Fear, smear and ridicule – the deployment of McCarthyism against Jeremy Corbyn

As soon as Jeremy Corbyn had won – by a dizzying margin – the Leadership of the Labour Party, the Conservative Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, came straight to the cameras to pronounce that the Labour party had just elected a leader ‘who is a threat to national security, domestic security and the security of your own home’.

Now that’s talking.

The term that arose from the anti-communist fearmongering whipped up in America by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s – a culture that ruined the careers and lives of thinkers and idealists, is defined as ‘the political practice of publicising accusations of disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence’.

The Fallon opening move was straight from the America of this mid 20th century era. Anyone with an independent intellect had to laugh out loud.

Mr Corbyn – and the Labour party – should have seen and been proud  in that moment that the new Labour Leader is seen as a serious threat,  not to ‘national security, domestic security and the security of your own home’ – but to the Conservative government; to big business that is not interested in honourably paying its way; and to the arms industry for which a Conservative Defence Secretary can be expected to have a natural affinity.

Who were we talking about here anyway?

Mr Corbyn is the brand new Leader of a demoralised rabble of a party – out of power, in opposition, devoid of talent, devoid of a sense of identity, devoid of principle and devoid of the ability to connect with the people who gave it birth.

He has no power; and until he emerged as someone who touched a popular hunger for honesty, ideas, philosophy and a listening intelligence, his party had no hope of recovery, although they were  – are – clearly blind-sided to that truth.

What serious threat could ever have come from Corbyn? He was an invisible unknown, with no following until the people got to know him when he was patronisingly nominated as the sacrificial anode in the Labour Leadership election.

Corbyn is a thinker, an egalitarian, a humanitarian, an iconoclast, a pacifist. He is a man content to walk alone because he knows who he is and what he thinks. He is not constantly keeping his ear to the ground to pick up a hint on what position of the moment he ought to adopt.

What is wrong with any of that? What does it threaten? Have we become a culture afraid of thought? It looks like it.

Mr Corbyn does not court the press pack and has rightly been appalled by their ugly and invasive behaviour. Who has seen the statute that confers upon the press the right to interrupt a person’s progress in the street; to occupy their garden, cameras trained on their home; to ring their front door bells repeatedly; to shove cameras literally in their faces; to yell questions at them; to chase them; to harrass their family…

No one with any self respect would tolerate any of this for one second. It is to Mr Corbyn’s credit that he has no truck with it.

Journalists are saying to the other journalists who are interviewing them – an incestuous little cabal – that Corbyn will have to learn that as a Leader he needs to engage with the press?

Why on earth should he?

We need a Leader who does not need to inform the press what he is going to say before he has said it. We need journalists who can work out for themselves what someone is saying, without needing an army of spin doctors to spell it out for them.

Corbyn has appointed John McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer – and OMG, the very fabric of our society is on red alert at imminent risk of destruction. McDonnell once said, in rhetorical style, that if he could have his time again, he would have assassinated Thatcher. Who wouldn’t?

But even Labour politicians – as if any of them were worth listening to [and who has been listening to them in years], are now sucking their teeth about Corbyn’s judgment in appointing McDonnell to this post.

At the service for ‘The Few’ in the Battle of Britain on the 15th September, the camera recorded Corbyn standing straight, still, thoughtful – and quiet, while the congregation sang the National Anthem. The journos have distorted this to the extent that he is being said to have ‘refused’ to sing it.

Did anyone notice in his raucous rendering of the Red Flag that he cannot sing a note in tune? Did anyone wonder if he did not wish to inflict his tonal variations on an occasion he very obviously respected? Who knows? And who, with any sense, cares? There was absolutely nothing disrespectful in Corbyn’s demeanour at this moment, nor any evidence whatsoever that any disrespect was intended.

A fully hysterical Carole Malone on Sky’s late press review last night was literally shrieking that ‘He has managed to insult the most loved woman in the county. He has managed to insult the armed forces.  He was sticking it to ordinary people.’

She was backed up by an almost equally hysterical Stig Abell of The Sun who proclaimed that the first three days of Corbyn’s tenure have been an absolute disaster. Why? Because they were different?

Abell also averred that Corbyn wants to ‘overthrow’ the monarchy. Is the new Labour Leader to be seen striding for the Thames with Her Maj over his shoulder in a fireman’s lift and splashdown in his eye?

This is the same Stig Abell who caused a huge nationwide furore only weeks ago in publishing a private home movie of the famously amateur-performative royal family larking about in private in their garden, mocking the Nazi salute but claimed by Abell’s Sun to be showing their true sympathies and to be training the young Princess Elizabeth to deliver this salute.

