track-record of Corbyn bashing that should have disqualified him from ever being commissioned by a ‘public service’ broadcaster to present the programme. I’m talking about Panorama’s ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ and the former Sun journalist John Ware who presented it, no doubt drawing on his vehemently anti-Corbyn notes used in 2015 to present ‘Jeremy Corbyn: Labour’s Earthquake’.
That Panorama show was widely condemned for its overt bias against Jeremy Corbyn and attracted several hundred complaints from viewers. It was broadcast several days before the ballot for the Labour leadership contest in 2015 closed and many believed it was an attempt to divert potential votes away from Corbyn. The Corbyn campaign team were furious at the lack of balance and use of factual inaccuracies compelling one source to accuse the BBC of conducting "a complete hatchet job" on Mr Corbyn.
Panorama producers apparently told them they were filming for a documentary about the Labour leadership campaign as a whole, including all four candidates, but instead the programme turned out to be all about the one candidate, as the title of the show suggests, and only included a few brief clips of his three rivals.
His campaign team at the time sent a copy of Mr Corbyn’s diary to prove he did not attend a conference in Cairo that advocated attacks on British and American troops, as was stated by the programme's presenter, John Ware. The diary proved he attended events in his Islington constituency on the date of the said conference.
So after being misled before and publicly traduced and lied about in 2015 it is understandable that Labour were less than happy about the BBC giving public licence fee payers’ money to the same programme and the same presenter to produce another show to present another sixty minutes of anti-Jeremy Corbyn propaganda on behalf of the powerful and the privileged who are in a state of fear and alarm at the prospect of a Corbyn led government introducing legislation that will actually compel the millionaires and billionaires to pay their bloody taxes.
The ‘hatchet job’ in 2015 didn’t prevent Corbyn winning the Labour leadership election comfortably days later with 60% of the votes cast, and the tirade of abuse, lies, distortions and personal insults that followed didn’t prevent him from increasing his majority in the second leadership contest in 2016 with 62% of the votes cast.
The biggest crime Corbyn then committed was to present the most radical and socialist manifesto in Labour’s post-war history to the electorate in the snap General Election called by Theresa May in 2017.
All her advisors and friendly pollsters told her it was a certainty that the Tories would win a huge mandate and Labour under Corbyn would be destroyed. Just about every single political pundit and newspaper columnist agreed. Many predicted the worst result in Labour Party history. Every single one of them was wrong. These so-called pundits were in touch with each other and the comfortable media jet setters who consult their mirrors daily for pearls of worldly wisdom based on nothing more than what they all say to each other over expensive lunches and swanky dinners but they were completely out of touch with real people in real housing estates struggling with real problems like low pay, job insecurity, rising fuel and housing costs and deteriorating public services.
What Corbyn’s socialist manifesto did in 2017 was prove that radical ideas of wealth redistribution, re-nationalisation of stolen public assets like gas, electricity, water and railways and forcing big business and millionaires to pay their taxes are actually very popular policies. After nearly a decade of austerity cuts for the millions but tax cuts for the millionaires, many people wanted to see fairness and justice, not more of the same old Tory policies designed to serve the wealthy and powerful.
Sure Corbyn’s message was severely blunted in Scotland because he refuses to support independence and therefore Labour’s vote share hardly moved but in England and Wales, the increase in the Labour share of the vote was the biggest since 1945.
It was a truly remarkable result in the midst of the tsunami of media attacks manufactured against him. All those out of touch narcissists paid to tell us what to think should have resigned en masse on the back of their Corbyn demise predictions but their personal egos and remarkable ability to forget how wrong they were saved their bacons. They were told to try harder to convince us all that Corbyn is an evil man who will bring nothing but pain and darkness should he ever be elected.
And that is the narrative which leads us back to the Panorama ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ programme. For years Corbyn has been attacked as being anti-British, anti-monarchy, anti-business and anti-Semitic. He is untrustworthy and can never be allowed to enter No10. Even US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, recently suggested that the US would take steps to prevent a Corbyn Labour Government.
