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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

A Friendly Question or Two to Jonathan Freedland - Does the Guardian have a Death Wish?


A once in a life-time offer – I will replace Owen Jones AND Nick Cohen at half the price!

Dear Jonathan,

Yours and Katherine Viner’s stewardship of the Guardian reminds me of that saying of Euripides, or was it Sophocles?  Those whom the gods seek to destroy they first drive mad.'
At a time when the Labour Party has had a massive influx of members, some 700,000, when the political centre of gravity has shifted to the left as neo-liberal economics have been seen to fail, the Guardian is full to the brim with repetitious, boring columnists, literally the left-overs of the SDP and New Labour – the Kettles and the Toynbees. All singing from the same songsheet.  I except Owen Jones from these strictures since his decision as to which side he’s on depends on what time of the day it is and what he’s had for breakfast.

In order to make these points obvious I compiled 48 sample headlines from the last two years for a sample of the Guardian’s tedious anti-Corbyn articles. Why no self-respecting socialist or Labour supporter should buy the Guardian What is amazing is how all your columnists got the Corbyn phenomenon wrong.  They sang the same melodies as the Daily Mail and Sun.

Perhaps my favourite was Roy Greenslade’s Yes, Jeremy Corbyn has suffered a bad press, but where's the harm?  If Greenslade really doesn’t know what is wrong with the British press and their coverage of Jeremy Corbyn then what is the purpose of Greenslade? He is but one example of the insipid and lightweight nature of your coverage.  Would it be so difficult to get Greg Philo of the Glasgow Media School to write a media column instead?
The best advice to give about Nick Cohen's predictions is that the opposite is almost certain to occur!
Rather than engage with Labour’s half million new members, who wished to jettison the politics of New Labour, you decided to whinge and moan about how terrible Corbyn is. There was no attempt to engage with his politics as the Guardian became the last ditch defender of the status quo. I sometimes wonder if Guardian editors never sit back and reflect?
If the Guardian had any morality, they would refuse to employ a war criminal with the blood of a million on  his hands
Perhaps, when you decided to employ that old war criminal Tony Blair to tell us that Jeremy Corbyn's politics are fantasy – just like Alice in Wonderland you forgot about the million people who lost their lives for a lie in Iraq?  That was certainly no fantasy.

Or perhaps what Peter Mandelson said about being ‘intensely relaxed’ about people becoming filthy rich (as well as poor and homeless) also escaped your attention? It wasn’t just Tory politics that led to Grenfell Tower. The Arms Length Management Organisation that ran this tower block was put in place under New Labour.  I know because we in Defend Council Housing ran a campaign in Brighton which successfully rejected them.
This absurd article by former Labour MP Martin Kettle sums up the wishful thinking of 'the centre ground' - either you are for free market economics or against them - there is no 3rd way.  As for the 'superior grasp' of Theresa May it would like taking candy of a child to comment!
You have however excelled yourself with the contrived antisemitism campaign, a convenient stick with which to beat Corbyn, as I have documented.  You refused to allow any debate within the pages of the Guardian about whether these allegations were true or the product of a monstrous dirty tricks campaign based in the Israeli & US Embassies.  You refused a right of reply to this one-sided Zionist monologue about ‘anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in your so-called Comment is Free columns to all critics. 

You portray yourself as a liberal Zionist but as in South Africa, you are a liberal apologist for Apartheid.  The fact that there are two legal systems in the Territories, one for Jews and another for Palestinians counts for nothing.  Criticism of Zionism is anti-Semitic. The routine use of torture against (Palestinian) children or even the demolition of Arab villages in Israel itself does not disturb your narrative because all criticism is ‘anti-Semitic’.

Your claim of 'antisemtism' rests on the false assertion 'that 93% of British Jews said Israel formed some part of their identity.'  Despite the fact that the most authoritative survey of British Jewry's attitudes to Israel, conducted in 2015 found a fall in the number of Jews identifying as Zionists from 71% in 2010 to 59%.
Principle and consistency have never been Owen Jones strong points - I'm not sure you could even describe him as a fairweather friend
Even if what you said had been true and 93% of British Jews had supported an Apartheid state then that would have nothing to do with anti-Semitism.  If 93% of Africans said that FGM was ok would it be racist to oppose it? Would the imposition of the Burka be fine if 93% of Muslims approved of it? 
If what you said was true and 93% of British Jews support Israeli Apartheid that would be a matter of deep shame.  Opposing an identity is not and cannot be racist or anti-Semitic. Fortunately more and more Jewish people are dissociating themselves from Israel’s ethno-religious state, the kind that the French Revolution overthrew in 1789.

