The unified opposition, amongst the Labour right and its supporting cast across media outlets, to the leadership of Jerermy Corbyn has never been clearer than over the past 10 days of the run up to local and assembly elections across Britain.
First, came the anti-semitism slur. A proper journalist would have asked questions like why was the story about Labour MP Naz Shah’s Israel comments suddenly revived two years after it happened - just before the elections. Could it have had something to do with an attempt to destabilise the Corbyn leadership, thereby prefacing electoral disaster, thereby creating the platform for a coup? The comments made by Ken Livingstone did not help, feeding the frenzy and making the story much larger than it might otherwise have been.
Then there is the question of the strangely suppressed story about 27 Tory Mps under investigation by the police for expenses irregularities in relation to the general election last year. The story is now beginning to surface but why was it held over until after the election results?
Then there has been the coverage of the election results, which reflected pretty positively on the first eight months of Corbyn’s leadership. The London mayorality won, council seats held in England, control retained in Wales and some losses in Scotland.
The real story in Scotland was about the SNP losing its majority and the advance of the Tories north of the border. Instead, much media coverage did the whole Scottish story in the context of the demise of Labour, something that began long before Corbyn became leader and will take sometime to arrest.
The ongoing conspiracy between some journalists and the Blairite right of the Labour Party (often indistinguishable) was again evident, with any dissenting voice against Corbyn given air time or print space. So there was Jo Cox offering her criticisms to anyone willing to listen.
Yet despite all of this media led opprobrium thrown in the direction of the leadership, Corbyn has emerged stronger from these elections. The would-be coup plotters have been defeated, with the grass roots support, if anything stronger. The point seems to have been reached where the media bias is becoming so blatant that it is tending to build the solidarity within the movement. Who knows maybe some journalists will start to get the point and focus on some of the real achievements of the Corbyn led Labour Party of the last eight months.
The election results top successes that also include forcing the government to retreat on cutting tax credits, disability benefit cuts, forcing schools to become acadamies and time changes on Sunday trading.The real political story out there for journalists with eyes to see is the disintegration of this Tory government. It has moved from the arrogant swaggering of a year ago to a point where the U-turn has become the default position on policy. The opposition of Labour together with the SNP, Greens, Lib Dems and growing numbers of the Tory Party itself is making life resemble the darkest days of the Major administration of the 1990s. The referendum debate is tearing the Tories apart, something that will continue in one direction or other whatever the decision made on 23rd of June. This is the story that the media should be focusing on, not the seemingly wilfull efforts to destabilise Jeremy Corbyn.
*published Morning Star - 14/5/2016 - "Don't mention the Tory meltdown"