The right-leaning part of our free and fearless press - in other words, most of it - has spent much of the time since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party in 2015 telling its readers that Jezza was the reincarnation of (in no particular order), Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zhedong, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Erich Honecker, Nikita Khrushchev, Nicolai Ceaucescu, Josep Tito, and even Osama bin Laden.
Yes Sarah, you've been rumbled
And all this mud-slinging has had precisely zero effect: Jezza is still there, and a General Election is looming large in the field of vision of all those mercenary pundits. So, with the death last week of Robert Mugabe, a revolutionary gone badly wrong, there was a golden opportunity to cobble together fresh smears, which Murdoch goon Sarah Baxter has duly done for today’s allegedly upmarket Sunday Times.
We won’t be linking to the article - you want to charge money for this drivel, Rupe, you go right ahead on your own - but Ms Baxter has helpfully told the world “People are being as gullible about Corbyn getting a whiff of power as I was about Mugabe”. We know that Ms Baxter is far less pleasant than she looks, but this really is total claptrap.
Merely because many Tories, and their press pals, smear Corbyn as a Marxist does not mean he is one. Also, Marxism is not the same thing as what happened in the former Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Venezuela, South East Asia, and several eastern European countries. If you need a smear to make the connection, you already lost this argument.
Worse, the attempt to link the party leader opposing alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson - a nailed-on racist with more than a tinge of white supremacism about him - with Mugabe, who swept away one of the last white supremacist régimes in Africa, is not merely unfortunate. It is a blundering own goal.
So neither Ms Baxter, nor her editor, should have been surprised at the reaction, typified by “Yeah fine. Why not, Jeremy Corbyn is Robert Mugabe. He's also a Jihadi, an IRA operative, Kim Jong Un, Joseph Stalin and a Czech spy. Aren't you embarrassed by the character assassination? Crazy idea, why don't you rub two brain cells together and come up with a real critique?” There was more. Rather a lot more.
Roger Jarman mused “We all remember the ten years Corbyn spent in prison, followed by his murderous struggle against our colonial overlords. Similarly, Mugabe’s love of his allotment and desire to improve the frequency of rural bus timetables bring to mind Comrade Corbyn”. Another Tweeter wearily observed “Another morning. Another right wing paper casually comparing [Jeremy Corbyn] - a man who has fought his whole life for peace, with a mass murderer”. It did look a bit deliberate. Because it was.
The “look over there” factor was also clear, with “The Times, there, running a column that positions Corbyn as a Mugabe figure whilst Boris Johnson ices out his cabinet, suspends Parliament and literally tries to break the law to force through his extreme agenda” and “The Times: Damn, Boris Johnson really triggered the libs by suspending Parliament … Also the Times: Just like Robert Mugabe, Jeremy Corbyn harbours contempt for our institutions of democracy”. Sarah Baxter’s deflection and propagandising duly busted.
But good to see Murdoch’s goons carrying out their orders. If only anyone were listening.
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