Imagine the reaction of the press establishment if a German, French or Spanish national, who had lived here some time and had dual nationality, joined the Tory Party and cast a vote at a crucial local association meeting, shot a video of the occasion, and was then called out by the Canary, Skwawkbox, or Novara Media as “foreigners infiltrating the Tory Party”. They would be ridiculed as conspiracy theorists.
So perhaps all those overpaid and underworked pundits who like to call “conspiracy theory” on New Left Media outlets would like to square that one with today’s front page from the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph. Here, readers are told “Iranian régime ‘has infiltrated Labour’”. A dastardly foreign power has wormed its way into that mass movement of dem SAYSHLISTS! High TIRRIBLE! Whatever next?
But as with so much that comes out of the Tel nowadays, not only would those cobbling together this, yes, conspiracy theory nonsense not have been let in the door at the Telegraph of old, the story, such as it is, is complete bunk. But let’s take it nice and slowly, starting at the very beginning, as it’s a very good place to start.
The Tel lumps together one insignificant event with another to which Labour should be paying serious attention. Here’s their spiel: “The Iranian régime was last night accused of infiltrating Labour and undermining a pro-Israel MP, who faces being ousted from Parliament”. So it’s only an accusation, and not a fact. Hence the quote marks.
Do go on. “A journalist from Press TV, the Iranian state broadcaster which is banned from broadcasting in Britain, joined the constituency party of the head of Labour Friends of Israel some months ago, The Daily Telegraph understands … On Thursday night, the journalist … was entitled to cast a ballot in a successful vote of no confidence in Joan Ryan at her Enfield North constituency party meeting”. There is more.
“[He] was also able to film and broadcast the meeting for Press TV”. Now that is the part that should concern Labour. Any broadcasting of proceedings is supposed to be banned. At the very least, someone failed to monitor that party member.
It does not, though, justify Ms Ryan claiming “I’m horrified that they’ve infiltrated the Labour Party in this way”. “They”? What if it’s a local resident who’s lived in Britain for years and has dual nationality? Does that mean “they” have infiltrated the Labour Party because he joined it? Ms Ryan’s claim that “the Iranian broadcaster specifically targeted her because of her support for Israel” is not stood up by the available evidence.
How do we know the bloke from Press TV is part of “the Iranian régime”? Are we supposed to believe he joined Enfield North CLP on the off-chance that there might be a no confidence vote in Joan Ryan somewhere down the line? And why does the Tel manage to miss that, even if he hadn’t been there - one assumes he cast a vote for the no confidence motion - that motion would still have passed?
The press establishment can’t have it both ways: if it’s a conspiracy theory when New Left Media run it, it’s a conspiracy theory when the Telegraph runs it. That is all.
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