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. 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.

  2. 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’.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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