Labour schism yields gift that will keep giving

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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‘Senior members of the Shadow Cabinet conspired to dishonestly smear Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn as a supporter of serial child abuse during the party’s fractious 2015 leadership contest, it has been alleged,’ begins a Daily Mail article from early May 2020 which will never be written.

Or will it? Maybe it will. Maybe it’ll be one of those wee nuggets our right wing press is so good at tucking aside to repeatedly recycle in slightly modified form over and over, whenever timely.

‘An open letter by MP John Mann,’ continues the story, which could easily be deployed in 2020’s pre-election pro-Tory barrage, ‘lifted quotes from a 1986 Commons debate to infer Corbyn attempted to block an investigation into child abuse in his own constituency.’

‘Corbyn’s remark that ‘in my own borough of Islington there have been complaints about children’s homes in the past and the council has investigated them,’ was used by Mann to hint that Corbyn opposed the proposed new inquiry.

‘Sadly, Daily Mail reporters in 2015 gleefully tracked down the full text of Corbyn’s statements on this matter – it probably took them about three minutes – and found the precise opposite was true.

‘Not only did Corbyn support the inquiry, he also offered grounds for widening the scrutiny to include other authorities into whose care children from homes in Islington had been sent.

‘It is very important that the inquiry is able to investigate across local authority administrative areas and, indeed, across jurisdictions to ascertain what happened,’ added Corbyn, in perhaps the single most telling quote MP Mann had to not see in order for his thickwit smear to superficially ‘work’ even a short while before exploding in his face.

‘Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, who backed the leadership bid of the party’s current Deputy Leader Yvette Cooper – and was slated as Shadow Home Secretary in the event of her securing the job – today declined to comment on whether the pack of barefaced lies had been circulated at the behest of an evil career woman who neglects her family to pursue selfish dreams and this time next week could be our Chancellor of the Exchequer.

‘Corbyn, who disappeared in mysterious circumstances after a poll in September 2015 indicated he would win around 40% of the vote, remains at large, although his beard was later found in the Firth of Forth.’