Sometimes the Morning Star comes up with an editorial comment so bizarre, so devoid of evidence, that you wonder whether editor Ben Chacko (or whoever it is writes this stuff) re-reads their own words, or thinks about them, before dashing them off to print. The print edition on Friday 24 May, the day after the Euro-election, carried an extraordinary example.
Under the heading “Democracy demands a general election now” the editorial began: “In yesterday’s maelstrom of mendacious messaging, the most dishonest emerged from the Liberal Democrats confirming their reputation for hypocrisy.
“No-one anticipated that yesterday’s election would occur. Neither the Tories nor Labour — who both gave explicit manifesto commitments that they would honour the referendum result — thought that they would need to devise an elaborate wish-list of things the EU might do.
“The Lib Dems’ manifesto offer of a second referendum — on the basis that “the people not politicians should decide” failed to resonate with the electorate which had already decided.
“It was Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour manifesto which mobilised voters in unprecedented numbers and made up an early polling deficit of 20 points.
“It is worth reminding ourselves that, impressive though Labour’s surge was, the Tories also increased their vote, reflecting in part the sense among keen Brexit voters that they were the more resolute on this question.”
Remember, this appeared the day after the European election vote. Where did the Morning Star get the information that the Lib Dems’ call for a second referendum had “failed to resonate”? That Labour’s manifesto had “mobilised voters in unprecedented numbers”? Or that the “Tories increased their vote”? Even as I write this, it has occurred to me that the editorial, purporting to be about the European election, is actually describing the 2017 general election…
Anyway, when reality finally caught up with the Morning Star, and Labour’s wretched results became known, the best the paper could do was to put Len McCluskey on the front page, using quotes from an interview he’d given to Radio 5 attacking the “siren calls” for a second referendum – or more to the point, attacking some of the individuals who’ve come out for a second referendum. Blair, Campbell, and Mandelson are, indeed, still hate figures for most Corbynistas and for very understandable reasons.
But Len’s most vicious attack (as quoted in the Morning Star) was reserved for his former personal friend Tom Watson, whom he has fallen out with: “Tom Watson’s already out – surprise, surprise – with his trying to take on the role of Prince Machiavelli.
“I know Tom and his tricks – that’s exactly what he’s up to.
“But I’ve got news for Tom: Machiavelli was effective and he’s a poor imitation of that.”
Leaving aside Len’s poor grasp of history (Niccolò Machiavelli was not a prince: he wrote a book called The Prince, in fact after he had been jailed, tortured, and exiled) it’s noticeable that he, like the Morning Star, cannot come up with one single political or democratic argument against a further referendum beyond the idea that it’s really part a right-wing plot against Jeremy. Oh, and the idea that people voted three years ago and democracy (presumably) stopped then, never to be revisited.
As friends of the Morning Star (and Len) in Labour’s top circles come under increasing attack from Labour’s membership, expect more tantrums and more mendacious messaging.