Corbyn, the Conservative Sneer and the Freedom of Unspeech

The outrage over Jeremy Corbyn’s not singing the national anthem is just the latest example of the pathologically entrenched conservatism of the British media. This phenomenon grows so egregious, so palpable by the day that it has drawn mention in America of all places, that bastion of uncorseted misinformation. Respected commentators Paul Krugman and Jon Schwartz discuss this in their most recent articles.

The right are so apt to cry foul when there is outrage over something they have said – to sanctimoniously disparage it as elitist “sneering”, or “political correctness” – yet here they are raining down fulmination for something somebody has not said. It is beyond parody.

What is worse is the lack of support from within his own party.

His appointed Shadow Foreign Minister, Catherine West, expressed the concern that:

“for many people… singing the national anthem is a way of showing that respect. I think it would have been appropriate and right and respectful of people’s feelings to have done so. I think so, yes [he should have done].”

Such wet, pusillanimous cant. Other “people’s feelings” be damned, what about his? What about such things as integrity?

Why should Corbyn dignify the same mawkish and brutal illogic which tells us to hail the mere fact, in this most prosperous of ages, of our monarch outliving others as though it were some kind of achievement – such obsequiousness would make even a Republican blush; and that “our boys” buffeted by overwhelming technological sophistication and complicit in the terrorisation and exploitation of a prostrate civilian population with no question, are somehow “brave”.

He’s totally entitled to his pacifism and the espousal thereof, without being shrieked at for being “disrespectful”, in the same way right wing commentators perpetually gripe about.

And how telling are the terms on which he is dismissed: a tramp, scruffy, not “electable”. So sayeth the self-appointed anti-establishmentarians of the Murdoch right. And yet it is thought that sneering is the preserve of the left!


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