In 2015 ahead of the Labour leadership election Jeremy Corbyn was a 200-1 outsider on the Betfair Exchange to win the contest. Without enough nominations to make the ballot the Islington North MP was written off by most of the media. His shock win sent shockwaves across the political spectrum that continued to reverberate as he fended off a leadership bid in 2017, took away the Tory majority in 2018 and guided Labour into the number one spot in the polls in 2019 according to the latest data. The one thing that has remained consistent is that the media has never stopped doubting him – and he has never stopped proving them wrong.
A poll for The Times last week shows Labour has pulled five points in front of the Conservatives with Corbyn’s party polling at 41 per cent of the electorate, up two points from last week, and the Tories on 36 per cent, down one point. The Lib Dems are on 9 per cent, down one point and Ukip on 7 per cent, up one point. As a party that is reported to be a hard left socialist organisation with an anti-semitism problem this ain’t bad, and it poses the question of whether what the media is reporting is the reality of what is on the ground.
In the run-up to last year’s election a similar trend had emerged. Cameras from the MSM crowded a half empty room in Edinburgh on one evening to listen to Conservative campaign messages while thousands of people turned out on the banks of the Tyne to watch Jeremy Corbyn in the rain. According to sources on the ground that night security personnel had to turn people away from the election rally despite it being hosted in a wide open space in Gateshead. But few newspapers showed a willingness to cover it.
A glance over the newspapers today reflects the same hostile environment towards Corbyn’s Labour Party in the national press. Anti-semitism is the smear of the day across the right-wing press, with the Telegraph saying Labour is in a “dark place” over recent accusations that the party has failed to “win the faith of the Jewish community”. Of course the latest row over IHRA’s definition of antisemitism and Labour’s apparent “rejection” of it doesn’t take into account that the Conservative party rulebook doesn’t mention antisemitism at all. No surprise there then.
It all makes for a rather useful distraction from the reality of our current political environment that has seen Labour surge in the polls thanks to policies that account for the majority of people as the Tories slump to new lows characterised by in-fighting over Brexit and an ignorance towards crucial domestic issues. In fact, so great is the camouflage provided by Brexit and media smears towards the opposition that the Tories have been allowed to get away with one of the most incompetent governments in recent history. We have fewer teachers than ever, fewer nurses, public finances are in a mess and according to reports today the number of homeless but working families has risen by 73 per cent since 2013.
If there is a party in crisis it is the Conservatives. This is still peak Corbyn, regardless of what most in the media would have you believe.