After the wholly fictitious claim yesterday that there were moves to deselect Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger from within her own CLP - the right-wing press never does learn the lesson that they should not take the outpourings of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog on trust - has come yet more media hyperbole about the D-word - as well as the rather obvious reason for it all.
Leading the way with the latest, and equally fictitious, scare story this morning is the Murdoch Times, allegedly a paper of record, with the suitably frightening headline “Hard left in plot to oust dozens of Labour MPs”. Readers are told “A fifth of Labour MPs have appeared on a deselection hitlist drawn up by left-wing activists emboldened by Jeremy Corbyn’s General Election success … the uneasy truce between the party’s is at risk of breaking down amid fears of a radical plot to oust moderates”. This is total crap.
Yet the “story”, such as it is, has been pounced upon by the Sun, eagerly telling “radical supporters of Jeremy Corbyn plot to oust dozens of moderate Labour MPs in order to strengthen their hard-left grip over the country … a Labour hit-list has been drawn up by a grassroots Momentum group in South Tyneside aimed at unseating big names such as Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie and Jess Phillips”.
And, not to be outdone, the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Mail have also lifted the Times “story”: “A Momentum group in South Tyneside has published a list of politicians who they say should 'join the Liberals’ … They include Chuka Umunna - who led a revolt against Mr Corbyn over leaving the EU single market - Chris Leslie and Jess Philips”. The Mail added a blatant lie, just to spice things up.
“The list emerged as it emerged that another moderate MP had been ordered to apologise to Mr Corbyn after a hard-left clique took over her local party … Luciana Berger, who is currently on maternity leave, was told by one newly-elected member of the executive in Liverpool Wavertree that she should 'get on board quickly' or face being axed”.
Where do we start? Ms Berger was not “ordered” to do anything, there was no deselection threat, and as for the “maternity leave” claim … SHE WAS THERE AT THE MEETING ON WEDNESDAY EVENING. But what of this “hit list” claim?
There was a posting on Facebook. That is all. Think about that. All those august defenders of our free and fearless press, ever ready to denounce the new media as Fake News merchants, while claiming to occupy the moral high ground, have based their attack on the Labour Party on nothing more than a single Facebook page. What status does the group concerned have within the party? The press didn’t bother finding out.
Had that been an attack on the Tories coming out of The Canary, Evolve Politics, Novara Media, Skwawkbox, or yes, this blog, it would have been denounced as hearsay from a dubious single source. But because the real press has run the story, it’s OK.
And the reason for the right-wing press panic? That, sadly, is all too straightforward: a new YouGov poll - for the Times, which is no coincidence - gives Labour an eight point lead. So the hysterical denunciation of The Red Team must be cranked up a few notches. I mean, actually doing factual journalism about politics? That’s just so Twentieth Century.