Once upon a time, the Murdoch Sun was shifting four million copies a day. But how the mighty are fallen: now the paper’s circulation is in freefall, it’s descended below a million and a half, its credibility has long ago fallen below risible status, and it’s losing money hand over fist. But the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker have their instructions, and those include putting the boot into Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
This imperative, and the desperation of the Murdoch goons to get something - anything - to stick to Jezza, has led to today’s farcical front page, which attempts to exhume Cold War paranoia in order to discredit Corbyn. “Shock Claims In Secret File … CORBYN AND THE COMMIE SPY … Met agent in Cold War … Targeted by Czechs … ‘Briefed’ evil regime” screams the routinely dishonest headline this morning.
There is no secret - the file the Sun is quoting is publicly available, otherwise they would not have got access to it. ‘Briefed’ is in quotes because it’s a claim they can’t stand up. And as for the idea Jezza met an agent, well, no he didn’t. But his spokesman admitted “In the 1980s he met a Czech diplomat, who did not go by the name of Jan Dymic [the name quoted by the Sun], for a cup of tea in the House of Commons”.
Anthony Glees - an expert con artist
Wow. So what happened? “Jeremy neither had nor offered any privileged information to this or any other diplomat”. Indeed. He was, after all, an opposition back bencher at the time. The spokesman also points out the flaw in the Sun’s rant: “During the Cold War, intelligence officers notoriously claimed to superiors to have recruited people they had merely met. The existence of these bogus claims does not make them in any way true”.
The Czechs had to claim they had done something worthwhile. It would have kept them in London and away from the decaying and disintegrating totalitarian state they had left to come here. And indeed, the Sun ponies up nothing more convincing than “Mr Corbyn allegedly provided a copy of a Sunday People article about a bungled MI5 investigation into suspected Stasi spy Ulrich Kempf”. Cor! Real classified information, eh?
And what puts the lid on this farrago is the Sun’s “expert witness”, Anthony Glees, who claims to be a “Professor”. He scoffs “Mr Corbyn says he didn’t know, but it shows breathtaking naiveté from someone who wants to head the British government”. Well, if we’re going to talk breathtaking naiveté, Glees is the man to deliver it.
You should be getting fired in the morning
He has in turn smeared Universities as terrorist recruiting grounds (on the basis of no evidence at all), claimed that the East German Stasi had numerous “assets” in Britain, often on the basis of nothing more than a mixture of confident assertion and sneering innuendo, and named City University London as one of his alleged hotbeds of terror, his evidence free approach earning this rebuke from its then Vice Chancellor: “I ask that you substantiate your claim or that you issue an immediate apology, remove City University from your list and notify the Guardian”. Glees is a Walter Mitty. He’s a con artist.
Jeremy Corbyn did nothing wrong in his dealings with Czech diplomats. There is no credible evidence to the contrary. The Sun has had to rely on a source that no-one in the intelligence agencies will touch with a bargepole. The whole story is an embarrassment.
So that’s Tony Gallagher one step closer to that P45, then. What a deserving chap.