The smearing of Jeremy Corbyn by a group taking money from the Home Office is only to be expected, argues Josh Newman
A report has emerged which links the group Faith Matters with a body of counter-terrorism funding set aside by the Home Office, known as Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT). This is important because Faith Matters is a vociferously anti-Corbyn group which has recently referred to the Labour Party as a ‘Stalinist cult’. Most people will of course recognise that this is perverse, inflammatory rhetoric and that the British Labour Party has not in fact become a ruthless Stalinist machine.
All the same, this is a consistent line of attack from the establishment and the media. Only a few days ago Boris Johnson himself had a front-page article in the Telegraph to launch his campaign which compared Corbyn’s comments about billionaires to Stalin’s treatment of the Kulaks. Not forgetting the bizarre incident last year when the BBC put a red-dyed version of Corbyn with an apparently elongated hat in front of an image of red Russia.
Faith Matters admits that it has received funding from the counter-extremism structure. Though they do claim to be critical of both Johnson and Corbyn, there is a much clearer anti-left leaning in the weight of their attacks.
This is clear from their rebuttal article which says,
‘It is pretty simple; Corbyn has failed Labour and the leadership needed by many. This country needs a strong opposition. It needs a Labour Party that can hold the Executive and the Government to account, particularly at this turbulent time. For us, it is clear that Corbyn has fallen short of providing that.’
The group has also peddled the idea that Corbyn is pro-Assad in a tweet which suggests he doesn’t really care about Palestinians. This follows the mainstream media’s lead on disallowing any sense of nuance in being able to criticise many opposing political currents in countries that the British Government would like to bomb.
The ‘threat to national security’ line has been one of the major attacks on Corbyn ever since he became leader of the Labour Party. As a rule, these attacks have been so ham-fisted as to be easily spotted for the cynical ploys they really are, particularly when they have been combined with the caricature of Corbyn as a useless, elderly hippie. However, there is no doubt that they will have done some damage to how Jeremy Corbyn is viewed by the public.
It is exactly what you would expect when a politician emerges who is both popular and genuinely attempting to tackle the economic and social status quo. There is a wide body of evidence that Jeremy Corbyn has faced a unique level of attack and distortion by the mainstream press. Although the smears and misrepresentations have extended to his broadly socialist economic approach, his stances on foreign policy have been a major target. His anti-interventionist stances are anathema to the British state but widely popular amongst the British public. Therefore, branding him a terrorist sympathiser and in the pocket of chauvinistic dictators is the establishment’s strategy to make him seem on the fringes of opinion. These attacks give just a small hint of what is likely to happen should Corbyn get elected.
Nevertheless, despite these relentless attacks, Labour is steadily advancing in the polls now that a general election campaign is underway. This suggests that much of the muckraking has gone unheeded, or at least is looking less significant when compared to the strength of what Labour are proposing.
More on this subject in Chris Nineham’s new book – The British State: A Warning
Josh Newman is a teacher, musician, and writer from East Kent who now runs Counterfire and Stop the War branches in Oxford
More articles from this author
- The ghosts of the union: commemoration event backfires for Varadkar
- The Coming Revolution: Capitalism in the 21st Century - book review
- Oxford Union violently ejects blind, black student from debate
- Algeria in revolt: the fight for democracy - interview
- For a left populism - book review
- Stick in the Wheel in Dublin - gig review
- No platform for Alice Weidel in Oxford