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May
2017
Saturday 20th
posted by Morning Star in Features

PETER FROST is getting annoyed by people who should know better telling him Jeremy Corbyn isn’t up to the job of PM


I DON’T know about you but I am getting a bit sick and tired of hearing from people who should know better that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t up to the job of Labour Party leader or indeed prime minister.

So many people who claim to be on the left and have an in-depth understanding of the class nature of society seem to have been all so easily duped and conned by the media.

I expect those rubbishy outpourings from BBC hacks like Nick Robinson — founder member of Macclesfield Young Conservatives, Cheshire Young Conservatives chairman (1982-84) and president of the Oxford University Conservative Association in 1985 and now anchor of BBC’s influential Today radio programme.

Or from his BBC colleague Laura Kuenssberg who only last year was subject of a BBC Trust ruling that one of her reports broke the BBC’s own impartiality and accuracy guidelines.

An interview by her with Corbyn was edited to give a totally dishonest impression. Corbyn’s reply to one of her questions was in fact his answer to an entirely different question that wasn’t shown to viewers. Amazingly, after a rap over the knuckles she kept her job.

Neither ITV nor Sky are any better when it comes to broadcasting anything like fair or balanced view of the state of British politics.

Or, of course, I can turn to Tory newspapers like the Times, Telegraph, Mail or the unspeakable tabloids for the latest hatchet job on the man who achieved the biggest majority in a Labour Party leadership election since time began.

Only slightly better are the Mirror and the Guardian, but these and all of the other papers find it all too easy to find a so-called left-wing journalist, or more likely a dissident Labour MP, or worse still, a disappointed Labour leader wannabe to put the boot into Corbyn for a handsome fee.

I expect to hear the anti-Corbyn nonsense from all of those sources but what makes me really sad, and rather angry is when I hear those same arguments trotted out by friends and comrades in and out of the Labour Party, often people who I always considered sensible socialist thinkers.

It happened just the other day. I met up for a reunion with a group of old mates I had first met in the 1960s in the Young Communist League.

Talk soon turned to the general election and I was horrified to find I how few of them had a belief that Labour under Corbyn had any chance of winning the June 8 election.

I’m sure you have heard all the arguments before. “Corbyn has no charisma,” “Jeremy has the right policies but he is not a leader,” “He isn’t the kind of person who could make a prime minister.”

Just what you hear every time you turn on the radio, TV or pick up a newspaper that isn’t the Morning Star.

But these people were supposed to be socialists, some even Labour Party members. Surely people who wanted to see a Labour government replace this bunch of Tory crooks and their unelected leader — the queen of the May.

It got me thinking. Just who were the super-beings? The ready-made collection of colossi who had been Labour leaders since the war. I knew from my reading that every actual and potential Labour leader over the years had been attacked, belittled and vilified by the Tory media.

I also thought about our post-war party leaders. Let’s take a look at the Labour leaders first. No surprise to find every one of them had been badmouthed by our so-called free press.

There have been 13 Labour leaders since the landslide victory for Labour in the khaki election of 1945. That doesn’t include those like George Brown, Margaret Beckett and Harriet Harman who only held the position briefly on a temporary basis.

In 1945 Winston Churchill had a much bigger lead in the polls than Theresa May has today. The Tory press barons were fully behind him but the result was still a landslide for Labour and its leader Clem Attlee.

The Tory press declared that Attlee was an ineffective communicator and lacked charisma. Where have I heard that recently?

But he introduced some amazing socialist innovations, including our beloved National Health Service and he nationalised many vital industries.

After Attlee came Hugh Gaitskell. Again the press had nothing good to say about him. Although in his time there was still the Labour-supporting Daily Herald to stand beside the Daily Worker as a paper to support the workers’ causes.

Harold Wilson was both Labour leader and prime minister, the latter for two separate governments. Wilson was an academic before being elected as an MP in the 1945 election.

Despite his total lack of political experience, Wilson was immediately given a ministerial role and became a full minister less than two years later.

Initially on the left of the party he was always subject to lies and slanders from the Tory press. They, and British intelligence, even accused him of being a Soviet spy.

After Wilson came Jim Callaghan. Another new MP elected in the 1945 landslide and rapidly promoted to a ministerial position.

Callaghan too served as both prime minister and Labour leader. His policies, including cuts in public spending, would lay the foundations for 18 years of Tory rule.

Michael Foot became the next Labour leader. Foot suffered exactly the same media persecution as Corbyn does today. The media, it seems, just cannot tolerate a principled socialist at the head of the Labour Party.

Foot was in turn replaced by Neil Kinnock. Kinnock would be the longest-serving leader in the history of the Labour Party. The press ridiculed Kinnock too.

You might think serious issues like the miners’ strike and the Social Democrat split in the Labour Party were key issues of Kinnock’s time at the head of the party. The media thought his tripping in the sea was far more worthy of comment.

Kinnock was eventually replaced by John Smith who died before he had a chance to demonstrate his true worth. The Tory press obituaries said much nicer things about him than they ever did when he was alive.

And then came Tony Blair. Without doubt Blair was a talented and skilful leader who built a strong team. He knew that combatting what the media said about him was a life-and-death issue.

His spin doctors Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell took on the Tory media and beat them at their own dirty game. This allowed Blair 14 years of Labour rule that actually achieved much. Pity he turned out to be a liar and a war criminal.

Blair finally handed power to Gordon Brown and the hyenas of the media howled about the unelected man at No 10. They haven’t been so critical of the woman living at No 10 now.

After Brown came Ed Miliband. The media pulled all the stops out to ridicule and attack, not just him but also his family. His Marxist father, the scurrilous press declared, was a man who hated Britain.

If that wasn’t enough they laughed at a Jewish boy and the way he ate a bacon sandwich.

You might have thought the Tory media could sink no lower in its attacks — but we’ve all seen how they’ve treated Corbyn.

Now let’s briefly look at some of the super-humans who sprang fully formed to occupy the highest seat of power in the land — the comic book super-heroes who were our post-war Tory prime ministers.

Harold Macmillan, was the last Edwardian prime minister and Alec Douglas Home was a Scottish aristocrat who simply lived in a different world from working people.

Edward Heath is still the subject of many serious accusations about abuse and other crimes.

What can we say of Margaret Thatcher? Simply the most divisive cruel and reactionary prime minister this country has ever had. Who knows how long she will manage to hold that title?

After Thatcher came John Major. His total absence of charisma and experience were incredible — even his Spitting Image puppet was grey.

He did surprise us all by having a long-term affair with Edwina Currie but strangely the media never blew that whistle until he was long out of power.

David Cameron came to Downing Street with hardly any ministerial experience but he did bring back the age-old Tory tradition of filling his Cabinet with posh Eton boys.

Now we have the unelected Theresa May. Not elected as Tory leader, nor as prime minister. Her well-orchestrated campaigns ensure she meets no real voters and says nothing except her well-rehearsed “strong and stable” mantra.

Looking back on prime ministers since the war it seems to me that Corbyn has exactly the qualifications it takes to do the job. He has the policies, he has the belief.

There are only two choices on June 8 — May and her Tories ready to tear down all those things like the National Health Service, public transport and an equitable welfare system that working people and previous Labour leaders have fought for over the years.

Or a Labour government under Corbyn ready to take on the tax cheats, rip-off bosses and greedy bankers.

I know what side I am on. I even know what side Kuenssberg is on. The simple question is what side are you on — and what are you going to do about it?




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