This may go against most people’s idea of a light read, but over the last few days I have been absorbed in Seumas Milne’s account of the miners’ strike, ‘The Enemy Within’. It not only exposes the deliberate plot to destroy the coal industry, but also shows how MI5 was involved in making false allegations against the National Union of Mineworkers. A similar plot was made against George Galloway after the Iraq War but was exposed by him in a court case in which he won substantial damages from the Telegraph.
On both occasions, the mainstream media regurgitated all the false allegations fed to them by the UK intelligence service. The idea was to discredit the NUM as being corrupt, just as it was to discredit George Galloway by accusing him of taking £375,000 in payments from Saddam Hussein.
‘The Enemy Within’ shows that the political establishment in this country will resort to any methods to undermine any challenge to its interests.
This is particularly appropriate when we consider Jeremy Corbyn’s position as a truly socialist Labour Party leader.
It’s obvious that Jeremy Corbyn being Labour Party leader doesn’t sit well with the establishment in this country – the super rich, the media, even some people in his own party.
These people have already put up resistance to his leadership by repeatedly running negative stories, publishing false allegations and, in the case of some Labour MPs, organising a series of resignations to give the impression he was losing support.
So what should we do about this opposition that seeks to undermine Labour’s leader through false propaganda?
Should we look for a compromise whereby we water down policies to curry favour with the establishment?
This isn’t really an option.
The thing that has led hundreds of thousands of people to join the Labour Party is Jeremy Corbyn’s integrity. His opinions have been consistent. He doesn’t change them according to what is fashionable in media circles.
Apart from the fact that he wouldn’t compromise anyway, back-tracking would lose Jeremy Corbyn support just as fast as it lost the Lib Dems support when they joined the coalition in 2010.
So, with a radical set of policies put forward by a principled leader, it is certain that the establishment will use every plot and trick in the book to undermine the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.
Should we give up our hopes because we have the whole establishment against us?
The pressure on Jeremy Corbyn – and those around him – has been relentless. And it is unlikely to ease up. Is it possible for Labour to win an election under such attack?
This is the fear. And, as with all fear, it begets fear and negativity. We need to stop worrying about the media and whether we can win an election or not. That kind of self-obsession gets us nowhere and also makes us unattractive.
We can get our ideas out on social media and through grassroots campaigns that do not rely on the mainstream media. And we need the Labour Party to do more to encourage these to happen. We cannot allow the MPs or the bureaucrats who are opposed to Jeremy Corbyn to hold this back.
We need to get back to where this campaign started. We need to rekindle that excitement about a new politics where we can open up discussion and be imaginative about how we do things.
Events are key
This means more events – big and small – that will give people things to talk about. I have seen from Stand up for Labour, the #JC4PM tour, Curry for Corbyn, public meetings I’ve organised and the Corbyn Christmas single that having an event to look forward to and be part of gives people a sense of belonging that social media ‘likes’ do not. We also need to work harder on making connections with people that are not just ‘on the doorstep’.
But, above all, when we have the whole political establishment doing all it can to undermine us, we need to encourage each other and keep faith in the new politics.