Political Journalism – Is Fact an essential ingredient?

Journalism.png

I thought so, till i read Sarah Ditum’s article.

Yesterday, one of my good friends forwarded an article by Sarah Ditum in New Statesman, titled “Corbyn’s supporters loved his principles. But he ditched them in the EU campaign”.

As you might have guessed from the title, the article vainly and pathetically tries to establish how Corbyn deceived his supporters, due to his stand to stay with Remain.

First of all, I admire the author’s psychic powers in knowing how Corbyn and his supporters think!  Sarah Ditum “knows” without doubt that Corbyn “never supported Remain” and “Corbyn’s greatest supporters don’t rate him as a statesman”.

These are the abilities – ability to read other’s mind and ability to write sweeping statements which generalize and stereotype common public – that alienate a journalist from facts and their readers.

Authoring “Corbyn must go” and calling him liar are not characteristics of a journalist; instead they are the words of a politically-biased person, who is frustrated and bewildered by Corbyn’s increasing popularity – within Labour and in the country.

I support Labour.

I support Corbyn as Labour’s leader for his stands and principles.

I voted for Leave.

All of above might look contradictory to Sarah Ditum; but not for me.

Why?  There are a two main reasons:

  1. EU referendum was not debated and voted based on party or political affiliations.  Instead there were deep divisions within all parties (bar UKIP, of course) between LEAVE and REMAIN supporters.  Just like Tories, Labour supporters too were divided.
  1. As mentioned by Corbyn in his speech, “Labour party was overwhelmingly for staying IN” and as the leader of his party which believes in democracy, Corbyn stood with majority to support REMAIN. At the same time, a large number of Labour party members were equally convinced that a LEAVE vote was the right choice and went ahead with their Labour for Leave    The Labour Leave were not victimised or thrown out of the party.  Instead, they were respected for their stand.  Why? Refer #1

Does the EU referendum result force Cobyn to resign?  No.  Why?  Refer #1.

Does the EU referendum result, by any chance, a no-confidence in Corbyn as leader?  Emphatically no.  Why?  Refer #2.

If any, Corbyn’s stand to campaign for REMAIN gives more credibility to him as a leader, as he decided to stay with the majority decision within the party – even if that decision is against his will.  Be very clear, I do not have the same psychic powers of Sarah Ditum to say with absolute conviction that Corbyn in his heart and mind “never supported Remain”.  Merely agreeing, just to put forward my point.

Read this along with Corbyn’s apology on Labour’s role in Iraq war.  This is just one example for the true characteristics of a leader who while tirelessly fought against an unjust war in past, in present is apologizing for someone else’s wrong-doings.

The growth in Labour membership after Corbyn’s leadership is another indication how popular Corbyn and his ideologies are.  If I am correct, no other political leader can claim this popularity in UK’s modern political history.  Labour’s membership now stands at 500,000.  That is 100,000 more members after referendum results.  These quantifiable figures are just enough to show the hollowness of Sarah Ditum’s core argument.

Do not get me wrong.  I am not a Corbyn worshiper.  For me, Corbyn is not a demi-god, but someone who represents the wishes, demands, vision, will and political stance of Labour grass-roots.

I admire the audacity of Sarah Ditum that allows to pen statements like “Corbyn supporters should know this: he has failed you, and will continue to fail you as long as he is party leader.”

Thank you very much for the advice! But no thank you, the party has a way to find out who its leader should be, and the party voted for Corbyn as Leader with 60% support, only 10+ months ago.

Ditum continue to write that Corbyn “will achieve nothing beyond grinding Labour ever further into smallness and irrelevance”.   You do not need to be a journalist; any person who is interested in UK’s daily political news can clearly see who is grinding Labour into irrelevance by going against the grass roots.  At a time when the party should be working together to campaign against Tory austerities and the shallowness of current government, it is shameful that some of the Labour MPs are trying to sabotage the party’s will for their selfishness.

Let me repeat:

The “ability” to read other’s minds and to write sweeping statements which generalise and stereotype common public alienates a journalist from facts and their readers. 

Authoring “Corbyn must go” and calling him liar are not characteristics of a journalist; instead they are the words of a politically-biased person, who is frustrated and bewildered by Corbyn’s increasing popularity – within Labour and in the country.

 

Advertisements

Is “Two-leader” formula a better alternative to Labour’s future?

Two_Leader

Is “Two-leader” formula a better alternative to Labour’s future?

Before proceeding, I want to mention that:

  • Per me, the best possible resolution for current dilemma is: Eagle to step back and let Corbyn – who was democratically elected by more than 60% of the membership – to continue leading the party
  • I no way claim I know the intricacies of party policies, rule-books and inner-party activities.  Instead, this is a novice attempt of a Labour supporter, who just want the party to come out of current deep divisions and focus more on what the grass-roots want and aspire for.
  • In this post, I am just thinking aloud and playing around with the possibilities
  • By no means has this “Two-Leader” formula perfectly answered all open issues.
  • It needs to be ironed-out on how to approach government discussions / decisions on sensitive / security / foreign affairs

With those caveats in place, let me try to explain further!

By Two leaders, I mean

  1. Leader of the Labour Party, who is
    • Democratically elected by Labour members
    • Leads NEC
    • Governs day-to-day Labour Party activities
  2. Leader of the PLP, who is
    • Elected by the PLP members
    • Should be member of the NEC
    • Governs day-to-day PLP activities, but limited to PLP.

Some key points that support above formula are:

  • NEC is the ultimate authority within the party.
  • PLP is a subset of party, not over the party.  Think of PLP as an “elite branch” working within Westminster.
  • PLP leader is free from day-to-day party activities, though PLP decisions (with possible exclusions of sensitive items, I mean military, security etc.)  are discussed / endorsed with NEC
  • Party Leader is free from day-to-day government activities, though PLP decisions are still discussed within NEC.

Will try to extend this further, but what is your opinion on it, in its current form?

Let me know your thoughts!

Why Jeremy Corbyn is popular within Labour?

Because he is different, certainly.

Have a quick comparison of Jeremy Corbyn’s voting pattern in Parliament with that of rest of Labour leader candidates at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mps; you will agree.

Different

Along with these points, one need to read following Corbyn statements:

“I don’t reply to personal abuse, to personal attacks, to personal criticism because the policies are more important, the issues are more important” – in response to collective abuse and constant criticism from Tony Blair and his ‘new-Labour’ followers.  Btw, why is Blair so worried about a Corbyn-led Labour? Just read #1 !

Public ownership of railways and in the energy sector – privatisation has put profits before people.

#5 and the last one in the list are good enough indications on how Labour could transform under Corbyn.

What if Corbyn Wins?

Blairite Labour leaders are prophesying doom under a future Corbyn leadership; this itself will be the first issue for Corbyn to tackle, if he wins the contest.  Though it appears Corbyn has support at grass-root level, he need to integrate the party and ensure that the the party, its leadership and Parliamentary representatives talk the talk and walk the walk the walk – together.

One thing is sure; results of 12th Sept will be just the first-half of what’s in store in coming years for an internally-divided Labour party.