The pernicious way in which the media influences and distorts public opinion was once again revealed on BBC Radio Five Live when Nicky Campbell interviewed a Tory supporting man from the north east who had voted for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership contest in order to destroy the party. Whilst I have no doubt that the election of Corbyn would indeed have this result, I certainly question the fact that a Tory voter who detests Labour has any kind of say in what should be an internal Labour Party election.
“John” did not come across as the sharpest tool in the box, patronising fellow Labour voters from the north east who he said would vote for a donkey if it was wearing a Labour rosette, but what bothered me, more than anything, was how he appeared to have fallen, hook, line and sinker, for the right-facing media propaganda. “John” learned how to cast his vote following instructions from the Daily Telegraph, which also appeared to have influenced his political views, such as they were. He blamed Labour for leaving the country in a mess, which is simply not true, and he said that a Labour government under Ed Miliband would have been at the beck and call of Alex Salmond and the SNP. I repeat: these two statements are simply not true, but they were certainly part of the narrative part the electorate bought into and believed last May.
By joining the Labour Party, I too would be guaranteed a vote, but at least I believe in what it stands for. “John’, although being quite unspecific in his criticism, said “Labour has nothing for me” which suggests that he was more of an “I’m all right Jack” Thatcherite Tory.
This farcical half-cocked voting system in the Labour Party is another of Ed Miliband’s unfortunate legacies. He himself was elected thanks to the union barons and now the new leader is being elected by people including those who want Labour to lose, with candidates nominated by MPs who didn’t support them but thought it would be a good idea to put them on the ballot paper. What a mess.
Labour says it has “robust” methods of ensuring that the election is not hijacked by outsiders and I hope they are right. It took a long time for Labour to get over the disaster of the 1980s when the party was run by the likes of Tony Benn and overrun by the tinpot revolutionaries of Militant tendency and if this new system allows the very same type of people to distort the result, it has not learned the lessons of history and will be annihilated in 2020. By setting up an electoral system that allows opponents to distort results, Labour has invited trouble for itself and if that system installs Jeremy Corbyn as the new Labour leader there will only be one result.
If Jeremy Corbyn is the answer, I dread to think what the question is. My suggestion is: “Who is the best man to destroy the Labour Party?”