The media clamour over the crowded-train non-story demonstrates just how easily the corporate media (that very much includes the i as it is run by aspiring media baron Ashley Highfield, who is trying to do a deal to supply BBC its local news) and big business interests (and they don’t come much bigger than Richard Branson) can manipulate the agenda.
This story rumbles on as it serves multiple purposes to vested interests.
- It was all over the BBC (most nauseatingly on Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine lunchtime show) and other media today as Corbyn was wanting to focus on the NHS. With tories and Blairites (including very obviously Owen Smith) committed to its privatisation (most of the PFI debt crippling the NHS was down to Blair/Brown), this is not a policy area corporate interests want covered.
2. Similarly, the huge traction that calls to re-nationalise the railways is beginning to finally gain must be anathema to the corporate owners of our railways such as Virgin Trains, who continue to make big profits while we pay the highest fares in Europe, if not the world.
3. So, to deflect from these uncomfortable debates, that socialists can have a field day on, the puppet masters ensure that what is deemed far more important is Jeremy Corbyn’s integrity. Did he really choose to sit on the floor when there was a vacant seat or two on the train?
I am not going to dignify such a question with any sort of answer. It is irrelevant in every possible sense. What is relevant is that we are being railroaded (excuse the pun) into focussing on the ‘Cult of Corbyn’ at the expense of the real reason for my, and most other ‘Corbynista’s’ excitement over his accession to the leadership of the party, namely that for the first time in living memory we have a tangible prospect of some genuinely socialist government in this country, allied to a real and substantial threat to the neoliberal hegemony that needs to be brought down if humanity and, indeed the whole planet, is to have a sustainable future. These are questions at the opposite extreme to whether there was a spare seat on a train or not. They are questions that the establishment and and corporations cannot abide.
I really couldn’t give a flying whatever whether Corbyn is capable of cheap stunts and the odd porky; whether he is or is not just like every other politician in this sense. I do believe that he has, at the very least, vastly more integrity than the vast majority of MPs, but that may well be damning with feint praise and I would not be shocked or completely crestfallen if this proved not to be the case. The crucial thing is the direction in which he wants to steer the country. There can be no doubt that he will do his best to steer us towards that fairer, more equal, more compassionate and more sustainable place we need to be. That is good enough for me. This is the agenda we need to focus on, not ‘Corbyn the Messiah’, as our socialist objectives have to outlive Corbyn, or it is all a waste of time.
I’ll leave you with this sobering observation from the great George Carlin: