With Theresa May bracing for a local election wipeout, the media digs up a book from 1902 to sully Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa may

The Conservative party is braced for losses of over 800 seats in the 2 May local elections. So Conservative peer and Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein dug up a book from 1902 to stain Jeremy Corbyn. And the entire media – from the Guardian to the Mail – ran with it.

Like clockwork, the smears arrive

For the fourth year in a row, the media is smearing Corbyn ahead of the local elections. This time, the attack centres on Corbyn writing a foreword for a 2011 edition of John Hobson’s 1902 book Imperialism: A Study. The book contains some antisemitic statements like claiming finance was driven:

by men of a singular and peculiar race who have behind them many centuries of financial experience.

But the book is predominantly a historical piece of political writing that’s taught in UK universities:

And, despite the Guardian attacking Corbyn for the foreword, the paper itself praised the book for changing the “contours of social thought”. And the Guardian’s Michael White previously described the book as an “influential classic”, noting that it “contains Jeremy’s own perfectly decent introductory essay”. Former prime minister Gordon Brown, meanwhile, suggested Hobson was a promoter of liberty to look up to.

Corbyn, however, wasn’t so forthright, as economics professor Yanis Varoufakis pointed out:

Other commentators also poured scorn on the attack:

Tories bracing for the local elections

Meanwhile, Conservative officials have admitted that the party faces a “difficult night” in the local elections. In fact, Talk Radio political editor Ross Kempsell reports that one Tory MP said:

I have never experienced a worse election than this on the doorstep.

And a council candidate apparently said:

Why would I get screamed and shouted at about something I can’t change, she’s no idea what we are facing.

It’s not just political, but a financial problem. The Conservatives’ treasurer Mick Davis said the party is being:

deserted by both Remain and Leave donors and therefore I am unable to run CCHQ and ensure we are capable of fighting and winning

With the Tories facing possible annihilation, the pro-establishment media needed something to bash Corbyn with. But digging up a book written in 1902 only makes them look more desperate than usual.

Featured image via Wikimedia – Rwendland / Wikimedia – Annika Haas

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  • Show Comments
    1. The Guardian’s egregious Jonathan Freedland denounced Corbyn as anti-Semitic for endorsing Hobson’s classic work on imperialism. But if Corbyn is anti-Semitic then the revered Guardian editor C. P. Scott (featured in all their begging letters) must have been doubly so. Scott employed Hobson for many years both before and after he wrote the offending work. And in fact, they were family. Scott’s son married Hobson’s daughter. We all know Freedland is not very bright but you’d expect him to know the history of his own paper.

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