Corbyn and the Labour Party | What's Left

| July 18, 2016

In a classic example of the people versus the elite, the Labour Party is in a slow moving coup. Whether the people can make it a revolution is yet to be seen.

Sign-up to What’s Left weekly enewsletter

It is not just conjecture, there is now proof that the media is overwhelmingly skewing the positions of UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corby. A London School of Economics report has shown that 75% of stories about Jeremy Corbyn misrepresent his views. Fifteen percent of the 812 examined articles represented his views correctly, but then challenged the legitimacy of his positions. Only 11% of the articles actually presented his views without negative comment.

This purposeful misreporting is a small example of the campaign to turn the public against Corbyn. The lust for power amongst the Labour Party’s right-wing elite can not be realized as long as the vast majority of the membership of the Party continues to rally behind the leader they elected.

It is shocking that this campaign of manipulation has reached such a level. With yet another leadership contest in full swing, the elite know that, unless they can change the facts, Labour Party members may very well give Corbyn an even stronger mandate. Recent polls have him miles ahead in terms representing the interests and views of the majority of British people in the Labour Party. When asked who would have a better chance of winning a general election, members gave Corbyn a 50% chance while giving his main challenger, Angela Eagle, odds of only 23%.

Of course, media manipulation isn’t just a factor in misrepresenting the views of Corbyn. Similar tactics are being used to improve the public’s perception of new Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader Theresa May. Her hard right-wing positions, regressive policies, and controversial voting history – especially on privacy rights – are being largely glossed over.

The Labour Party is not like any party here in Canada. It has a very large (well over 400,000) and active membership, a significant number of elected MPs (230 out of a total of 650), and controls over a third of local (municipal and district) elected council seats across the UK. Many Local Party associations are fully funded and serve as community hubs. Even the smallest local associations run local candidates and campaigns throughout the UK on Labour Party tickets. It is at this level that you see the true membership of the Labour Party: working people, progressive community activists, and socialists.

The support for Corbyn and his policies comes from this level of the Labour Party.

Unfortunately, the base has been taken for granted since the 1990’s by the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) – made up of elected MPs – who decided they did not have to represent the views of the broader membership anymore. The PLP and the party’s National Executive Council (which it controls) is now scared that they will lose control of the direction of the broader party to the membership. The reaction from these small groups of elite has been excessive and top-down. As examples, the anti-Corbyn elite have recently banned local meetings of some of the largest associations, annulled local association votes, and essentially ejected over 100,000 members from the Labour Party in an attempt to crush the membership’s support for Corbyn.

It is a classic political battle of the elite against the masses, happening in the only UK party that represents democracy for working people. This dynamic is not new in the Labour Party, but serves as a microcosm of how democracy operates in the UK. Whatever the result, it will lead to a more engaged base of democracy activists.

Three-quarters of newspaper stories about Jeremy Corbyn fail to accurately report his views, LSE study finds

Jeremy Corbyn was relaxed about the impending challenge to his leadership as he was interviewed at his local cafe

A walk in the park with Jeremy Corbyn | BBC

Labour grassroots rebel against NEC restrictions on leadership contest

The LatestT