'Why 15-page Jeremy Corbyn 'hatchet job' shows Tories are taking him seriously'

The day before the 2017 snap election the Daily Mail devoted 14 pages to Jeremy Corbyn.

The following day, although Labour came second, the result far exceeded expectations.

Having begun the campaign 20 points behind in the polls, Labour won an astonishing 40% of the vote.

“Never have so many trees died in vain,” Mr Corbyn later quipped. “Next time make it 28 pages”.

And so it seems clear that today’s decision by the Mail on Sunday to devote a whole 15 pages to Corbyn is about more than just promoting Tom Bower’s latest biography.

On first reading, the excerpts from “Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot For Power,” tell us that the Labour leader cares more about politics than his personal life, ain’t the biggest barrel of laughs, and likes cold baked beans.

Cold baked beans seem to be the claim that’s turned the most heads

 

On the Andrew Marr Show, the claims were described as “a complete hatchet job” and have been branded “nonsense” by sources close to the Labour leader.

Tonight, after initially declining to dignify it with a response, Labour issued a heavy attack on the coverage.

A party spokesman called it a "poorly researched and tawdry hatchet job, packed with obvious falsehoods and laughable claims – from events that never took place to invented conversations and elementary errors of fact."

Claims included that Mr Corbyn ran up debts of £30,000 in the 1990s after paying a community centre’s rent and salaries out of his own pocket, infuriating his second wife who went on to leave him.

His first wife Jane Chapman claimed he didn’t read a single book in their four years of marriage, accusing him of a "lack of emotional awareness" and a joyless approach to life.

 

Claims included that Mr Corbyn ran up debts of £30,000 in the 1990s

 

According to the excerpts, he would return late from council meetings with friends in the 1970s "to sing IRA songs while they all got drunk on beer”.

Former staffer Keith Veness – who quit in the early 1990s in what is described as a falling-out – claimed he once stumbled in to see Diane Abbott naked on Mr Corbyn’s bed, many decades ago.

And he accused the Labour leader of "sounding delighted" after the EU referendum result.

Another key figure in the book was former ally Reg Race, who said Mr Corbyn was "not fit to be Britain’s Prime Minister”. His feelings have been long known – Dr Race was a part of the Saving Labour group which tried and failed to oust Mr Corbyn in 2016.

But the claim that turned most heads on social media was about Mr Corbyn’s culinary taste.

He would happily “open a can of beans, swallow them cold and declare himself satisfied”, the book declared.

 

A party spokesman tonight called it a "poorly researched and tawdry hatchet job, packed with obvious falsehoods and laughable claims"

 

The extent of the coverage also tells us something more: that the Tories are taking Corbyn more seriously as a threat than they have for some time.

There’s a reason that there has been repeated rumours that the Tories are gearing up for a general election.

Whenever one eventually does happen, they can’t afford not to be ready.

At the last election, Labour won the highest percentage vote since Tony Blair’s second landslide of 2001.

Of the last 100 polls, only 22 have a Conservative lead out of margin of error according to academic Matthew Goodwin.

Labour only need a two point swing to be the largest party.

There is much that still stands in the way of a Corbyn-led Labour government – not least the ongoing conflict in the party over Brexit and Mr Corbyn’s poor personal ratings.

But large swathes of the population – Brexiteers and Remainers alike – feel hacked off with the unpopular Tory government, and believe Labour could offer an alternative, brighter future.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *