If the media’s on Starmer’s side, you know something’s very, very wrong

Keir Starmer
Ed Sykes

The last five years have been a nightmare. And as a result, we have a government whose handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has been fatally incompetent. Another result is a new opposition leader who seems to have the disgraced media establishment firmly behind him.

To escape this nightmare, we need to learn from it.

Five years of establishment terror

The political and economic establishment in Britain has never really lost power. But in 2015, it saw a serious threat. So it launched a scorched-earth campaign to eliminate that threat.

Establishment forces watched in shock as the Labour Party elected Jeremy Corbyn as its leader. Not only was he an anti-imperialist peaceprize winner; he also opposed the monarchy, actively supported unions, and wanted a democratic revolution – both politically and economically. He was a break from the narrow mainstream debate in UK politics. And the establishment could not allow it. So it turned his life – and that of his supporters – into a nightmare.

From the very start, Corbyn and his allies were playing tennis without a racket; and the court was never level. British elites ensured that Corbyn’s movement immediately faced ridicule, hostility, and a steep uphill struggle. A 2016 report from the London School of Economics and Political Science highlighted how Corbyn was “a political transgressor” who shocked the “media and the political establishment”, leading it to launch a campaign of “vile attack dog journalism”. And that was barely the first two months of his leadership.

As The Canary has outlined, the media propaganda and smears intensified until Corbyn’s final defeat in 2019. Labour elites, meanwhile, were also angry at members for electing Corbyn, and they helped to undermine his movement at its height between 2015 and 2017 – as the Labour Leaks scandal recently revealed. Centrist and pro-Remain fanatics then helped to destroy Corbyn’s big electoral advance in 2017 by pushing Labour to a disastrous Brexit policy (but still preferring not to back the party in the 2019 election).

‘Don’t you dare step out of the box we’ve put you in!’

In the 1988 book Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman wrote about the backlash if mainstream media content ‘strays too far away from the political consensus’. Chomsky spoke of the “spectrum of permissible debate”. And what happened with Corbyn was that he wasn’t within that spectrum. He challenged the system that British elites had set up to give citizens the illusion of democracy. So he faced the wrath of the establishment.

To defeat Corbyn, the media propaganda machine had to convince people that peace was dangerous and that human wellbeing would be disastrous. And through a putrid elitist alliance, it succeeded.

Now, Britain’s elites have an opposition they don’t fear under new Labour leader Keir Starmer. He’s no real threat to their interests, and he fits within the ‘spectrum of permissible debate’. So the charade of ‘British democracy’ can resume.

As The Canary has reported, Starmer looks set to sweep the Labour Leaks scandal under the carpet, with the help of the mainstream media; as if the sabotage of Corbyn’s movement never happened. Having played a key part in undermining Labour’s election hopes in 2019 as shadow Brexit secretary, he has already backtracked on progressive Corbyn-era positions. And he’s done it just as the government presides over the worst coronavirus death toll in Europe, getting away with little media scrutiny in the process. At the worst time possible, he has shown establishment forces that he’s no threat.

The establishment’s sigh of relief

Mainstream media big-wigs like Andrew Neil, Laura Kuenssberg, Robert Peston, and George Osborne have all given their nod of approval to Starmer. Even the political editor at Rupert Murdoch’s Sun has been praising the new Labour leader. From an outlet that viciously went after Corbyn from the very start, that’s particularly telling. As historian Mark Curtis put it:

Establishment apologists endorse Starmer. There will be no propaganda campaign. The oligarchy is safe.

Unsurprisingly, Starmer already has decent approval ratings, notably among Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters.

With expectations of a Labour Leaks whitewash, and some visibly regressive behaviour from his team, there’s a strong sense that he’s saying ‘screw you’ to the left while courting the right.

Resist!

Corbyn put himself out there. He stood up for peace, democracy, and social justice with dignity in the face of vile attacks (from the liberal Guardian to the right-wing billionaire media). But he was too nice; he compromised too much, and he didn’t use the movement behind him to democratise the Labour Party and get rid of Labour elites hell-bent on preventing the election of a progressive government. Everyone on the British left needs to learn that lesson. As trade unionist Michael McGahey once said, enemies “will stop chasing you… when you stop running”.

We owe the Tory government nothing. And we owe Keir Starmer nothing. We don’t need to resort to the disgusting establishment tactics of smears or insults. But we don’t need to be polite either; because the government has literally destroyed people’s lives, and Corbyn’s opponents were complicit in that death and suffering. If people’s lives are at stake, then we need to act like it.

Our opponents will hate and smear us because of our principles anyway; so let’s embrace it. Let’s shout the truth from the rooftops. This government has blood on its hands, as does the media establishment that has propped it up. And as the main opposition to this government, we must not allow Starmer to ditch the pledges he made to win the leadership election.

We must refuse to fall in line with ‘permissible debate’ politics. Because our ongoing resistance is more essential than ever. People’s lives literally depend on it.