Back in the 1960s when Harold Wilson defeated Alec Douglas Home and ushered in a Labour government,  a group of horrified retired army officers who clearly saw Wilson as ‘a threat to national security, domestic security and to the security of your home’ – planned a military coup against the new administration. There is evidence to indicate that they had got Prince Louis Mountbatten to agree to act as interim Head of State and that the plotters approached the then Queen Mother to seek her approval for the initiative. [She is said to have told them not to be silly.]

What is happening today is no less ‘aerated’. You have to blink hard to believe that what is being said is actually being said.

Beyond irony is that a strong popular vote for a man who is manifestly not one of the political clones who have all but sucked the life out of British political life has produced a universal chatterati condemnation of Corbyn – for being different. Go figure.

Has no one worked out why Corbyn lit a fire where Burnham, Cooper and Kendall made many healthy labour members wish for the statutory right to die?

Has no one stopped to think how on earth Labour can do any better than Corbyn when the best of those they considered their finest could not rouse more than 19% interest amongst their own voters in the leadership election? And Corbyn had no responsibility for the loss of the 2015 General Election they were never going to win, nor for the rout in Scotland which he will have to recover for the party –  and which only he may have a chance of doing.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Is this article a joke? Who on earth could believe that Corbyn could ever be taken seriously on the world stage, and who can watch/ listen to his denouncements of most things that right minded people in this country stand for, or his defence of some indefensible states and people, and actually support such an artifact?
    Oops, I think I may have fallen for Newsie’s early April fool’s joke. But surely the left wing element in Scotland won’t depart the SNP to side with this anachronism, would they?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 19

    Simon September 16, 2015 4:16 am Reply
    • Just three days ago you were telling us that the right wing media would give Corbyn a savaging that would probably finish him, but now you’re off on a different tack – or are you not the same ‘Simon’?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

      Robert Wakeham September 16, 2015 10:27 am Reply
      • You are correct Robert – not the same Simon at all. The comment above is by the numpty imposter Simon that Newsie indulges/encourages.

        The attack on Corbyn is as unedifying as it was predictable. Strange though that if he is, as fool Fallon claims, “a threat to our national security” – why have they made him a member of the Privy Council? The truth is of course he poses no threat to national security it was just a nasty Tory attack of a politician who is not prepared to toe the ‘austerity and cuts’ line. And there will be more to come. The dirty tricks and smears have not even started.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

        Simon September 16, 2015 2:54 pm Reply
        • Poor deluded wannabe Simon.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

          Simon September 17, 2015 2:55 am Reply
  • Yes, they would Simon for the simple reason that Corbyn appears to care as much about addressing issues of inequality and poverty more than the SNP – reason enough on it’s own.

    And yet the SNP types appear not to be embracing this new-comer who shares so much of what they say they care about.

    I’ve seen people suggest ‘right wing media bias’, but that’s a very naive view of it. What these same people don’t realise is that the very same ‘media bias’ gave an inordinate amount of attention to Corbyn during the election, to the point that all it was doing was raising awareness of Corbyn and what he stood for to a massive audience. Without the media storm over Corbyn, I doubt he would have stood a chance, but thanks to the BBC et al, he got so much attention that people really started paying attention and voila – he’s what we’ve got.

    Their relentless coverage of Corbyn is only going to cement existing views of him – those who loath him will loath him more, those who love him will love him more.

    You’re not going to find someone who likes Jeremy Corbyn suddently not like or support him just because he didn’t sing the words to the dirge that is our national anthem. Just like it’s hardly a detracter who be accepting a bag of sandwiches from Costa coffee (did anyone see that pathetic attempt by the Telegraph to smear Corbyn over a complete non-story?).

    So, it’s not an April Fools Simon, and I’m puzzled at why you would not embrace Corbyn-ism – he sounds like your type.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

    JB September 16, 2015 7:29 am Reply
    • The comments about taking the two bags of sandwiches were a bit of fun because it fitted with preconceptions perhaps. Remember earlier in the day the Left were mocking a deaf Conservative MP for leaning over listening to the loudspeaker built into the seats in the Commons.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

      Lundavra September 16, 2015 8:00 am Reply
      • Our politics are close to being beyond hope.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

        newsroom September 16, 2015 8:44 am Reply
    • Are we the only country whose national anthem [and it is a pre-school dirge] celebrates a monarch and not the country itself?
      It ought to be Land of Hope and Glory, which might usefully return to us the notion of ‘Mother of the free’.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 9

      newsroom September 16, 2015 8:43 am Reply
      • It can’t be all that bad as a tune because it is used by at least one other country as their anthem and used by the Americans for one of their patriotic songs. I read earlier that it also inspired the German anthem.

