Rumours are flying that a snap general election could be imminent. Dutifully, a number of Britain’s media outlets have lurched into ‘attack Corbyn’ mode. Both the Financial Times (FT) and the Daily Mail, among others, came out fighting against Labour plans for housing and workers if it gets into government.
But little do these anti-Corbyn warriors know from within their establishment echo chamber that the plans are supported by a lot of people. And Jeremy Corbyn’s own response to the attacks helped explain why.
Right on the money
The FT‘s front-page story on 2 September was about a Labour plan for employee ownership. The proposal, first floated by shadow chancellor John McDonnell in 2018, would see companies with 250 or more employees create an ‘inclusive ownership fund’ (IOF). Companies would put 1% of their shares into this fund each year. Once the fund, which workers would own, reaches 10% of a company’s equity, the yearly transfer of shares would end. Labour says the plan would give workers a boost to their salaries of up to £500 via dividends for the shares. It would also give workers a voice in company votes as shareholders.
But here’s how the Financial Times decided to describe that plan to its readers:
Labour would cost UK companies £300bn by shifting shares to staff
Clearly, that headline doesn’t give a positive impression of Labour’s plan; even though, as Jacobin points out, companies routinely ‘cost’ themselves value in a similar way, by issuing new shares. The difference is, these shares are often issued so companies can hand them to executives – to prop up their already excessive pay – rather than workers.
In response to the FT‘s cynical headline, Corbyn sublimely cut to the core of the plan, saying:
The Financial Times is right:
“The Labour leadership is determined to shift power away from bosses and landlords and to workers and tenants.” pic.twitter.com/781CAuOCqw
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) September 2, 2019
Keep ’em coming
The Daily Mail also trotted out an attack piece on Labour. It claimed John McDonnell will “declare war” on buy-to-let landlords. It told readers that the plan gives a “chilling insight” into what would happen under a Labour government. In reality, McDonnell revealed that his party wants to tackle the “burgeoning buy-to-let market” by making it easier for workers to buy the homes they live in. Corbyn himself raised this idea back in 2015.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Mail went for an attack on the Labour leader’s appearance. Standard.
Daily Mail ‘With a bag for life on each shoulder straddling his old Raleigh racer, Jeremy Corbyn gears up for a return to Parliament. The Labour Leader also wore a human rights T-shirt on a trip to local shops yesterday’
— ARTIST TAXI DRIVER (@chunkymark) September 2, 2019
So clearly, the mainstream media have now got their game on. Expecting an imminent general election, outlets have pulled out the ‘get Corbyn’ artillery. But their ammunition is lacking. Because here’s the sum total of what we learned from these attacks: Labour wants to help workers shafted by the economic system and renters robbed by the housing system. Corbyn also supports human rights and sustainable shopping.
That the media finds any of this ‘chilling’ really does sum up the disgraceful state of the industry today.
Featured image via The Guardian/YouTube
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