Right about now Corbyn and Co. are about to launch their 2017 strategy for engaging with the electorate. It seems to have already begun with the ‘Rail Fail’ campaign highlighting the need to re-nationalise the railways. Apparently we will see more of Jeremy on our TV screens too and not before time.
Up to now the only place you could feasibly find information on Labour policy and actions is via the official Facebook pages and indeed from third party Facebook Groups. Already you can see, that without mainstream media air- time many of Labours messages are lost on the electorate especially when Dianne Abbott gets in front of a microphone. Her opinions on Brexit and immigration seem confused at times as further evidenced by Keir Starmers comments on immigration.
We are Jeremy Corbyn supporters ourselves at UKI Left but we recognise that unless Labour gets itself in tune then the messages will be lost on the public regardless how much mainstream airtime they get. Of course nothing is helped when the right wing of the party are on a vow of silence, but the trouble with that is they are not going anywhere. Not any time soon. As a result Corbyn is regrettably walking a tightrope between abject failure and survival.
So what of these social media Corbyn supporting groups such as ‘We Support Jeremy Corbyn’? Surely they are good for the profile of Jeremy Corbyn? It seems not. With well over 30,000 members and the largest Jeremy Corbyn supporting group on Facebook you would think it an ideal place to air concerns and challenge the issues on Brexit, the economy and more.
The group though systematically bans posts relating to Brexit discussions. The biggest talking point in British politics today is silenced yet it’s this issue more than any other that divides the nation and divides politicians alike. Being a left wing group you would expect huge discussions on this very subject as the left has notoriously backed both leave and remain in huge numbers.
In fact many posters within this Facebook group appear to often be targeted by what can only be described as fanatical Jeremy Corbyn supporters. In both equal measure they on one hand criticise some members for daring to question a Corbyn led policy and denounce attitudes as “not very Corbyn like” yet on the other hand attack the poster in a manner that ironically is ‘not very Corbyn like’. These posts and their originators often end up being banned from the group, dismissed as trolls when in reality anyone passing an objective eye can see that the posts are usually not in the same ball park as “trolling”. It’s simply a matter of anything other than pro Corbyn sentiment being disregarded as an “attack on Jeremy corbyn” such is the seige mentality of some Corbyn supporters. It’s the ultimate echo chamber where nothing is challenged and nothing learned.
Here is just one recent example:
One person recently posted the following
The same person was called a ‘Tory troll plant’ and responds as below:
Another person in the same thread responds to the OP with this wonderful reply which highlights everything we have said in this article:
We would suggest highlighting the bad practice of admin shutting down debate is not negative or divisive, it’s highly pertinent.
Yet what this all goes to show is that if online criticism or questioning is disregarded by such large groups then what hope does that electorate have of learning about the intricacies of policy decisions? With little TV coverage to date, a vow of silence by the PLP, barely any positive news articles and now the issue around social media groups it will only spell one thing. Oblivion for Labour, certainly if things continue in this manner.
This is not isolated, this occurs in many social media forums but particularly here in the biggest Jeremy Corbyn supporters group on Facebook and all this does is feed into a negative atmosphere, even turning some people against each other and they are meant to be on the same side.
This is important not only because of the situation Labour finds itself in but also because Social Media has been a bonus for many political campaigns over the past few years and if the campaigns and support groups can’t get to grips with genuine criticism then the Social media advantages will be worthless.
As left wing political supporters ourselves we pride ourselves on particularly this one thing, that despite a particular leaning towards one end of the political spectrum, we are no one’s pet. We do not support anyone unequivocally just because someone sits on the left. We question and we critique all to ensure that no politician ever forgets who voted for them and who backed them. To do otherwise is precisely what has landed us the two party system for such a long time and being rabidly supportive of one person or party without question just helps perpetuate the broken political system. Regardless of who they are.