Please read the tweets and messages below:
So what point am I making with this display of unpleasantries aimed at Corbyn and his supporters? Am I trying to insinuate that people who are opposed to Corbyn are a nasty bunch? No, of course not. Amongst the many thousands who oppose Corbyn these tweets only represent a small percentage of individuals who struggle to debate without resorting to insults. Or maybe those responsible have a nasty streak, and social media is their chosen forum for venting their nastiness.
Either way, I won’t be asking Owen Smith to condemn the abuse on display and I certainly won’t expect him to put a stop to it. How on earth could he stop something that has nothing to do with him? He hasn’t put a call out for people to be abusive anymore than Corbyn has.
If these people are already lacking the wherewithal to debate without getting nasty, they are certainly not going to obey a command from anyone to ‘play nice.’ They probably enjoy their rants and feel proud of their rather pathetic put downs. They might even get a kick out of chastisements they receive and reactions they provoke. If they weren’t trolling Corbyn supporters they’d soon find something else to troll about. These people haven’t been sitting there dormant, waiting for Owen Smith to activate them. Their nastiness was in circulation long before the leadership campaign. The target of their venom just happens to be Corbyn and his supporters at this particular moment in time.
The bottom line is this: Owen Smith is no more responsible for the abuse we receive than the abuse spewed out in Corbyn’s name. To reiterate, these are individuals. Some may not even be Smith supporters, but even if each and everyone of them is, it doesn’t change the fact they are nothing to do with Smith. They are just your regular unpleasant twitter trolls, plain and simple. And before anyone says, ‘there are far more examples of Corbyn supporters using abuse’ I’d say that’s probably because there are a lot more of them. Regardless, far more Corbyn supporters debate civilly on Twitter and Facebook than don’t, and like the trolls displayed here, they have simply latched onto a campaign which most of them probably care very little about – rather like the inevitable trouble makers who latch onto peaceful political demonstrations, or football hooligans who go for the fight not the football.
Even if I wanted to use these examples to smear all Smith supporters – which I don’t because I have too much integrity – I wouldn’t be able to because I don’t have the ‘magic formula.’ Without the establishment and their propoganda media machine on my side, any smear campaign I tried to launch would very quickly fall flat. The establishment are experts at demonisation and smear, and have all the levers at their disposal to do serious damage. Look at the way they have demonised immigrants over the years, which undoubtedly contributed to the brexit vote; or trashed the reputations of people who rely on social security.
They could pick on any group they wanted and demonise them if they so chose. They could demonise single mothers for instance. All it would take is for the press and politicians to target them as a group, then seek out every horrific story of child abuse and neglect at the hands of a single mother and emblazon it on their front pages day after day; stories which would then be regurgitated by the tv media, until single mothers were thought of as the lowest of the low, viewed with suspicion and scorn by many.
Maybe next they could go after NHS nurses. They could dig out every distressing story of abuse, neglect or poor care and hold it up as an example of NHS nurses in general. They could sow seeds of mistrust in the public’s minds to such an extent, people would eventually avoid going into hospital or choose to go private.
By now you may be thinking you’d never be taken in by these smear tactics, and maybe in your case that’s true, but many would be and the outcome could be catastrophic.
That’s why smear campaigns terrify me, whoever is the target. They terrify me because they work. Smear campaigns have lead to immigrants being thought of as a burden; the poor and disabled as work shy and devious; public sector workers as greedy and militant. Smear campaigns are dangerous. I’ve always thought that. The fact I’m now one of the hundreds of thousands who are being targeted as part of a smear campaign, where honest, decent, sensible Corbyn supporters are being labeled as a Trotskyite, hard left, anti-Semitic, misogynistic, deluded rabble, just confirms what I already knew.
The establishment use smear to steer public opinion against a group; either because they feel threatened by it, as in the case of Corbyn supporters or trade unions, or to distract attention from their own nest feathering agenda. If people are up in arms about immigration rather than corporate tax avoidance, that’s just how the establishment like it.
The fact so many Labour MPs are at the heart of the anti-Corbyn smear campaign says a great deal about them and their establishment ties. As does the selective nature of their outrage. A sexist tweet from a supposed Corbyn supporter is ‘a shocking and disgraceful example of the type of people Corbyn is attracting to the party.’ But when their own preferred leadership candidate let’s yet another sexist remark fall from his mouth, tumbleweed blows through the same MP’s Twitter accounts. I did read the mildest of chastisements to one remark Smith made from Jess ‘Corbyn is a misogynist’ Phillips but that’s as far as the outrage has gone.
When is a sexist remark not a sexist remark? When it’s not useful to the anti-Corbyn smear campaign it seems. And that really does tell you everything you need to know about the integrity of those doing the smearing. And that’s what we have to remember when we hit our inevitable low ebbs. It hurts to have our character dragged through the proverbial mud day after day, but it tells us an awful lot about the character of those prepared to engage in these smear tactics. It tells us how unprincipled they are, and how ruthless!
We are currently backing a leader who undoubtedly receives death threats and the vilest of abuse on a regular basis but barely ever mentions it, even though he could make political capital from it. Using the actions of the few to demonise the many to further an agenda takes a crafty, manipulative, unprincipled character. Jeremy Corbyn is as far removed from that character type as it’s possible to be. And that’s why he’s under assault, and it’s why we are under assault for supporting him.
And it’s why he’s the right leader for the Labour Party if it’s going to be the party of principles we want it to be.