Owen Jones’ and the Guardian’s Corbyn mea culpa

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, June 11th, 2017 - 57 comments
Categories: International, Jeremy Corbyn, labour, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uk politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

I like the Guardian.  There are few progressive MSM media organisations in the world.  Compared to Murdoch’s press they are enlightened, intellectual and interesting.  But for some reason they have chosen to attack Jeremy Corbyn pretty well ever since he became UK Labour’s leader.

Owen Jones has posted a mea culpa.  Good on him.  I enjoy his writing but have bristled against his and the Guardian’s opposition to Corbyn.  He starts off with this outstanding passage:

This is one of the most sensational political upsets of our time. Theresa May – a wretched dishonest excuse of a politician, don’t pity her – launched a general election with the sole purpose of crushing opposition in Britain. It was brazen opportunism, a naked power grab: privately, I’m told, her team wanted the precious “bauble” of going down in history as the gravediggers of the British Labour party. Instead, she has destroyed herself. She is toast.

She has just usurped the title of “worst prime minister on their own terms” since David Cameron, who himself took it from Lord North in the 18th century. Look at the political capital she had: the phenomenal polling lead, almost the entire support of the British press, the most effective electoral machine on earth behind her. Her allies presented the Labour opposition as an amusing, eccentric joke which could be squashed like a fly which had already had its wings ripped off. They genuinely believed they could get a 180-seat majority. She will leave No 10 soon, disgraced, entering the history books filed under “hubris”.

But he does something that many in the media have not done, and given Corbyn the credit for an outstanding campaign.

[T]his [campaign] was about millions inspired by a radical manifesto that promised to transform Britain, to eliminate injustices, and challenge the vested interests holding the country back. Don’t let them tell you otherwise. People believe the booming well-off should pay more, that we should invest that money in schools, hospitals, houses, police, and public services, that all in work should have a genuine living wage, that young people should not be saddled with debt for aspiring to an education, that our utilities should be under the control of the people of this country. For years, many of us have argued that these policies – shunned, reviled even in the political and media elite – had the genuine support of millions. And today that argument was decisively vindicated and settled.

Well said.

He then has a blast at the Blairites:

Do we really think that Corbyn’s previous challengers to the leadership – and this is nothing personal – would have inspired millions of otherwise politically disengaged and alienated people to come out and vote, and drive Labour to its highest percentage since the famous Blair landslide? If the same old stale, technocratic centrism had been offered, Labour would have faced an absolute drubbing, just like its European sister parties did.

And he considers the Corbyn model to be one that progressives in other countries should emulate.

Social democracy is in crisis across the western world. British Labour is now one of the most successful centre-left parties, many of which have been reduced to pitiful rumps under rightwing leaderships. And indeed, other parties in Europe and the United States should learn lessons from this experience.

Then comes the mea culpa:

I came to believe that, yes, indeed Labour was heading for a terrible defeat which would crush all the things I believed in: that’s what all the polling, by-elections and the local elections seemed to say. I thought people had made their minds up about Corbyn, however unfairly, and their opinion just wouldn’t shift. I wasn’t a bit wrong, or slightly wrong, or mostly wrong, but totally wrong. Having one foot in the labour movement, and one in the mainstream media, undoubtedly left me more susceptible to their groupthink. Never again. Corbyn stays and – if indeed the Tories are thrown into crisis as Brexit approaches – he has an undoubted chance of becoming prime minister, and a fine prime minister he would make too.

And he finishes with this call to arms:

Now that I’ve said I’m wrong – perhaps one of the sweetest things I’ve had to write – so the rest of the mainstream commentariat, including in this newspaper, must confess they were wrong, too. They were wrong to vilify Corbyn supporters – from the day he stood – as delusional cultists. They were wrong to suggest Corbyn couldn’t mobilise young people and previous non-voters. They were wrong to suggest he couldn’t make inroads in Scotland. They were wrong to suggest a radical left programme was an automatic recipe for electoral catastrophe. No, Labour hasn’t formed a government. But it is far closer than it has been for a very long time. The prospect of a socialist government that can build an economy run in the interests of working people – not the cartel of vested interests who have plunged us into repeated crisis – well, that may have been a prospect many of us thought would never happen in our lifetime.

