You have to search hard to find news in the UK’s mainstream media about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn aside from the continued swipes from his enemies within the party, writes Adwoa Korkoh. This is probably because the Labour Party surge that destroyed Mrs May’s majority in parliament continues apace and now even threatens the status quo in Scotland.
After winning several seats north of the border in the June general election against all the odds, a leadership poll triggered by the resignation of Kezia Dugdale could accelerate the swing towards Labour if pro-Corbyn candidate Richard Leonard triumphs.
Aside from winning a couple of seats in Scotland council by-elections earlier in the month, Labour picked up a few more in Conservative majority constituencies in England, supporting recent opinion polls that place Labour ahead of the Conservatives.
Meanwhile, the election of Seema Chandwani and Billy Hayes onto Labour’s key Conference Arrangements Committee boosts the left-wing presence in the Labour Party administration. It is yet another spanner in the works for both the party hierarchy and Blairite MPs who have done all they can to undermine Corbyn’s leadership over the past two years, putting them at loggerheads with the majority of the Labour’s 500,000 plus members.
Increasingly desperate, their latest attempt to put the boot in came on Monday with the debate on the EU withdrawal bill when six MPs defied Corbyn’s orders to oppose it, abstaining instead.
Although, Mrs May won the vote anyway thanks to her unsavoury alliance with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, her party has never looked so weak and divided. For a start, Brexit negotiations are not going well and putting an already floundering economy under further pressure. As the pound goes one way and inflation the other, the government’s boast that the economy is safe in their hands is looking more and more like a bad joke.
The mainstream press is at a loss. Its relentless and vicious attacks on Corbyn have not had the desired effect at all – instead of the election wipe out it so foolishly predicted, Labour gained more than 30 seats, resulting in a hung parliament.
Labour, or at least the Corbyn wing of it, is now taking command of the narrative in a way that would have been impossible not so long ago. For example, Corbyn’s support for a strike by McDonald’s workers, an act which would have once got the commentariat frothing at the mouth, was covered in a relatively straightforward manner, while their own backing for austerity is notably more muted.
Aside from the single tragedy of Grenfell, the UK is visibly falling apart at the seams, from pavements exploding because of lack of maintenance by Chinese-owned UK Power Networks to pavements being filled with homeless people. Unable or unwilling to accept that the neo-liberal agenda launched by Mrs Thatcher almost 40 years ago and continued in earnest ever since only works for those at the top, the Tories’ cheerleaders in the press have turned their ire instead on Mrs May, laying the Conservative party’s current misfortunes squarely on her padded shoulders.
She has few friends wherever she turns. Even banking giant Morgan Stanley predicts her government will collapse next year.
But of course the prospects of a Corbyn-led government are terrifying for the establishment, whatever its political complexion. The Daily Mail’s front page on Tuesday screamed ‘Insurrection’, referring to comments made by shadow chancellor John McDonnell in 2013 in a story prompted by the recent call for co-ordinated strike action against the public worker pay cap at the TUC’s annual congress.
No wonder political has-been and war criminal Tony Blair is more in the news than the real man of the moment. The possibility that Corbyn could one day govern Britain is clearly too nightmarish to contemplate.