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Thursday 28 February 2019

Tory Party Racism - Press Complicit

While our free and fearless press continues to trowel on accusations of anti-Semitism against the Labour Party, and Jeremy Corbyn in particular, the heat is taken off the Tories, and their rather more widespread racism problem, this time with Islamophobia. But here the press, rather than holding them to account, is giving The Blue Team a free pass, because, whisper it quietly, the press has a serious racism problem of its own.
How serious that problem is could be seen when the Daily Mail, then under the editorship of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, launched a vicious and blatantly ant-Semitic attack on the memory of the late Ralph Miliband. Calling him “The man who hated Britain” used a well-known anti-Semitic trope, the concept of the “Disloyal Jew”.

Dacre was alert to the obvious anti-Semitic nature of the attack, and so it was that the story appeared under the by-line of Geoffrey Levy was then defended on BBC Newsnight by Jon Steafel, and in print by Alex Brummer. This, it was declared, cannot have been anti-Semitic because all these Jewish journalists were defending it.
Sayeeda Warsi - concerned

It was not an isolated incident: as Nick Davies recalls in Flat Earth News, the Mail sent their only black reporter, Hal Austin, to interview Neville Lawrence prior to what was intended to be a hostile piece on demands for an inquiry into Police conduct in the wake of Stephen Lawrence’s murder. Mail watchers will know that it turned out rather differently after Dacre was reminded that he knew Neville Lawrence.

The Mail was ready to use the “We can’t possibly be racist, we sent a black reporter” response, but other papers are yet cruder in their bigotry. The Murdoch Sun does not even try to mask its rabid Islamophobia, even pretending that Anders Behring Breivik was a “Muslim Convert”, or that he had been turned by al-Qaeda.
Brandon Lewis - what's he doing about it?

And the increasingly alt-right Spectator is yet worse, with Rod Liddle suggesting there was not enough Islamophobia in the Tory Party. The magazine gives a berth to rabid anti-Semite Taki Theodoracopulos, and also Doug Murray The K, he of “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board”. It’s worse than bad. It’s unforgivable.

Small wonder, then, that Hope Not Hate’s “State of Hate” report for 2019 saw Sayeeda Warsi musing “‘ ..those who voted Conservative in the 2017 general election are among the most likely to hold anti-Muslim sentiments’ … Deeply troubling findings in this report -we must ask ourselves why are we @Conservatives an attractive proposition to #Islamophobes?” And why are the press so quiet on the issue?
Well, the first part is not helped by all those returning from UKIP to the Tories, and the second comes back once more to the press’ tendency to low-level racism, whether it’s Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, or plain old-fashioned bigotry of the kind that always manifests itself whenever anyone says Diane Abbott.

As Owen Jones has concluded, “The reason most the media keep ignoring the testimonies and evidence and warnings of the most senior Tory Muslim woman is institutional racism. There is literally no other explanation … Once again for those at the back: The media ignoring the rampant racism within the Tory Party underlines the fact that the media is institutionally racist”. The press part of it certainly is - for the most part, anyway.
And the press will continue to get away with it, as press non-regulator IPSO offers no protection to targeted groups - like Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists - and Jews.

As campaigning group Hacked Off has once again had to point out, “It is now commonplace to find racist, faith and identity-based attacks against communities splashed across our national newspapers - it has become a dangerous normality.” And why?

Currently IPSO refuses to take complaints about articles which discriminate against a group of people, meaning that divisive and offensive language directed at Muslims, the trans community, women, refugees or migrants can NEVER be a breach. Already marginalised communities are without recourse to deal with relentless and deliberate discriminatory reporting”. That means some really nasty stuff goes unpunished.
Like, oh I dunno, Trevor Kavanagh asking “What shall we do about the Muslim Problem?” IPSO did nothing about that. Or when pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, in her thankfully no longer extant Sun column, referred to migrants as “Cockroaches”. Or Rod Liddle (again) suggesting Canary Wharf be targeted in a terrorist attack.