Meanwhile the usual suspects amongst the Labour Party still do not comprehend what has happened.  Or that they are an active hindrance to the progressive movement.

A classic example is the public comment by Labour MP Chris Leslie who claims that Corbyn missed an open goal by failing to win.  Way to bring everyone down Chris.  He has form.  He described Corbyn’s policies as being starry eyed hard left when Corbyn first campaigned to become leader.  His wife Nicola Murphy is a founder of Labour Tomorrow, an organisation which funds and supports groups that oppose Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.

Someone should have a discussion with him about copulation and direction.

Or how about this from someone who is the local media’s go to person for comment on the progressive movement?

The time for the civil war to end was after Corbyn was selected for the second time as Labour’s leader if not the first.  The UK MPs need to decide if they are part of the movement or part of the problem.

57 comments on “Owen Jones’ and the Guardian’s Corbyn mea culpa”

  1. the pigman 1

    Morgan Godfery said it best on twitter. Before the election the Blairites all shrieked that May was the most popular PM since ww2 and Labour were heading for a 1931-beating defeat. Since the election they’ve changed their tune, claiming she was wobbly and awful and Corbyn failed to capitalise and what a disaster it is.

    They still don’t fucking get it.

    What a bearded and unapologetic Cunliffe could have achieved if he’d taken an actually socialist manifesto to the electorate.

    • aspasia 1.1

      No Jonathon Pie says it best (at 1.23)

      • WILD KATIPO 1.1.1

        The man speaks honestly at 1.23 and could just as well have been speaking directly to the Labour party neo liberal caucus of NZ when they aided in backstabbing David Cunliffe….

        These destructive political moles deserve no pity nor encouragement whatsoever.

    • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.2

      He’d Probably have done worse. this belief that imported policies will work in New Zealand is very colonialist. The societies are different so the policy mix must be differentl

  2. Siobhan 2

    Your opening entire paragraph….doesn’t that seem like a contradiction in terms. Has it not occurred to you that they don’t really want REAL change?.

    “The Guardian didn’t get it “wrong”. It is the mouthpiece of a liberal elite that is financially endangered by a socialist program. — Matt Kennard, investigative journalist (@KennardMatt)”

    http://theguardian.fivefilters.org/?v1

  3. The decrypter 3

    Pretty complicated the whole mess? schemes? winners /losers. English thinks May has done a good -job -of things.–that’s the main thing? Bills stamp of approval seals the whole saga.

    • roadrage 3.1

      Brexit won! Tories had no plan! Tories overwhemly like trade, lower trade barriers, and could hold their noses at the sausage defns etc coz trade is good for them. And truth be told when May finalises the agreement nowt much will have changed. May did not lose, May was just the patsy the Tories needed to take the odium of their voters ire that Tories had no plan in event of a lose. A loss brought on by the Murdoch press wanting to kick the EU. Its all a farce, UK Labour invokes Foot years just when change is ratterling the doors, no moderate loathsome politician wants to be in the limelight right now. Trump, May, its just run by second raters because the big money rightly is screwed. However they are screwed anyway, locked in a debt spiral that sees quality, quantity, value all lowered in order to pay the interest payments on debt. That’s why the banks have effective negative rates. NZ only gets by coz its housing still attracts foreign money from those winning off the debt spiral. We need a banking reset as money is dying up, citizens can’t afford food, housing, health, babies! The monster financial system was put on full throttle, locked in gear by neolib look no hands types, and nobody has the balls to stick their heads up over the parapet for fear media finance will target them.

  4. Good post.

    Which goes to vindicate somewhat I and many , many others have been saying for years about the situation here in NZ. Along with all the RWNJ’s , National , Act et all – and the neo liberals in the Labour party caucus who have neutralized that party since the treacherous 1984 Roger Douglas ideological coup.

