Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Sign Momentum's Open Letter On BBC Bias

Tonight, the BBC's Panorama will air another hatchet job on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.  Anyone reading my blog knows that I am far from uncritical of Corbyn's politics over Brexit, and other matters, including his support for various reactionary petit-bourgeois nationalist movements and regimes, on the basis purely of their supposed "anti-imperialist" credentials.  Like Chris Williamson, I think that Corbyn and the leadership's failure stand up to all of the manufactured outrage over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, which at most amounts to around 0.06 of party members, has simply encouraged the Tories, and right-wing Labour MP's, hostile to Corbyn to use it as a stick with which to beat him and the left in the party.  Nevertheless, Corbyn, and more importantly, the movement that was created in 2015 to get him elected Leader, is the most significant and hopeful development in the party in the last 75 years of its history.  That is why the Tories and the Tory media, along with their allies amongst the Labour Right and Soft Left of the Labour Party are so desperate to reverse it.

That is why, whilst not for a moment ceasing to criticise Corbyn for his reactionary politics over Brexit, and even less criticising the Stalinist cabal of advisers that stand behind him that encourage these reactionary politics, we should defend Corbyn against the attacks from the Tories and their representatives in the Tory media, aided and abetted by the Labour Right who are feeding these attacks for their own political ends.  Momentum, which itself has contributed to some of these problems as a result of its own undemocratic structure as a company owned by Jon Lansman, rather like the Brexit company has been created by Nigel Farage, and because of its own willingness to accommodate the Labour Right over questions of anti-Semitism, and deselection of MP's, has published an Open Letter to Director General of the BBC, Tony Hall, complaining about the biased nature of the programme it is proposing to put out tonight.

They are asking people to sign the open letter, and I would also encourage everyone to do so, by going to the Open Letter, and clicking the button.  As Momentum say in the letter, and in their video, John Ware has a history of bias against Corbyn, not to mention a series of instances where his objectivity has been shown to be in question, even leading to him having to pay out legal damages.  He was criticised by the BBC's own magazine for a report he produced in the 1980's, about supposed left-wing Labour Councils.  The magazine said, his documentary had abandoned “any attempt at a reasoned, detached, analytic or investigative programme”.

So, its hard to see why the BBC chose to allow him to produce this documentary other than in order to pursue its own campaign against Corbyn and the Labour Party.  The documentary does not come as an isolated event.  The BBC and Labour Right have kept up a continued, drip-drip propaganda offesnive against Labour and Corbyn over the question of anti-Semitism for months, as they have clearly identified that as a useful lever with which to prise open the coalition of support for Corbyn, itself encouraged as Williamson has said, by the failure of Corbyn himself, and the Labour Leadership to confront the anti-Semitism smears, which merely facilitates the claims of the Labour Right that Labour really does have a significant anti-Semitism problem.  Its no coincidence that a couple of days before the showing of the documentary, three right-wing Labour peers, chose that particular moment to resign the Labour whip, and to run to the media to announce it.  That enabled all those right-wing Labour MP's, like Margaret Hodge, who have still not been able to bring themselves to accept that Corbyn was elected Leader, to also run to the media and spread their accusations against him without fear of challenge or being fact checked.

It has also been accompanied by a media campaign that has sought to confuse and conflate Labour seeking to prevent the disclosure of personal data in relation to individuals charged with anti-Semitism, with the question of Non-Disclosure Agreements used to gag whistle blowers.  Even the mild mannered Andy MacDonald, was led to be visibly angered by the misinterpretation of that by the BBC's Jo Coburn on Politics Live, today.  The continued attacks by right-wing Labour MP's such as Hodge, Mann, Sweeting et al, over the last year or so, shows just why all of these right-wing MP's should have been deselected years ago, and why conference needs to go beyond reforms to trigger ballots to the reintroduction of mandatory reselection of MP's.

There is a problem of anti-Semitism in society, and as part of society, therefore, in the Labour Party too.  But that problem inside the Labour Party is infinitesimally small, however you measure it.  It represents, at most, 0.06 of party members, and compared to the level of anti-Semitism in the Tory Party, and in wider society, it is also small.  There is a saying that "Just because you are paranoid, it doesn't mean the CIA isn't following you."  Similarly, just because the Labour Party does contain some people who are anti-Semites, it does not mean that enemies of the Labour Party, and more specifically of a left-wing Labour Party, are not using that fact, by inflating its significance as a means of destabilising the Party.  But, likewise, just because enemies of the party, and of the Left are attempting to destabilise it, and to undermine the Left in the Party by such tactics, does not mean that there is not a problem that should be addressed.

In reality, had Corbyn and his supporters dealt with the Labour Right as soon as he was elected Leader, we would not have this problem today, or not to the same degree.  The Labour "insiders" appearing in the Panorama hatchet job, are all apparently disgruntled, right-wing former Labour bureaucrats.  Deselecting right-wing Labour MP's, Councillors and apparatchiks will always mean that there is a one off, pool of such malcontents eager to spread shit via the Tory media, but as time goes by, their voices become ever more irrelevant, and seen as the sour grapes they actually are.  Yes, the BBC, Sky and other media outlets, continue to flood our screens with the MP's and advisers of yesteryear, as though they still represented something, but they don't, and increasingly everyone can see they don't, especially as alternative social media outlets provide a voice for those that the mainstream media tries to silence, and distort.

It illustrates once again, why we need a democratically controlled, Labour Movement mass media so that w can simply bypass the Biased Broadcasting Corporation, and the rest of the Tory media.

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