The Tories are getting a free pass on their racism. Because the larger part of the press, which is substantially and institutionally racist, covers for them. And it’s not good enough.

[You can sign Hacked Off’s petition demanding action on racism in the press HERE]
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Dominic Grieve PWNS Julia Hartley Dooda

Only very occasionally are those who do not agree with the rabid Europhobia of TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Brewer given an opportunity to feature on her show, which is in reality several tedious hours of Brexiteer propaganda, and the harder the Brexit under discussion, the better. So it was mildly eyebrow-raising that former Attorney General Dominic Grieve was allowed on her show this morning.
The appearance was a masterclass in humiliation for Ms Hartley Dooda, who, like so many fervent Leave supporters, has difficulty with anything on the subject of the EU that cannot be described by deploying witless soundbites, often deployed very slowly and very loudly. It is fair to say that this, as Winshton might have put it, was not her finest hour.

The crunch point came when Ms Hartley Dooda decided to advance her favoured manner of departure from the EU - one without a deal. Grieve demonstrated that there is not so much a gulf as a yawning chasm between her level of knowledge, and the real world in which real politicians operate. Here’s the exchange between them - with Grieve going first.

DG: “I think Brexit has been damaging to our democratic institutions and our processes, in part because of some of the things which happened from doing the referendum campaign itself, some of them lies that were perpetrated”.

JHB: “Project Fear” [Ms Hartley Dooda conveniently bodyswerving the lawbreaking by both Vote Leave and Leave EU].

DG [unmoved]:  So I don’t think it’s been a very good exercise in democracy”.

JHB: “Why would a second referendum be any better?

DG: [ignoring soundbite for a moment] “I think we’re probably in agreement for once that this process, and the desirability of trying to bring it to an end, is that we ought to try and do that, and our democracy will suffer if there is a continuing uncertainty. But if I may say so, as an advocate of a second referendum, that is exactly what I’m trying to do. Because if people who wish to leave the EU on the terms negotiated by the Prime Minister - and they are at the moment the only terms available for departure”.
We know who you are, thanks

This is where Ms Hartley Dooda intervened to her disadvantage.

JHB: “No they’re not. No Deal is the terms of departure”.

DG: “No, No Deal is not a term of departure”.

JHB: “It is” [proper journalism this is not].

DG: “No, it is not, because it is unlawful. I keep on making this point. No respectable modern Government which is adherent to the international rules based system can offer no deal departure as a viable option, because it violates other international obligations of the United Kingdom. And it is so fundamental a point that no respectable Government can do it”.

JHB: “You stood on a manifesto. You stood on a manifesto that stated No Deal’s better than a bad deal. You didn’t raise this issue with your constituents and say ‘Well actually, this promise in my party’s manifesto is completely illegal’”.

DG: “I did. I did. I have never adhered to No Deal being better than a bad deal. No Deal breaches our other international legal obligations, and specifically for Ireland under the Good Friday Agreement. They are incompatible. So if people want to have a No Deal Brexit, let us have a General Election. Let us elect members to Parliament who wish to violate our international obligations”. JHB is now smirking aimlessly.

DG: “And if you want to do that, that is a new world for the United Kingdom to move into. I might add a further step in our general disintegration as a nation [more smirking from Ms Hartley Dooda] and we probably won’t survive it as the United Kingdom at all. I am not prepared to allow it to happen, and if people wish to vote me out of office at a General Election, that’s a matter for them, but I will not do it”.

No Deal sounds fine when deployed as yet another witless soundbite. It fares poorly when it comes up against the reality of international law - and the future of the whole of the UK.