Featured image via YouTube

Get involved

Some other recommendations:

  • Find a local cooperative – join in, get active, ask how you can help.
  • Join a union, get active.
  • Join a local community group – meet people you wouldn’t usually meet.
  • In every circle of life, try to get people around you question what they hear in the mainstream media, and encourage them to support independent media.

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Another red Tory. Thatcher said that Blair was her highest achievement and she’d be delighted with Starmer. I was, as they say born with a red nappy but I’m afraid that since Blair my underwear has a saltire on it.

      1. I wish I could wear a pair of Saltire keks, but all we English have is a choice of shit filled blue ones, piss stinking faded red ones, or orange ones that you don’t know which way round they go.
        Guess I’ll have to wittle me a tree hugging pair.

    2. Why are you so keen to posit the theory that ‘ordinary’ people can be so bamboozled by the dreadful types in the media that they don’t recognise exactly how holy the sainted JC is? You of course are not fooled but you seem to have a low opinion of the analytical powers of your fellow man.
      Maybe the public is not quite so thick and easily-led as you believe and perhaps they recognise that said allotment-haunter is an incompetent, inarticulate, ineffective old class war relic and see him as the joke figure he truly is.

      1. WTF ! I’m sure your organisation will be very happy with your post.

        If being someone that wants all to succeed instead of a few, who wants our key workers to earn enough to feed themselves and their families and who wants peace in this world, a relic from the past, then so be it.

        Just consider for a moment how your MSM treated Corbyn and his party then look me in the eyes and tell me how fair they were. The only relics here are those that see people as a commodity to used and then thrown away.

      2. “you seem to have a low opinion of the analytical powers of your fellow man.” I wonder what gave him that idea. We look around, we see the highest death rate in Europe, the second highest in the world and rising, utter incompetence in planning and strategy, total mismanagement of care homes in which an epidemic has been created as a direct result of policy, lie after lie, the most egregious concerning PPE and the numbers of deaths in care homes, and the latest being the two lies the PM told to Parliament on Wednesday, without a single commitment or promise fulfilled – a total shambles. But then we realise that this catastrophe, like the one in France and Italy and Spain, has been at least a decade in the making, and our electorate returned the people making it to power throughout. And in the midst of these, we read comments about the incompetence of a former opposition leader who was never in power.

        I think it’s as clear as daylight that a large section of the English population is indeed as thick and as easily led as most of us believe. They’re also arrogant and hypocritical enough to accuse others of incompetence even as the disastrous consequences of their own political choice rains death and economic destruction down upon their heads. It’s you, and people like you, with attitudes like yours, that bare the bulk of the responsibility for the situation in which we now find ourselves; blind, blinkered, greedy, selfish, self centred, arrogant, ignorant fools, and as thick as mince. Corbyn was our only hope. You voted for this, you got it. Now own it.

    3. I would like you – as a thought experiment – to imagine what the Daily Mail et al would have said if Corbyn had instituted a purge of ‘dissident’ elements in the Parliamentary Labour Party and party machinery, then consider what they actually said when Johnson did purge the Conservatives of their more moderate, jazz-loving elements. (A clue; nothing).

    4. The repugnant Starmer will certainly not depart from the pledges put on him by the Board of Deputies. Why no mention of Israel and Palestine. Israel and its many supporters was clearly seen as one of the strongest pressure groups against him.

    5. After a lifetime of mistrust in politicians of ALL parties, I joined the Labour party because of Jeremy. I haven’t left (yet). Even though Keir is a politician – in other words, one who lies when it’s expedient to do so.

      But – the media excoriated Jeremy. within weeks they’d hung him out to dry. Keir is playing a waiting game. He’s very carefully ensuring the media regard him as their ‘darling’. And to do this he has to build a picture of himself that appears to accord with what the media wants. Which will make it very much harder for them to do a convincing U-turn on him further down the line.

      I’m watching – with glee – how this former barrister is tying BloJob in knots. oh-so-politely, but not letting go his rottweiler grip. And the press are also loving it. Why not? It’s good theatre and even better, they think he’s one of ‘theirs’. (He’s not, BTW. Just keeping his head down and making sure they have nothing to hit him with – yet.

      Jeremy trusted Keir. He worked closely with him over more then three years. When the Tories were chopping and changing their Brexit secretaries (and others) every 5 minutes, Jeremy kept Keir close. If Jeremy trusted him, I will.
      Why not YOU?

      1. Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closest.

        He was one of those that walked away from JC’s team to try and bring him down.
        He was one of the major architects in Labour’s wishy washy Brexit policy.
        He’s a Stasi… sorry MI6 operative. Well he plotted with thehead of MI6 to thrash out the Snoopers Charter.
        In an interview with Woman ansd Home magazine this week it states ” He personally dealt with a number of high profile cases, including the conviction of two men in 2012 for the racially motivated murder of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence.” Mark Ellison QC led the prosecution team that got justice for Stephen Lawrence.

