Here on Merseyside, we don’t read the Sun – or the Scum, as it’s universally referred to. We read newspapers. We wouldn’t use the Sun to wipe our behinds (although most Scousers would use a pithier term).
So it comes as a surprise that a Scum reporter was skulking around Liverpool last month at the highly-praised ‘TWT16’ alternative conference that took place alongside Labour’s official conference – even incognito. If they’d been caught, they’d be lucky to escape the city minus tar and feathers.
What does not come as a surprise is that s/he was skulking around spying on private conversations. One of which involved the excellent journalist and campaigner Paul Mason.
Late last night, the Scum launched its ‘exclusive’, claiming that Mason – who quit a lucrative position at a mainstream news station in order to be able to speak freely about what’s going on in our society – wanted to ‘oust’ Jeremy Corbyn:
However, as we’ll see shortly, the article says much more about the Scum and its Establishment pals than about either Mason or Corbyn.
The recording, taken in the Yard Bird just over the road from the TWT16 venue, purports to show Mason commenting negatively on the Labour leader, particularly with regard to how he’s perceived by the working class, and mooting the idea of then-Shadow Defence Secretary (now Shadow Business Secretary) Clive Lewis as a good candidate for the next leader ‘eventually’.
Bookmark that word ‘eventually’.
If the recording is genuine and genuinely says what the subtitles claim (it’s an extremely poor recording), then that word makes all the difference. ‘Eventually’ is just what’s known in the business world as ‘succession-planning’ – no leader, of business or a political party, lasts forever.
I run a business and it’s considered ‘best practice’ to plan ahead for such things.
I disagree with Paul – as the son of a boilermaker and a shop-worker, I am a working class lad (current occupation notwithstanding) and I find Corbyn and his politics inspiring. He connects with me.
He also connects with the huge crowds of working class people that turn out to see him – just as he connects with the huge crowds of middle-class people who turn out with them. His appeal is broad and deep, regardless how the media try to spin it otherwise.
But a bit of succession-planning is no bad thing – even if I think Angela Rayner is the best candidate myself. I’d be amazed if Jeremy Corbyn and his team weren’t doing planning for his eventual successor, probably mentoring a number of great potential candidates.
What the surreptitious recording does not show is Mason wanting to ‘oust’ Corbyn. Not even a little bit.
Twitter users responded to the Scum’s ‘Gollum’-journalism (for want of a better word, though journalism is not what this is) with understandable contempt:
While Mason himself published a response – which he’d apparently already given to the Scum before publication of their article but which they opted to omit. It makes his position emphatically, pithily clear:
What’s most telling about this low-life article, however, is its timing. The Scum had this recording and surreptitiously-taken snaps more than two weeks ago. So why only publish now?
On Wednesday, in the first PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) since Corbyn’s landslide re-election, he wiped the floor with Theresa May, who was clearly floundering as he shone a spotlight on the chaos, incompetence and shadiness of her government’s approach to the impending Brexit negotiations. Even the Scum’s fellow right-wing rags conceded it:
Mrs May had no defence other than feeble attempts at jokes, which she tells in a manner so painful an anaesthetic-free dental extraction would be less agonising.
And it’s clear that she and her party fear not only how the look compared to a newly-(re)victorious, battle-hardened Corbyn, but also the talented, united and diverse Shadow Cabinet that he has put together.
And when you’re afraid, you lash out.
Similarly with Mason, whose effectiveness not only as journalist and commentator but also as campaigner and co-organiser of a TWT16 event that was praised, for its fresh, innovative and exciting approach as ‘the politics of tomorrow’. Those who like the status quo will not be pleased with either that or his resolute and vocal support for Corbyn’s ‘new politics’.
Hence this Scum ‘article’, which they’ve clearly been saving for a rainy day. In spite of how they and their media guard dogs spin it, they’re afraid of what a focused, cohesive Labour party (which is what we’re starting to see as Corbyn’s detractors flail) can and will do to them.
The article attempts to smear both Corbyn and his supporter Paul Mason. But the fact that the Tories’ ‘rainy day’ came so quickly, after the very first PMQs following the conference season, is in fact a huge compliment to both of them.
And bodes well for the future. Keep up the good work, lads.