    And all we ever got from those neo liberals in the Labour party was TINA – There Is No Alternative.

    Bullshit there isn’t.

    And Corbyn’s just proven that fact – along with the mass mobilization of the youth vote and the disenchanted with politics vote.

    I am giving the Labour party my vote this September – after 3 long decades of being absolutely disgusted by them. And I , … and again ,… many , many others expect to see much , much more from them about actually doing something and changing the direction of this country away from neo liberalism and back to the fundamental core that Labour once held – that being one of democratic socialism.

    And also a word to those right wingers who often comment on this post , ex Nat MP Wayne included – who also stated recently that I was a ‘radical’ – and by implication so were the scores of others who have been advocating EXACTLY the same sort of things as Jeremy Corbyn .

    You were wrong.

    Just like the UK pollsters, just like the UK MSM , just like the UK Conservative party.

    This revulsion against the politics / ideology of greed is growing and set to cast its influence far and wide throughout the western world as others pick up on the notion it can be done. A new generation is coming through that will not settle for being told ‘this is as good as it can get’. Being fobbed off like that is no longer a viable tactic.

    So prepare , yourself , mon….. this is truly dread…

    King Willie Death Scene – Predator 2-(1990) Movie Clip Blu … – YouTube
    Video for king willy prepare yourself youtube▶ 2:58

    • mickysavage 4.1

      + 1

    • Bill 4.2

      Why would the current Labour caucus do much more from them about actually doing something and changing the direction of this country away from neo liberalism?

      It ain’t going to happen WILD KAPITO, and there’s no avenue for any influx of members to force it either.

      Cast your vote and then drop to your knees to…beg for mercy, pray for change and wail at the injustice of it all before the sneering downturned faces of your liberal overlords.

      (Too much?)

      • WILD KATIPO 4.2.1

        ” Why would the current Labour caucus do much more from them about actually doing something and changing the direction of this country away from neo liberalism ” ?

        ………………………………………….

        Quite easily, and the reason being is this :

        We have time on our side. That’s one thing. Corbyn has been around for a long time. He didn’t just appear from nowhere.

        Second thing is a society can only take too much strain before it demands change and the political pressure starts to grow. Populism starts to take root , – which is a fancy right wing term used by them to describe the sentiments of the voters they wish to ignore.

        We see that now with the ludicrous claims made by polls, political forecasters , by both right wing and right wing lite politicians , and by thier George Soros and Murdoch inspired MSM. They are progressively looking more and more out of touch. As if they have something to hide/ make ‘ propaganda’ about… and if they are… then ‘who’ are they trying to ‘ propagandize ‘ ?

        The public, and if so … just what sector?… and if another sizable sector start to gain traction… proving the ‘ propaganda’ was wrong from the get go , that it was only there to serve the best interests of a select few rather than all participants in a democracy in an equitable and healthy way…

        Can you not imagine the calls for change growing?

        And … the UK sets a precedent for NZ politics whether we like to admit it or not.

        If Labour under Corbyn wins in the UK ,… next election , … and starts to undo and undermine all the lies we have been led to believe about how good it is under neo liberalism and its exponents here and in the UK , such as the current Bill English / National party ,… can you not also foresee just what a powerful motivator that will be for the NZ Labour party ?

        They already have been accused as being National Lite as it is ,… how much moreso when Corbyn wins ( and he will , no doubt about it ) and demonstrates that the Mont Pelerin lie called neo liberalism has been a con job all along to subvert democracies, and shift wealth and power back into the hands of the elites and nothing more ?

        Staying as Labour is currently will in time become more and more untenable as time goes on. Its inevitable.

        • Bill 4.2.1.1

          Ah, okay. So from my reading of your comment, their change or shift is sitting somewhere between the never-never and the long finger.

          I don’t have “time” on my side and neither do many, many others. If change is to come from NZ Labour, it’s going to have to be forced. And it can’t be forced for as long as caucus retains that 40% control over crucial party decisions.

