The Mail on Sunday devoted 15 pages to exclusive extracts from a new book about Jeremy Corbyn. Tom Bower’s book, Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot For Power, claims to uncover “the truth about the Marxist who wants to be PM”. But the latest episode in the ongoing smear campaign against Corbyn backfired. Spectacularly. In fact, it backfired so badly that Corbyn supporters took the “Dangerous Hero” tag and ran with it, to boost his popularity.
“Obvious falsehoods and laughable claims”
Bower is, allegedly, “Britain’s top investigative author”. But the extracts simply reveal a torrid barrage of insults and unfounded insinuations. Although the Mail claims the book “paints a chilling picture of a bitter extremist hiding behind a mask of geniality”, the most chilling thing about it was the atrocious writing.
Most of the ‘investigation’ is total bullshit. For example, according to Bower, Labour’s strategy & communications director Seumas Milne briefs The Canary to smear Corbyn’s opponents:
Meanwhile, the relentless campaign against his enemies was directed from the Labour leader’s office. Milne and others ‘anonymously’ briefed social media websites such as The Canary and Squawk Box [sic] to target anyone who stood up to them.
The Canary can categorically confirm it’s never had such a brief. Labour’s press office also confirmed what a load of tosh Bower’s book is:
Tom Bower’s poorly researched and tawdry hatchet job is packed with obvious falsehoods and laughable claims: from events that never took place to invented conversations and elementary errors of fact. pic.twitter.com/FuGyg9YXXk
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
— Labour Press Team (@labourpress) February 10, 2019
“Invented conversations” and “laughable claims” aside, the Mail actually gave Corbyn a well-timed popularity boost. This was partly because Bower’s claims are so ludicrous:
Just read some of the Daily Mail slurs against Jeremy Corbyn. Some will make you chuckle…. apparently Jeremy…
• ‘Never read Trotsky’
• ‘Abandoned his vegetarian principles’
• ‘almost’ had his house repossessed
• ‘attended the British Kebab awards’
Peak Daily Mail.
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) February 10, 2019
…and, quite simply, wrong:
Tom Bower in the @DailyMailUK is wrong on the very basics. There is no Lenin portrait in @LenMcCluskey office and Momentum hasn’t had a penny from Unite. Getting simple facts wrong makes us wonder what he gets right #DangerousHero
— Unite the union (@unitetheunion) February 10, 2019
So “Dangerous Hero” took social media by storm. But probably not in the way the right-wing rag intended. It didn’t take long for people to point out that Corbyn is indeed a ‘dangerous hero’. #DangerousHero is still going strong – in full support of Corbyn:
Be in no doubt: the MSM are preaching to their choir and they can no longer set, & dictate, the narrative.
We are winning, Comrades! pic.twitter.com/1OuZtc6K4T
— James! (@James4Labour) February 10, 2019
Many people pointed out the huge difference between Corbyn and Theresa May’s response to the Grenfell tower survivors:
— Oliver 🌹✊💚 #GTTO #ClimateAction #JC4PM (@tynewrc) February 10, 2019
Because Corbyn genuinely does do politics in a different way:
— C0RBYNAT0R (@Corbynator2) February 10, 2019
Tom, I reckon this backfired mate, I wouldn’t come out of hiding just yet. A man who wants to improve conditions for working people, fight for the sick, disabled and homeless and make tax dodgers cough up? Give me this #DangerousHero any day of the week. #GTTO #SocialistSunday pic.twitter.com/DUCbEUGYMg
— Peter Hughes (@PeteHughesUnite) February 10, 2019
Coming soon! #DangerousHero tee shirts, badges, allotment gardening kits in William Morris design, post cards, brand label rhubarb and strawberry jam…the Fail on Sunday knows how to get the economy moving! https://t.co/GktbGnrPyC
— Nigel Todd (@nigelwingrove) February 11, 2019
A true hero is someone who doesn’t mind helping people out:
— Dave. #JC4PM2019 (@davcon73) February 10, 2019
And Corbyn’s in pretty good company with a few other people the Mail branded ‘dangerous’:
Other heroes the Daily Heil considered dangerous:
Martin Luther King
Jeremy Corbyn is in good company. #DangerousHero
— Hajo Meyer's Violin (@WarmongerHodges) February 10, 2019
Indeed, the Mail‘s hatchet job was the kind of PR stunt that would cost a fortune:
Huge congratulations to Labour for somehow bribing the Mail on Sunday to label Jeremy Corbyn a "Dangerous Hero", which sounds like the title of an edgy superhero film #DangerousHero https://t.co/lHWxIX5EcL
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) February 10, 2019
— Bath Labour Party (@BathLabourParty) February 10, 2019
And it’s actually boosted Labour membership:
I’m joining the Labour Party #DangerousHero
— Andrew Zanellan (@wxmcru) February 10, 2019
— Ben Ashcroft (@AshcroftBen) February 10, 2019
Meanwhile, many people feel that the Mail‘s desperation is a clear sign not only of a Tory Party in panic but a potential general election;
Thanks to anti-Corbyn book for highlighting that he really is THE PEOPLE'S HERO. Proof the Tories are sh***ing themselves so marginal seats get ready to see your Labour PPCs elected in the next general election – soon. #DangerousHero
— Di Coffey (@di_coffey) February 10, 2019
— Joe Dimmer (@gothbotherer) February 10, 2019
But aside from the outpouring of support for Corbyn, many people pointed out a more serious side to the Mail‘s so-called journalism:
Just what is that Chairman of the @DailyMailUK Jonathan Harmsworth, who is friends with David Cameron, French for the purpose of tax & pays no tax in the U.K. on his £1020 million fortune, hates so much about Jeremy Corbyn? #DangerousHero pic.twitter.com/1qwMDxW47Q
— Ben |#GTTO| #JC4PM2019|🌹🇵🇸 (@BenJolly9) February 10, 2019
MSM and BBC are not really attacking Jeremy Corbyn.
They are attacking Socialism and the ideas he stands for.
They are defending an elite who have done very well in 40 years of Neoliberalism, the ideology of selfish individualism.
They are attacking us.
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) February 10, 2019
And to Bower’s problematic political stance:
— 🤝 Aman 🌹 (@Aman_Sez) February 10, 2019
As Ken Loach told The Canary, he’s convinced that the closer Corbyn gets to power, the worse the attacks and smears will get. This blatant propaganda could be evidence of that. Yet, time and time again, the mainstream media ignores the fact that Labour’s membership has surged under Corbyn’s leadership. It now has far and away the biggest membership of any UK party. So those grassroots members took the latest attack and well and truly owned it. As well as being the ‘absolute boy‘ Corbyn’s now a dangerous hero. Nice one, Mail.
Featured image via Sophie Brown – Wikimedia
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop