On November 13, Jeremy Corbyn said in an interview with LBC News that U.S. Special Forces were wrong to kill ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Instead, according to Corbyn, arresting him “would have been the right thing to do.” Yet in Britain, the focus of the morning headlines on the same day was Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to use the biblical term “onanism” in a major campaign speech.
The media continue to give Corbyn a free pass in their disproportionate criticism of Boris Johnson’s alleged blunders. Johnson is indeed prone to politically incorrect satire and awkward turns of phrase — but there is a strong distinction between satire and defending the life of a murderous terrorist. Labour is behind the Conservatives in polling for Britain’s December 12 general election, but Corbyn himself fares better than expected. In echoing his lies, the British media help to normalize the radical socialist politician.
Deceit is a central component of Jeremy Corbyn’s strategy in the upcoming U.K. general election. Corbyn repeats the outlandish claim that Johnson intends to sell out the National Health Service (NHS), Britain’s single-payer health-care system, to the United States. Corbyn says that Johnson has created a “Trump alliance” that will divert £500 million (around $643 million) to American companies per week as part of a trade deal between Britain and the U.S. This has no basis in reality. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg — by no means a friend to Johnson — hinted at the manipulative intent of Corbyn’s statements. The aim is to paint Johnson as an enemy of British public services such as the NHS, which many Brits view as the pride of their country. In fact, bolstering the NHS has been at the center of Johnson’s campaign: He pledged to build 40 new hospitals and to fund 6,000 more doctors to deliver millions of extra patient appointments.
That Corbyn has received little criticism for his lies — which form a central part of every major campaign speech and of Labour’s social-media advertising — reveals the extent to which he is shielded from scrutiny.
Corbyn is afforded this same protection when it comes to his shifting stance on Brexit. In a recent speech in the north of England, Corbyn said he will not be the kind of prime minister who “thinks politics is a game.” Yet on the question of leaving the European Union — the key issue facing Britain this election — Corbyn has played almost every possible move. His brand of socialism puts him in opposition to European integration. Indeed, for most of his career, Corbyn opposed the EU on the grounds that it is too militaristic and repressive of workers’ rights. In 1976 he voted to leave the European Economic Community, the precursor to the EU. He campaigned against the integrationist Lisbon Treaty in 2009, arguing that he did not want to live “in a European empire of the 21st century.” During the 2016 EU referendum in Britain, Corbyn outwardly supported Remain but was accused of lukewarm campaigning. A few weeks before the vote, he rated the EU “seven or seven and a half out of ten.”
Several bad polling results later, we find in this election cycle that Labour supports a second referendum on British membership of the EU, which will attract young voters who are anti-Brexit. Despite this blatant hypocrisy, a recent YouGov poll found that 38 percent of people under 29 intend to vote for Labour — over twice the age bracket’s voting intention for the Conservative party.
When it comes to anti-Semitism in the Labour party, the media have fallen for Corbyn’s deception too. Corbyn’s longstanding support for radical causes includes a penchant for Islamist anti-Semites. He invited members of Hamas and Hezbollah to the British Parliament as “friends” and was paid perhaps as much as £20,000 (about $27,000 at the time) to appear on Iranian Press TV — the same network that was banned in the U.K. for its broadcast of a forced confession by a tortured Iranian journalist. In one appearance Corbyn mused that “the hand of Israel” was involved in a terror attack in Egypt. He traveled to Tunisia in 2014 and participated in a ceremony honoring terrorists who murdered eleven Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Corbyn also hosted an event at the British Parliament in 2010 comparing Israel to Nazi Germany (part of a U.K. tour called “Never Again for Anyone — Auschwitz to Gaza”) and attended events by Deir Yassin Remembered, a group chaired by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen.
Anti-Semitism has benefited Jeremy Corbyn politically. When he was unexpectedly elected leader of the Labour party in 2015, the media described an anti-Semitism “row” and “claims” surrounding him. This suggested that Corbyn’s association with anti-Semites was not factual but alleged. Labour’s grass-roots activists rallied around defending Corbyn from these so-called allegations, and the conspiratorial anger toward his rivals, accused of stoking such “claims,” grew. The pro-Corbyn organization Momentum organized aggressive no-confidence votes against members of Parliament who criticized him, including former Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan. Today, the party has been purged of almost all its moderates and Corbyn’s ideology reigns supreme. The Jewish community in the U.K. is afraid for its future: A recent poll found that 47 percent of Jewish people in the U.K. would seriously consider emigrating if Corbyn came to power. Yet Labour continues to get away with anti-Semitism. For the British general election, the Labour party has selected multiple candidates with a history of anti-Semitism, including a union official who compared the state of Israel to a child abuser replicating the Holocaust.
Corbyn has been successful in shifting the national conversation to Johnson’s alleged extremism. He argues that Johnson is a hard-line conservative ideologue who wants to hijack Brexit “to unleash Thatcherism on steroids.” Far from it; Johnson himself says that he wants to be the leader of a “moderate, one-nation Conservative” government. “One nation” conservatism denotes high taxes and public spending in support of social cohesion — usually described in opposition to Thatcher’s emphasis on free-market policies.
Like other left-wing populist politicians, Corbyn is described by reporters as a “man of the people.” Yet for decades, Corbyn has worked against the interests of the British people — not to mention Western civilization. It isn’t Johnson who has a radical agenda to change Britain, but Corbyn who threatens to “transform” the U.K. into his socialist image. The left-leaning newspaper the Guardian describes Labour’s policies as a return to Britain’s 1970s level of public spending, which crippled the country at the time.
No matter the result of the British election on December 12, Corbyn has already succeeded in redrawing the ideological map of the West. In the United States, Corbynization on the fringes of the Democratic party is tacitly accepted by the mainstream. Stakes are high. The question is, When will the British media stop being inveigled by Corbyn’s stunts and start treating him as the extremist that he is? It would be the right thing to do.