I write from a pro-Corbyn perspective. Not only is that my right as an independent blogger – because of the extreme right wing bias of our media, I almost feel duty bound to do so. A small red boat bobbing about amongst a vast ocean of blue.
If I was suddenly plucked from obscurity to be given the role of political editor of the BBC, I like to think I would be strenuous in my efforts to be seen to be politically impartial in accordance with the BBC charter. If I failed in these efforts, I would hope my boss would take me to one side to pull me up on it.
But what if my boss shared my politics? What if they were blind to my bias because they shared it? If that was the case I would imagine the public would help keep my bias in check. If I was doing my job well, I would expect to get as many complaints from viewers on the left as I received from viewers on the right. So if it came to my attention a petition had been launched calling for me to be sacked because of my blatant anti-Cameron bias, I would take that very seriously. Even more so if it attracted 35,000 signatures in under a week. Knowing me, I would probably resign because I’d find it impossible to convince myself that such strength of feeling had no basis in truth.
I can only deduce from Laura Keunssberg’s appearance on my TV screen yesterday, that she is not troubled by thoughts like these. Not for her self doubt and scruples. But is that so surprising, considering she has the entire establishment jumping to her defense? In the Labour corner we had Jess ‘Corbyn is a misogynist’ Phillips, who made the sweeping and unsubstantiated claim that the ‘attacks’ on Keunssberg were ‘underlined with sexism from people who did not even know they were perpetrators.’ In the Tory corner we had Lucy ‘fake death threats’ Allan, who used her question at PMQs to call on David Cameron to condemn the ‘hate ‘campaign being waged against Laura Keunssberg.
While Phillip’s declaration about sexism has been shown to hold only a few drops of water in a very large pond, thanks to the close scrutiny of former UK ambassador and blogger Craig Murray, Lucy Allan’s comments were nearer the mark. Keunssberg is the focus of a hate campaign, but the hate is not aimed at her, it is aimed at the way she conducts herself in a highly influential and powerful media role.
But why wouldn’t Phillips and Allan jump to Keunssberg’s defence? They are on the same team right now; united in their burning desire to see Corbyn toppled, fuelled by their secret fear that he really is electable. The saying, my enemies enemy is my friend, has never been more apt. To have such an unabashedly anti-Corbyn political editor at the heart of the BBC is an asset that must be guarded jealously. The strategy they have decided to employ to guard their asset comes straight out of the pages of Arthur Miller’s chilling book, ‘The Crucible,’ which is to point their fingers at anyone complaining about how biased Laura Keunssberg is, then scream ‘sexist!’
When people play the sexist card for cynical and political purposes, real cases of sexism are undermined. That makes me very angry. That’s not to say we should not condemn anyone who sent a sexist tweet about Keunssberg. We should. What we shouldn’t do, is allow a handful of cases to be conflated into a ‘sexist hate campaign’ when it isn’t. That would be like suggesting all men are sexist because a few undoubtedly are, or closing down an entire corporation because one of the bosses made sexist remarks to his secretary. But sadly that is exactly what 38 degrees did. They took down the petition, having bowed to the pressure from these contemporary witch-hunters. They say it was to make a stand against sexist bullying. I don’t believe them. I suspect they were terrified they would be the next ones to be called out and accused. That is how witch hunting works and why it is so effective.
Sixteen alleged cases of anti-semitism, some dating back several years, have been cynically, and going by the dropping off of support for Labour amongst Jewish voters, effectively used by anti-Corbyn Labour MPs to paint the Corbyn led Labour Party as a hot bed of antisemites. Now anyone who is appalled at Laura Keunssberg’s biased reporting is a sexist. Witch-hunting is immoral, but it is also undeniably effective. Not only does it have a muzzling effect, because no-one wants to attract the eye of the witch-hunters, it has a dead cat on the table effect; distracting attention away from the original point of focus.
And that is why McCarthyism is alive and well in today’s Labour Party. And that is also why we must stand up to the witch hunters and expose their agenda from every platform at our disposal.
In my case, from the deck of my little red boat.