After all the biased and negative predictions, all day and every day before the local elections, leading people to believe that under Jeremy Corbyn the Labour Party would suffer, the media are now busy ignoring what they said and wrote.
From the moment the results started coming in, they had to tailor the language while avoiding the fact that Labour was doing quite well. The BBC for instance said:
“Mixed night for Labour in English council elections where fewer than expected changed hands.”
But who did the ‘expecting’? According to the Telegraph’s political pundit Ben Riley-Smith, Labour was expected to lose anything between 120 and 220 councillors.
England suffered constant and wildly inaccurate forecasts from the media. Labour would lose out big time. That pleased certain Labour politicians. They could use the loss as an excuse to oust Corbyn.
Never mind that the Labour Party could be ruined. Disregard the fact that Corbyn could simply be re-elected by many very angry party members. Some people will do anything to return to the days of Blair.
It was a carefully orchestrated and relentless campaign to influence the way the country would vote. At the last minute they, whoever ‘they’ were, wheeled in the ‘anti-semitism’ row. It’s impossible to decide who is more right-wing, Cameron’s lot or the Blairites. Whichever, it was a blatant attempt to destroy democracy.
Now, everyone knew that Labour would fare badly in Scotland, but that has nothing to do with Corbyn’s leadership. Wales also would do its own thing, which included Labour maintaining its strong position. But England, the heartland, or so it was assumed, of Tory ideology, that was expected to become entirely blue.
As the election results started to come in it was cheering listening to the BBC trying to grapple with the fact that Labour was not being wiped out in England. Over and again we were told how Labour had been replaced by a ‘resurgent’ Tory party – in Scotland.
By mid-morning the media were back to their spin. Even the less right-wing Daily Mirror was saying the Labour was ‘clinging on‘ in England but facing ‘disaster’ in Scotland. Two days after the election, the media had returned to pushing the ‘anti-semitism rife in Corbyn’s Labour Party‘ – anything to belittle, or hide, the English results.
Labour had two major successes. They recaptured London. The Labour candidate for Mayor, Sadiq Khan (who is no supporter of Corbyn), was elected, but that was expected after the dire campaign run by the Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith. This was reported as a ‘landslide’ victory.
Once elected, Sadiq Khan insisted that “Labour has to be a big tent that appeals to everyone, not just its own activists“, a line we can expect others to push.
Apart from the fact that the hugely increased Labour membership is getting really tired of being labelled ‘activists’, many of them are very loyal Party members who left because of Blair. Now they’re back, along with a host of other people.
Khan and his allies don’t seem to understand that when Corbyn became leader, the Labour Party was already in the process of becoming the big tent Khan says it ought to be.
The second big success was the election in Bristol of a Labour mayor. Of course the Bristol Post, the Western Daily Press and Bristol 24/7 reported this win. Marvin Rees won with a majority of nearly 30,000 votes, proportionately far greater than Khan’s majority. But apart from the Guardian, and small mentions in the Independent and the BBC, none of the mainstream media reported it, nor was it called a ‘landslide’.
And the English council elections and all those seats Labour was going lose? It turns out that the Tories fared worse than Labour, and even more interesting, their poor results were in the rich south – Winchester, Reigate, Elmbridge, Epping Forest.
Labour lost a grand total of 11 seats while the Tories lost 49. In Exeter Labour kept control, with an increased majority, reducing the Tory councillors to just 8. In Southampton Labour retained its majority, described as ‘slim’ by the BBC.
And, adding to the victory of Rees, Labour won overall control in Bristol, gaining 7 seats (at the expense of the Green Party), while the Tories lost 2. This also was not reported in the national media, which probably is hoping the country has now ‘moved on’. They certainly don’t want their readers to realise how much rubbish they’ve been peddling.
They can’t go on describing this as Labour ‘clinging on’. If, despite the concerted attempts to destroy Corbyn’s leadership, the people are going out and voting Labour, isn’t it time that Labour politicians like Sadiq Khan stopped criticising? Isn’t it time that the Labour Party which, headed by Corbyn, is truly bigger than they are, told them, very forcefully, to shut up?
Lesley Docksey © 09/05/16
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This post was written by Lesley Docksey