What a difference a change of party and circumstance makes: when the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his trembling minions at the Daily Mail went after the memory of Ralph Miliband - as a means of getting at his younger son, who was then Labour leader - they denounced Communism - for which they really meant what happened in the former Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin - as a murderous ideology that killed millions.
So when Jeremy Corbyn succeeded Ed Miliband as Labour leader, and there was talk of party members being able to hold their MPs to account, off went the press once more. This was Stalinist! It was one step from the Gulag! It would turn hardworking, respectable people into Un-Persons overnight! There would, we were told, imminently be purges of ideologically impure Labour MPs. Dozens and dozens of them.
And here we are four years after Jezza was first elected, and the number of deselections so far is, er, none. Nil. Nix. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Not a sausage. Bugger all. The spirit of Uncle Joe has somehow failed to drive out all those Labour MPs that our free and fearless press said it would. But the threat of deselection is still out there.
The problem for the press is that it is not Labour where the D-Word is being bandied around, but the Tories. Despite the claim of James Cleverly (who isn’t, but is now the party chairman) protesting “THERE IS NO DESELECTION MECHANISM IN THE [Conservative] PARTY” last June, there is. And it is all over the papers today.
Metro has told readers “ID cards may be withdrawn from rebel MPs … Tory no-deal ‘traitors’ could be deselected”, while the Express has shrieked “BORIS VOWS TO BOOT OUT BREXIT REBELS”. The Telegraph prefers “PM warns rebel MPs: back me or be sacked”, and the Mail agrees: “BACK ME OR I’LL SACK YOU”, as does the Times, with “I’ll kick you out of party, Johnson tells Tory rebels”.
And if that were not Stalinist enough, along has come the Murdoch Sun to thunder “WHY should the Government promise to enact some as-yet-unwritten and arguably illegitimate law being cooked up by Remainers with their rogue Speaker? … The Government runs the country, not a cross-party rabble”. Democratically elected MPs? Democratically taken decisions? The sovereignty of Parliament? Pah! Away with them!
Strange how Stalinism becomes so much more acceptable when the boot is so firmly on the other foot. And when it is the right-wing press’ preferred party which is under the cosh, resorting to threatening deselection of MPs by the personal order of Polecat Dom, and all the time realising it does not have the numbers to see out the week.
So we don’t get to hear about Bozo The Clown having an advisor who said Tory MPs don’t care about the poor, and claimed that the poor were poor because they were inferior. But we do get heartwarming coverage of a rescue puppy being delivered to Number 10.
Pravda and Izvestia never went away. They just came over to the UK under another name.
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