Jeremy Corbyn – Read On?
I have resisted the temptation to commit my views on a number of matters over the past six months, a decision that I’m now about to reverse in thinking about the Labour Party Leadership contest that ended with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the Leader.
It was, and I may be wrong, Lord Northcliffe the owner and I suppose initiator of the first ‘penny newspaper ‘ who started what became common use of the quite brilliant idea to keep people buying the paper of dividing lengthy stories into sections ending each one with “to be continued” and starting the next with “”now read on”.
The reason I say this will become clearer towards the end of this blog because it is about the Labour Leadership Election of Jeremy Corbyn and the media speculation and comments during the election contest. Much of it so far and wide of the mark it became laughably pathetic at times.
It was amusing to see those who are considered either by themselves or others to be ‘experts’ commentating on what people think only to find that just as in the run up to the General Election they appeared to be guessing what the public and Labour Membership was.
There are of course those who don’t really care what public opinion is and would much prefer to return to the days of old when the opinion of the public didn’t matter to those who’ ruled’ which is perhaps why they completely misjudged the mood of the people and why when people rebelled and took to the streets it came as such a surprise to them.
What are the chances of it happening in the UK over the next four years?
The way around it is to ignore what the public thinks on political or social issues and replace it with propaganda aimed at undermining it and even to persuade, control and form it by the use of scare tactics.
It is even easier today because of the 24/7 access to the media machine which is now controlled by a very few people whose only interest is the maintenance of their empires and the status-quo.
What we saw as the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn winning the Labour Leadership grew was an increase of virulent articles, almost bordering on hysterical not only from the media and the Conservatives but also Labour ‘Grandees’ warning of Armageddon if he won.
The major problem was the media and politicians who opposed Jeremy Corbyn just didn’t have a clue what public was thinking which quite probably confirms what the historian James Bryce said over a century ago, that “the obvious weakness of government by popular opinion is the difficulty of ascertaining it”.
And if you can’t ascertain public opinion then I suppose it isn’t a surprise that the media acting with the opposition make it up, or in modern parlance ‘spin’ the facts and truth to fit their dialogue
The reality was that those who were eligible to vote in the Leadership Campaign appear to have taken the attitude, which has held the British people in good stead for centuries of, “I’ll decide who I’ll vote for not you” and as we now know they overwhelmingly rejected the doom merchants and supported Jeremy Corbyn.
The question Labour, the Government and the media should be asking is why?
Perhaps they need to look no further than the fact that rightly or wrongly, agree or disagree, he was very clear about what he stands for which hit a note of honesty and authenticity that has been lacking in UK Politics for over 40 years.
Is that why the Conservatives were so quick of the mark with their ridiculous statement that Jeremy Corbyn is now not a but the threat to National Security etc, etc.
It is a statement that has backfired and has now been turned into a joke on social media with Jeremy Corbyn being blamed for everything from losing the Battle of Hastings to the failure of England in the last World Cup.
Will it stick?
I don’t for two very good reasons think it will. The first is that he has already established a sense of dignity and honesty different from those who are seeking to bring and put him down, and secondly he is a political animal with a difference which means the Conservatives are no longer faced with what they perceived as mirror images of themselves.
History as we know shows they were all wrong and Jeremy Corbyn is now the Leader of the Opposition.
The question is why were they so wrong?
Many years ago a young American did a PhD entitled, A New Technique for Objective Methods of Measuring People’s Interest in Newspapers.
His name was George Galp the founder of the Gallup Poll.
Perhaps it is time for a new George Galp to conduct a thesis on Measuring People’s Trust in Newspapers and the Government?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the statistical result supported the view held by a Mr Justice Holmes that “Every man’s view of truth, his belief, in the teeth of the facts, in what he can’t help thinking must be true”
What the election of Jeremy Corbyn proved is that the Labour membership and judging by the number who have joined the Labour Party since his election didn’t believe the press, the media or politicians and decided that he could be trusted to tell the truth.
What happens next only time will tell which brings me back to Lord Northcliffe; this is the end of the first instalment of what may well turn out to be a very long running story,
“To be continued”……