Last week, after events in Venezuela had prompted some in the right-leaning press to believe that they could leverage the unrest in that country to dent the popularity of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the latest opinion poll gave The Red Team a 3% lead, recording a projected 44% vote share - more than Tony Blair managed in 1997 and 2001. The message was clear. But the Murdoch goons are having none of it.
Despite more than half the paper’s readers probably not bothering to go out and vote in June’s General Election, and of those that did make the effort, 30% voting Labour, the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker working on the Super Soaraway Currant Bun have clearly decided to make a full-scale assault on Jezza, using only one weapon: Venezuela.
So it was that yesterday’s editorial targeted shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott with the screaming headline “Diane Abbott is deluded to defend Socialist Venezuelan leaders who have utterly betrayed their own people”. I missed it - did Ms Abbott just speak in favour of the Maduro Government? Well, no she didn’t: the Murdoch faithful are using her visit to observe elections there five years ago as a stick to beat her.
Why did Kavanagh cross the road? Because it was made plain to him that it was in his interests to do so
After calling Ms Abbott “warped” and “deluded” (mental health smear: check!), readers are told “Abbott said polls in the South American country were ‘less liable’ to fraud than in Britain … That claim has blown up in her face as the country has been torn apart by election corruption”. Er, yes, but the election the Sun is talking about, and the one Ms Abbott talked about, are not the same. But details, eh?
Today, it was Jezza’s turn for a kicking, on two fronts. First came the howling editorial, telling “Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn goes quiet as his Marxist utopia becomes hell on Earth”. He’s on holiday, but Labour has commented on the problems in Venezuela - not that the Sun wants to report that, for some reason.
And then came faithful Murdoch retainer Trevor Kavanagh to warn “Venezuela is in flames and Jeremy Corbyn wants to use this broken nation as his blueprint for Britain”. He does? When did he say that? No, seriously - when did he say it? I know it’s one of those received wisdoms of the right-leaning press and punditerati, but when did he say it?
There will now be a period of silence. But Kav is, meanwhile, off and running. “The man who is odds-on to be our next Prime Minister wants to use this broken nation as his blueprint for Britain” (see above) … “Smirking Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who fantasised about executing Tory PM Margaret Thatcher, wants all Labour MPs to swear support for Venezuelan socialism” (citation? No? Thought not).
And then he sells the pass in no style at all. “Marxism and communism are two sides of the same blood-stained coin … We are about to mark the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution and the Soviet tyranny which systematically slaughtered its own citizens … British Labour Party sympathisers connived with the Kremlin for 30 years to conceal the horrifying truth … A new book by historian Giles Udy”.
Giles Udy. Who cites Breitbart and the Guido Fawkes blog on his Twitter feed, plus Adrian Hilton, Harry Phibbs and Dan, Dan The Oratory Man. Giles Udy. About as reliable as, well, another ranting Sun pundit. This attack line is going nowhere. No change there, then.