Sunday, 25 February 2018

Are there any reds under my bed?

The Cold War was a long time ago. It means nothing to the 25 to 44 year olds who recorded the biggest swing to Labour in the last general election. They want to get on the housing ladder, not listen to tired old tales about incompetent Czech spies.

Even when I reflect on my times in a divided Berlin in the early 1980s, it seems like a different world, as indeed it was.

Jeremy Corbyn was right to pursue the Conservative MP for Mansfield for his defamatory tweet. His apology reads: “On 19 February 2018 I made a seriously defamatory statement on my Twitter account, ‘Ben Bradley MP (bbradleymp)’, about Jeremy Corbyn, alleging he sold British secrets to communist spies. I have since deleted the defamatory tweet. I have agreed to pay an undisclosed substantial sum of money to a charity of his choice, and I will also pay his legal costs."

“I fully accept that my statement was wholly untrue and false. I accept that I caused distress and upset to Jeremy Corbyn by my untrue and false allegations, suggesting he had betrayed his country by collaborating with foreign spies. I am very sorry for publishing this untrue and false statement and I have no hesitation in offering my unreserved and unconditional apology to Jeremy Corbyn for the distress I have caused him.”

I am not politically aligned with Jeremy Corbyn, but I do think that he acts out of principle. Can we take politics out of the gutter and discuss his policies, albeit that some of them are ambiguous (although it looks as if we are about to get a more nuanced position on Brexit)?

Smears have no traction with the electorate and just tarnish the political process generally. It is a sign of desperation on the right.

Yesterday The Times run a story linking university strikes with a supposed communist-supporting badger cull activist and a former rail union activist. A picture of Lenin illustrated the story. No doubt he is orchestrating the whole affair from his tomb. This is supposed to be a responsible newspaper.

What we should be addressing in a serious way are the problems in housing, the NHS, family poverty etc.