The former head of MI6, said on Saturday that the UK is currently experiencing a ‘political nervous breakdown’. It’s difficult to argue with this statement. For not only do the two Tory party leadership contenders leave much to be desired, but we now have clear evidence that the civil service or ‘deep state’ is running a campaign to destroy the Labour opposition.
In an article in UK government-mouthpiece newspaper The Times, just over a week ago, it was reported that senior civil servants feared Corbyn was ‘too frail’ to be Prime Minister. This is the same civil service which is supposed to maintain complete neutrality and according to its code ‘must not act in a way that unjustifiably favours or discriminates against particular individuals or interests.’ As columnist Owen Jones points out however, it is hardly unsurprising that Corbyn, a socialist, faces such animosity from a body of bureaucrats of which 59% are the product of the private education system. Therefore, by default, they have a background which fosters anti-left-wing bias.
However the extent to which the deep state is currently plotting against Jeremy Corbyn should immediately concern anyone who values democratic principles. For this campaign has become decidedly unsavoury, with every trick in the book being used. As renowned left-wing Jewish academic Noam Chomsky said earlier this year:
‘Class war, ideological warfare in general, can be bitter, no holds barred, no referee to impose at least some rules…In the UK one of the ugly symptoms of this is the series of attacks in the media and among the political class on Jeremy Corbyn and his associates’ witchhunt. This witchhunt has sunk to scandalous accusations of anti-Semitism against long-term anti-racist activists and supporters of Palestinian rights.’
For anyone keeping abreast of the biased mainstream media reporting on Corbyn since he came to the Labour leadership, it is obvious we are witnessing nothing less than a witchhunt; the latest in an ongoing smear campaign to keep a socialist out of power.
The allegation furthermore that he ‘lacks both a firm grasp of foreign affairs and the domestic agenda’ is positively laughable. In fact, it ought to be interpreted as Corbyn has ‘too firm a grasp of foreign affairs and the domestic agenda for our liking’. For the Labour leader has never hidden his opposition to western intervention in the Middle East, to arms sales to Saudi Arabia, to the mistreatment of Palestinians by Israel and even to NATO – which he said was ‘set up to promote a Cold War with the Soviet Union’. Equally on the domestic front, he has been highly critical of the Conservative government’s austerity policies which have driven so many into abject poverty. His calls for renationalisation of the railways and energy companies, and for a ‘wealth tax’ for high earners, naturally make him the bete noire of the establishment and business world. Corbyn is a threat – a threat to arms companies, a threat to capitalism, a threat to the very foundations the British establishment is built on. The deep state has therefore tasked itself with doing everything in its power to stop him.
From being a ‘Soviet sleeper’ to being ‘anti-Semitic’ and now simply ‘too frail’ to run the country, the media arm of UK security services has really been working overtime. Baseless allegations of anti-Semitism have been running for years now, and despite being openly condemned by several Jewish Labour organisations, continue to make newspaper headlines on a regular basis. The campaign against Corbyn and his supporters is well documented in the 2015 film Witchhunt which details how, increasingly, any critics of Israeli state policy with regard to Palestine are automatically branded as anti-Semitic. And when I use the word ‘campaign’ I do so intentionally. For in November 2018 it became apparent just how much of an orchestrated effort undermining Corbyn had become.
The UK’s Integrity Initiative – a government-funded scheme supposedly founded to ‘counter Russian disinformation and malign influence’ was shown to be actively involved in engaging in anti-Corbyn actions on social media and even had been funding lectures and discussions on how to tackle the ‘problem’ of Corbynism. ‘Who are Corbynites and What do they believe?’ was the title of one paper which goes into a thorough demographic analysis of Corbyn supporters: who they are, what they believe; including views on foreign policy and attitudes to the United States. In the document journalist Andrew Rawnsley is quoted as saying ‘The bigger picture is that it will not be easy to dislodge Labour MPs in large numbers.
Many have been developing survival strategies.’ Just how the Integrity Initiative, funded in part by the UK Foreign Office, justifies debate on how to oust elected Labour politicians as being part of its quest to combat Russian propaganda, is anyone’s guess. And yet calls for there to be an investigation into this misuse of £2.25 million of public funds, have fallen on deaf ears. In fact, Labour MP Chris Williamson who regularly spoke out against the Initiative’s activities, has intriguingly now himself become the latest victim of allegations of anti-Semitism, as usual, without any concrete evidence and was suspended from the Labour party in February this year. Coincidence? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Professor David Miller, political sociologist at the University of Bristol, and one of the few academic voices to speak out against the Initiative, told me earlier this year that for the UK government to be spending taxpayers money on undermining UK opposition was ‘outrageous in a democratic system’. But he was not surprised it was happening. In fact in a previous interview with me he explained that such actions were nothing new:
‘It’s obvious the intelligence services are attempting to undermine Jeremy Corbyn – they attempt to undermine any progressive movement in this country and always have done. There are plenty of historical precedents we can mention as I’m sure people have. But just to look at the most recent examples, the ex- head of MI6 and the current head of MI5 have indicated that they take a dim view of Corbyn.’
Indeed one only has to go back to the case of the Zinoviev letter, leaked to the press at the beginning of the 20th century, to appreciate that the establishment has a long record of attempting to prevent Labour governments from coming to power. And the role that the media has had to play in this deception is paramount. As Professor Miller explains:
‘This is not just a question of a standard pattern of leaks, it’s also an institutionalized arrangement whereby every newspaper including also broadcast – every media outlet in the mainstream in the UK has a specific person whose job it is to cultivate their contacts in MI5 or MI6 or other intelligence services and they are the ones who quite often spill the poison from MI6 or MI5 into the press.’
The reality is that UK civil servants view themselves as ‘the true guardians of national interest’- as former Prime Minister Tony Blair said back in 2010. Politicians can be here today, gone tomorrow, but it’s the job of the deep state to actually run the country. Together with the media, it has created a formidable force, which has considerable influence over public opinion. Thankfully with the arrival of the internet, has come the rise of social and independent media which plays a significant role in questioning the mainstream, government-funded narrative. But with Facebook and Twitter being given more and more power to restrict freedom of speech, and suspend accounts and pages, and intense pressure put on any individual that strays from the ‘party line’ we have to ask, how much longer can we say that we are living in a real democracy?