Local writer and commentator Matt Wingett captured many S&C readers’ attention when he changed his mind about tactically voting for the Liberal Democrats in Portsmouth South and voted Labour. Here he outlines just some of the lies and distortions in the media during the election campaign that helped change his mind.
During the election campaign, a series of lies and distortions appeared in the right wing press about Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. Now the election campaign is over (at least for now), it’s worth taking a look at some of the inconvenient truths beneath the spin that we the people should never forget…
Lie #1: Jeremy Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser
The media repeated this one in a variety of forms. One of the ways this piece of propaganda was spread was repeatedly stating that Corbyn stood in silence to honour the IRA dead in 1987 despite his repeated assertions – at the time, as well as now – that he had attended the event to honour all who had died in the conflict. Because Corbyn met with Sinn Fein when they were being silenced by Thatcher’s government, during the election campaign he was repeatedly accused of meeting with the IRA, although the fact that ‘the British government also maintained contact to the IRA leadership through a secret back channel’ during the same period rarely received a mention. In the end, dialogue brought peace, not suppression, so who was right?
Though repeatedly accused of being ‘a terrorist sympathiser’, Corbyn has never sold arms to a regime with an ideology that mirrors that of ISIS. Theresa May has, and continues to court Saudi Arabia – a state that has used bombs and munitions sold to them by the UK to carry out over 80 ‘allegedly unlawful’ attacks in Yemen. Our current PM also continues to suppress a government report into funding for extremist groups operating in the UK, thought to focus on Saudi Arabia, ‘which has repeatedly been highlighted by European leaders as a funding source for Islamist jihadis’.
Lie #2: Labour caused the credit crunch
Labour are often blamed by Conservatives for the Credit Crunch. Strange that the Tory bankers who made it happen don’t get a mention in the far right Press, nor the financial deregulation started by the Conservatives in the 1980s that New Labour dared not repeal, lest Murdoch and co hammer them. New Labour’s mistake was making a deal with the devil. No one has been punished for Credit Crunch banking fraud under the Tories.
Lie #3: Austerity is necessary and it’s saving the economy
As the New Yorker pointed out in 2012:
Any decent economics textbook will tell you that, other things being equal, cutting government spending causes the economy’s overall output to fall, tax revenues to decrease, and spending on benefits to increase. Almost invariably, the end result is slower growth (or a recession) and high budget deficits.
Leading experts on economics such as David Stuckler agree, highlighting that:
‘Recessions can hurt, but austerity kills’ as his research uncovers ‘more than 10,000 additional suicides and up to a million extra cases of depression have been recorded across the two continents [ Europe and North America] since governments started introducing austerity programmes.’
Austerity is wrecking the economy and has caused the slowest recovery in British history. So why do it? The answer is an ideological obsession with small government as being in and of itself a good thing. That’s why the Tories have promised to axe local government grants from Whitehall by 2020. Worried about the rise of rates and your local council charging for everything? Worried about the penny-pinching and perverse priorities that led up to the Grenfell Tower fire?
Well, now you know why.
Lie #4: The NHS is safe in Tory hands and so is your health – it will remain a public service free at the point of delivery
The Tories have already privatised large parts of the NHS and want trade deals with Trump. The US pharma industry is eyeing up a massive market in the NHS. US Big Pharma keep the Americans unhealthy and poor by profiteering on drugs. Imagine those ruthless bastards slicing up the NHS.
Lie #5: Theresa May is a strong and stable leader
By now it’s clear to all that Theresa May is brittle and inflexible, as was shown throughout the election campaign and her handling of the Grenfell Tower disaster. Do you really think someone who can’t even answer questions from fellow MPs should be in charge of negotiations in the EU? Absolutely not.
Lie #6: We’re all in this together
The Tories have continually cut services for the poor and taxes for the rich. The rich make their money because of ordinary people in society buying their goods and services. They owe the rest of us for their success. Yet the wealthy get a free ride while the poor are treated as worthless and expendable. There were no billionaires caught up in the Grenfell Tower disaster, which has been compared to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in exposing the divide between the rich and poor. We are not all in this together. That is the reality.
Lie #7: Jeremy Corbyn refuses to order a first strike nuclear attack and this makes him weak on security
A big deal was made about Jeremy Corbyn refusing to order a first strike nuclear attack. By contrast, much of the media fed the lie that because Theresa May would do so, she is a stronger leader, and that the willingness to do so makes her a stronger leader. Not true. All parties consider nuclear weapons to be a ‘deterrent’, which means by definition, you never order a first strike attack. Anyone who says otherwise is willing to start World War 3.
Lie #8: We are more secure with the Tories
Theresa May has consistently cut the numbers of police and the money going to the secret services. She’s not willing to put resources into hunting terrorists, but is very happy to put time and resources into hunting foxes. This is a clear reflection of her priorities.
So what have we learned from these 8 lies?
There is terrible inequality in this country, and ordinary people are sneered at by a self-serving Tory elite. The majority of people need fairness in this country, instead of 5 more years of grinding unfairness and the targeting of the poor to support the rich.
More than anything, these are not just 8 lies exposed, these are 8 reasons to keep fighting and protest – and there are plenty more!
Main image: Screenshot of Labour Manifesto cover.