Once again, Julia Hartley Dooda’s rank ignorance is on show for all to see. And it shows that some people really shouldn’t be let loose on the airwaves.
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Daily Mail’s Hateful New Low

Our free and fearless press has today decided to go after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to the point of malicious defamation - well, at least the Daily Mail has, and on the front page, too. “CORBYN’S HATEFUL NEW LOW … Labour leader tries to save close ally in vile anti-Semitism storm - only to be shamed into suspending him by 38 of his furious MPs” is the headline, referring to the suspension of Derby North MP Chris Williamson.
And that isn’t all: the story, such as it is, claims “A HUMILIATED Jeremy Corbyn was forced to suspend a close ally yesterday after a revolt by his MPs … Labour had initially refused to withdraw the whip from Chris Williamson”. Well over a million copies of the print edition have been distributed, and hundreds of thousands more will have seen the online version. The minor problem is that this is a pack of lies.

The Labour Party’s press team had already tried to tell the Mail it wasn’t true, hence the later Tweet telling “This is categorically untrue. Jeremy Corbyn is not involved in disciplinary processes and did not intervene in this case. The suspension decision was taken before letter from MPs. We told the Mail their story was false but facts and journalistic integrity not their priority”. It was very obviously untrue. And here’s why.
One, Corbyn did not “try to save” Williamson. As the Labour press team pointed out, he did not intervene, and nor would he have done. This is a party disciplinary matter, and those matters are not dealt with by the leadership. It was not his call.

Two, Corbyn was not forced to do anything - as he still doesn’t deal with disciplinary matters (see One above). And Three, Labour didn’t refuse to withdraw the whip from Williamson. We know this as the Daily Mail has effectively admitted it.

Look at the fourth sub-heading in the online version of the article: “Mr Corbyn is believed to have intervened personally to block his suspension”. “Is believed to have intervened”. In other words, the Mail cannot stand up their claim. And it gets worse.
The Mail claims “The mass revolt sparked a review by party general secretary Jennie Formby, who suspended Mr Williamson hours later”. But the suspension decision was taken before the MPs sent their letter. So that’s Four whoppers.

Only further down the article - typical Mail tactic, make sure readers will already have made up their minds before reading that far - do we see “Asked about the MP's comments yesterday, Mr Corbyn's spokesman said they were 'deeply offensive' and that 'downplaying the problem of anti-Semitism makes it harder for us to tackle it’. The spokesman said Mr Corbyn did not have personal responsibility for withdrawing the whip”.
But it should come as no surprise that one media outlet has concocted a pack of lies about the Labour leader: after all, it was only the swift action of former Corbyn staffer Kevin Slocombe that headed off another false story yesterday, claiming that Jezza had been reluctant to have Ken Livingstone suspended back in 2016 (he hadn’t).

The Williamson affair shows two things: one, Labour needs to communicate faster when it suspends an MP (it didn’t), and two, the press will make it up anyway. But you knew that.
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Wednesday 27 February 2019

Tommy Robinson - Begging Bowl Back Out

He’s been banned from Facebook and Instagram, but Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, did not appear downhearted when he brought his adoring followers a new rant via YouTube - telling them what he was going to do next. Put simply, he was going to beg for more money, while jetting off to two jollies on mainland Europe.
That many of those followers have difficulty connecting the two is very much their problem. But here’s some of what Lennon had to tell his flock, after the usual paranoid drivel claiming that THEY (including social media providers, the Government, the BBC, the Establishment, and no doubt Scary Muslims™) are all out to get HIM.

I’m currently in talks with others who have been censored, and looking at the possibility of a mass march against the big tech giants. That’s what we’re currently looking at … I need to build my own platform … I need to build my own app”. Then comes the real delusional stuff. “The biggest political platform in Britain was my Facebook page. The most engaged, above Theresa May, above Jeremy Corbyn”. And there was more.

Today, Amazon removed my book Mohammed’s Koran, Why Muslims Kill For Islam. They are literally burning books”. Yes, he actually said that. He also said “You can go on Amazon and you can buy Mein Kampf”. And a lot more. Also, he appeals more than once to Combover Crybaby Donald Trump. Then he tells that PanoDrama, his attack on the BBC, has been viewed 500,000 times. How many of those are by lawyers is not told.

