If I hadn’t seen for myself that this article “exposing” Jeremy Corbyn was published on the Daily Telegraph’s website, I would have assumed it was a spoof from The Onion – an even more preposterous one than normal.
In a lengthy hit-piece, the Telegraph suggests that Corbyn is a hypocrite for criticising David Cameron over his efforts to conceal the financial benefits he received from his father’s tax-haven investments.
What’s the Telegraph’s evidence for accusing Corbyn of a double standard?
Corbyn is apparently part of the fat-cat class himself because he earnt £1.5 million. That sounds a lot – except it was his total earnings as an MP over the past 33 years. That’s the equivalent of a £45,000 a year salary. A good sum but hardly the stuff of scandals.
As a Labour spokesman says (buried at the bottom of this long piece): “It represents his wages as an MP over the last 30 years, the same as every other MP who has done the same service. He’s been elected consistently by the electorate and he has earnt what every other MP earns and those payments are in the public domain.”
In other words, this is a complete non-story. He’s a an MP and he received the benefits due an MP. If there’s a problem with that, then the Telegraph ought to be campaigning against MPs’ salaries.
So why is the Telegraph writing a story that makes clear it is not even pretending to be a newspaper – which reveals in stark fashion that, in fact, it is just a propaganda sheet for the business class?
There can be only one reason – or two related reasons.
That Corbyn is seen as such a danger to the vested interests of the powerful corporations that are served by the Telegraph and the rest of the corporate media that they need to smear him even at the cost of undermining their own credibility.
And equally significantly, that they are so sure that Cameron can be relied on not to damage their interests, that they will do anything – including writing a patently ridiculous anti-Corbyn story – to help the prime minister in his hour of need.
If Corbyn became prime minister, he might threaten the applecart that has made the Telegraph’s owners, the famously litigious Barclay Brothers, and the rest of the 1% fabulously wealthy. The brothers are – how can we put it? – familiar with the workings of tax havens; they live in one.
Cameron is a member of that same exclusive club: he might talk the talk, but he is never going to walk the walk. He and his party will look after their friends and their off-shore accounts for as long as they can do so without paying a serious political price.
The only scandal here is that the Telegraph can write a story like this and still be considered a newspaper rather than a muck-raking comic. This example may be extreme, but behind it lie the same motives of class-interest that have driven the hundreds of other hatchet jobs on Corbyn over the past year, published in every British newspaper including supposedly liberal publications like the Guardian.