On Sunday 11 November, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn laid a wreath at the Cenotaph to mark the 100 years since the end of World War One. But rather than seeing this as a mark of respect, the right-wing media went to town. This time, by criticising his coat and the size of his poppy.
As ever, the Mail led the way with a headline that claimed Corbyn looked “scruffy and disrespectful”. Its first headline claimed he looked “like a tramp”. Although this seems to have been changed, the Mail failed to edit the call for comments on the original headline:
But many on social media defended Corbyn against this desperate smear.
Some pointed out that more criticism should be levelled at Tony Blair:
Ahh, this again. After a ceremony about peace everyone’s talking about the size of the pin on Jeremy’s coat and not the warmonger above his shoulder who sent nearly 180 British soldiers to an early grave after the illegal invasion of Iraq. https://t.co/ZkvVO5Ok9t
— Liam Young (@liamyoung) November 11, 2018
Blair led the UK into the invasion of Iraq. That war killed hundreds of thousands of people, and the Chilcot inquiry concluded it was unnecessary. This is the same man that many think should be prosecuted as a war criminal.
Meanwhile, others suggested that before criticising Corbyn’s lack of “respect”, people should take a look at his voting record:
Blair: Afghanistan/Iraq, 635 UK military, 210,000 civilians dead.
Cameron: Libya/Syria, 1,500 civilians killed, £40 Billion of arms sold.
May: Yemen, 5,200 civilians killed, £3.5 Billion of arms to Saudi Arabia.
— EL4C (@EL4JC) November 11, 2018
I see they're out for Corbyn again – it's the wrong coat this time. You want to judge political leaders on respect they show for war? Fine. Check their voting record, not their clothing: this man shows more respect than anyone. #LestWeForget #ArmisticeDay100 #RemebranceDay2018
— Sarah (@ScouseGirlMedia) November 11, 2018
But some of the strongest voices of support for Corbyn came from veterans themselves:
Before you idiots start banging on about Jeremy Corbyn's coat. I'm a 79 year old ex Army, "War pensioner" And I don't give a flying toss what he wears. He is the only politician I know who would actively protect ex service personnel, unlike the Tories who create their problems!
— richard oneill (@silverrich39) November 11, 2018
And many others commented on the plight of veterans under this Conservative government:
Imagine watching remembrance ceremony & thinking the WW1 dead would want you to be outraged over the colour and style of Jeremy Corbyn's coat. I think they'd be more bothered that the people in charge cry crocodile tears as they leave 1000s of homeless veterans out in the cold.
— Ollie ??? (@Ollie4themany) November 11, 2018
Tories criticising Corbyn's coat when their party is killing ex-servicemen and -women through destitution, despair, homelessness and hunger is the sickest of sick jokes on this memorial day.
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) November 11, 2018
To all those who have criticised #Corbyn for the coat he wore today, let me just say that I hope you tweeted with as much self righteous indignation at the news of the death of Darren Greenfield.#RememberanceDay2018 #Corbyn #Cenotaph #Veterans pic.twitter.com/uN3p4ycCNc
— Hovellin' Hermit (@HovellingHermit) November 11, 2018
Too many UK veterans rely on charity rather than receiving support from the same state that sent them to war. At least 13,000 veterans are also homeless, according to the Mirror, and most of these suffer from PTSD. And this is something that Corbyn also noted on Remembrance Day:
Let today spur us into action to give our veterans the support they deserve.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 11, 2018
Two stories today:
*Jeremy Corbyn demands an end to veterans being left homeless.
*Jeremy Corbyn's coat has a hood.
Guess which the media highlights.
— Alan Gibbons (@mygibbo) November 11, 2018
The bottom line is that it’s November in England, and wearing a coat with a hood really isn’t disrespectful. Unlike the swathes of people who passed judgement on Corbyn’s actions:
Shocking revelation here. Jeremy Corbyn wore A COAT on a showery day in London today. I think Kev is a bit of a knob. https://t.co/fKzael4Iqg
— Rachael Swindon #GTTO (@Rachael_Swindon) November 11, 2018
But other suggested that perhaps there was a little more behind this latest media attack:
To understand the motivation behind why writers at the Sun, Daily Mail & Express are attacking Corbyn so bitterly over his coat, all you need to remember is Corbyn promised to clamp down on wholesale tax avoidance, including that by right wing billionaire newspaper owners
— The Pileus (@thepileus) November 11, 2018
It’s unlikely that the relentless media attack on Corbyn will stop. But this latest ‘charge’ shows that right-wing outlets are getting more desperate by the day. Meanwhile, grassroots support for the Labour leader looks stronger than ever. A general election really can’t come soon enough.
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