And so, after yet more paranoid howling about how THEY are all out to get HIM, we get to the business pitch. “I need your help”. Why might that be? “I’m currently in discussion with lawyers. These are all options - looking at taking Facebook to court. They’re lies, they’re telling lies, complete lies”. Begging bowl out to fund another pointless legal action.
The nuance of the Lennon business proposition explained

After calling “liar” on others, he then claims “Anyone knows I’ve not incited any violence against Muslims”. And don’t forget, “I’m in talks with people from different countries about holding a massive anti-censorship demonstration in London, probably outside Facebook’s offices, but we’re in talks. But we need it not to be about Tommy Robinson being censored, but about everyone who is being censored”. Like he does to his opponents, then.

Finally, we see what all those donations mean. “Anyone in Helsinki - I’m landing in Finland, I’m coming tomorrow … I’ll be in Helsinki, coming this weekend … and then, actually … then we’re going for a free speech rally as well, that’s going to be in Antwerp”. And he won’t be slumming it at a bargain basement B&B, either.

It’s not about free speech. He has the freedom of speech. No-one has proscribed it; nor will they. He can say what he likes. Likewise, those who provide and manage social media platforms can admit who they like, and then kick off who they like.

No, Stephen Lennon is not about freedom of speech. He is about continuing to peddle his paranoid conspiracy theories, frightening his followers about Scary Muslims™, and claiming there is an establishment plot to see him off. While someone else pays. Look at that house, the personal plate on his motor, the bling watch. Which mug paid for those?

He’s just another con artist - using other peoples’ money to live the life of Riley.
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Brendan O’Neill - Far Right Apologist

After Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, was given an indefinite ban by Facebook yesterday, to go with the bans he has already been awarded by Twitter and PayPal, there was general relief among those who wished it had happened rather earlier. But someone out there on the right, in that strange world of extreme floor crossing that is beyond human comprehension, was not a happy bunny.
To no surprise, that someone was Brendan O’Neill of Spiked, so named because it should have been long ago. Bren saw the dark hand of a new evil, that of “Corporate Censorship”, at work. “Only a fool would cheer the banning of Tommy Robinson by Facebook and Instagram. It doesn’t matter if you like or loathe him. It doesn’t matter if you think he’s a searing critic of the divisive logic in the politics of diversity or Luton’s very own Oswald Mosley in Jack Wills clobber” he frothed, seemingly unaware why Lennon was banned.

But do go on. “The point is that his expulsion from social media confirms that corporate censorship is out of control. It speaks to a new kind of tyranny: the tyranny of unaccountable capitalist oligarchs in Silicon Valley getting to decide who is allowed to speak in the new public square that is the internet”. No it doesn’t. It really doesn’t.

It speaks to those repeatedly and blatantly busting the T&Cs getting kicked off social media platforms as a result. But O’Neill is not interested in such factual trivia. Instead, he claimed Lennon was too important to be banned. “He had one million followers. So we are not talking about some bedroom-bound imbecile who says mad things to 27 fellow losers on Twitter, but about a public figure, someone who commands an audience and enjoys political influence”. Public figure my arse. Self promoting thug, more like.
But then the mask slips, and O’Neill’s real gripe is revealed. It’s the Scary Muslims™ to blame! “There are many disturbing things about this latest act of Silicon Valley silencing of an awkward public voice. The first is the apparent involvement of Mohammed Shafiq, CEO of the Ramadhan Foundation … the same Mohammed Shafiq who once attended an event with Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman, a Pakistani cleric who praised the murder in 2011 of the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, by a radical Islamist”. Shared a platform!

And he’d been talking to people at Facebook! “All of which raises a question: why is Facebook reportedly taking advice from someone like that? Does it also meet with campaigning Christians and jot down which critics of Christ they would like to see removed from its website?” All of a sudden, free speech campaigner O’Neill dislikes free speech.