        Perhaps we should be grateful that we also have such inspiring ‘anthems’ as ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Jerusalem’ as heard on Saturday at the Last Night of the Proms.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

        Lundavra September 16, 2015 9:31 am Reply
  • I seem to remember from my childhood that there was a time when people stood to attention at the end of a cinema show and sang the national anthem. That tradition disappeared without trace.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

    Robert Wakeham September 16, 2015 10:32 am Reply
  • I think that all ended when the Reichstag was stormed…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

    JB September 16, 2015 12:32 pm Reply
  • NEWSIE– LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY– what a joke… cant see you singing that to your SDLP friends back home in the emerald isle—you stick to rebellious Scots to crush at least we know where you stand or sit! Were a nice lot us Scots we can see the irony.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

    No Cheese Here September 16, 2015 8:33 pm Reply
  • Our resident racist still at it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

    JB September 17, 2015 7:04 am Reply
    • Isn’t it the National Anthem that produces some racist lines JB?
      I lIke JB’s input to the debate, she is doing a great job.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

      REIDA September 17, 2015 10:52 am Reply
      • shucks reido, you make a girl blush. Remind me when you heard a leading public figure sing that line? Oh, never? Oh well! I wonder if our resident racist thinks anyone living in Scotland that is not, how can I put it…’from’ Scotland, is not actually Scottish? A racist through and through I would suggest. SNP or BNP i wonder?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

        JB September 17, 2015 3:27 pm Reply
        • ‘Shucks’????? – are you an American, little JellyBean?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

          Robert Wakeham September 17, 2015 4:36 pm Reply
        • If you are French and live in England are your French or English?
          Are you English living in Spain or are your Spanish or do you still collect your pension so that makes you British?
          Do you feel British English Welsh Irish or Scots or dare I say European it is surely up to that individual to decide. Apparently as a Scot living in Scotland some folk who aren’t Scots can determine I am a Brit whether I want to be or not.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

          No Cheese Here September 17, 2015 10:17 pm Reply
          • And they can determine that you’re a European, whether you want to be or not – in terms of nationality. Ethnicity is different, and for all I know you could be anything under the sun, and not European.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

            Robert Wakeham September 18, 2015 12:39 am
  • Even if Corbyn has no chance of ever being PM – does not mean that as a sympathizer of various terrorist groups including the IRA – that he should ever be allowed knowledge that could threaten our national security – and if he is such a dedicated republican – he should have stuck to his so called principals and refused membership of the privy council -the man is a bad joke – a very bad joke in the real world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

    sam September 17, 2015 11:52 am Reply
    • Principles?

      They seem to flip by the hour.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      Lundavra September 17, 2015 12:50 pm Reply
      • Is that politicians in general or Jeremy Corbyn in particular?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

        keith stanger September 17, 2015 3:15 pm Reply
    • The ‘real world’ being the likes of the David & George show? – not to mention Boris, waiting in the wings.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

      Robert Wakeham September 17, 2015 4:39 pm Reply
  • JB
    REID A please not REID O
    I don’t recognise a resident racist, just some who get it slightly wrong.
    If you lean too far either way is can be easy to fall, and in the debate some things are said which on reflection could have been said better.
    In the changing world, race, to many people can become more important while I think it should be less important.
    Education is the key to everything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    REIDA September 18, 2015 1:33 pm Reply
  • When the Labour Party lose a few by-elections or the General Election in 2020 then the penny will drop and Jeremy Corbyn will be ousted as Leader of the Labour Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Treble T September 25, 2015 9:55 pm Reply
    • Going by the various reports today of the impact of George Osborne’s current activities you might need to think again about the impact of Jeremy Corbyn.
      From industrial-scale strangulation of sustainable energy initiatives just when they’re beginning to evolve from expensive innovation into viable mainstream power sources, to gifting the Chinese leadership a propaganda victory on their execrable human rights record, to practically writing the Chinese a blank cheque for British nuclear power projects, to inviting the Chinese to do the engineering procurement for the British high speed rail project – and, back in Britain, to pushing lots of public money (belt-tightening, anyone?) at the increasingly less credible and more expensive folly of a garden footbridge / private party venue across the Thames. You’d be hard put to make it up, TTT.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

      Robert Wakeham September 25, 2015 11:33 pm Reply

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