Sunday, 25 February 2018

Guilt by association

It is hard to see why the red-tops are smearing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a commie puppet. The tenuous Czech connection has been forensically dismissed by a BBC reporter with access to the Czech secret service archives, and Paul Anderson, who was a Tribune journalist in the period in question, has put the affair in context. The real danger of Corbyn is not his threat to renationalise the railway (with which even many long-suffering commuters from the Conservative home counties have sympathy) but his unholy alliance with Mrs May. He seems determined to augment the Brexiteers' drive to a poorer (except for financial speculators) United Kingdom outside the single market not only of the EU but also EFTA. (The prospect of "a" customs union which is different from the existing customs union has been held out by Labour's shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, but this is clearly the sort of "cherry-picking" which has already been dismissed by negotiators for the EU 27.) So why are the Tory-leaning tabloids attacking Corbyn now, years away from a general election?

Social media have also unearthed CIA records which mark Corbyn as suspicious - because he had close contacts with workers organisations around the world. There seems to be a general feeling in the US establishment (based presumably on their own experience) that all trade unions everywhere are either controlled by the Mafia or are communist front organisations.  Worse in their eyes are the TUC equivalents who dare to criticise the way that rĂ©gimes favoured by the US suppress human or workers' rights or both.

Perhaps there is no specific reason for attacking Corbyn at this time. Perhaps the grandiose claims of a minor Czech agent who feels he has been forgotten have stimulated a minor press feeding-frenzy. This would be even more worrying. There are already signs reminiscent of the McCarthyism of the 1950s US, when careers could be threatened because of a youthful dalliance with socialist ideas or merely because of attraction to communist front organisations.

I "like" a Facebook page dedicated to Jammu and Kashmir, because I feel that the heartless anomaly created by the Indian independence settlement should be corrected. I stress that this should be negotiated away, hopefully through the good offices of the Commonwealth or otherwise by friends of both India and Pakistan. I reject the use of force, either by governments or terrorist organisations. However, it is very probable that there are other members of the group who are tied to Islamist extremism, which seeks to capitalise violently on the grievances of Kashmiris. Should I fear a knock on the door from Special Branch because of this coincidence?

This is just one personal example. In a world shrunk by the World Wide Web and globalisation, it would be easy to find links from anybody to anybody else. Let us hope common sense and objectivity prevail.

No comments: