Owen Smith just made the most ridiculous claim yet in his Labour leadership campaign

Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith has made the most absurd claim of his campaign yet. According to Smith, he’s “just as radical as Jeremy Corbyn.” Sadly, his track record says otherwise.

Registration has now closed for voting as a supporter in the Labour party leadership elections. Despite increasing the charge from £3 to £25, and limiting the time period for registering to 48 hours, over 183,000 have signed up. This far exceeds the 113,000 who registered last time, and is equivalent to one person joining per second.

Owen Smith is now the only person challenging Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour party leadership. He is claiming to be a “unity” candidate who will be “just as radical as Jeremy Corbyn”. However, examining their records, it doesn’t take much to realise that Smith is far from a “radical” option – something even the police would agree with.

In fact, the only way one could possibly view Smith as radical is if you ignore everything he’s ever done. Or if you want to spin radical to mean a middle of the road centre-leftist.

Smith’s background as previously reported in The Canary was as a lobbyist with the pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, where he earned £80,000 a year. During this time, he defended private investment in the NHS and the monopolisation and overpricing of life-saving drugs.

Prior to working for Pfizer, Smith was a news producer for the BBC. While working for the Today programme, he dialled 999 in an incredibly misguided attempt to get a quote from the police.

Then there’s his actual record in politics. He is pro-trident, saying he would be willing to press the button. Yes, being willing to kill thousands of people is now supposed to be a “radical” position.

Read on...

Furthermore, he doesn’t offer any hope to the thousands of the poorest people who have been hit by austerity. Interviewed on the Andrew Marr Show, he said: “Austerity is right”. As Editor-in-Chief of The Canary, Kerry-anne Mendoza, wrote:

Austerity is an economic and social train wreck. A political choice, not an economic necessity, which has wrought absolute disaster on working and formerly middle class communities across the country, and the world. Under an Owen Smith government, British voters can expect more of the same.

The only thing Smith seems to have done which could be counted as “radical”, is to march with the miners. And that was when he was a teenager. Oh, and he claims he wouldn’t have voted to support the Iraq war – but that’s both easy to say in hindsight, and there’s been nothing to suggest he joined the million people who protested against that unjust and illegal war.

Meanwhile, Corbyn’s record speaks for itself. Before becoming an MP, he worked as a trade union official. He has spoken up on countless occasions for the poor and the dispossessed. He has vocally opposed wars, trident, and austerity. Furthermore, he has advocated for human rights and against dictators across the world – while the rest of parliament were busy granting export licenses to the arms companies fuelling the conflicts.

And, it hasn’t just been in parliament; Corbyn hasn’t just been on one march when he was 14, he’s been on hundreds, often speaking about the causes he is passionate about. He was arrested during an anti-apartheid protest outside the South African embassy in 1984 – and was later awarded compensation for wrongful arrest.

Even the police agree that Corbyn is radical. According to former undercover officer turned whistleblower, Peter Francis, Corbyn was one of 10 MPs that the Metropolitan police kept records on. This is also confirmed in a Criminal Intelligence Report compiled by the Met Police as a general purpose criminal database, which lists Corbyn as a speaker at a Gaza protest.

While Corbyn has done nothing to warrant being on a criminal database or being monitored by the police – it is more a sign of the level of state surveillance on anyone involved in campaigning –  it certainly shows his connection to radical politics are more than a shade stronger than Smith’s.

If you have paid your £25 to vote in the leadership battle and want a centre-left candidate who has formerly been in the pocket of big business, then vote for Smith. But do it with open eyes that this is what you are voting for. He is not a radical figure and we should not and will not fall for the spin.

However, if you want a truly radical candidate who will oppose austerity, and attempt to promote real alternatives, then Corbyn is the only candidate who will even attempt to deliver this.

Get involved.

Sign the petition in support of Jeremy Corbyn, if you agree.

Featured image via Wikimedia and Flickr/Gary Knight

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed