Are Media Character Assassinations Becoming a Thing of the Past?

One thing that came to my attention during and after the recent election campaign, is how much more grown up a big majority of the public are with regards to mass media character assassinations of political figures.

If the population of voters had taken any notice of The Mail and The Sun newspapers, Jeremy Corbyn would have not have received one vote during Theresa May’s hopeless attempt at a landslide election.

However, being accused of terrorism, Marxism and not having the balls to blow up a continent with a nuclear missile, got boring. It got boring because people, even some Tories, saw such claims as at best weak, and at worst, pathetic.

There are now huge swathes of the population who have grown tired of warmongering, picking on the poor and selling off prize public service assets. As a consequence, the Tories suddenly find themselves in alien territory; they were warned and they were warned by their own members such as Major, Heseltine and Clarke.

As an example of the mess they have got themselves in, a recent poll showed that an unprecedented 48% of the working population stated that if tax rises meant the protection of and improvement in public services, then so be it.

The Tories base most of their manifestos around putting the shits up voters with tales about Labour instigating tax rises that punished the working man, so for this message to longer have an effect, it creates a huge problem for them. They have lost their trump card.

Whether you like Corbyn or not, the one thing that came apparent during the election campaign was that the media had nothing on him. No expenses claims, no hidden offshore accounts and no dodgy links or directorships with big business. They scraped the barrel and it was empty.

In fact, if you look at Jeremy Corbyn’s  expenses from 2009, when The Daily Telegraph discovered moats, second home mortgage fraud and a host of other preposterous expense claims that costed the tax payer millions, Jeremy Corbyn’s annual claim amounted to £8.70 for an ink cartridge.

What on earth could The Daily Mail do with that?

“INK STINK – CORBYN CARTRIDGE SCANDAL!”

Of course, without the expenses and no big business or tax avoidance links that Conservatives don’t like to talk about anyway, they chose nationalist route to discredit him instead.

This meant focusing on how well he sung the National Anthem, going back in time to when he negotiated with terrorist organisations and his reluctance to salivate at the prospect of being first to press a button to annihilate the world. “Okay leaders of the world, fingers on buttons, here’s your starter for ten…”

Back in the 1980’s this would have finished Corbyn off, but many people have grown tired of national aggression and have begun to understand that negotiating with terrorists is the job of any responsible politician, no matter how hard it might be. Not only that, with the IRA, the negotiating worked, with John Major (a Conservative) and Mo Mowlem, rightly getting much of the credit.

No one wants a return to sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, although Theresa May is giving it a right good go by bunging a billion quid at the DUP. I do worry about that and who will get the blame if Northern Ireland descends into chaos again (The Republicans of course).

Also, what is actually so clever about saying you would happily be the first leader to press a nuclear button? “Look at all those Arab kids frying, I’m right hard I am…well at least for a few minutes until one ploughs into London.”

People now increasingly find their news information sources online so the power of the Murdoch’s and the Dacre’s is dwindling. This of course, is music to my ears, as there is no greater feeling than imagining the scene when Murdoch stormed out of an election celebration party gone flat.

The attempts at defamation continue but they are not really getting any response or attention. The one below for example, has no substance and is not only derogatory to Corbyn, who is used to this kind of thing, but also the thousands of people who visited Glastonbury.

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According to Corbyn’s tax return, his income for 2015-16 was £114,342 and he paid £35,298 in tax. Corbyn released these details at the same time Chancellor, Phillip Hammond refused to publish his (I can’t think why?) and whilst this represents a decent salary in an expensive city, it is hardly the stuff of millionaires.

I have friends in London who earn more than that and have quite modest lives due to the cost of living.

Also, how does the person who posted this know how much the people who bought tickets earn? Some may have saved all year for that, some may have been given tickets as a present. Judging by many in he crowd at the tedious Ed Sheerin gig, there were also a lot of middle Englanders attending, so in a way, this poster is an own goal.

Attempting to discredit Corbyn and Michael Eavis for doing a 15 minute talk amongst hundreds and hundreds of acts, is desperation taken to a new level and evidence that the Conservatives do not know to do with themselves, particularly as they go in to Brexit negotiations which will be littered with bad news.

However, for those who believe in the Gospel according to Jeremy Corbyn, nothing in life is that easy and whilst you are the opposition idealism is of course, easier to preach than realism.

I will give you one example.

For those of you who run a small business, you will be aware of corporation tax and Labour’s intention to raise it it to 25%. Most businesses I have spoken to have said that they accept this if it will help improve public services and that big business pays it as well.

If tens of thousands of small businesses pay more corporation tax willingly, and Corbyn and his team fail with their attempts to force the same law on companies such as Apple, Google, Starbucks, Vodafone and Facebook, there will be a shitstorm to end all shitstorms.

In many ways, the ‘success’ that Corbyn had at the election has done much of its job already. Unpopular policies such as dementia tax, grammar schools and fox hunting, have been canned because of the risk they carry in a government with a fragile majority and others will be up for constant scrutiny.

That is why, even in defeat, it is important for opposition parties to do well and stop an unhealthy landslide. Theresa May is a controlling politician who believes in state surveillance and that everything, including the NHS, has a price, so a big majority would have been a disaster for freedom and equality, make no bones about that.

Britain is a better place with a vibrant and strong opposition and there is an air of inevitably about the Conservatives collapsing into disarray and being, eventually, replaced by the Labour vision of equality.

That is when Labour face the challenge of turning hope into expectation and idealism into realism. That and the fact that Dacre and Murdoch wont go down without a fight and tax avoidance companies will not either.

However, hope is better than nothing.

Interesting times.

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