        To name but a few reasons.

    6. Hey, Forthestate, these are your fellow men. They may be less enlightened than you, less educated, even less intelligent than you, maybe even more easily-led. None of these things are their fault but they are citizens with a vote and, in 2019, they saw through JC & decided to put their cross elsewhere.
      This country did not want JC.
      What’s that old quote? Never mind the electorate demanding a new government, the government should demand a new electorate.
      That might fit your bill

      1. Vote for whom you want. Just accept the consequences, without excuses or deflection. Own them. They’re yours. As for my fellow, men, Jessica7301 and others commenting here represent the fellowship of my compatriots far more than anyone who put these people into power for the last ten years. A sense of fellowship has never seemed to me to be much of a motivating force behind their decisions.

    7. Look at Starmer’s ten pledges (eerily reminiscent of the B o D’s tactic). What he’s saying is this: you can have reform; you can have a bit more of the cake; you can have better funded public services; you can have nationalised utilities; you can have greater workplace rights; you can even have a law against illegal wars; but to have these you will have to accept an unjust world order. You will have to live with capitalism. And, don’t forget, you will be an anti-Semite if you dare to criticise the Israeli State or Zionism. Thus, the promise evaporates because all he offers will be taken away by the system he is not willing to challenge at its core. Israel/Palestine is the seminal moral issue of our time. To leave Israeli power unchecked and Palestinian suffering unrelieved, is ti accept a world order which makes a mockery of all the small but welcome reforms he offers. He is offering a bribe: accept world injustice and you can have a few more quid a week and a shorter wait for your surgery. Justice is indivisible. What we want for ourselves we want for the Palestinians. Don’t call us racists for that.

    8. Forthestate I’m glad we agree that each citizen can vote for whom they choose; of course they must all accept the consequences. I’m not surprised that you cleave to like-minded people; we all do that: there is comfort in confirmation.
      But my opinion is that the UK electorate saw through JC and were, on balance, as little influenced as you were by the media. Most people aren’t completely stupid and they know a lame duck when they see one.
      It’s a shame you don’t hold fellowship dear; perhaps dictatorship is more your cup of tea?

      1. “It’s a shame you don’t hold fellowship dear…”.

        No you’re getting away with that. “A sense of fellowship has never seemed to me to be much of a motivating force behind their decisions” refers to those who have spent the last ten years voting in a government that has demonstrated its sense of fellowship with its people by stripping back the capacity of its most vital service to the extent that its policies, past and present, have now killed more people than any country apart from the US. And you have the presumption to preach fellowship. You wouldn’t know the meaning of the word beyond the narrowest of self interest.

    9. Forthestate, I’m afraid I misread the last sentence of your previous post to mean that you deplored fellowship rather than that., as you actually said, you deplored the Tories’ lack of it.
      My mistake; I apologise.

      1. Thank you for the apology, it’s certainly accepted, with my compliments, since such candid acknowledgement of error is rare in these interchanges.

        Listen, your point about the electorate is valid in so far as it goes. But whilst the majority of the voting electorate is the authority to which we submit, it doesn’t exonerate it from the consequences of its decisions, or from critical judgement in general. It is perfectly possible that the electoral majority is morally bankrupt, as I believe it is. As I believe it has been in critical moments in European history. Even from a Hobbesian point of view, and I would have hoped Milton sufficient answer to Hobbes, the Leviathan is only the sum of its parts. The structure itself does not impart moral probity.

    10. Like him or Loath him Kier Starmer was elected by the majority of Labour Party members, just as Corbyn was.
      As such he will get my support 100% and I really hope we can achieve success in 5 years time, though I believe an 80 seat majority is too much to over throw in one election, by our selves.

    11. Anyone here spot the Evening Standard front paging Euan Blair’s opinions on what to do with furloughed workers?

      Looks like now the right have re-hijacked the party the lightweight turds are floating to the top of the bowl again, and they’re already lining war-criminal mini-me up for a very cosy future.

    12. From the moment Haredim Kier stepped into post, he began releasing articles in the Jewish press and holding intimate gatherings saying that his mission is to stamp out antisemitism. In my humble opinion the only antisemitism is the self victimisation by Hodge et al and all accusations that were made were withdrawn when the threat of court action appeared. The Labour Friends of Israel and their Conservative counterparts take the shekel and all complaints of Israeli occupation, the shooting of children in the head, the imprisonment in military jail’s of children; not to mention the four year boy served with court papers recently, ALL warrant expulsion from the Labour Party on grounds of antisemitism. Let us not forget that Hodge is an Egyptian New with a family business worth billions, attached away off shore. She said hat she will continue the fight….there is more antisemitism and Islamophobia in the Conservative Party than the rest of Britain…..why doesn’t she spend her time going after them?

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.