Monday, 1 August 2016

Who Are The Real Bullies Here?

John Lynch writes:

To all those working on the ‘Get Corbyn’ strategy at The Guardian, do you remember all those articles you were running a few years back on how people were apathetic and disillusioned with politics in the UK?

So much so that they could scarcely be bothered to vote.

Here let me remind you: 

The Guardian has a whole section devoted to voter apathy, in fact. If we go further back do you recall how trust in politicians was at an all-time low? That’s what you told us:

Something must be done you told us, something must change.

Well something has changed, I have never seen a period when so many people have been passionately engaged with politics.

Perhaps the referendums on Scottish Independence and EU membership are partly responsible, but the main reason is Jeremy Corbyn.

Now, we all know that the Parliamentary Labour Party never had any intention of allowing Corbyn to lead the party.

It was a mistake. They underestimated the hunger so many people have for an alternative to the neoliberal consensus.

But Corbyn was elected with a huge mandate and his leadership of the Labour Party has seen meeting halls packed out, a huge increase in membership and most hearteningly a groundswell of enthusiasm from younger voters.

I would have thought you would be delighted with this new energy pouring into the democratic process. But instead of celebrating, you seem hell bent on destroying it. Why?

Why do you keep telling lies about Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters?

Why do you have a merry-go-round of paid columnists rubbishing, smearing and distorting his every word and action?

Why are you manufacturing news articles on a daily basis to cast his leadership and legitimacy into question?

Let me tell you what your readers say about you now – comments posted on our own humble blog:

"I actually have to thank The Guardian for it’s extreme anti-Corbynism stance – if I hadn’t been so disgusted at their non-journalistic lie, smear and spin campaign, I might never have investigated further – and joined the Labour Party!"

Not quite the result you were looking for I guess – here’s another:

"The Guardian HAS become part of the establishment and I wonder whether newspapers as a whole are on the way out.

"The Internet provides far more up to date information and I have only a passing interest in reading what happened yesterday, unless the journalism is high quality which it rarely is.

"I am more likely to read more specialised magazines or simply rely on social media for my news and info."

These comments rank as generous tributes compared to what your online readership thinks about you – doesn’t that concern you?

Don’t you have a moral duty as journalists to report the truth? Isn’t that the basis of your position and status within society? Isn’t that what you were trained to do?

To list all the instances of your ‘Get Corbyn’ strategy is beyond the scope of a letter (we would need a book or perhaps a new online encyclopaedia) but here are a few. 

Added to these blatantly false stories are the hundreds of deliberately slanted and wilfully misleading articles whose sole aim is to undermine and bully Corbyn and his supporters.

The focus of your ‘Get Corbyn’ strategy is to smear his supporters as abusive, racist, bullies – what a way to encourage people to participate in politics! 

All of the people who have recently joined the Labour Party, the Momentum movement and who have attended rallies up and down the land don’t have the advantages you have. 

They don’t have comfortable salaries, a secure job or the resources of a multi-million pound media behemoth to speak for them.

So we have to wonder, who are the real bullies here? Perhaps you are.

If you succeed in your aim to silence Corbyn and the alternative political narrative he represents, will you be proud of yourselves? Well?

Proud that you stood shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in Britain so you could brow beat a popular movement for change amongst ordinary voters?

Proud that you managed to subvert real engagement in democracy amongst the young people who will spend their lives clearing up after our mistakes?

Proud that you betrayed the ethics of your profession so you could defend your own cosy relationship with the establishment?

I don’t expect that you will answer this letter – it seems The Guardian floats above the despair and disgust of its readership these days.

But at least do one thing – spare us the sanctimony.

Spare us the hand wringing about the collapse of the wages of British workers, the privatisation of the NHS, the rise in food banks, the rise in homelessness, the rise in child poverty, the chaos in the Middle East and the terrorism that we have helped to foment, the destruction of the environment and the insidious extension of corporate power over all aspects of our lives.

But most of all, please spare us the abject hypocrisy of whining about British apathy towards politics.

Let it never be forgotten that when masses of people of all ages tried to get involved in politics, to have a voice, to have a vote and to make a meaningful difference – your role was to try and bully them back into silence.

You continue to misrepresent the views of this new political engagement, to smear their peaceful protests and to glowingly promote the frantic and ugly scramblings of the neoliberal consensus to retain control.

You have let us and yourselves down. You do not deserve to inherit the credibility, respect and authority that The Guardian’s proud history has bequeathed to you.

But consider yourself warned.

A whole generation of bloggers, commentators, independent journalists and free news websites is filling the space that you have vacated.

We won’t let you squash this new democratic impulse without a fight.

If The Guardian simply runs out of supporters and money one day soon then don’t blame social media for your demise.

Your lack of integrity and relevance is all your own work.

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