What I find amazing is that the Guardian's insidious attacks on Corbyn have become little more than a circulation death wish.  Given that Nick Cohen has a 100% record of getting everything wrong, whilst telling his readers that they are 'fucking fools'  what is the point of employing him?  I would even be prepared to replace him at half the salary. What have you got to lose except a columnist who writes the same column a hundred different ways?

It wasn’t so long ago that Nick Cohen was informing your readers that:

In an election, they [the Tories] would tear them to pieces. … Will there be 150, 125, 100 Labour MPs by the end of the flaying? My advice is to think of a number then halve it.

I'm also happy to replace Owen Jones thus enabling the Guardian to have its first socialist columnist for a very long time as well as the first anti-Zionist since David Hirst.
I hate to boast about it but almost alone I wrote on 20th April that  Labour Can Win if Corbyn is Bold and 5 days before the election, I posted Is Labour on the threshold of victory?

My replacement of Cohen and Jones could only be a win-win situation for the Guardian.   Who knows?  You might be able to abandon your ludicrous web site charity appeal and instead start gaining some readers before they completely disappear!!

Kind regards

Tony Greenstein

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Guardian and Jonathan Freedland's tedious Campaign against Corbyn

Why no self-respecting socialist or Labour supporter should buy the Guardian
On and on they go.  I didn't realise just how bad the Guardian campaign has been until someone had the bright idea of doing a compilation.  An incessant drip drip of poison against Jeremy Corbyn allied to a monotonous one-sided propaganda campaign about non-existent 'anti-semitism' in the Labour Party.  There are plenty more of these articles at the bottom of this post.

The fact that the Daily Express, Mail and Sun are so concerned about this 'anti-Semitism' should tell you all you need to know.

You might think that the Guardian's readership having fallen from nearly 1/2 million a decade ago to about 150,000 today that they  might have taken care not to alienate the hundreds of thousands of Corbyn supporters who joined the Labour Party.
Owen Jones demonstrates his fierce independence from the Guardian consensus
No Guardian campaign would be complete without the old war criminal's contribution

The Guardian seems to have a bottomless pit of stupid journalists and vacuum heads

The wit and wisdom of Jonathan Freedland
Subliminal nastiness was not quite correct - Freedland was openly nasty
Owen Jones wrote the same article 3 years running - He demonstrated what he meant when he spoke to the Jewish labour Movement conference, the British branch of the Israeli Labour Party which supports 'separation' and segregation.   
Spot the difference between Owen Jones, the Guardian's resident lefty and Freedland and the Express/Mail
There is no Israeli atrocity that Freedland won't exculpate
More rubbish from the Guardian's resident Zionist
Spot the difference between Freedland and the Express
Possibly the most stupid of all the stupid headlines - the idea of a varied press not controlled by a tiny minority of billionaire press owners probably hasn't occurred to Greenslade
I’m not sure who they are but five filters have done a remarkable job in collating some of the more tedious attacks by Guardian columnists on Jeremy Corbyn.  I have added a few more from the Guardian’s sponsorship of the false anti-Semitism campaign.

They are all on one theme – in the words of Suzanna Moore ‘Corbyn’s Uselessness has lost its charm.’   Their many but not varied columnists deploy a variety of approaches, but all with the same monotonous message. 

There is the bludgeon approach of Nick Cohen ‘Labour has the stench of death – meet the killers’.  Cohen doesn’t do subtle.  There is the smug approach of Jonathan Freedland No more excuses: Jeremy Corbyn is to blame for this meltdown.  Then there is the concerned ‘left-winger’ aka Owen Jones Jeremy Corbyn says he's staying. That's not good enough (Jones always falls on the wrong side even if it is for the right reasons!).

