Blairite journo tries to do Tories’ job for them. Oops.

Mikey Smith, anti-Corbyn reporter for the supposedly ‘Labour’ Daily Mirror, attempted a hatchet-job on a leading female Labour MP today – and ended up simply displaying his own ignorance and his over-eagerness to jump on anything he thinks can be used to denigrate Corbyn or the MPs who support him.

mikey smith

Smith published an article today which claimed Rebecca Long-Bailey, one of the stars of Corbyn’s front bench, floundered under questioning by the BBC’s Andrew Marr this morning about Labour spending plans:

rlb smith

Smith claimed that the figures were not independent, because Labour had discussed them with the House of Commons Library (HoCL) and wouldn’t cover Labour’s spending plans because they were based on the effect of government tax cuts from the current tax year through to 2022, rather than on the duration of the current Parliament.

Unfortunately for Mikey, he only ended up embarrassing himself.

The figures were indeed put together by Labour – but using figures provided by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) kept on record at the H0CL. In other words, Labour did the sums but the numbers they added up were inserted by the OBR, an at least theoretically politically independent organisation (and if they’re beholden to anyone it’s certainly not Labour).

Smith also focused on Ms L-B’s statement of 2020, when the figures are calculated up to 2022, but in context she is far more likely to have meant – perfectly correctly – that the tax cuts will be introduced by this government by 2020, the likely end of the Parliament, because Labour’s figures make perfectly clear which period they address:

obr tax cuts

Open mouth, insert foot, Mr Smith. Rather than apologise and issue a correction when his error was pointed out on social media, Mikey opted for a long Twitter discourse with himself, in which he attempted to show why he’d been right all along, but it couldn’t counter the commonsense view that he’d simply been wrong. Talking about a period starting from now and going into the future makes a lot more sense than talking about a parliamentary period that’s already almost half over.

Of course, you could be forgiven for thinking that a journalist for even a nominally ‘Labour’ publication would have been far more interested in attacking the Tories for giving tax-cuts worth about 9 months of the national NHS budget, rather than contorting to try to undermine an up-and-coming Labour politician and the party she wants to help into government. But it speaks volumes about his and his paper’s real motivations that there was not one word attacking the Tories in his article.

Hey ho. Such is the state of the UK’s mainstream media at the moment, to their shame.

More concerning, though, is that this appears to be the latest in a series of attacks on the female members of Corbyn’s front-bench team by figures who should be supporting them, with the likes of Diane Abbott, Shami Chakrabarti and the excellent Angela Rayner suffering similar treatment recently – not to mention the way in which Cat Smith was mocked by blairites just as much as by Tories for a sleep-deprived statement that could have been far more charitably interpreted, at the very least by her notional allies.

There’s an unpleasant misogynistic streak to this cheap ‘strategy’ of undermining women front-benchers that is, frankly, disgusting.

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  1. Who said this:

    If one worried about backing a loser one would not take part in politics. Anybody who has ever been involved in political struggle, particularly in working class struggle, must accept the fact, for the major part of their life, they’re going to be involved in losing battles, on the losing side in battles. If I’d have been afraid of that I’d have packed it up after I joined the YCL in 1929 and spent my time, with a lot of other people, trying to alert people to the dangers of Japanese imperialism when they entered Manchukuo, I’d have given up in 1932 when we were trying to alert people to the dangers of Hitler coming to power, I’d have given up during the Abyssinian War when Mussolini’s bombers were bombing Ethiopians, I’d have given it up at every single stage of the struggle ever since. One goes on fighting because not to go on fighting is to prove that you’re no longer alive. – “Daddy, What Did You Do in the Strike?” Granada TV Documentary 1985 ________________________________

  2. Were was Jess big mouth Phillips in all of this , was she not sticking up for the women off her party that she pretends to be sticking up for

  3. politics is civilized civil war if we take part we must be prepared to secure in our judgement

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