Springingtiger's Blog

Traingate: At Least It Runs On Schedule!


One of the things about the media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn over the last couple of days has been an attempt to undermine his image.

Firstly there was a suggestion that his treatment of MPs would were he a private employer see him take to an Employment Tribunal for racial discrimination. Unfortunately a claim not backed up with convincing evidence. Worse still is the revelation that Labour MPs really don’t understand Employment Tribunals, how they work, the relevance of the ACAS code nor how difficult it is to prove discrimination. However let’s be honest Corbyn’s opponents have shown little interest in promoting employment rights, so why would we expect them to understand their mechanics?

Now after one attacked was derailed along comes ‘Traingate’ as the press are dubbing it in an attempt to make it sound more serious than it is. Jeremy Corbyn was filmed sitting on the floor of a Virgin Train. On the film he complained about the poor conditions and overcrowding experienced by rail passengers and suggested that it was another reason to support renationalisation on the railways. Right on schedule as the leadership election ballot papers were sent out Virgin Rail hit back releasing CCTV film that allegedly showed Corbyn walking past empty seats. As far as I could see those empty seats were bearing reserved signs. More importantly other passengers on the same train corroborate Corbyn’s story. Indeed when he sat on the floor he was joining a group of passengers who had also not been able to find empty, unreserved seats.

Much is made of the fact that Corbyn was eventually shown to a seat by staff. However the news media fail to mention this was forty five minutes into the journey. Passengers have pointed out that staff were going up and down the train ‘shuffling people’ to release seats. Another passenger interviewed mentioned that some seats were being taken up by children and luggage and so those seats would have appeared occupied.

Why is such a fus being made of this? Obviously, as Atul Hatwal admitted on Sky News, to attack Jeremy Corbyn’s image as a man of integrity in the eyes of the people. He also suggested that the Blairites would mount a fresh challenge every year with a continuing campaign to undermine the Labour leadership. It is hardly surprising that Hatwal has been called on for the task as he was a spin doctor for Tony Blair’s New Labour government. As he said of his work as a press officer, “It’s only spin if you get found out.” Obviously by his own admission his impartiality is open to question in this matter. Any sensible observer must suspect he is still spinning on behalf of his old boss, Tony Blair.

Would Virgin misrepresent the facts? I think that given Jeremy Corbyn is committed to renationalising the railways, it would suit them to prevent Corbyn coming to power. Of course there will be many like myself who wonder whether Richard Branson and his company’s attacks are motivated by the threat of renationalisation and the loss of millions of pounds of taxpayers money, or whether it originates from Branson’s good friend Tony Blair.

There is no love lost between Blair and the right wing of New labour and Corbyn and the workers movement he represents. Many people believe Blair manipulated the Labour Party to steal the leadership from Gordon Brown after the death of John Smith, he is if nothing else an arch fixer, or as the Blairites have it ‘realistic’. When we look at those who lead the attacks on Corbyn, John Tiernan, Atul Hatwal, the Murdoch Press, Richard Branson and the PLP the thing that is most glaringly obvious is their connections with Tony Blair. Am I suggesting Tony Blair is orchestrating the campaign against Corbyn? I wouldn’t dare, bad things happen to people who speak out of turn and I’m not as brave as Dr David Kelly.


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