Sometimes you just despair, especially when as a ‘citizen journalist’ you try to emphasise the actual ‘journalist’ bit, with some objectivity if not impartiality, combined with a reasonable grasp of facts and context.
The New Statesman (NS) is a nominally Labour-supporting publication, but it seems largely to define ‘Labour’ with ‘New’ in front of it. It has rarely been a friend to the new leadership and its supporters and has often seemed to take the most negative angle on any action, statement or strategy by Jeremy Corbyn and his team.
But today plumbed a new low, with an article published after today’s PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) and the subsequent Brexit/Article 50 announcement by Theresa May and the discussion that followed it:
The problem is that PMQs was not the place for a Brexit discussion today. When PMQs finished, May gave her formal statement on the triggering of Article 50 – and Jeremy Corbyn questioned her at length, incisively.
If Corbyn had questioned May on Brexit during PMQs, it would have been a complete waste of his six questions, because he knew he’d have an extended opportunity to ask those questions after the Article 50 statement.
Instead, Corbyn used PMQs to grill May on: support for the police after last week’s Westminster attack; funding cuts for police forces; low police morale because of the funding cuts Mrs May denied have happened; then three questions on cuts to education funding.
And he hammered her – exposing her glib lies and reducing her to leading a pathetic, ragged Tory chorus of ‘more spending‘ that completely failed to address the questions.
Could anyone – anyone without an agenda that is – argue, after the events of last week, that those items should have been ignored for the sake of asking questions he was going to be able to ask a short time later?
The New Statesman’s posturing is akin to criticising your dentist because he talked about your teeth – instead of about the ingrown toenail you were seeing the doctor about next.
But the NS, of course, does have an agenda – as the article it put on the front page of its print edition showed:
Note ‘Liberal Britain‘ – it appears that the NS is in transit, well underway with a shift from a Labour publication to a liberal one. Entirely forgetting, apparently, that the LibDems collaborated with the Tories to get us into the current mess we face – and that the LibDems’ leader has said that he’d be prepared to get into bed with the Tories again if the opportunity arose.
Or just not caring, of course.
In view of the apparent switch of allegiance, the NS’ ‘take’ on the performance of Jeremy Corbyn and his party should be given no more credence than that of any other hostile publication – and any Labour supporters with a subscription should be cancelling direct debits and looking for alternatives.
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