New Statesman’s ‘fake news’ on #PMQs/#Brexit/#A50 signals liberal switch

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:

anoosh brexit.png

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 teethinstead 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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  1. Reblogged this on Sid's Blog and commented:
    New Statesman? Desperate for headlines
    Their principles in tatters

    They’ve put two fingers up, to us on the Left

  2. I think you are misunderstanding the usage of the word “liberal”. The Labour Party has always been, is now and is unlikely ever to cease being, a defender of liberal values. Jeremy Corbyn is a defender of liberal values.

    Are you getting confused between the word “liberal” (small l) and the political party/parties called te Liberal Party and later the Liberal Democrat Party?

    1. Don’t know about you Brendan, but I’m a socialist. Big L or small one, the NS has abandoned real Labour values. If you want to defend anything, let it be progressive.

    2. The original term Liberal was coined in the couple of centuries before this one, and was used to define the Liberal stance – free trade, unfettered employment and industrial practices, etc. that we might now call Libertarian, like the Tea Party in the USA. That is why the extreme right is now called neo-liberalism, literally, the new liberals. Part of the LibDems is indeed very right wing, and scratch the surface of their more left sounding policies, and you will find libertarianism behind them, such as the legalisation of all currently illegal drugs. They are known in the Lib dems as the Orange Bookers, and are exemplified by their deep cooperation with the Treasury and the neoliberal cuts during the coalition.

      Also muddying the water is the use of the term “liberal” meaning easy-going, and the American term “liberal” as a slightly insulting term for the left. None of this helps.

      The Labour party has never, and will never, be Liberal or defenders of liberal politics. The party was formed when the Liberals were the dominant force in British politics specifically to provide a collective voice against Liberal agendas.

      The NS is actually moving to the right-wing Liberal agenda, ie neo-liberalism.

    1. I cannot understand the NS doing this!
      There is nothing to gain for them
      We, on the Left, are focused, with or without the NS.

  3. The ‘New Statesman’? Is that publication still running? I cannot even remember the last time I looked at it.
    I stopped reading articles on there a long time ago, especially by George Eaton.

  4. Afraid that lot are intellectuals & have no idea how ordinary people live. They are incapable of escaping the Westminster bubble, just like the rest of the alleged ‘left’ press.

    Bet there are lots more Brexiteers AND Remainers who are more concerned about the issues Jeremy raised at PMQ’s today, for one simple reason:- those issues are affecting THEM & affecting them NOW.

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