Thus the double standards in which Spiked will gladly indulge when it comes to frightening the readers about Islam. Stephen Lennon should be allowed to stay on Facebook and spread hatred, but Mohammed Shafiq should not be allowed the freedom of speech and association enjoyed by everyone else. Can you smell hypocrisy?

Lennon broke Facebook’s T&Cs persistently. So he was kicked off the platform. O’Neill whining about him having lots of followers is irrelevant: breaking of the rules should be dealt with consistently. So it has. Lennon and his followers have no complaint about that.

Brendan O’Neill has been reduced to nothing more than a far-right shill. Sad, really.
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John Mann Brexit Boast BUSTED

As our free and fearless press continues its claim that Labour has changed its position on Brexit - which, as I pointed out yesterday, it hasn’t - some at the fringe of the party have seen this as a stick with which to beat the leadership. And there is no Labour MP more keen on beating up on his party leadership than John Mann, who has decided that he is against any second referendum, because, well, he is. So there.
Mann was interviewed by Adam Boulton of Sky News on the subject, and this is what he had to say. “This is a London centric Labour Party these days. Vast number of the members are in London as opposed to the North [no citation]. They decide the policies. Most of the shadow cabinet is London living or London MPs. This is the metropolitan Labour Party. It’s got nothing to do with Labour voters in my area”. And there was more.

And they will use their votes in different ways”. Boulton interjected “You see, all the evidence is that 75% of Labour voters actually backed Remain” [actually 65%]. Mann was indignant. “That’s not what the evidence is at all. That’s based on one poll … Let me give you my analysis … where we sample the boxes [what?] and we ask voters and we continually track them. We track them month in, month out”. And yet more.

I can tell you how the Labour voters in my area have been - they haven’t changed since the referendum. 70% of my constituents voted to Leave [it was, in fact, 67.8%], but in the strongest Labour areas it is 91% [no citation] and they haven’t changed their minds. So let’s be quite clear. In the North and the Midlands, the overwhelming majority of Labour voters voted to Leave [no citation - again]”.

This was delivered most assertively. But Mann has ponied up no evidence whatsoever. What does he mean “sample the boxes”? How does he know whose vote is which? What credible and reliable polling has he done, or had done on his behalf, over the period since the referendum? But we won’t be finding any of that out any time soon.

So let’s deal with some actual facts, which can be backed up by reasonably reliable citations. One, Remain has an overall lead in opinion polls conducted since 2017 in a straight choice between that and Leave, with the last poll giving Remain a 4% lead.
Two, 65% of Labour voters voted Remain in 2016. Three, analysis for Best for Britain and Hope Not Hate last year concluded “The 2017 Labour voters who voted Leave in the EU Referendum are shifting dramatically. Our polling shows that only 71% of these voters would back Leave in a new referendum, with the biggest movement occurring among poorer white working class voters”. Haven’t changed their minds, eh?

Four, only last November the Guardian reported thatA majority of voters in all seats held by Labour support a second referendum on Brexit, according to an analysis released by the People’s Vote campaign as it steps up its lobbying of opposition MPs”. “All seats held by Labour” would include Bassetlaw. And, as for Labour members, well.

Five, last month the Independent told “Now it’s official: Labour Party members hate Brexit. Some 72 per cent want a Final Say referendum and 88 per cent would back Remain in such a vote, according to today’s YouGov survey for the Economic and Social Research Council-funded Party Members Project”. John Mann is well and truly bust.
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Tuesday 26 February 2019

Facebook Takes Down Raheem Kassam

[Update at end of post]

