Yesterday, it was the Sunday edition of the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph pushing the Fake News smear that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had passed information to a Czech diplomat in the late 1980s - in exchange for money. Today it is the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail who have taken up the baton and waddled right along with it.
“New claim as calls for official probe grow … LABOUR MPs ‘WERE PAID £10,000 TO MEET SPIES” thunders the headline, with the supporting article claiming “MPs were paid up to £10,000 to meet Eastern Bloc agents during the Cold War, an ex-spy claimed last night … Jan Sarkocy said at least 15 senior Labour figures had shared information with him in the late 1980s. Some pocketed between £1,000 and £10,000 per meeting but still wanted more, he alleged”. Jan Sarkocy once more.
No use just sitting there ...
The same Jan Sarkocy who claimed “I’ll tell you this. I knew what Thatcher would have for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and what she would wear next day”. The one who said that the Czech régime paid for either Live Aid or the 1988 Free Nelson Mandela concert. The one who is rather obviously saying what the right-leaning press wants him to say.
... get yourselves pointed at a lawyer
As I said yesterday, this is libellous and the Labour leadership should be consulting lawyers: that the Mail is prepared to repeat the libel shows that Dacre and his lawyers have decided they won’t get taken to the cleaners for it. Now, we have the Mail telling “The Mail understands MPs are urging the Commons foreign affairs committee to consider the claims in its probe into the influence of foreign powers on elections”.
We also have the sight of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, the sub-boot boy division of the Murdoch press, duly emboldened as they crow “The Tories are calling for Jeremy Corbyn to be hauled before the Foreign Affairs select committee to face questions over his links to a Czech spymaster. David Morris has written to FASC chairman Tom Tugendhat”, and order the BBC to cover the non-story.
And while Jan Sarkocy claims there is more evidence in the Czech secret service archives, Mark Seddon has once again shown that the former diplomat is talking out of the back of his neck “The Czech Central Archive for the StB acknowledges that they have no such documentation. This is a carbon copy of the failed smear campaign against former Czech Minister and Charter 77 activist, Jan Kavan”.
Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and all the others being gratuitously smeared, and indeed now libelled, on the “evidence” of a single discredited source should pay heed to that name. Kavan was wrongly accused of collaborating with the Czech secret service in the late 1960s. It took him FIVE YEARS to clear his name. If Corbyn and his team allow the mud to be thrown, and to stick, it will be at least as bad for him.
The Labour leader has no alternative but to call in the lawyers. The fact that he has already been vetted for the Privy Council, which shows the accusations coming out of the right-leaning press are bunk, will count for nothing if the tide of Fake News is allowed to continue washing over the Westminster bubble. He must sue, and sue now. End of story.