          So, if not from NZ Labour, then from where? I don’t have a ready answer to that right now, but opportunities have a habit of arriving unexpectedly from ‘left field’

  5. Bill 5

    There was no Guardian ‘mea-culpa’ micky. That was from Owen Jones.

    The Guardian has never been left wing and will be resuming its attacks on Corbyn soon enough. Probably just after the DUP/Tory thing gives way to a Tory /LibDem thing 😉

    I can see the tone of the editorials now….

    Look how the LibDems have saved us from 1690 throwbacks and look how we’ll get a soft BREXIT now! God bless the Liberal Democrats!!

    • dukeofurl 5.1

      Polly Toynbee manages to rejoice in labours result- hardly mentioning Corbyn

      But she did enjoy the schadenfreude of the Daily Mails relentless anti Corbyn line ?

      Let’s whoop at the failure of May’s miserabilism. Optimism trumped austerity
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/09/theresa-may-elections-fail

      • Stuart Munro 5.1.1

        Polly, like all oracles, has proven fallible. Unhappily for her she is not in a position to blame it on substandard chickens. History treats appeasers harshly.

        • WILD KATIPO 5.1.1.1

          ”THERE WILL BE PEACE IN OUR TIME !!! ” ….

          A little bit like ” WE ARE ON THE CUSP OF A BRIGHTER FUTURE !!! ”…

          Both being liars hackneyed descriptions of the REAL conditions .

          • Stuart Munro 5.1.1.1.1

            I think Chamberlain cops a bit much flak on that one in fact – he couldn’t really imagine what Hitler’s regime was like, and thus signed a treaty with someone who was lying to his face. Strategically it was disastrous however, though the spy side, traditionally linked with the navy in Britain at that time, had begun preparations somewhat before the official onset of hostilities. Chamberlain was trying to fairly represent the anti-war sentiment that had arisen from the Great War.

            • WILD KATIPO 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I guess, however some believe he was mildly sympathetic… or so I’ve been told.

              • KJT

                I understand that Chamberlain was simply trying to avoid a repeat of the horrors of WW1.
                As was the Vichy Government.

                Probably not comprehending the depth of Hitlers, and Germans, determination to reverse the humiliation of their defeat.

                Most historians consider the Second world war was almost an inevitable consequence of the reparations, and poverty, inflicted on Germany after WW1. Hence the Marshall plan.

            • DS 5.1.1.1.1.2

              Actually, Chamberlain knew full well war was coming. He was doing it to buy time for Britain to re-arm. It was really Stanley Baldwin who was the villain.

    • Grey Area 5.2

      Absolutely Bill. I was thinking “hang on, this is just Owen Jones, not The Guardian” and then I followed Siobahn’s link which confirmed it.

    • mickysavage 5.3

      You might be right. I might be overly generous to the paper as a whole although I mean what I said about Jones.

      • Grey Area 5.3.1

        Interesting comparison with Hosking I think. One person who appears to think about issues and admit when they were wrong as opposed to Hosking.

      • Karen 5.3.2

        I agree with you about Owen Jones, Mickey. At least he had the good grace to say he was wrong about Corbyn’s chances, unlike some of the others on the Guardian. And, in spite of his recent doubts about Corbyn, he worked really hard to increase the vote throughout the campaign.

  6. Muttonbird 6

    God, I can’t stand centrists.

  7. I see a direct parallel with Labour in New Zealand. We have a right-wing news media that takes every opportunity to denigrate both the Labour Party and it’s leader. Andrew Little has taken plenty of insults from the political elite and their fawning commentators. The polls here trumpet the superiority of the numbers for national, lower case absolutely intended! We all need to do our bit over the next few months to get young people involved in politics!!

  8. Glenn 8

    Monbiot…before the election…alas can’t find anything since.

    : a Labour win is no longer an impossible dream. It is certainly a dream, for those of us who have been waiting, longer than my adult life, for a government beholden only to the people, rather than to the City or the owners of newspapers. But it is now a plausible one.

