Monday, 19 September 2016

Mccarthy style Red-baiting

Given the manner in which it was trailed in the right wing press - and on the sewer dwelling guido fawkes blog - the much heralded channel 4 Dispatches 'expose' on the left wing political movement Momentum proved to be a complete damp squib. Certainly there was nothing remotely shocking about the content the Dispatches 'plant' who infiltrated Momentum secretly recorded. And certainly nothing which Jeremy Corbyn would or should feel embarrassed about. Footage of lots of mainly young idealistic people who want to bring about progressive political and economic change - progressive change thru entirely legal and democratic means it should be said. And involving such apparently 'dangerous' aims as getting Jeremy Corbyn elected as the British Prime Minister in 2020.

I'm honestly not sure there is a 'story' in that, well not unless you're a paranoid right winger or multi-millionaire who has nightmares at the thought of thousands of young people organising to bring about a fairer more just world. The Programme's presenter also forgot to tell viewers that the dispatches employee spent months befriending Momentum supporters before spying on their every move and then lied to get a job with the campaign. She also made a sly and obviously pre planned attempt to inviegle Corbyn in a conversation about ISIS - the Dispatches plant was obviously no 'passive' observer.

You also have to ask is this a proper use of the still publicly owned channel four's resources? If they are really looking for a story why not infiltrate and secretly film the freemasons for instance. Lots of top coppers and judges are apparently 'on the square'. I'm sure clandestinely filming the men in aprons would throw up something genuinely disturbing and which the public should know about - like growing evidence that the masons have helped protect some of those involved in the hillsborough cover up

Or maybe dispatches could investigate and secretly film meetings of the shadowy people behind plans for a new nuclear power station at hinkley point? It'll produce the most expensive electricity in europe and no one has the faintest idea what to do with the tons of radioactive waste it will produce. Surely rich pickings for any aspiring investigative journo there i would have thought?

Lord Bedwelty aka neil kinnock was given an uninterrupted platform to indulge in his joint favourite past time of denouncing the left (his other favourite pastime of course being denying the welsh devolution). While Alistair Campbell's brother in law the Barrister Gavin Miller was trotted out in an attempt to give the show's meagre offerings some legal gloss. Yet no one from Momentum was interviewed to rebutt any allegations made against them. Um arent there supposed to be rules about impartiality in the broadcast media?

Funnily enough it's almost exactly 30 years since the same channel 4 carried out a near identical 'undercover investigation' of socialists in my home town Swansea. In 1986 the current Asia correspondent for the Torygraph - Dean Nelson - went 'undercover' and joined militant in Wales. And after spending weeks befriending local members he proceeded to spy on them and their families and secretly recorded a  meeting of militant supporters in Swansea. The details of nelson's 'investigation' were then rather helpfully forwarded to a certain peter mandelson, who was at the time overseeing the mass expulsion of militant supporters and other socialists from the labour party.

Indeed its an oft neglected fact that newlabour started long before Tony B-liar was ditching any vestige of socialism and borrowing the tories clothes in the mid 90s. Nulabour started when Baron Kinnock - having kept his mouth firmly shut during the entirety of thatchers war on the miners - suddenly found his voice again and denounced liverpool's labour council at the 1985 labour conference. The late great Tony Benn probably summed up Kinnock perfectly when he said that Kinnock was someone who abandoned everything he ever believed in and then no one believed a thing he said again. But no doubt the producers of dispatches will continue their channel's 'honourable' tradition of demonising the left and getting socialists kicked out of the labour party and pass their heavily edited recordings on to Corbyn's enemies in and outside the labour party.

A free and independent media is vital to the well being of any democratic society but be aware if you challenge the unequal status quo in the UK - as both jeremy corbyn and momentum are currently trying to do - you'll find large sections of that same media will be turned on you and will seek to destroy you. In the last 30 years the likes of Tony Benn, Ken Livingstone, George Galloway, Arthur Scargill, Derek Hatton, Gerry Adams, Peter Tatchell, Natalie Bennett, Bob Crow, Alex Salmond and Nicole Sturgeon have all been the targets of vitriolic attacks and smears by the right wing and largely billionaire owned british media.

I'll leave the last word on this to the young supporters of Momentum, some of whom have now endured infiltration and clandestine spying by deceitful 'journalists' twice in the space of a few months.

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