As the vultures from the Guardian and other “radical” intellectuals continue to rip him to shreds, we should remember that Jeremy Corbyn took on a near impossible role that he very likely did not want. In return, he got four years of vicious media treatment. The media (including the Guardian) and their allies in the Labour party deliberately set about (and I quote one of them) “breaking him as a man”. They even managed to convince some people that a dedicated anti-racist was a secret racist…all from people with a track record not remotely comparable to Corbyn’s track record of opposing racism.
They (yes, middle-class Guardian and liberal intellectuals) have tried to present a middle-class Corbyn aloof from working-class interests. Yet Corbyn was the one Labour leader prepared to support picket lines and one of the rare Labour MPs prepared to support the 1984-85 miners’ strike, unlike the miner’s son and later EU bureaucrat Neil Kinnock and any number of vocal opponents of Corbyn in the Labour party.
The Guardian must be binned for good because it will ultimately never be part of the interests of the working class. Over the past four years, it has churned out badly researched and often contradictory—yet much shared—opinion pieces by people who will not be held accountable.
Take this example from Polly Toynbee who decided to travel north last April to see what Wakefield was like. She came to this conclusion:
Last week, Mary Creagh (Labour) lost Wakefield to Imran Khan (Conservative).
Toynbee’s absurd but influential reading of Brexit would have disastrous consequences for Labour and those who took up her pro-EU agenda. After the election results, Toynbee predictably led the gorging on the carcass of Corbyn. Unlike Corbyn, she will not face any consequences for her journalistic failures. But that’s not the point because, ultimately, she is a mouthpiece for the establishment interests of the Guardian.
It is no surprise that another liberal voice defended the liberal end of the establishment to undermine Corbyn. Yet the Guardian left have just as predictably picked at the bones too. Owen Jones and Gary Younge also laid into Corbyn after the result.
Both have unquestionably done some excellent journalistic work but when loyalty to Corbyn was needed in darker moments none was forthcoming, as we saw prior to the General Election in 2017. In February 2017, Young wrote about how Corbyn was failing and did not have a clear message, while around the same time Jones was likewise telling us about the inability of Corbyn to get his message across and telling us how he would struggle to vote for Corbyn in a Labour leadership election.
Both rightly acknowledge the power of the media in skewing Corbyn’s message, but their target has been the right-wing media and not their liberal home, the Guardian. If Guardian journalists want frank assessments, then these assessments should include understanding the role of the liberal Guardian in the relentless smearing of Corbyn and in its relentless promotion of various pro-Remain positions which (sometimes deliberately, sometimes naively) destroyed Labour’s hopes in former Labour towns.
They won’t do this in any serious way because, whether they like it or not, their loyalty is to their world, the world of the Guardian. Jones and others will tell us that their arguments are in good faith and no doubt they are. But that too is not the point. Become part of the world of the Guardian and you’re part of the Guardian’s interests, no matter how well meaning.
It should be no surprise that their loyalties also involve turning on working class interests if necessary, as their handling of Brexit shows. The smearing of the working-class union activist Eddie Dempsey by Jones and his friends on the very issue of Brexit and Labour should have been a wake-up call. Like Toynbee, their failings are now obvious for all to see.
We cannot trust the Guardian and never should have. The voices of liberal and leftist Guardian journalists, along with their various leftist social media friends with related media platforms, should not play a prominent role after the election, though that may be wishful thinking. We should instead turn to working-class activists (actual activists, not those using it as fancy label for a Twitter profile) and those, like Corbyn, with working-class interests at heart.