After the failed attempt to claim that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had made some kind of promise, pledge or whatever to write off student debt if elected last June, the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate was keen to find another stick with which to beat Jezza, even though their readers weren’t convinced by the lying, and the people they needed to convince with their feeble arguments weren’t listening anyway.
Do voters trust this man ...
And then came news from the South American state of Venezuela, where there is continuing social unrest, shortages, and protests which have resulted in people losing their lives. Jezza has visited Venezuela and made positive noises about the efforts, particularly of Hugo Chávez, to improve the lot of the less well-off. So by the right’s simplistic process of deduction, electing Jezza would mean all those bad things would come to the UK.
... or perhaps they would prefer to trust him ...
This is, of course, total crap: Venezuela’s economy has been heavily dependent on leveraging its oil reserves for the best part of a Century, whoever has been in power, and the recent collapse in prices has therefore caused serious problems, not least because of the hostile stance of the USA. But none of this is allowed to enter: Corbyn can be linked to it, and so he and anything bad about Venezuela are held to be one and the same thing.
As with the student loan whoppers, the Corbyn-Venezuela connection was kicked off by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. Yes, we are lectured on high political principles by a vindictive lush who thought it was fine to help raise money to facilitate mass murder. The Fawkes blog has published several “Jezza equals Venezuela” posts in the past few days (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE).
... maybe they would prefer to trust him? Maybe not
Now the Murdoch goons at the Sun, the Fawkes rabble’s go-to outlet for pushing its left-bashing agenda, have decided to follow suit, just as they did on student debt. The paper has given a platform to Dan, Dan The Oratory Man to spin his usual creative rubbish about how Venezuela was wonderful in the past before the rotten lefties got in. But his problem is that no-one can tell when he’s actually telling the truth.
Joining this convocation of unprincipled dishonesty has been the loathsome Toby Young, who actually believes the drivel he spouts. “It is incumbent upon anyone who wants Britain to become a socialist country to explain how we would avoid Venezuela's fate” he whined, except that nobody, including Jezza, wants to make Britain a socialist country.
Never mind, have another go. “What was the issue in Russia, China, Cambodia and North Korea? Can you point to a single example of socialism not causing mass starvation?” he demanded of Abi Wilkinson. Suddenly he has leapt from social democracy to socialism to authoritarianism and expected no-one to notice. Because social democracy, in Tobes’ little world, really means authoritarianism: “Yeah, it's not like one ever descends into the other, is it?” he sneered at another Tweeter trying to reason with him.
Thus the right’s narrative gets out there, along with claims that Labour has been silent on events in Venezuela, except that a well-publicised statement by Liz McInnes, shadow foreign minister, shows that they haven’t. Why don’t the Sun, the Fawkes mob and their pals acknowledge this? Because it doesn’t fit their narrative.
What they want is to link Jezza to an authoritarian régime that abuses human rights and randomly locks people up. While distracting their readers from the inconvenient fact that Theresa May and the Tories are happily doing business with, er, authoritarian régimes that abuse human rights and randomly lock people up. Like Turkey.
Hell, we’re even doing arms deals with the Erdogan Government. Like we’re doing arms deals with the Saudis. But Jeremy Corbyn once said something positive about Venezuela, so that’s enough to set the right-leaning part of the press and their cheerleaders off on yet another headless chicken demonstration.
Meanwhile, the problem for that same press continues: Labour remain in front in the polls, and nobody who matters is listening. So no change there, then.