The twisted power of loaded language in the Labour Party

YESTERDAY, Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson claimed that Trotskyists (sic) were seeking to influence the result of the party’s leadership election.

In an article in The Guardian Mr Watson said that members of the Socialist Party (formerly Militant), the Alliance for Workers Liberty and the Socialist Workers Party had infiltrated Labour as part of the surge of support for Jeremy Corbyn.

He claimed that these “Trots” did not have the party’s “best interests at heart”, but saw it as a “vehicle for revolutionary socialism” and were “not remotely interested in winning elections” and they were “twisting young arms in this leadership process”.

Mr Watson’s “Trotsky Twist” claim is interesting for many reasons, primarily because he has introduced the word Trot or Trotsykist (it is Trotskyite, Mr Watson) as terms of abuse against the followers of Mr Corbyn.

This word Trot can be added to a growing dictionary of abuse used by the anti Corbyn camp vis: Hard Left, Loony Left, Commies, Infiltrators, Extremists, Momentum Thugs, Entryists, Dogs, Mob, Brick-Lobbers, Cyber Bullies, Trolls, Anti Semites, Sexists, Vandals and many more.

Remarkable double standards when less than two weeks ago Labour’s NEC decided to ban Labour Party members from using the word Blairite under threat of being barred from voting in the leadership election.

The word Blairite has been added to a list of proscribed words – which also includes Scab, Scum and Red Tory – provided by Labour HQ.

Interestingly the edict didn’t ban Labour right-wingers from using the slanderous, misleading and abusive terms defined above, to describe the 300,000+ new members from all ages, areas and demographic groups attracted to the Labour Party since last summer.

As far as the NEC is concerned it’s perfectly fine for Labour right-wingers to damage the reputation of the Party by referring to hundreds of thousands of their own members with vicious and inaccurate slurs, yet anyone who refers to Tony Blair acolytes as Blairites has committed such a severe crime that they could be stripped of their right to vote in the leadership election.

Yet, it’s obvious to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of British politics that the Blairites are the entryists who took over a left-wing political party and switched it to the promotion of Rupert Murdoch approved Thatcherism (driving away 5 million Labour voters between 1997 and 2010 in the process).

It’s remarkable how so many of the terms of abuse that the Labour right-wingers hurl at Jeremy Corbyn supporters (bullies, infiltrators, cultists, entryists) are so much more applicable to themselves than the victims of their slurs.

But that is how psychological bullies operate.

They project their own character traits onto their victims, and then continually blame their victims for the abuse they subject them to.

Loaded language is their stock in trade, learned assiduously from their Tory friends and their pals in the print media.

Last December, then Prime Minister David Cameron was repeatedly asked to apologise for labelling MPs who might vote against bombing in Syria as “Terrorist Sympathisers”.

It was a failed but oblique attempt to score points against Jeremy Corbyn for his historical support for Hamas and Sinn Fein.

Biased use of language, with a nakedly political motive, is clearly poisonous.

UK tabloids like the Murdoch-owned Sun that has compared immigrants to cockroaches recall the dark days of the Nazi media attacking those they sought to eliminate, says the UN’s human rights chief.

“The Nazi media described people their masters wanted to eliminate as rats and cockroaches,” said UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

He singled out an article by far right media columnist Katie Hopkins, published by the Sun, in which she wrote: “Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches.”

The use of language to load news reporting and political rhetoric is used regularly in domestic situations.

The British press regularly use the adjectives Far Left, Hard Left and Loony Left to describe Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the Labour Party, while referring to more right wing MPs as being Moderates.

Never do they seek to define what the word Moderate means or ever refer to David Cameron or Theresa May as being Far Right or Hard Right.

What we are observing is an adjectival degradation.

Every report, coming from inside governments or institutions outside is, if it contains some form of criticism, therefore “damning”, “devastating” or “scathing”.

Warnings, which most of the time were not heeded anyhow, are “stark”, differences of opinion between politicians of the same party are “dramatic splits“, developments are “alarming” – the consumer of the media is confronted with a permanent linguistic overkill.

Remember how Tony Blair and his spin doctors rebranded the Labour Party as New Labour and Blair’s Labour as he courted Rupert Murdoch and the so-called Middle England vote in the 1990s.

For marketing and propaganda purposes he even banned the use of the word socialist or socialism among his MPs.

The final irony is that now almost 20 years later the word Blairite is considered a term of abuse by the Labour Party.

Is that the final abuse?


Author: seagullnic

Writer, editor, lecturer and part-time musician. Passions in life: my family, Bob Dylan, music of many genres, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, cooking plus good food and wine.

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