BY MATTHEW CORRIGAN
History records that a little before 23:00 Eastern Daylight Time on July 20 1969, Neil Alden Armstrong descended the ladder of the Eagle Lunar Landing Module and took mankind’s first tentative steps on the surface of the Moon.
Bit of a conspiracy nut? Okay, try this one: Barcelona, Spain, 26 May 1999. In the dying moments of the Champions League Final, Manchester United fire home two goals inside two minutes to deny a stunned Bayern Munich side the victory their fans were already celebrating. An historic victory for the English club.
It all happened. It’s all a matter of record. You just can’t change history. Unless, that is, you happen to be a Labour politician, or one of the party’s shrieking squadron of social media supporters.
At first, I was prepared to believe it was simple ignorance. Maybe those people who like to flood Facebook with their tiresome collection of memes really do think that the Conservatives were responsible for the Iraq War, or bailed out their ‘rich banker mates’ during the financial crash of 2008 (I have recently read such statements, albeit only on poorly-written, frothing-at-the-mouth blogs).
But then I began to wonder. The Labour Party have, to be fair, usually got a pretty good grasp on matters of media and communication. Blair’s Government was light years ahead of the rest in this regard, harnessing the power of the internet before the competition had even worked out what it was. Could this continuous flow of disinformation be deliberate? Could it be sinister, rather than simply wrong?
Just the other day Mr Corbyn issued the following Tweet:
Ignoring his rather, erm, original take on the English Language, he appears to have forgotten that ‘tax cheats’ absolutely flourished under the last Labour Government, that the banks were deregulated and ultimately bailed out by the erstwhile, ahem, ‘Iron Chancellor’ himself and that Philip Green was knighted following a recommendation from Labour’s longest-serving Prime Minster (who, lest we forget, also handed one out to Fred Goodwin of the Royal Bank of Scotland).
Then there is that other longstanding Labour trope about the Tories wanting to privatise the – sorry, ‘our’ – NHS. The National Health Service was born under the Labour Government of 1948. During the sixty-nine years it has been in existence, the Conservatives have held power for thirty-seven (forty-two if the five years of coalition with the Lib Dems is included). They have so far failed to carry out this evil master-plan. Not very bleeding good at it, are they? Labour, on the other hand, paved the way for part-privatisation in the late nineties, opening various aspects up to the private sector. To suggest Labour’s massive expansion of wildly expensive PFI contracts tied a millstone around the neck of the health service is to tragically understate the problem. The PFI debt is measured in hundreds of billions Sterling.
How about housing, another perennial favourite? Housing is indeed in desperate crisis in the UK. With many unable to afford their own home and rents heading ever higher into the stratosphere, some sort of urgent action is required. Always overlooked though, by those intent on rewriting the past, is what happened in the decade before 2008. The average house price, which for years had risen roughly in line with wage growth, jumped from under £60k to over £180k. Remember your salary trebling? Me neither. What the hell did Labour think was going to happen? It is undoubtedly poor form for politicians to continually blame the previous administration but dear me, Labour left a wake that will churn for years.
It goes on. Foodbanks? Yeah, they were brought in under Labour too (although the spin was rather different when their use was growing throughout the 2000s). Even the school milk so infamously snatched by ‘Fatcha’ was in fact ‘snatched’ under a policy instigated by the previous Labour administration.
Mention any of this to Labour’s vociferous social media acolytes and one of two things will happen. You will be met with either a stony wall of silence or a tirade of abuse. There will be absolutely no recognition of the facts and no acceptance that Labour bears any responsibility for the undoubted difficulties facing our country at present.
By airbrushing out the inconvenient truths of their record, passing off their – pardon my expression – alternative facts, they are trying to change what actually happened. To a small degree, they have succeeded: there really are people who now believe the Tories bailed out their rich banker mates in 2008 or that Teresa May sent the troops into Iraq. The Labour Movement has been telling lies for years; unsurprisingly, some of them have stuck.
Increasingly, however, it looks as though the strategy is failing. Labour’s frothing Facebook fanatics are only shouting at each other. Nobody is interested any more. Many of those they told to ‘f**k off to the Tories’ have done precisely that. They only have themselves to blame. Labour truly is the nasty party, a refuge for some deeply unpleasant individuals. To dare to challenge any of their assertions is to risk being attacked (and not just with words on the internet; the caring, sharing Left is all too often prepared to get violent in support of its wholly fictitious claim to the moral high ground). It has become nothing more than a cult. Some time ago it was suggested to me that the party was finished as a political force. I thought then it was nonsense – now I’m not so sure.
A Conservative landslide is on the cards. Maybe our country needs one right now – who ever really knows? We’re certainly going to need an opposition though. One Party States are never a good thing; without effective opposition the democratic system will fail. The time has come for the few, the very few Labour MPs who retain any shred of credibility (Liz Kendall perhaps? Dan Jarvis maybe?) to leave the fist-shaking, spittle-flecked mob behind them and form a completely new party. Someone’s going to have to step up to the plate.
No party has a right to exist forever; many die away having served their purpose. The Labour Party was an important – probably vital – power in the history of the United Kingdom. The Labour Party did great things once but, like all achievements, they exist only in the past. By allowing, even encouraging, the dissemination of so many lies in a shameful attempt to change history, it just might end up there itself.