Jeremy Corbyn goes from court jester to Queen snubber in 24 hours – so says the Sun

The press attacks have begun, with Corbyn blasted as hypocrite and traitor


The Sun didn’t waste time this week before attacking the new Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Monday’s front page ran with ‘Corbyn: abolish the army’, citing a speech from three years earlier. Is this front page news?

Since then the paper’s eagerness to paint Corbyn in a bad light has seen it commit a massive contradiction worth highlighting.

Here’s yesterday’s front page:

Sun 15 9 15

As the Sun Says column explained:

“Corbyn, a lifelong republican, will kiss the Queen’s hand and swear allegiance to secure millions in funding for Labour. […]

How many other ‘principles’ will be jettisoned before the scales fall from the eyes of his naive young supporters?”

It turns out the Sun’s own source for the story claims there was no link between the deference and the cash. But on today:

Sun 16 9 15

The story says:

“Jeremy Corbyn was last night accused of snubbing the Queen after he refused to sing the national anthem.

The left-wing Labour boss remained tight-lipped at the Battle of Britain memorial.”

In other words, within 24 hours the Sun went from calling Corbyn a court jester to saying he snubbed the Queen.

Imagine for a second what would have happened if he had declined to swear allegiance to the Queen but then did sing the national anthem at the memorial. Would the Sun have just reversed its front covers these last two days?

Whatever Corbyn does here he’s going to be accused of both hypocrisy and treachery. Such is the fate of a backbench rebel suddenly in the national spotlight. The Sun has clearly started as it means to go on: attack, attack, and attack again – consistency be damned.

Today’s story deserves another point, especially as every paper bar the Daily Mail has run it on page one.

There may be an argument that as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn should swallow his pride and sing the national anthem to avoid causing a row or annoying much of the electorate – especially at a memorial service for the country’s fallen.

But the fact is, neither Jeremy Corbyn nor anyone else may be forced to sing the national anthem.

As Graham Smith, CEO of Republic and Left Foot Forward contributor said today:

“If we live in a free country we must be free to not sing God Save The Queen. […]

Whatever your thoughts about Corbyn he has always been clear about his republicanism.

But moreoever, whether republican or not it can’t be right that people are brow-beaten into singing a religious ode to the Queen.”

Even the most ardent monarchist would hopefully consider this reasonable.

The freedoms we are told were defended by the war must surely include the right not to sing if one chooses.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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24 Responses to “Jeremy Corbyn goes from court jester to Queen snubber in 24 hours – so says the Sun”

  1. stevep

    Let the Sun have it`s say, it`s a dying rag and it knows it.
    It was never as influential as it claimed to be, less so now.
    The peoples propaganda comic outlook has seen it`s day, most people will be using the internet for information via phones and tablets from now on and absorbing different views and opinions.
    Jeremy`s warmth, honesty and integrity will shine through all the vile crap the mucky rags can throw at him.
    There may well be a sea change coming.

  2. Cole

    However, JC made a prat of himself by not singing the national anthem, pointlessnessly pissing people off – including many Labour sympathisers. After all, it was at a ceremony to honour those who had fought and died in the battle against Nazism. He might have showed a bit of respect – and who cares if the words are a bit daft?

  3. Dark_Heart_of_Toryland

    Those who died fighting against Nazism, died in the cause of defending the right not to be forced to conform to mindless nationalist tribalism. It is therefore entirely appropriate, and respectful, that Corbyn exercised that right.
    It’s the 21st century: are we still expected to defer to meaningless rituals? What would have been the point of hypocrisy of singing? Personally, I’d rather Corbyn stuck his principles – at least he has some to stick to.

  4. Cole

    Of course. But Corbyn isn’t any old citizen nowadays. I’d have thought the least he could do was to sing the national anthem. Many of us who are Labour voters think of ourselves as patriotic and think he should have shown more respect to the people who saved us from Nazism – instead of indulging in leftist tokenism.

  5. Dark_Heart_of_Toryland

    I just don’t see how singing a notably naff song, expressing sentiments with which Corbyn very pubically disagrees, can be taken as a mark of ‘respect’.

    Rather, singing the song would have been a meaningless and hypcritical act of nationalist tokenism.

  6. Cole

    Because it’s the bloody national anthem. If people on the left want to sneer at this kind of thing, they’re going to have a bleak future.

    And there a big difference between patriotism (generally good) and nationalism (nearly always bad). Go and read your George Orwell.

  7. Dark_Heart_of_Toryland

    Why should everybody be forced to act in accordance with notions of patriotic correctness? The age of deference is supposed to be dead. If the country is still mired in this sort of knee-jerk tribalism, then we really are stuffed.

    And just because George Orwell wrote something doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right – as Samuel Johnson said, ‘patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel’.

  8. AnthonyTuffin

    The basic point is that “GOD Save the QUEEN”, which is both religious and monarchist, should not be the National Anthem because it is offensive to religious sceptics and monarchists. A national anthem should be unifying not divisive. Some stupid woman on TV yesterday said Jeremy Corbyn should have mouthed the words if he did not want to sing them, but that really would have been hypercritical!

    Although it may surprise some, it is perfectly possible to be a religious sceptic and/or a republican but also to be very patriotic; i.e. to love one’s country and be loyal to it.

    Perhaps we should have two anthems like the USA – a non-religious version of “God Save the Queen” (equivalent to “Hail to the Chief”) to greet the Head of State and a National Anthem (equivalent to “Stars and Stripes”) to praise the nation.

