Recently I visited the local Community Arts Centre to see the film Oh Jeremy Corbyn -The Big Lie. The philosophy of the organisation is that, if anyone shows a film or puts on a show that has a political, social or documentary element, the expectation is that, following the screening, there will be a panel of people answering questions regarding the production. My Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) group was invited to be part of the panel, and I drew the short straw. The Big Lie is a documentary made to show how Jeremy Corbyn was denigrated by his own party, the Labour Party.
We had the director of the film, Chris Reeves, attending, and he was part of the panel, which was really great. Before the screening he gave us a brief history of his work. He is part of Platform Films; he has produced many documentaries and is a good friend of Ken Loach.
Chris felt he needed to make the documentary about Jeremy Corbyn because of the way Jeremy had been vilified and misrepresented by the press and, more importantly, the behaviour towards Jeremy from Starmer and his cabal.
Although I believe most people were aware of some of the content of the film, what struck a chord with me was how shocking it was to see the number of damaging elements portrayed in this film that conspired to take down Jeremy. The film did not deal with all of the toxic rhetoric or backstabbing that Jeremy received; it was a sample.
For me the film made clear that Starmer was in the Labour Party because he had ‘a job to do’. This man, who was not a household name, ran for election in May 2015 and won a seat. By September he was given the role of Shadow Minister for Immigration, then in October 2016, within a year, he was Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. He had no experience or background in politics; he had been a manager where a totally different set of skills was required. As I believe, and it’s obvious to me, he is running the Labour Party like a manager and one of the worst kinds of managers to boot.
Then we saw the evidence of the Israeli Embassy staff talking about getting rid of MPs they didn’t agree with. Jeremy was one of them. Joan Ryan, who made false allegations of antisemitism against a party member at conference, which was recorded, was seen talking to an Israeli employer, clearly delighted with the prospect of the plan being devised. (This was documented in the Labour Files produced by Al Jazeera)
We saw the screen shots of the WhatsApp messages that were written by the staff and management at headquarters. It felt more like seeing messages written by a bunch of school children, childish and unbecoming for reasonable adults.
The cries of antisemitism were a shocking part. It is interesting that there are none of those cries now, even though, as a Jewish person, you are more likely to be expelled from the Labour Party. In fact it all went away the minute Jeremy resigned it seems. Seeing the shocking way John Mann vilified Ken Livingstone still has a huge effect on me. I feel appalled every time that is shown because I know Ken was actually correct in what he said. (The history of the relationship between the Zionists and Nazis, as documented by Tony Greenstein in one of his blogs.)
There were numerous attempts made to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn before the 2017 election that the conspirators were feeling confident he would lose. His enemies were horrified that he nearly won that election, so their attempts then accelerated, and, when they realised that the antisemitism smear was the pivotal accusation that would bring Jeremy down, that accusation became an everyday discussion in all types of medium.
Following the film, we had the panel. It was a nerve-racking experience, although people were asking easy questions. It is difficult to be under the spotlight. There were some hecklers in the back row, known troublemakers, who were dealt with; otherwise it was orderly and cordial. It was only afterwards when a friend asked me why I hadn’t mentioned antisemitism that I realised we hadn’t discussed this as a panel nor were we asked the question. We were asked if we would suggest who people should vote for if not the Labour Party. Overwhelmingly we all said we would never vote Labour again but couldn’t recommend anyone.
This film showed a web of deceit, lies, conspiracy and duplicity with high levels of intrigue. Starmer was portrayed as a liar and a duplicitous individual with little substance. The film for me had the elements of a plan for a novel worthy of John le Carré’s attention. The fact that Jeremy Corbyn survived this meteoric onslaught is a testament to who he is, a man worthy of the respect millions still show him.