Then there is the resident ‘concerned’ Tory Matthew d’Ancona who misquotes John Donne ‘The bell tolls for Corbyn's leadership, but where are Labour's centrists.’  There is even the fake sympathiser, Polly Toynbee who hawks her social conscience around the TV studios but when push comes to shove backs free market capitalism. Why can't I get behind Corbyn, when we want the same things?  

Toynbee has the gall to write Free to dream, I'd be left of Jeremy Corbyn. as if we have forgotten that the last time Labour went leftwards Polly Toynbee helped found the SDP which guaranteed Thatcher her victory in 1983.  Their hypocrisy is only matched by their dishonesty. 

One should not of course forget the Observer’s pompous and verbally incontinent political correspondent Andrew Rawnsley who professes that The really scary thing about Corbyn? He's not radicalWho would have thought that Rawnsley was a genuine revolutionary!

There is John Harris who is happy to write the first rubbish that comes into his head Twitter parodies won't worry Corbyn. But his supporters deserting him should

Marina Hyde is the Guardian’s resident vacuum head who makes Jonathan Ross seem like an intellectual.  She genuinely believes that ‘His remain colleague’s effort level was not so much half-arsed as quarter-arsed. is amusing in Labour is making the Conservative omnishambles era look like a utopia’.

One of the qualities of these empty rhetoricians is their pomposity. Raphael Behr is the most pompous of all in a field with stiff competition. In his Jeremy Corbyn, you broke it – now you must own it Behr summed up the Guardian’s lack of principle when he berated Corbyn over his lack of support for Sellafield and nuclear energy in the Copeland by-election.  

According to Behr Corbyn should act like any other Labour right-winger and bury his deeply held convictions about nuclear energy for the sake of transient electoral approval. ‘The Tories were not shy of reminding people that the Labour leader was ideologically hostile to the engine of their local economy.’   The Guardian, following in the footsteps of the Lib Dems simply does not understand a principled politician. Principles must be sacrificed for pragmatism. 

So when we have another nuclear disaster, as happened at Windscale in the 1950’s who will remember that Corbyn refused to bow to the tabloid’s populism?

In the middle of the first leadership election campaign Michael White, who used to be its parliamentary sketch writer and was from memory genuinely funny, could find nothing else worth saying other than Jeremy Corbyn: is the world ready for his sandals and socks? 

My favourite article is by Islamaphobe Nick Cohen Don’t tell me you weren’t warned about Corbyn.  Written just before the General Election it is a text book example of mendacity and how the class of political commentators and pundits speak to themselves.

Not one Guardian columnist matched this blog's analysis!

In an election, they [the Tories] would tear them to pieces. … Will there be 150, 125, 100 Labour MPs by the end of the flaying? My advice is to think of a number then halve it.
One senior Labour figure told me he thought Corbyn was endangering British democracy. …  The 60% of the population who do not want Conservative rule are faced with Conservative rule without end, with the only pressure for change coming from an ever-more audacious right.
More troubling for you ought to be the question why might May, a prime minister with a fragile majority, not bother to call an early election. One cabinet minister explains her insouciance thus.
He and George Osborne used to worry about how Ed Balls and Chuka Umunna would strike back against their austerity programme. Now ministers do not give Labour a second’s thought.’
The ever thoughtful Cohen finished with a self-righteous flourish of anger: 
In my respectful opinion, your only honourable response will be to stop being a fucking fool by changing your fucking mind.’
Contrast this with my own blog. On April 20th, when Labour was behind in the polls by over 20%, I wrote an article Labour Can Win if Corbyn is Bold – the Key Issue is Poverty and the Transfer of Wealth.  My article began:
It was Harold Wilson who said that a week is a long time in politics.  Seven weeks is a political eternity.  Theresa May has taken a gamble that her 21% lead will hold.  It is a gamble that she may yet come to regret.

There is only one direction that her lead can go and that is down.  Once her lead falls then a snowball effect can take over.  What is essential is that Labour marks out the key areas on which it is going to base its appeal.  The danger is that Corbyn is going to continue with his ‘strategy’ of appeasing the Right and appealing to all good men and women.  If so that will be a recipe for disaster.

No election is guaranteed to be without its surprises.  Theresa May is a cautious conservative.  She is literally the product of her background, a conservative vicar’s daughter.  Reactionary, parochial and small-minded, she is a bigot for all seasons.  What doesn’t help is that she is both wooden and unoriginal.  The danger is that Corbyn tries to emulate her.’