    And why not? On policy after policy, the Labour manifesto accords with what people say they want. It offers a strong and stable National Health Service, in which privatisation is reversed, clinical budgets rise and staff are properly paid. It promises more investment in schools, smaller class sizes, and an end to the stifling micromanagement driving teachers out of the profession. It will restore free education at universities. It will ensure that railways, water, energy and the postal service are owned for the benefit of everyone, rather than only the bosses and shareholders. It will smoke out tax avoidance, and bring the banks under control.:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/06/vote-jeremy-corbyn-labour-leader-policies

    And where is the message from NZ Labour? Not that the media would publish it.

  9. Ed 9

    This is just one more example of how bad the mainstream, corporate establishment neoliberal media is in New Zealand.

    Even after Brexit
    Even after Trump
    Even after Corbyn

    They still believe what they hear in their own echo chamber.

    Louise Wallace actually says that Corbyn’s ideas had no influence on the election result and that it was a reaction to Brexit.
    Is she not aware that the SNP and the Liberal Democrats are the most pro-European parties in the UK? If she is correct, why didn’t people in England flock to the Lib Dems?

    So is Louise Wallace really that ignorant?
    Or is she just lazy and repeats whats she hears from right wing media sources in the UK?

    I sense both.

    http://www.radiolive.co.nz/home/audio/2017/06/environews—whio—blue-duck-/sunday-brunch–louise-wallace—david-slack.html

  10. Glenn 10

    Jeremy Corbyn vows to oust Theresa May ‘within a matter of days’ after spectacular election result….

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/jeremy-corbyn-vows-oust-theresa-10601306

    Will be an interesting few weeks.

  11. KJT 11

    After all the pundits, including many in the Standard, and our Parliamentary Labour party, repeatedly claimed that voters will never again go for truly left wing Labour Government policies.

    Corbyn just proved them wrong.

    The more voters found out about his policies, the higher UK Labour’s vote rose.

    For once i am going to gleefully gloat, and say, “I told you so”.

    • weka 11.1

      😀

      I found the use of the word ‘shock’ odd. Especially after Brexit. It’s not like Corbyn’s Labour rose the day before the election, there was a steady trend of increasing support.

      • WILD KATIPO 11.1.1

        And so all the negative spin about Corbyn has been seen for just that – negative spin.

        Of course the so called average Joe and Joe -ess are going to be interested in core policy’s of a true Left democratic social govt , after all ,… its the height of civility and advancement for human beings,generally,.. whereas the barbarous economics and political ideas of much of the 19th century regurgitated under neo liberalism with all its social degradation’s is a complete turn off for those poor Joe’s and Joe -esses.

        And lets not forget that it was under that system ( Keynesian based democratic social govts ) post WW2 that saw most of the west in its most prosperous and equitable period in history to date.

        Then along came Ronnie, Margret and Milton …. and Douglas…

  12. weka 12

    Oh dear.

    The Guardian‏Verified account @guardian

    How the rightwing tabloids got it wrong

    • KJT 12.1

      Well. The Guardian got it wrong too.

      But. As part of the UK establishment, they don’t want a change from the Neo-liberal tweedledum and tweedledee, any more than the Tories do.

      Parallels with our own ABC faction, and the united front both Labour and National presented to any upsetting “pretenders” to the political class, like Hone and Mana.

      • WILD KATIPO 12.1.1

        ” Parallels with our own ABC faction, and the united front both Labour and National presented to any upsetting “pretenders” to the political class, like Hone and Mana.”

        Grrrrr… how so very well I remember that – as I voted for IMP .

        But when Corbyn wins in future – THERE WILL BE NO EXCUSE for the NZ Labour party to accommodate those neo liberals anymore. The ABC’s and the XYZ’s and all the other cretins that make up their number will not have a leg to stand on once the transformations starts in the UK , and they will have to take their TINA excuse and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

    • Ed 12.2

      The Guardianf got it wrong big time.

      http://theguardian.fivefilters.org/?v1

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