The British (and Australian) media vs Jeremy Corbyn (and the people)

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The election-week front pages of much of Britain's tabloid press may seem tiresomely familiar to many Australian eyes.

The British people are angry with their press, who are trying to steal away their democracy, writes managing editor David Donovan.

THE BRITISH ARE CROSS. Very cross indeed. And it’s more than being a bit sniffy at grubby terrorists driving into them on bridges, blowing them up at concerts and stabbing them in restaurants.

You see, there’s a general election happening in the UK today and a great many great Britons are dreadfully peeved about what’s being served up to them in fish and chip wrappers, sans fish, but stinking to high halibut just the same. And that’s before you get them started on the BBC — the once trusted Aunty turned bad.

All this has come to pass since Tory Prime Minister Theresa May called a general election several weeks ago. The election wasn’t due to be held until 2020 and she had previously promised to not call the people to the polls early — but she called them anyway. She said it was meant to “secure her mandate for Brexit”, but that was another lie.

It was seen at the time as a masterstroke for Theresa May, who fell into the top job after the resignation of David Cameron. May presents as a slightly flustered school librarian who has just discovered the world atlas has a large penis drawn on the inside cover. When she called the election, she was 20 points up in the polls.

Her Labour Party opponent, Jeremy Corbyn ─ an unassuming, bearded, late-middle aged man ─ was widely regarded as not being up to snuff on account of his mildly socialist, non-warmongering tendencies.

And then came the campaign and something extraordinary happened.

Ordinary, everyday, salt-of-the-earth poms, who hadn’t been paying much attention to politics up until then, suddenly started seeing more of Corbyn. And the more they saw and listened to what this humble, rather quietly spoken man had to say ─ rather than what the papers said about him – the more they began to like him. And not just like him, but like what he stood for — such as ending austerity, taxing the rich, saving the National Health System (NHS), free tuition, healthy lunches for school kids, more public housing, more police, no more wars. Much preferred that to what the bumbling May and her troop of smug fops had to offer, such as selling off the NHS, cutting welfare, putting a dementia tax on the elderly, fox hunting, lowering taxes for billionaires and big corporations, and selling weapons to Saudi Arabian terrorists.

And so the polls tightened. And then tightened some more. Until now, on the eve of the election, the parties appear to be pretty close and no-one is talking about a landslide anymore. It still looks like May will win, but it is possible Corbyn could prevail. If he does, it would be a comeback unlike almost anything seen in modern political history.

As much as this prospect has delighted decent and civic-minded British people, it has left the nation’s establishment and their mainstream media mudslingers in a mild panic. Why? Well, for former Australian Rupert Murdoch, who owns about 34 per cent of Britain’s mainstream press, someone who isn’t in his pocket and has too much integrity to be blackmailed by tapped phones or grainy photographs is of no use whatsoever. For other newspaper proprietors, Corbyn’s ideas about providing a safety net for the vulnerable and redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor is seen as absurd Trotskyite insanity.

Of course, mainstream journalists agree, knowing full well which side their bread’s buttered on. And, moreover, as entitled aspirationals themselves, anything sounding as if it may remotely threaten their privileged position must be quashed at all costs. Which also explains the BBC’s bias against Corbyn and his accomplices. As the establishment mouthpiece, the British public broadcaster's job is to cement the status quo and protect the privileged, not allow suspicious sounding socialists to agitate for societal change. Sadly, this attitude has even extended to our own public broadcaster, with ABC foreign correspondents Phillip Williams and Lisa Millar scarcely even bothering to conceal their contempt for the UK Labour leader, his popular policies, or his growing army of supporters.

The system is, of course, rigged. It's rigged in favour of the establishment, and its clacquers and enablers, and against everybody else. All the entitled need to do is get their media interests to persuade a few per cent of people to vote against their own interests and the war is won. Which is why the British people are cross. Now that social media allows facts to be shared, and bias and hypocrisy to be exposed, the truth is becoming more and more widely known. It’s not a good con when the mark can see the trick.

And so more and more Brits are turning against the Tories. Will it be enough to get Jeremy Corbyn over the line against a gormless, gabbling ninny like Theresa May, who invokes the slogan of “strong and stable” whilst appearing to be anything but? Well, it remains to be seen. Jeremy Corbyn would be a fresh wind through Westminster and may be the best news in Britain since Clement Atlee established the NHS in 1948, but the old order won’t let go of waging wars without a fight. And there are always so many selfish, ignorant and foolish people who turn out to vote. So it will, sadly, probably go May’s way.

But the momentum is with Corbyn. The people are picqued. The young, in particular, are overwhelmingly on his side.

The conventional wisdom says Theresa May will win and increase her majority. But this is the wisdom of the same people who loathe Corbyn and the masses, who said Britain would stay in the European Union, and that Trump would be trounced by Clinton. The conventional wisdom is not the people’s wisdom and the people appear to be turning to Corbyn. It may be too much to expect Labour to achieve a majority, but something just less than that ─ a hung parliament, perhaps ─ may just be in reach.

We can only hope. For themselves and for everyone everywhere who believes in equality, let’s hope the British people are really, really cross.

Results should start coming in for the British general election at around 7am 9/6/17 AEST.

You can follow managing editor Dave Donovan on Twitter @davrosz.

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