Hindsight is a wondrous thing but foresight is a rarer quality. Unlike the Grauniads I could not understand what the pundits saw in May.  She reminded me of that Agatha Christie title, ‘The Mirror Cracked from Side to Side’.  I had a feeling that St. Theresa would come unstuck but not one Guardian columnist displayed an iota of doubt.  So confident was I that for the first time in my life I entered a bookies and placed a bet, thus enjoying my prediction even more! 

Cast your mind back.  There was a wall to wall consensus that Corbyn was going to fail and badly. Labour's Tory MPs such as Peter Kyle and Joan Ryan of the pro-Israel lobby, appealed to the electorate on the basis that they too hated Corbyn.  

I confess to fearing that I might have egg all over my face.  Perhaps there was something I hadn’t yet grasped since no one else saw it the way I did.  Yet going canvassing in Brighton Kemptown, where a Tory majority of 700 was turned into a Labour majority of nearly 10,000, I was convinced that the tectonic plates were shifting.

Five days before the election I was even more convinced that there was going to be a major upset.  At this stage the polls were firm in the view that May’s wobble had come to an end.  The Guardian was gleefully looking forward to the end of the Corbyn experiment. As idiot Guardian columnist Matthew d’Ancona was writing ‘The bell tolls for Corbyn’s Leadership’ I reaffirmed my view in General Election - Is Labour on the threshold of victory? I wrote

Strong and stable Mrs May found that her slogan had made her a figure of fun as she dodged having to directly debate Jeremy Corbyn.  She even sent her Home Secretary into bat for her in the debate between party leaders earlier in the week, despite Rudd having only lost her father two days before.

It would be a mistake for people to be over confident at the fact that the Tories made major slip-ups over things like the Dementia Tax, taking food of children’s tables etc.  It is clear that the Tories and the Mainstream Media (BBC et al.) are going hell for leather over the question of Corbyn’s devotion to the State, be it Ireland, Terrorism or  Trident.

The essence of what I wrote was correct.   The Tory lead has shrunk.  My fears that Corbyn might backtrack have not come to pass in the economic sphere.  Labour’s manifesto was unexpectedly radical. 

I have thought of suggesting to Guardian editor, Katherine Viner, that I would be prepared to replace Cohen and Owen Jones for half their combined pay.  Not only would the Guardian save a fortune but they would gain someone whose prime quality was not repeating the truisms of the political pundits. 
However I soon woke up and realized that my day dreaming was going nowhere. The function of Guardian columnists isn’t to provide analysis and independent thought.  Their role is to propagandize for the neo-liberal agenda.  Although the Guardian isn’t as crude as the Express or Mail, it shares the same basic assumptions about the free market.
If the Guardian had any self-respect they would have fired Nick Cohen, a useless and repetitious Islamaphobe. They would have promoted Jonathan Freedland to Keeper of the Guardian Cat. Cohen is a permanent testimony to the Guardian’s change from being a genuinely liberal paper, with socialist columnists like John Palmer its European editor. It was a paper that used to have excellent Middle East correspondents such as David Hirst and Michael Adams, whereas today it has surrendered that region of the world to the Independent’s Robert Fisk and Patrick Coburn.
In 1968 I remember how Victor Zorza predicted the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, putting an end to the Prague Spring.  Even when I was on the dole I ensured that I had enough money to buy the Guardian each day.  Today the only time I get it is when I shop at Waitrose and spend over £10 as it comes for free!  It never fails to disappoint.
Editor Kath Viner, under the baleful influence of Freedland, is determined to exhaust the diminishing funds of the Scott Trust.  The Guardian is losing so much money that it is doubtful that it can survive for more than 2-3 years, hence the pathetic pleas on its website for readers to make a donation.  It is as if, amongst all the good causes, you are going to donate to the Guardian rather than the starving children in Gaza or the refugees of Rohinga. Why should we pay Freedland’s salary when he is the Guardian’s Zionist gatekeeper, determined to ensure that whatever atrocity Israel commits, the Guardian will never question the world’s only Apartheid state.