  9. Cole

    Most polls shows overwhelming support for the monarchy, with about 20% preferring a republic. Obviously Corbyn can do as he wants, but not signing the national anthem isn’t a very intelligent way to start his time as Labour leader. This kind if knee jerk leftism may go down well in Islington. It won’t be appreciated in much of Britain, and among the people that Labour needs to attract.

    It seems odd that Corbyn is happy to provide platforms for the likes of Hamas, Hizbollah and Sinn Fein but not to sing the national anthem.

  10. Cole

    In the meantime, it’s the national anthem and the silly man should sing it if he’s an aspiring national leader. I gather he’s said he will do on future occasions – meaning he’s got all the bad publicity for no good reason.

    Attlee would have been appalled.

  11. mightymark

    Yes that s the point. It wouldn’t be so bad were he not to support so enthusiastically the national aspirations of seemingly everyone but his own country.

  12. gaswork

    i once used the sun to wipe my backside as no toilet paper but i got a shock to find out that i had more shite on me after a simple whipe, but the bigest shite is this man Keith Rupert Murdoch has an estimated net worth of $11.5 billion as of September 2015, backs Obama with the other hand does an oliver twist begging bowl please sir feed the Rich.

  13. andagain

    It seems odd that Corbyn is happy to provide platforms for the likes of Hamas, Hizbollah and Sinn Fein but not to sing the national anthem.

    Not really. It’s entirely consistant. It’s just not consistant with loyalty to the country he aspires to lead.

    And this, we are told, is the position of a principled left-winger.

  14. JohnSmith

    So says almost everyone else too !!!

    He chose to stand for the job. This is one of the responsibilities that go along with the job

  15. Steve Larson

    Corbyn made a mistake in not singing it.

    His job is to make the Labour party sit in power and implement its politics.

    A lot of traditional Labour voters felt it was wrong and a snub to them. They felt it, whether it is wrong or not is pointless.

    Rigidity only leads to snapping in the wind.

  16. Steve Larson

    You mightn’t but millions of those who elect Labour MPs and also those whose votes you need do.

    It makes radical copy but as for changing the State and power, its a dead end gesture.

  17. Steve Larson

    Attlee wanted to implement his policy in power and wasn’t that concerned whether he was viewed as ideologically pure or not.

  18. Dark_Heart_of_Toryland

    The State and power are not going to be changed by cringing conformity to right-wing political correctness. Deference serves merely to reinforce the status quo, not to change it.

  19. Steve Larson

    The only thing that changes the State and how power is used is being in Govt.

    Blair for all his faults knew that, Cameron for all his faults knows that.

    They were interested in getting elected and making what they want happen.

    Wouldn’t it be a refreshing change, an unusual approach if the Left tired of being a vocal opposition and became an active control of direction.

  20. Dark_Heart_of_Toryland

    Wouldn’t it be a refreshing change, and an unusual approach, if we had a genuinely left-wing government?

    Don’t forget, Blair managed to shed millions of Labour voters during his years in office, losing vast swathes of the party’s core vote, while his enthusiastic embrace of Tatcherism laid the groundwork for the unprecedented assault on the welfare state by the current administration. The devastation wreaked by Osborne, IDS and Gove was enabled by the wholesale capitulation of New Labour to neoliberal dogma.

    But even if power is to be regarded as the end in itself, the fact remains that reheated Blairism is not likely to get Labour back in office. It failed in 2010, and it failed again in 2015. Why should it succeed in 2020?

  21. reddyteddy

    The item in the sun was a blatant lie. You should know that, you are a serial liar.

  22. Eoireitum

    I’m an anti-theist who doesn’t mind a good old rendition of the Nat Anthem! It’s all metaphor, symbology and tradition/ritual. I’m grown up enough to belt it out whilst thinking there’s no god, that monarchy is faintly – and wonderfully – ridiculous and that any secular alternative will be rubbish (anyway, Jerusalem is far better…and chimes with an English non-conformist tradition for which this lefty pines…).

  23. ian Kemp

    So what . What we need is a more relevant national anthem that takes into acc diversity,, I am more interested in his policies than all this crap that the right wing press drags up .. Unfortunately quite a lot of the comfortable complacent Brits it is as far as their understanding of anything goes . Until we get a more balanced media which more accurately reflects the Uk s very diverse population this will continue.. Remember most of the press is owned by some extremely rich tax avoiders . It is in their interest to maintain the status quo. Its a sad reflection that ideas cannot be discussed in a mature adult way in the UK.. Remember that only 24% of population voted for this very right wing Gov. What is wrong with some renationalisation of railways and the utilities ?? Should not the NHS be better protected . Why is austerity necessary. If it is, and that is debatable , why should the rich 1% to 5% not pay more. ? The problem is that the so called centre ground has moved to the right so that what is left is considered more extreme than it is .. Its really just social democracy that is all .

  24. Eoireitum

    Am watching the Prince of Wales at Westminster Abbey. I may think our royalty are useless but as metaphor they are brilliant. He bowed his head to the wreath he laid. He bowed to them. As much as they may have honoured his grandfather. Mutual not servile – because it is given both ways. That’s a tribute honouring duty and debt.Sing the bloody hymn Jezza…in the same way that I may thank God what not believing in him. Reinforce the metaphor so that the words and tune mean less than the gesture.

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