Lively start to the day on Sunday Supplement with Telegraph hired hack Dan Hodges and questioning BBC agenda.
I have never met Dan Hodges although he did work for his MP mother in a neighbouring office for years. He left the Labour Party (first of a few times) on the 30th August 2013 the day after Labour and Tory MPs defeated Cameron’s plan to bomb Assad. The barrel bombing Syrian leaders is now one of our new best friends. Dan quoted some hearsay from MP John Mann. I have never warmed to his shouty unsubtle manner and was curious about his statement in 2012 that the Newport West Labour Party would de-select me.
To get some balance in an anti-Corbyn item I listed a few problems the Tories have now. They have de-selected their best Gwent Assembly Members for his fine service for the City of Newport that we both represent. Mean. Petty Nasty.
To head off a threat of blackmail by a Top Tory office-holder, Cabinet Robert Halfon confessed that he had had an affair. The same official has now been expelled from the story for allegedly bullying a young Conservative who tragically took his life. The party has other problems with the independent head of National Statistics telling the Chancellor of the Exchequer to stop lying. All newsworthy items that the press have neglected to get stuck into Corbyn-bashing.
Hodges quoted a litany of anti-Corbyn stories taken from his most recent epistle in the Telegraph. The best of it is hearsay and repetitions of past piffling abuse. I asked him twice to justify his untruth that Corbyn ‘Refused to meet the Queen.’ He delayed his meeting to a meaningless ritual but not quite as long as Cameron did. No retraction from Danny boy. The Telegraph used former Labour Party dis-loyalists to give a veneer of insider authority to Hodges’ stories. He frequent quotes un-named sources plus a few of the usual suspects.
Having watched two interviews with Jeremy Corbyn on Sky and then the BBC, I noticed nothing sensational. When questioned about shoot to kill, he said "I'm not happy with the shoot-to-kill policy IN GENERAL”. Subsequent BBC bulletin headlines on Radio Four and Radio Wales omitted the ‘In General’ from his comment. The right-wing press did the same, thus distorting Corbyn’s comment to an absurdity in these circumstances and then attacked their own creation. An entirely false impression of his view is broadcast and his subsequent clarification is ignored.
Ever thus. In vain I tried to argue that the right-wing media bias and news values of the tabloids and Telegraph spreads like a foul stain into the electronic media. Half--truths, wild exaggeration or lies are repeated on ‘What the Papers say’ items. The coverage is multiplied and the agendas of the radio and TV agendas are poisoned with right wing venom.
Corbyn has a bad week. He lacks the silky guile of other top politicians whose words are carefully manicured. I did not vote for him as Leader. But as a good democrat I give him my loyalty now that his election has earned. To his credit he has civilized Prime Minister Question from a snarling exchange of insults to a reasonable exchange of views. He has drawn many new members into the Labour Party-most of them in a political party for the first time. He has put the ignored issue of Trident onto the national agenda. He deserves loyalty from the Parliamentary Party.