So The S*n has suspended their top hack and former editor, Kelvin MacKenzie, after he wrote an article comparing Everton’s Ross Barkley to a gorilla. But he didn’t stop there: a day before the anniversary of Hillsborough, MacKenzie, a man so full of loathing that he hates his Scottish heritage, rehashed his old anti-Scouse tirades. A backlash followed. Everton FC followed the earlier example of Liverpool FC and duly banned S*n journalists from the club. The paper is already subject to a mass boycott on Merseyside.
The reason for this blog isn’t to discuss MacKenzie or his disgusting rag but to ask questions of Labour MPs who continue to write for The S*n despite knowing the paper’s history and its attacks on working class and minority groups. One such MP is the nominally Labour MP, Wes Streeting, whose allegiance to his political ambition eclipses allegiance to his party and his constituents.
So why is Streeting so eager to write for The S*n? Is it because he holds a misguided view that the paper itself is working class? No. Is it because the paper offers an excellent platform to address burning social issues? No. Like all those Labour MPs who oppose Jeremy Corbyn, he saw an ally in Murdoch, who himself believes he is some kind of kingmaker. It’s also likely that he saw the big fat pay cheque on offer and thought “I’ll have some of that”.
I found Streeting’s excuses for writing for The S*n rather peculiar. In this Tweet, he offers weasel words in defence.
Three things emerge from this Tweet. The first is Murdoch’s news empire enjoys huge tax breaks here and in the United States, where he is a citizen. In this, the Cambridge-educated Streeting comes across as a bit dim. The second is that The S*n came to the tax avoidance story rather late in the day, and the third is the weasel words offered to Scousers. Not once does Streeting make an effort to understand the reason for Merseyside’s mass boycott of The S*n. It’s simply axiomatic and takes place independently of the Hillsborough Disaster, the subsequent cover-ups and the Murdoch press’s continued attacks on Liverpool and its people.
This Twitter thread is most enlightening. When asked why he accepted Murdoch’s dirty money, Streeting’s reply couldn’t be more evasive.
Streeting doesn’t seem terribly bothered about The S*n’s history of antagonism towards the Labour Party, nor does he consider the negative impact of the paper and its stablemates on British democracy. Instead, the misguided MP seems to think that the lost legions of Labour voters have taken refuge in The S*n. But where does he get this view from? Nowhere. It’s false consciousness.
Last May, Streeting spoke to The S*n to complain about his party’s refusal to accept McDonald’s sponsorship money for the party conference. The article painted Corbyn as a “veggie snob”, who was more comfortable at “trendy falafel bars”. What the article and Streeting ignored in order to score cheap political points, is that falafels are quite popular in the Ilford North constituency that he represents. Many of his constituents will also be vegetarian. It would seem he has a problem representing them too.
Yet, two months before Streeting whined to The S*n about Corbyn’s vegetarianism, he called for a investigation into the papers “Queen backs Brexit article”. Of course, he wasn’t the only MP to do so and Nowhere Towers suspects that his opposition to the article is tokenistic and was intended to divert attention away from his willingness to write for and to to speak to, The S*n.
Fast forward to November 2016 and we see Streeting complaining about the attacks on the judiciary mounted by The S*n and other right-wing newspapers.
But you wrote articles for one of those papers!
The Cat believes Streeting is in politics for one reason and one reason only: he craves the attention. The very idea of public service is that last thought on his mind. When he took his seat in 2010, Streeting was still a councillor for the London Borough of Redbridge. He’s a careerist and like all careerists, Streeting is shallow, vain and concerned only with furthering his ambitions.
John Mann, the thuggish Labour MP for Bassetlaw has also written articles for The S*n. In this article, he tells the paper’s idiot readers that “It’s time to break free from the EU and take back control of our lives”. Unlike Streeting, however, Mann doesn’t bother to offer excuses for why he wrote an article for a paper that so despises his party. If he thinks he’ll get an easy ride from the paper if things go pear-shaped, then he needs to look at the example of Simon Danczuk, who happily wrote many articles for the paper, which then turned on him once the story of his ‘sexting’ a 15 year old emerged. The S*n also covered Danczuk’s forthcoming third marriage in the House of Commons Crypt (appropriate). The Cat thinks Danczuk is too thick and too much of a narcissist to understand when he’s being used.
Danczuk has had the whip withdrawn and currently sits as an Independent.
When Michael Dugher resigned from the Labour frontbench, many people asked “who is Michael Dugher?” and rightly so. Dugher has also written for The S*n. This article appeared in January 2016 and dovetails into the now familiar anti-Corbyn narrative propagated by the rest of the right-wing press. Dugher writes:
Most people don’t think it is sensible to give up our nuclear deterrent on our
own, especially when you’ve got places like North Korea menacingly
developing their own nuclear programme.
But there are some who still haven’t learnt the lessons of history.
When Labour last wanted to “ban the bomb”, the public rejected us and the
Tories won landslide election victories.
The other thing we’ve learnt this week is Labour risks becoming more isolated
from traditional working-class supporters.
Labour has seen working-class support decline over the years. Many voters have
switched to Ukip, falsely believing the ex-Tory, ex-stockbroker Farage is
somehow the champion of the workers.
In Scotland, voters went to the SNP in their droves. Many now simply stay at
home and don’t bother voting.
Where to begin? Let’s just say, like many of his fellow anti-Corbyn MPs, Dugher appears ignorant of his party’s history. Labour lost elections in the 1980s, not because of its opposition to nuclear weapons, but for two simple reasons: the SDP split the vote and Neil Kinnock, as party leader, failed to offer any tangible opposition to Thatcher. As for the disappearance of the working class support and Dugher’s lamentations, Nu Labour, under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, abandoned working class communities to suck up to corporations, bankers and, yes, Rupert Murdoch. Furthermore, Labour’s vote collapsed in Scotland, not for the reason that Dugher suggests, but because Nu Labour took those voters for granted as it had done in England’s former mining areas. Dugher, ever the slackwitted, pins the blame solely on the SNP instead. This plays well to the fools who take their news from The S*n, who are as unlikely to ask serious questions about political events as Dugher himself. Thus Dugher clearly “hasn’t learnt the lessons of history” by writing for a paper that treats history in a selectively cavalier fashion.
Last autumn, Tom Watson appointed Dugher to head an inquiry into ‘fake news’. That’s the same Tom Watson who co-wrote Dial M For Murdoch, a book that was critical of the Murdoch press and the phone-hacking scandal. Confused? So is he.
Labour MPs who write for The S*n do so because they see in Murdoch an ally that is sympathetic to their ambitions. Murdoch, on the other hand, sees them as tools to use in the continuing smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn and those who support him. By writing for The S*n, they also spit in the faces of Hillsborough’s victims and their families. Streeting, Mann et al are playing a very dangerous game by writing articles for The S*n, for their actions risk destroying the very party that they tell us they’re keen to defend.
UPDATE 17/4/17 @ 1840
The Cat has learned that Neil Coyle, the nominally Labour member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, has been speaking to The S*n about facing disciplinary action for “harassment” (sic). The S*n is quick to give the impression that Jeremy Corbyn himself “ordered” the investigation. He didn’t; it was a member of his staff who made the complaint to the Whips’ Office. What about the complaint? Well, apparently Coyle “questioned” (sic) Corbyn’s leadership and the party’s performance. There’s something The S*n and The Daily Mail, which is also carrying the story, aren’t telling us. Can you see what it is yet?
Coyle is a prominent Progressite and like Streeting, he continues to sit as a local councillor.