As centrists pile on to attack Corbyn, Twitter strikes back with an important dose of truth

Jo Swinson and Jeremy Corbyn
Ed Sykes

The Brecon and Radnorshire constituency was a Liberal Democrat seat until the party’s electoral wipeout in 2015. The Lib Dems have now won it back from the Tories in a by-election, reducing Boris Johnson’s working parliamentary majority to just one. And centrists have been hailing the victory as a defeat for Jeremy Corbyn. But the truth is far less straightforward.

Not exactly an overwhelming success…

The Lib Dem candidate narrowly defeated Conservative Chris Davies. The latter had lost the seat after a petition which followed a “conviction for a false expenses claim”. The Lib Dems had left out any ‘Remain’ talk from its leaflets in the Brexit-voting constituency; but with just under 14,000 votes, the party still failed to reach its pre-Coalition tally of around 18,000 in 2010. As Cardiff University’s Prof Laura McAllister pointed out, it was not a “resounding victory” for Remainers, because the three pro-Brexit parties still had more votes than the ‘Remain alliance’.

While increasing its votes in 2017, Labour hadn’t held the seat since losing it in 1979, and many always saw the by-election as a “two-horse” Tory/Lib Dem race. As Jeremy Corbyn said:

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The Liberal Democrats won it after doing a deal with Plaid Cymru and the Greens.

I think that a lot of voters were determined to get rid of the Conservative, and they voted accordingly. So we were squeezed, but it’s a place we have not held for a very long time.

In the parallel centrist universe, however…

For many centrists, the by-election was somehow a clear and telling defeat for Labour:

Tory-lite Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, meanwhile, suggested it was a big defeat for both Corbyn and Boris Johnson:

Truth and perspective

Fortunately, though, Twitter users gave Britain a much-needed dose of reality:

Haters gonna hate

Corbyn’s Labour is still trying to restore Britain’s trust in both politics and his own party after the Tory-lite years of Tony Blair and co. And he’s doing all of that with the media, political, and economic establishment firmly against him. Just this week, for example, controversial billionaire Alan Sugar tried to link Corbyn’s shadow cabinet to a 15th-century massacre; and a right-wing paper shamelessly sought to pin rising antisemitism on the veteran anti-racist politician (and not the populist far right) with no evidence, and despite him leading consistently strong action to defeat racism.

The Labour leader is standing firm despite the propaganda, though. He’s making his plan for a “green industrial revolution” a core part of his campaigning; travelling around the country listening to ordinary people; offering peaceintegrity, and an end to disastrous and wasteful regime-change wars abroad; pledging to stop the devastation of austerity; and proposing a truly transformative democratic vision for Britain’s future.

So while the troubled Tories may have lost in Brecon and Radnorshire, the centrist attacks on Corbyn’s Labour are little more than wishful thinking. Because Corbyn is going nowhere. And no amount of deluded centrist posturing is going to change that.

Featured image via screenshot and Sophie Brown

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