Piers Morgan has done some atrocious shit in the past. During the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, though, he’s actually been doing his job well. Even some of his strongest opponents have praised him for holding the government to account. But with one tweet, he just reminded us why doing his job now doesn’t make up for all the years he’s spent shilling for the establishment.
Reacting to Boris Johnson’s U-turn on charges that health and care workers from abroad have to pay to access NHS services, Morgan couldn’t resist having a dig at former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:
Great to have a proper opposition leader again.
Our democracy needs it. https://t.co/jZnsRhQO8g
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 21, 2020
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Morgan was very much a part of vile establishment efforts between 2015 and 2019 to stop Corbyn becoming prime minister. From the start, he vocally attacked the peace-prize-winning democratic socialist. Corbyn’s focus on international human rights and sensible, moderate, social-justice policies at home was apparently just too “radical” for Morgan. For him and his fellow corporate hacks, Corbyn had to go – no matter the cost.
“A proper opposition leader”?
Johnson changed his stance on the highly controversial Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) after widespread criticism. But the charge actually came into being thanks to the Immigration Act 2014. This was also the legislation behind the Windrush scandal.
The Immigration Act 2014, however, actually had massive support in parliament. Only 16 politicians opposed it at its final reading in the House of Commons. Among these were left-wing Labour heavyweights John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, and Dennis Skinner. The tellers for the opposition, meanwhile, were Jeremy Corbyn and Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams. So when the overwhelming consensus in parliament was to pass a piece of appalling legislation, Corbyn and his allies went against the current to lead the opposition.
Later, when Corbyn was Labour leader in 2018, he guided 191 Labour MPs to oppose government plans to double the IHS. The government won the vote, but by a much smaller margin.
During his time as opposition leader, Corbyn oversaw more government defeats than any other in British history. He also energised the Labour Party, attracting the highest number of members since the 1970s and increasing the party’s vote share in 2017 more than under any other leader since 1945. According to one analysis of marginal constituencies, an extra 2,227 votes in 2017 could have put him in Downing Street. And this all happened despite Labour elites undermining his movement at its height between 2015 and 2017 – as the Labour Leaks scandal recently revealed.
The eternal stain
Morgan and his establishment buddies now have an opposition leader they don’t fear. There’s no real threat to their power anymore; so they can give token attention to ordinary people’s interests again. But we must never forget the key role they played in keeping Corbyn – a principled, compassionate man who would have actually funded the NHS properly and saved countless lives – out of power.
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