Excellent though the news was that at last Facebook had permanently banned Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, there was yet more good news to come: the social media platform has taken down the pages of several more out there on the far right. The resultant outbreak of paranoia has been quite the sight to see.
Almost as soon as news emerged of Lennon’s ban - as Jim Waterson at the Guardian pointed out, this was the inevitable conclusion after Facebook had given him a written warning around a month ago - it became clear that others out there on the right had also been taken out, not least Lennon’s pal, amateur comedy kidnapper Daniel Thomas.
Thomas howled “Facebook have removed Tommy Robinson's Facebook account and mine !!! #Censorship”, thus demonstrating that he does not know the meaning of the term “censorship”, and nor does he understand that Facebook is not the Government. In the meantime, UKiP leader Adolf von Batten was stoking the paranoia.
After 1m views of Tommy’s Panorama film his Facebook account has been shut down - for BS reasons. Simultaneously articles appear in the Guardian & Independent. The left’s establishment are closing ranks & counter attacking.  The people have only one weapon their votes. Join UKIP”. Anyone to his left is “the left establishment”. What a clown.
Then another Lennon fan let slip that he, too, had been thrown off the platform. Jordan James of Politicalite whimpered “I’ve been banned from @Facebook today due to my political beliefs along with fellow kippers and other Alternaive [sic] Media voices. I woke up to find I couldn’t communicate my friends or family or writers. This is free speech in 2019. Shocking. I will never give up! #TommyRobinson”. Another Grade A tosser.
The paranoia continued. Ezra Levant of Rebel Media told “Two days after his massive rally in Manchester, Facebook permanently shuts down Tommy Robinson’s million-person Facebook page. Amongst his thought crimes are organizing events with people they don’t like” and Battersea bedroom dweller Paul Watson added “Tommy Robinson being banned by Facebook and Instagram was timed deliberately so he couldn’t defend himself against the BBC hit piece about to come out. This is how they operate”. THEM. US. SCARY!
Kipper Central and Unity News Network have also, it seems, been taken down. But the pièce de résistance came when Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam told the world “What a thing to wake up to. My personal Facebook profile has been deleted, with no warning or explanation. I can no longer administer my fan page, with over 150,000 likes”. Woah! Hey! Facebook took out Walter Mitty Kassam! Let joy be unconfined!
So it this censorship? Is it buggery. Facebook, like Twitter (which banned Lennon nearly a year ago), has terms and conditions, and persistently flouting them can lead to being kicked off that platform. That is what happened to Stephen Lennon. It is also what happened to Daniel Thomas, Unity News Network, Kipper Central, Jordan James … and the gobby but increasingly irrelevant Raheem Kassam.
Mess within the T&Cs, get kicked off. It’s a simple message. But maybe not simple enough for the far right brains trust to take on board. I’ll just leave that one there.
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[UPDATE 1745 hours: Raheem Kassam has now claimed that Facebook has reinstated his account.

For now, that is]

Why Facebook Banned Tommy Robinson

Before Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, finally published his attack on the BBC which he has creatively titled PanoDrama, he was warned - and very specifically - about one part of his supposed evidence against the Corporation. That warning came publicly from Nick Lowles of Hope Not Hate, an organisation which the paranoid Lennon has decided is out to get him. Here’s what Lowles warned him.
I thought it would be important to clarify my earlier tweet that Caolan Robertson has retracted the allegation he made against @hopenothate. What I should have said is that he has retracted the allegation in 13 separate messages and a phone call … Several of these retractions occurred BEFORE he spoke to Lennon on the phone, the recording of which was included in his idiotic and conspiratorial documentary”. There was more.
Lennon was told by Caolan, @hopenothate and the BBC that the allegation was not true, and yet he still ran the allegation. Bad, bad move”. And why would it be such a bad move? Ah well. “We warned him that we would sue before the programme. He not only ignored that warning but did not even carry our denial in his nonsense programme”. Lennon has been given due notice that publishing the allegation means HnH will sue.
So let’s look at Lennon’s documentary, and see what happened when he sat down with the BBC’s John Sweeney to supposedly record an interview for Panorama. “Are you aware of any threats or blackmail that have been made to any of my ex-employees to give negative information about me to you?” he asked Sweeney, who was initially taken aback - not really a surprise, as that’s not a BBC thing - but then gave Lennon a flat “No”.
So then Lennon tells Sweeney “Can you just listen to this for one minute?” and plays the recording that may be about to land him in serious trouble. Serious enough that Zelo Street will not be detailing them here, save to say that Caolan Robertson, the viciously unpleasant and serially dishonest occasional side-kick to Lennon and others, made a series of claims against HnH and the BBC, suggesting he had been blackmailed.
Lennon then presents a recording of a conversation he had with Lauren Southern, who worked with Robertson on her own documentary, which attempts to advance the “white genocide” theory about farm murders in South Africa. She also claims that HnH were blackmailing Robertson and his partner George Llewelyn John.
Both Robertson and Ms Southern claimed that HnH had suggested that if the former did not cooperate with them, he would find himself arrested. Lennon then asked Sweeney “Are you aware of indecent images being sent by someone at Hope Not Hate to Caolan Robertson?” Then came Robertson claiming he had been the victim of “A sexual assault situation towards me”. The name of the alleged assailant was bleeped out.
But it is not hard to deduce who is being accused. And just to be on the safe side, someone inserts the word Rape into the conversation. No more details, as HnH may already have instructed lawyers. And Lennon has now published those allegations.