Ten years ago I contributed a series of articles to the Guardian’s Comment is Free.  My contributions and others attracted the attentions of the Zionist lobby who set up CIF Watch.  The idea of an anti-racist critique of Zionism and Israel was too much. The Guardian ran up the white flag and I and others were excluded.  The late Georgina Henry, who originally hired me, was by then a marginal figure as Matt Seaton, their bicycling correspondent took charge. 

Perhaps if the Guardian survives as an Internet paper in 30 years there will be some bright young journalist who will uncover the story of where the ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign originated.  S/he will no doubt relook at the Al Jazeera programme The Lobby  concerning the Israeli Embassy’s role.  If they are diligent, they will go on to examine the role of the United States in destabilising the second major party of the US’s main ally in Europe.  It is inconceivable that those who have made destabilisation of Latin American countries into a fine art, who ran Operation Gladio in Europe, would be prepared to sit back as an anti-NATO anti-Trident politician became leader of the Labour Party. 

Perhaps if the equivalent of Wikileaks gets hold of US Embassy cables we will learn even sooner about their and Israel’s role in the anti-Corbyn campaign.  Perhaps we will even learn whether Freedland and other Guardian columnists were on the payroll of either Embassy and what the Guardian’s links were with MI5.  If the Guardian had any political integrity it would have already have begun investigating these matters but the sad fact is that the Guardian of today is a pro-war rag that runs with a neo-liberal pro-imperialist agenda. 

An article worth reading on the anti-Semitism campaign is John Booth’s Labour, Corbyn and anti-semitism in The Lobster.  Enjoy these headlines because they tell the sad, sorry story of a once good liberal paper that went to rack and ruin.

Tony Greenstein
The Guardian was nothing if not predictable

One more on the Guardian's boring  theme - yet it will not examine why all its useless columnists sang the same song
What Bloodworth means is Hamas and Hezbollah - the 'worrying connections' of the Tories with the Saudis and Yemen are not of course worrying
Another useless supporter of Progress
The only cruelty is that inflicted on gullible Observer readers who read this rubbish
Despite getting it spectacularly wrong Freedland has learnt nothing
The capacity for self-delusion is endless
Former New Labour MP Martin Kettle seriously believed this utter tripe
One more reason why London needs a genuinely radical Mayor
I suspect that Suzanne Moore thought this was original - it isn't - James Dean got their first
Let's hope she didn't join
I don't know what the answer to this question is - one explanation is that you are a shrivelled reactionary prune
When all else fails, try being polite
Polly is really a radical - if only Corbyn were electable unlike David Owen
One amongst many pathetic predictions
Idiocy without limit - how was Blair going to secure his 'legacy' - wage another useless war?
Let's hope this useless right-winger is deselected
One of the themes of Corbyn's detractors was that they were simply interested in democracy
Yes we hate you and no we will still vote Labour!
Sometimes one wonders whether even Cohen believes this rubbish
The wonder is that Nick Cohen has the audacity to show his face after June 8th 
Gaby doesn't get  why she speaks more rubbish
I won't even begin to ask what a 'real leader' is
Polly is nothing if not unoriginal
I must have missed the eating of humble pie
Poetically batty
Polly seriously expects us to believe that one of the founders of the SDP is to the left of Corbyn
I hadn't realised before that Andrew Rawnsley was a radical -  the only thing he's ever fought for is a good seat in a restaurant
Another empty headed Guardian columnist
Another Guardian empty head - Marina Hyde actually believes she is witty which is a problem  
Nick Cohen is a prophet whose warnings were fortunately disregarded - there has been no mea culpa for getting it so badly wrong
I suspect that Michael White actually thinks he is amusing
The pretentious Rafael Behr
Spot the difference between Owen Jones, the Guardian's resident lefty and Freedland and the Express/Mail
Yvette Cooper, New Labour's war mongering former home office minister was the Guardian's choice for leader
Even for Freedland this is one of the most stupid articles - do Jews suffer from state racism, deaths in custody, violent attacks, synagogue arson - being a minority doesn't make you oppressed - but Freedland is nothing if not superficial
Corbyn should single handedly overcome 30 years of poison from the same racists that Freedland courts
I suspect Freedland still he thinks he was right even if the electorate was wrong