James O'Brien explains why the latest media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn are just 'bonkers'

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Tuesday 25 July 2017 15:45
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Picture:(LBC/Screenshot)

LBC host James O'Brien makes the correct point that the promise to eradicate student debt does not appear in the Labour manifesto.

Yet it was still something they said they would do.

In an interview with NME published a week before the election, Corbyn spoke about those who had already paid the £9,000 a year tuition fee, and taken on maintenance loans.

Yes, there is a block of those that currently have a massive debt, and I’m looking at ways that we could reduce that, ameliorate that, lengthen the period of paying it off, or some other means of reducing that debt burden.

He added.

And I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it

'I will deal with it'.

The policy was also stated in the terms of eradicating existing debt by one of Corbyn's Labour candidates, who was previously and is once again the MP for Bradford East.

On Tuesday the journalist Ella Wilks-Harper shared this Facebook video of a shadow Justice Minister Imran Hussain explicitly making the pledge.

In the video Hussain says:

Just this morning it has been announced by Jeremy Corbyn that the tuition fees will be abolished straight away from September if there's a Labour government, and that will bring back EMA, and also that every existing student will have all their debts wiped off.

Since the election, the wheels have come off the suggestion of an idea.

The Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell announced that the policy was an 'aspiration' rather than something that was promised.

In addition, Corbyn admitted he did not know the cost of eradicating historic student debt when he spoke before the election.

He told Andrew Marr on Sunday that when he said he would 'deal with it', this was not a promise.

What I said was we would 'deal with it' by trying to reduce the burden of it. We never said we would completely abolish it because we were unaware of the size of it at the time.

'Bonkers'

The broadcaster James O'Brien has called the media's coverage of these events 'bonkers'.

The Tories famously made a promise in their manifesto to make changes to social care funding, which they then promised would not happen.

And O'Brien says they've basically abandoned most of their 'promises'.

Much of this can be explained due to parliamentary arithmetic, and a belief that the 42 per cent of the popular vote they secured did not give them enough of a mandate.

O'Brien slammed the media:

Apparently if you are a certain type of journalist - that apparently you think people are so stupid that when you tell them Jeremy Corbyn told a porkie-pie that wasn't in the manifesto, that he never actually told, you've got such faith in the stupidity of your readers and your audience that you think they're going to start gnashing their teeth when you tell them that's he told a lie.

He continued:

If you need a better illustration of how bonkers the British media has become, surely that would be it.

It is possible 'the media' has focused on the perception that Jeremy Corbyn was dishonest. This concept, and the stories surrounding untruths, are only made more appealing to journalists because Jeremy Corbyn is the one who once pledged to create a new 'Straight Talking, Honest Politics'.

Labour Party Autumn Conference on September 29, 2015 in Brighton, England.(Picture: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

To the glee of writers, he is being held to a tangible standard that he and his party set.

Jeremy Corbyn has been an MP for 34 years and James O'Brien is correct that the Labour manifesto did not contain a promise to abolish existing student debt.

Indy100 has contacted Imran Hussain MP for comment.

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