Since it launched, the UK branch of alt-right US group Turning Point has not enjoyed the best of press, or indeed much press at all. When it has attracted attention, it has been for all the wrong reasons, like inviting career anti-Semite Taki Theodoracopulos to its first anniversary dinner, or Candace Owens rocking up and claiming “if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalise”. Oh dear.
Along the way, TPUK has peddled its fair share of rank dishonesty, not least by featuring the Grant Sisters and their cue-card videos of unintentional hilarity on subjects such as the EU, and Ireland. But the dishonesty took a seriously nasty, and indeed actionable, turn at the beginning of this month. TPUK could be in real trouble as a result.
Although few in the Labour Party will have heard of the group, and even fewer will care about what comes out of it, voters may at the margin be swayed by its propaganda. Which brings us to the video put out last week claiming “Rebecca Long Bailey = Corbyn”. As George Aylett has discovered, this makes a number of seriously defamatory claims.
The first of these is that Jezza “Corruptly covered up paedophile ring”. TPUK have tried to pull that smear before, and at no time have they even come close to backing it up with so much as a gramme of evidence. Broadcast to a Facebook page with 50,000 likes.
But there is more. “Accepted cash from HAMAS and supports ISIS” gives us two more claims that are blatant lies, and without any foundation whatever. Added to that are “anti-Semitic terrorist sympathiser”, “fails to condemn London Bridge stabber”, “perpetuates failed Communist ideology”, “Unapologetically colludes with IRA” and “Recklessly damaged proven global alliances”, none of which are even slightly true.
The “report card” pack of lies is then shown in full with Ms Long Bailey’s voice in the background saying “well I’d give him ten out of ten”, the clear suggestion being that she is endorsing TPUK’s defamatory claims. So they have not only defamed Corbyn, they have also defamed her. The three nastiest smears should not be left unchallenged.
So when Aylett responds “Turning Point UK have posted an anti-RLB video - in the clip they spread complete lies about Jeremy Corbyn including claims he ‘covered up paedophile ring’, ‘accepted cash from Hamas’ and ‘supports ISIS’. This is libellous and I hope Corbyn sues them for every penny they have” he is not going to be alone.
When Turning Point UK claims to be “Creating a new generation of Conservatives”, it seems to miss that its enthusiasm for all things alt-right does not entitle its foot soldiers to recklessly invent clearly malicious and defamatory claims about their opponents, just because they and their pals might get a nice warm feeling from believing them.
Jeremy Corbyn and Becky Long Bailey cannot let this go without the firmest and most decisive response. When TPUK tell anyone listening that they are there to “Question. Challenge. Fight Back”, they need to remember that their opponents can do that too.
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