So it’s little wonder that Facebook just kicked him off their platform. You read that right: Stephen Lennon has been kicked off Facebook. And the lawyers are circling. He sowed the wind, and reaped the whirlwind. Just rejoice at that news.
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Labour Brexit Policy HAS NOT CHANGED

Our free and fearless press has today told readers that the Labour leadership has made some kind of U-Turn: even the Labour-supporting Mirror has told readers “Corbyn backs second Brexit vote … Labout come out for new referendum to block May’s botched plan or a no-deal”. The more right-leaning titles have applied a little more spin.
The increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph tells readers “Corbyn comes out for second referendum … Labour Brexiteer backlash as leadership backs vote in attempt to heal party splits”, suggesting this is some kind of new policy. The Murdoch Times agrees: “Labour will back second referendum on Brexit … Corbyn declares support in bid to stem exodus from party, but terms of any vote remain unclear”.
Unsurprisingly, the Mail eschews such spin and just does the judgmental stuff, lecturing readers “Corbyn U-Turns on 2nd referendum”. And the joke paper still known as the Daily Express howls “As Jeremy Corbyn backs a second referendum, he must understand that as far as 17.4m citizens of our democracy are concerned … OUR FINAL SAY ON BREXIT WAS JUNE 23 2016!” As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point.
But there is a problem here: Labour’s Brexit policy has not changed. Let me repeat that for the hard of understanding: LABOUR’S BREXIT POLICY HAS NOT CHANGED. And at least some media outlets have admitted this: take the BBC Reality Check on Labour and Brexit from last September, which notedPushing for another referendum may well become Labour's main strategy, if it is unable to force an election”.
There are some in the press who have conveniently short memories: Labour’s Conference position did not rule out a second vote, and with Remain on the ballot paper. And the BBC echoed this: “In his speech to conference, Sir Keir [Starmer] said the party had to be able to put forward alternatives to leaving the EU with no deal, including - crucially - campaigning for a public vote”. So, as Theresa May might put it, nothing has changed.
Check out the Guardian headline from last September: “Labour delegates vote overwhelmingly for Brexit motion backing second referendum as option - as it happened”. The article also confirmed that “Sir Keir Starmer, has mobilised Labour support for a second referendum on Brexit in a speech that saw him receive wild applause after he declared: ‘Nobody is ruling out remain as an option.’” So why the spin?
Simples. There were defections last week not just from Labour, but also from the Tories. The majority of the press leans well to the right, and so anything that makes Labour look bad, and can be used to take the heat off the Tories and their singularly useless top team, will be enthusiastically promoted to the exclusion, if necessary, of reality.
When yet another Corbyn critic asks why Labour is not ahead in the polls, and suggests that the leadership is somehow at fault for not bringing this about, the response should be to ask what that leadership can do when presented with a tsunami of hostile propaganda.

Labour’s Brexit position is unchanged. What you will not read in the papers.
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