What is smearing Jeremy Corbyn destined to achieve?
So a social democrat of impeccable integrity enthuses hundreds of thousands of people, particularly the young, about the radical potential of parliamentary politics. In response, the entire British political establishment, both politicians and media, launch an incredibly vindictive campaign to smear him on charges which even they don’t believe — and it works. However ludicrous the accusations, they succeed in associating the Corbyn brand with antisemitism, and he loses the election. Someone very similar to the previous Labour leader takes over, and things continue along their previous dismal and disheartening trajectory, towards a point where it’s hard to find anyone who gives two shits about conventional political parties, in fact the very mention of them makes almost everyone extremely angry. The things that politicians say on TV and the reality of people’s lives under endless grinding austerity just do not correspond, and things get worse, and worse, and worse, until someone, a bit like Nigel Farage, but with more plausability and charm, turns up on TV offering easy solutions that exploit people’s sense of powerlessness and frustration (not against the elites, obviously, there’s nothing anyone can do to challenge them, we’ve learnt that, but against more available targets, like those homeless people on the streets who never seem to go away, and all those migrants on TV clamouring for a new life, and who wouldn’t want one of those, and those people whining about how they can’t feed their kids, well why did you have them in the first place then?!, and yes this guy apparently said some unpleasant things about Muslims and Jews, but they kept saying that the Labour guy, the one who lost, was anti-semitic, and personally I really wasn’t so sure it was really true…), and suddenly there’s a new sense of purpose in the air, let’s clean those streets and tidy away the scum littering them, let’s put young people to work guarding our borders…
Have the people at the top of the Labour Party stopped to think for a moment about the consequences of what their no-holds-barred media assaults on Jeremy Corbyn will ultimately achieve?
The smears against Corbyn are, wittingly or not, an assault on our system of democracy. If they are successful, its reputation (and in particular the reputation of the Labour Party) will not be able to recover.