A sign of the growing fear among the British elites about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s increasing popularity are the attempts to smear him. Robert Mackey writes about one such attempt by the right-wing British tabloid press led by Rupert Murdoch to accuse Jeremy Corbyn of having been a spy for the Czechoslovakian secret service during the Cold War. This was taken up by Conservative prime minister Theresa May and some of her cabinet members but the attempt failed miserably.
So the prime minister presumably thought it would be good politics to joke on Wednesday in the House of Commons about a smear campaign launched by the tabloids on Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour party. Referring to a recent barrage of poorly sourced stories in the Sun and the Mail accusing Corbyn of having helped Czechoslovakia spy on Britain during the Cold War, May introduced a tortured pun about the Labour leader wanting her to sign “a blank Czech.”
Corbyn’s response, a theatrical yawn, delighted his supporters.
— EL4C (@EL4JC) February 21, 2018
A more potent sign that the attacks had failed was how quickly other members of May’s party retreated when the allegations about Corbyn were thoroughly debunked by former British spies and records available in the archives of the Czech secret service.
Faced with overwhelming evidence that their effort to tie Corbyn to Czech intelligence had failed, reporters for the far-right tabloids moved on to loudly demanding that the Labour leader permit the release of a supposed file on him compiled by the East German secret service, the Stasi. That effort also fell flat when German officials who oversee the Stasi archive announced that they had found no documents at all on Corbyn.
Corbyn's Stasi file is so secret that even the Stasi doesn't know about it. That's top notch secret servicing.
— heartbeeps (@hrtbps) February 21, 2018
Unlike the utterly odious warmonger and Bush toady Tony Blair, the former Labour leader who made it a point to suck up to Murdoch, Corbyn has made it clear that he is not going to do that. Here is his Twitter response.
In the last few days The Sun, The Mail, The Telegraph and The Express have gone a little bit James Bond.
We've got news for the billionaire, tax exile press barons: Change is coming. pic.twitter.com/3ehSKfaAgZ
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 20, 2018
A Tory MP was grilled mercilessly about the slanderous allegations made by his party leaders and tried his best to dodge and weave.
“Has he betrayed his country?” asks @afneil after claim from defence secretary about the Labour leader
"Jeremy Corbyn, I think, is a grave danger to this country because of the ideas in which he believes and what that would mean…" @SteveBakerHW
— BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics) February 21, 2018
Corbyn has made remarkable progress in a short time, from being surprise winner in the leadership election, battling the neoliberals within his party who tried to undermine and oust him, to becoming a strong spokesperson for a progressive agenda.