In the past couple of days, something has stirred among the motley convocation of alt-right idiocy otherwise known as Turning Point UK. Either they have decided to join all the other regulars who read Zelo Street, or someone not unadjacent to the Labour leadership has been instructing lawyers. Perhaps both are true. But what is certain is that their smears of Jeremy Corbyn and Rebecca Long Bailey have been seriously watered down.
As I pointed out earlier this week, TPUK, which has hosted notorious anti-Semite Taki Theodoracopulos, seen Candace Owens make an idiot of herself talking about Hitler, and whose US founder Charlie Kirk has, shall we say, a less than pure-as-driven-snow back story, had published a Facebook post in which they had not only libelled Corbyn, but had clearly suggested that RLB endorsed those libellous statements.
Blatantly libellous Point 3 ...
Ms Long Bailey is, by training, a lawyer, which makes TPUK’s actions that much more ill-judged. But now, someone has taken down the Facebook post - which had already been advertised for more than a week to a page which has more than 50,000 likes - and replaced it with a rather more mildly worded one. The problem for TPUK is that I have the screenshots. And I am not alone. So what has changed?
... is now just an "allegation"
In the original, TPUK claimed that Jezza “Corruptly covered up paedophole ring”. This is blatant, premeditated libel. He didn’t, they know he didn’t, and there is no way this side of hell freezing over that they can prove otherwise. So now it has been replaced by “Allegedly covered up paedophile ring” (OK they use the US English spelling of “Pedophile”, but I suspect there is no material difference). Still nasty, but with the libel removed.
Points 6 and 7 ...
Then comes the second nailed-on libel, as TPUK claimed “Accepts cash from HAMAS and supports ISIS”. Neither is even remotely true or provable. Deliberate and blatant libel. This has also been watered down in the latest version to “Accepted cash with links to Hamas”, which they probably can’t prove, either. They may try to “link” a donation to someone who once appeared on a platform with someone connected to Hamas, but this is shaky ground.
... have also been watered down
But at least TPUK acknowledge that they cannot stand up the claim. And they have gone further: the original claim “fails to condemn London Bridge stabber” has also been changed. It is now “Gutlessly weak in condemning London Bridge stabber”. At this point it becomes clear that someone has been through the list of ten claims made about Corbyn and has ordered the amendment of anything that is clearly untrue.
As for the claim that Jezza “supports ISIS”, this has gone completely. Although TPUK may now believe they are on less shaky ground, I have news for them. One, as noted earlier, they left the libellous claims up for more than a week, with the impression being given that they hoped to get away with them, and Two, by retracting or amending them, are effectively admitting that they made claims they know they can’t defend.
Turning Point UK may have changed the URL, and rowed back on the nastiest of their smears, but they are not out of the woods yet. They could still find themselves in court.
And if they do, it might be a blow from which they never recover. Here’s hoping.
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