By Luke James and Ben Chacko in Britain:
Don’t fight me, fight the Tories
Monday 21st December 2015
Corbyn delivers his Christmas message to the Star
Mr Corbyn raises the alarm over the real motives behind government policy in an exclusive interview with the Morning Star to mark his first 100 days as Labour leader.
He believes the Prime Minister is executing a premeditated “four-pronged attack” on the financial and electoral support of opposition parties.
The Trade Union Bill’s changes to affiliation fees, cuts to “short money” for opposition parties and the cap imposed on union election spending during the last parliament could force Labour to fight with its hands tied.
And individual voter registration has been rushed through Parliament in time for next May’s elections, despite warnings that two million people — mainly from Labour-voting groups — will fall off the electoral register.
Mr Corbyn told the Star: “What they’re doing is actually questioning the existence of labour movement politics altogether.”
But the Labour leader said: “We’ve got to stand up for what we believe in as a labour movement” and insists he is the man to lead the fightback.
Mr Corbyn said: “We’ve increased membership to nearly 400,000. We have the biggest, most active membership ever in my lifetime.
“We’ve beaten the government back on tax credits, which has saved three million people from having £1,200 taken off them in April.
“We’ve also had a very good result in the Oldham by-election. The activity level of local parties is huge and it’s completely contrary to everything the media are saying.”
The Labour leader, who joked to journalists last week that he’s kept them in a job, said most of the media have failed to reflect the success of his “new politics.”
He said: “I think the media’s attitude towards the Labour Party and our campaign has been horrendous.
“It’s because we are doing a different form of politics, which is a mass movement of ordinary people for the first time getting involved in politics.”
Asked whether a Labour government would break up media monopolies, he said: “Yes. We are developing a media policy which would be about breaking up single ownership of too many sources of information, so that we have a multiplicity of sources.
“And actually promoting co-operative ownership and access, including local TV and radio stations and newspapers like the Morning Star.”
Mr Corbyn is adamant though that media criticism won’t force him to abandon his new style of politics or principles.
He insisted they have brought success even in his toughest moments since becoming leader.
On his decision to give Labour MPs a free vote on bombing Syria, he said: “We started from the position of being in a small minority, both in the shadow cabinet and a minority within the PLP. We ended up with a majority of party members, MPs and shadow cabinet members voting with me on it.”
Mr Corbyn is far from complacent about his achievements though, saying Labour must become a “genuinely mass movement” to resist the Tories’ gerrymandering.
And he insists Momentum, the grassroots group of activists who have become a bogeyman for the media, have a part to play.
“It could be a way of bringing in a lot of people who haven’t hitherto been involved in the Labour Party into political activity,” he said. “That’s got to be a good thing.”
More from our exclusive interview with Jeremy Corbyn in tomorrow’s Star
September 12: Elected leader by landslide, beating his “mainstream” rivals and with almost 60 per cent of votes
September 14: Appoints the first ever shadow cabinet to contain more women than men
September 15: Pledges before the TUC to put trade unions back at the heart of the party and slamming “poverty-deniers”
September 16: Throws open PMQs to the public, wrongfooting David Cameron by posing questions submitted directly by voters
September 20: A general tells the Sunday Times the army “wouldn’t stand for” a Corbyn election victory if it challenged the military — and would use “fair means or foul” to stop him
September 25: Senior Green Party member Derek Wall calls for all on the left to welcome Corbyn’s election and “build a common future through co-operation”
September 29: Corbyn’s address to Labour conference receives four standing ovations. 2,200 people join Labour.
October 2: Political knitter Kristina Stiff unveils her woollen Corbyn Christmas tree topper
October 5: Corbyn steals the show outside the Tories’ conference, drawing 7,000 to a speech endorsing the People’s Post campaign at Manchester cathedral
October 13: The government pulls out of a contract to provide services to the brutal Saudi Arabian prison system following Corbyn’s campaign against it
October 26: Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s campaign against tax-credit cuts pays off as the Lords votes to block the move
November 5: Collins English dictionary names Corbynomics one of its 2015 buzzwords.
November 26: Media Reform Coalition publishes research indicating Britain’s biggest papers set out to “systematically undermine” Corbyn from his first week in office
November 27: The Fire Brigades Union becomes the first trade union to reaffiliate to the Labour Party
December 2: Despite Corbyn’s principled opposition, Parliament votes to bomb Syria. But he takes a majority of his shadow cabinet and parliamentary party with him on a free vote, weakening his critics
December 3: Labour wins the Oldham West and Royton by-election, increasing its share of the vote to 62 per cent
December 21: Corbyn marks 100 days as Labour leader with an exclusive interview in the Morning Star
Jeremy Corbyn has been handed a major victory over Britain’s leading tabloid, after The Sun was ordered to publish a front page correction for a story which falsely claimed the Labour leader only agreed to be initiated as a Privy Councillor because his party stood to gain financially: here.