The truth is now subverted daily and outrageous claims and unsubstantiated allegations are converted into truths by a powerful media machine desperate to save their own. There is nothing independent about the BBC. It represents the interests of the wealthy and powerful, the status quo, the stinking rich British Establishment. The privately owned media is dripping with hatred for Corbyn and any threat to their massive fortunes but the apparently ‘independent’ BBC and the so-called ‘quality’ press, like the Guardian and Independent, are just as biased and often more dangerous given their wolves in sheep’s clothing existence.
I didn’t watch the Panorama programme with an open mind because I was convinced it had already set out to attack and abuse Corbyn and his reputation. I wasn’t wrong.
Take one woman’s incredible unchallenged tirade: "I joined the Labour Party in 2015. The anti-Semitic abuse I received was what I was subjected to every single day … telling me Hitler was right … telling me Hitler didn’t go far enough. In Labour Party meetings we saw people engage in Holocaust denial. I don’t think the Labour Party is a safe space for Jewish people anymore."
That is a verbatim report of what was said on a UK wide BBC Flagship show at the 9 pm primetime slot. Is this what journalism has been reduced to?
A woman says she was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse "every single day". Not a jot of evidence.
Labour Party members telling her "Hitler was right"? Not only unsubstantiated nonsense but grotesquely offensive nonsense.
Socialists were the very first group of opponents targeted and rounded up for imprisonment and execution by Hitler. Socialists and trade union organisers. It is in the DNA of socialists to oppose and hate Hitler and all that he stood for.
That claim made by that woman on that show sums up how completely pathetic and manufactured the whole show was. This person apparently joined Labour in 2015 and was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse "every single day"? But it took her 4 years of daily anti-Semitic abuse before she could conclude the Labour Party is no longer a "safe space" for Jewish people? Investigative journalism at its finest…
Then there was the Corbyn bashing repeat offender presenter Mr Ware displaying his remarkable psychic powers for our gratification. In a section dedicated to the comments and subsequent 2-year suspension from party membership of Ken Livingston he displayed abilities that would make Charles Francis Xavier of The X-Men green with envy: "… some staff grinned in Mr Corbyn’s office we’ve been told as they watched news of what Ken Livingston had said. Most thought his comments were not that bad".
This is another verbatim section from the show. A primetime, investigative journalism programme and we have the presenter nipping back in time three years to not only inform us what "some staff" did, they "grinned" but what most of them "thought"? Really? It was three years ago, he wasn’t there but he is able to state on primetime TV in the course of a supposedly serious news gathering investigative journalist programme what "most" staff in an office "thought". They "thought his comments were not that bad".
If this was not so serious it would be a good laugh but the reputation of a man with a spotless record of fighting against racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism and injustice throughout his adult life is on the line here and it is vital that all people who believe in a fair hearing, natural justice and evidence-based accusations stand up in defence of Jeremy Corbyn.
I will not vote for Labour in Scotland because they refuse to support our inalienable right to secure our independence but I will raise my voice in defence of a socialist who does not have an anti-Semitic or racist bone in his whole body.
Panorama deliberately and consciously quoted selectively from acquired emails to falsely portray a story of interference in the disputes procedures by the party leadership office when the full emails in context showed the complete opposite to be the case. It represents shoddy and disreputable journalism.
According to every piece of reputable quantitative research, the 500,000 strong membership of the Labour Party are less likely to be anti-Semitic than members of the Tory Party or the general public and anti-Semitic views have actually reduced substantially within the Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader in 2015.
Instead of unsubstantiated allegations from disgruntled individuals and ridiculous time travelling thought analysis from a ridiculously biased presenter why not air independent quantitative research on the issue?
Why not report the fact that less than 1% of Labour Party members are subject to anti-Semitism complaints and detailed analysis of society as whole shows clearly that those who hold right-wing political views are significantly more likely to be anti-Semitic than those who share Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing views?
Jeremy Corbyn is subjected to sustained and offensive attacks by the billionaire owned and state-controlled media not because he is allegedly anti-Semitic but because he is anti-capitalist. The ruling elites in Britain and internationally fear Jeremy Corbyn because his principles are not for sale and his redistributive socialist policies are radical and serious. Expect the attacks and abuse to get worse and even more sustained the nearer we get to a General Election. Just as in 2017 however, hopefully, the people of England and Wales will reject the lies and vote for the sensible socialist policies he promotes.