The 2017 General Election campaign is underway. The various Party leaders are vying to win this election. These few precious weeks are a crucial time where citizens should be fed fair, accurate and concise information on what the different Political Parties stand for. We live in a democracy, a society where we are supposed to have – by law – a free and impartial Press who will deliver such information. However, it appears currently that this is not the case. The Media harangue Jeremy Corbyn, ignore almost all other leaders entirely, and seem to perpetually praise Theresa May. Now you may feel that this is because Corbyn is incompetent and weak, but please read the rest of this article to let that perception of Corbyn be expelled.
Even The BBC Are Biased
Let’s start with the BBC, apparently the most impartial media outlet in the UK. Laura Kuenssberg, the Political editor for the BBC, described the Labour Party manifesto in exactly the same way as the Conservative Party often do: ‘More spending, more tax, more borrowing’. If the BBC are spewing out Conservative Party diction in their description of Corbyn and the Labour Party, then how can one ever expect the predominantly right-leaning British Media to be any fairer?
In Al Jazeera’s The Listening Post , Aaron Bastani of Novara Media highlights how he feels that the Media in the UK are simply becoming the ‘Press officers of the Party Government’, blindly in support of Tory leadership. This does not seem too far fetched; in the 18 months from Spring 2015 to Autumn 2016, Rupert Murdoch and his associates met with either the Prime Minister, Chancellor or Culture Secretary over 20 times. The chances of this being the case if Labour were to win this election are infinitesimal.
The Newspaper headlines above and Kuenssberg’s article all show the Media’s biased portrayal of Mr Corbyn. If one was to search for any publications publishing articles such as these on Theresa May, you would almost certainly find nothing of the sort.
Corbyn Will Not Play By The Rules
The reasons why the Press dislike Corbyn is not solely about ideological differences. Corbyn doesn’t follow the rules in the traditional way. He is not as polished as many of the other Westminster politicians. He is more confrontational when the Media doorstep him and harass him. And, as Peter Catterall of the University of Westminster points out, Corbyn hasn’t been giving the Media ‘the chunks of red meat that they need to feed on in order to do stories’. Instead, Corbyn prefers the grassroots approach, addressing the people of the UK directly, via public speeches, and increasingly through the use of Social Media. Obviously this is something that the Press dislike, as it takes away stories and therefore readers and therefore money.
The mainstream Media aren’t used to seeing this sort of authentic and direct character in this position of power. Corbyn is different, this is one of the key reasons behind his success. People like his genuineness. The Labour Party is now the largest social-democratic Party in Europe thanks to Corbyn, with over 500,000 members.
Annabelle Sreberny of SOAS, University of London, says that Corbyn is ‘a perfect antidote to the construction of popular personalities.’ Corbyn is not a perfectly constructed personality perfectly designed for a beneficial Media portrayal, but rather a politician plain and simple. People like this, yet the Media is lagging behind, struggling to understand this kind of personality in the world of politics. Yet this type of character is better than the alternative, the one the Media expects. You only need to look at the US to see how populist character politics results in disastrous electoral outcomes.
Corbyn Weak, May Strong? Think Again.
The Media are suggesting that Corbyn will take us back to the ‘disastrous’ 1970s, suggesting that Corbyn is weak, suggesting that Corbyn will cause great damage to Britain’s economy. Meanwhile they do not question May’s ‘strong and stable’ spiel, and take it for granted that the Conservatives will preside over a stronger and more secure economy. Think again. Peter Catterall is someone willing to question these perceptions, revealing that the Tories have just ‘presided over massive devaluation, and not for the first time.’ However, none of the Press seem to question May or the Tories on this. Likewise, since 2010, the UK national debt has increased by over £555 billion, despite a mantra of austerity being vehemently followed. This distinct lack of economic competence is a clear example of the Conservative Party being weak on the economy. However, as expected, the majority of the British Media have failed to bring this into the public debate.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) suggest that the 2017 Labour manifesto leaves a financial black hole of around £30 billion. Now ostensibly this does not seem brilliant. However, the same institute postulates that the black hole found in the Conservative manifesto is significantly higher. Yet the Tories are still seen as the economically viable party. A large swathe of the facts suggest otherwise.
Theresa May repeats the same ‘strong and stable’ nonsense over and over again. Surely the Media can see past this? Yet one rarely sees this being questioned by the Media. Theresa May is changeable and unpredictable. Originally Remain in the 2016 Brexit campaign, she is now proposing a ‘hard Brexit’, the sort that only the staunchest Brexiteers wanted last year. Theresa May has made a U-turn on the Tories social care policy today, now announcing an ‘absolute limit’ on what people would have to pay. This cap was not mentioned in last week’s manifesto. Theresa May has denied that she has made a U-turn. However, only yesterday, the 21st May, Ministers publicly rejected the notion of a cap. These above examples reveal several flaws in Theresa May’s unquestioned assurance that she is a ‘strong and stable’ leader.
What Can You Do?
I sincerely hope that after reading this article you will start to question the Media and approach all that they say with more scrutiny. Furthermore, I hope you stop believing the totally skewed and unfair Media portrayal of Corbyn. This may leave you asking the question: ‘where can I find the truth?’ Well, here are a few things you can do to make sure you make the right decision on June 8th 2017.
Read The Manifestos
Reading the various Party manifestos will help you find a Party who’s policies you identify with the most. Below I attach links to the three main Parties’ manifestos.
Conservative Party Manifesto – https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto
Labour Party Manifesto – http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/manifesto2017
Liberal Democrat Manifesto – http://www.libdems.org.uk/manifesto
Find Out More About Your Local MPs
If you search on google you will be able to find out who is standing for MP in your local constituency. From there you will be able to see what the different candidates stand for on a local level.
Also, if you visit https://www.mysociety.org/wehelpyou/find-out-how-your-mp-voted/ you can enter your postcode to find out how your local MP has voted, and thus whether or not they’ll represent your best interests in Parliament.
Use The Most Impartial News Sources
As it is clear that many of the main publications have strong biases, I recommend either using The Independent U.K. or Reuters, both reputable and relatively impartial news sources. The Independent does have a slight Pro-Corbyn bias, yet it can serve no harm to read at least one publication which moderately supports him. Neither are perfect, but both are always fair and both never stray from the truth. Find links to these websites below:
The Independent – http://www.independent.co.uk/
Reuters – http://www.reuters.com/
Finally, I attach a link to the YouTube video I watched which inspired me to write this article: