BY JAMIE FOSTER
Jeremy Corbyn’s reaction to press allegations that he may have passed information to a Czech spy in the 1980s comes straight out of the Donald Trump playbook but may be reminiscent of even more totalitarian characters.
The press have made a point of allegations that Corbyn met with a Czech spy at the House of Commons. The former spy alleges that Corbyn was a source of information, known as Cob, and was paid by the Czech authorities for his assistance. So far so believable. It wouldn’t come as a shock that the serial friend to the enemies of Britain should have been on good terms with an Eastern European spy. After all, Corbyn did take his holidays with Dianne Abbott back then on a motorbike in East Germany (one wonders who was driving). Corbyn is known to be as far left as it is possible to get on the spectrum. It wouldn’t come as a surprise that he may have had close relations with communist intelligence agents.
What is remarkable is Corbyn’s reaction to the story. He posted a video in which he claimed that Britain’s free press is not that free after all.
Corbyn is concerned that it is owned by tax dodging billionaires who are to be warned that ‘change is coming’. A la Donald Trump, Corbyn claimed that the stories were made up and false. He stopped short of using the phrase ‘fake news’ but the implication was clear. As was his threat against the free press. If and when Labour comes to power the press should be in no doubt, Corbyn will be gunning for them. He was keen to stress that a Labour government would be for the many, not for the few. He appeared to be very concerned that the few were telling the many things he would rather the many didn’t hear.
If the stories about Corbyn’s connection to Czech spies are untrue, as he claims, he has easy recourse to a libel action. The fact that he is not willing to have his day in court, but would rather threaten the press with unspecified future action is rather telling.
If the stories are true then it may be something that the Metropolitan Police should be investigating. After all, passing information to foreign intelligence agencies may amount to an offence in the right circumstances. Given his claim they are untrue it is telling that he has refused to answer any media questions about the stories. He is content to issue threats against the press instead of providing any detail about his side of the story.
It is unsurprising that someone of Corbyn’s political persuasion should be against a free press. The free press has never been a feature of any far left regime’s set up. In Russia there were two newspapers, Pravda and Isvestia, or the Truth and the News. The old joke was there was no Pravda in the Isvestia and no Isvestia in the Pravda. There was no truth in the news and no news in the truth. Corbyn’s stark warning is that under a Labour regime the free press would be brought to heel and prevented from saying unpleasant things about Corbyn and those he wished to protect.
All this should be enough to persuade the voting public to have nothing to do with Corbyn whatsoever. Cosying up to spies and terrorists, threatening the existence of the free press, all actions that should be as voter repellent as possible. People should surely see Corbyn for what he is, a cut price autocrat more reminiscent of leaders of Soviet regimes than a future leader of Britain. Nonetheless he remains as high in the polls as he has ever been.
This tells us a number of things.
Corbyn is something of a teflon politician, able to skate over the worst stories about himself without any mud sticking to him. Much of our electorate is either badly educated or simply apathetic so as to continue to support someone who has thrown up so may warning signs about himself. Perhaps most importantly of all – the Tories need a new leader.
If Mrs May is unable to make any political capital out of Corbyn being alleged to have passed information to the Czechs, then what is the point of her? The Tories need a leader able to communicate how unacceptable it would be to have a man associated with Eastern European intelligence who wants to get rid of the free press as a leader of this country. Surely there is someone out there who could do this? Maybe it is time to step forward Mr Rees-Mogg?