The Chattering Classes were at it again this weekend. Putting the boot in on Jeremy Corbyn. The same vitriolic personal attacks from the same caustic mainstream media publications who have been out to get him from day one. Indeed, John McDonnell hit the nail on the head when he told the Independent that the 'whole media establishment' is out to destroy Jeremy Corbyn', having previously announced, in the immediate aftermath of the Copeland byelection result, that a 'second Labour coup' had already begun.
Interestingly enough, just as the Shadow Chancellor was being quoted by the Independent as saying that mainstream media attacks on the current leadership should be attributed to 'oligarchs protecting their power base', one of the Blairites in his own party was claiming in the pages of the same newspaper that Mr. Corbyn was 'the one issue on the doorstep' at Copeland the previous week'; and that anyone who suggested otherwise was 'lying'. The Blairite in question, Ben Bradshaw, had then gone on to repeat his claim that 'the only issue was Jeremy Corbyn,' before continuing in praise of the 'incredible and very important' contributions that Tony Blair and John Major had made to the Brexit debate.
Meanwhile, on the Guardian's website, news had broken that a controversial new report had been leaked which was suggestive of the Labour Party having lost 'nearly 26,000 members since mid-2016' and that 'most of those leaving had joined the party after' the '2015 general election, with 7,000 quitting after Corbyn told MPs to back' the 'Brexit bill'. Unfortunately, due to the fact that none of those whose membership had lapsed were actually questioned by Labour, or interviewed in the Guardian, with regard to why they had left the Party, or no longer appeared on the stats, their exact reasons for leaving remain obscure. So, as John Harris quipped from another page on the same website that although 'Twitter parodies won’t worry Corbyn', '....his supporters deserting him should', the entire basis for the overall content of his column for this week was speculative to say the least.
In view of this, it should be remembered first and foremost that large numbers of people had paid good money to join the Labour Party after the 2015 General Election, on the understanding that they would be able to participate in the Labour leadership election; only to be told that this was not the case. Besides the three thousand or so members who were prevented from active participation for non compliance with the ‘aims and values’ of the Labour Party, and other related issues, some 40,000 of the 183,000 people who joined in the immediate run up to the vote appear to have been disqualified by the Party, with a further 10,000 being given a referral to the scrutiny committee. And this, according to the very same website that is now trying to insinuate that this supposed mass exodus is all down to Corbyn or Brexit. Even the Russian news service RT could only offer more speculative conjecture on the matter, cobbled together from the Twittersphere.
So what are the true facts regarding the Copeland byelection? Last week, whilst engaging in some of the debate on the Guardian discussion threads on the 'comment is free' section of the paper's website, I chanced upon some interesting observations from a gentleman named Martin Snell. Unlike most, if not all, of the media pundits who seemed to be trying to put the blame for it all on Corbyn, Mr. Snell seemed to exhibit a detailed local knowledge of geography, social demographics and politics, which had led him to draw everyone's attention to some interesting and hitherto overlooked facts that the mainstream media appeared to be completely unaware of. 'There are different kinds of opinion, informed, unbiased and their alternatives, for instance,' Mr. Snell began, without pointing the finger at anyone in particular.
'Bearing that in mind it is difficult not to wonder why the assertion that 'this constituency' has been in Labour control for over 80 years, repeated ad nauseum in the last 24 hours has gone unchallenged', he then continued, before pointing out that in fact 'this constituency' has only existed in its current state since the boundary changes of 2010, which saw the incorporation of (amongst others) the town of Keswick which, according to the latest census, has a population of over 5,000, over 80% of whom self-identify as 'Professional, Management, or Skilled Technical '.
Anyone commenting on the 'historic' nature of Labour's defeat in Copeland would do well to research the history and changing demographics of the constituency before allowing themselves the luxury of considering their opinion to be either unbiased or, for that matter, informed.
Such a person might do well to read an editorial piece penned in April 2010 (in local paper The News and Star) entitled 'Have boundary changes made Copeland a marginal seat?'
They might also do well to consider that, even before changes to both the boundaries and regional demographics, a previous incumbent, Dr Jack Cunningham, saw his own majority slashed to less than 5000 in 2001, from more than 12000 four years earlier, a majority that had remained virtually unchanged for thirty years. (A loss, incidentally, of 7000 votes, compared to the 4000 lost this time).
By 2015, Cunningham's successor, Jamie Reid, had seen that majority halved again to just over 2500.
History can be read as a series of precipitous events, or it can be viewed as the result of long-standing trajectories.
A less biased commentator than I might view Labour's defeat as a culmination, a slow-motion train crash, that began with the breaking of trust between the Blair/Brown Labour Party, and the working classes they were elected to represent.'
These are the true facts that the mainstream media, and the Guardian and the Independent in particular, have chosen to ignore. For those who are interested as to why this should be, one of the prime movers in the campaign to unseat Jeremy Corbyn, with particular reference to the Copeland byelection, has been Tom Watson. Last week I conjectured, in a previous blog post, that Mr. Watson's universally declared financial links to Max Mosley, a key player in the Bernie Eccleston Affair that scandalized the Blair Administration during its first term of office, may have had something to do with the Deputy Leader's present stance on Mr. Corbyn.
In view of this, I would be interested to see if Ben Bradshaw would go so far as to refer to Mr, Snell as a liar. I would also be interested to know exactly who the Guardian's main sponsors presently are, and what, exactly, their openly declared political leanings are: if they have any. The answers are out there, truly out there!