Ella Whelan: Jeremy Corbyn a 'hypocrite' for wanting press reform when Labour took donations from Max Mosley

Ella Whelan: Jeremy Corbyn a 'hypocrite' for wanting press reform when Labour took donations from Max Mosley

Listen to Ella Whelan talking to James Max above

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has been branded a hypocrite for calling for reforms of the press.

Ella Whelan, a former editor at Spiked Online, said the speech he delivered earlier at the Edinburgh TV Festival was “nonsense”, and that the Labour leader shouldn’t be calling for reforms when the party was an “enemy of press freedom”.

“Pronouncing that this is all about making the media more open and accountable is absolute nonsense,” she told James Max on the talkRADIO breakfast show.

“It’s hypocrisy as well because the Labour party for quite a while has been an enemy of press freedom, in its support for the Leveson inquiry, [Corbyn’s] deputy Tom Watson is best buddies with Max Mosley who is an arch-enemy of press freedom.

“The idea that Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party has any interest in truly doing some things that would make the media more open, more accessible, freer from government, it’s just unbelievable, it’s hypocrisy at its worst.”

 

Labour's Max Mosley connection

Earlier this year, former Formula 1 boss Max Mosley began legal action to stop the press reporting on his personal life. He also funds the independent press regulator Impress,which is considered a threat to press freedom by many major publishers.

Tom Watson has also received donations totalling over £500,000 from Mosley, but a Labour spokesperson said earlier this year the party would no longer be accepting money from him.

In 1961, Mosley was involved in his father Sir Oswald Mosley's by-election campaign for the far-right Union Movement, and reportedly published a leaflet that blamed 'coloured immigration' for the spread of diseases.

He has since conceded that the leaflet is "racist", but said he "did not recall" publishing it.

 

Corbyn's media reforms

In his speech, Corbyn spoke of granting charitable status to investigative journalism bureaux, taking a ‘digital license fee’ from tech companies like Google and Facebook to fund the BBC - though he added the fund should be independently managed - and reducing the amount of control the government had on the BBC.

He also spoke about the working conditions journalists face, and how extra funding could help bring more job security.

“We know that sustainable quality journalism requires decent pay - and 24% of journalists now earn less than £20,000 per year for what is a skilled job,” he said.

"Many journalists work for the love of their profession but they deserve a decent income and a secure contract too. Insecure employment, which many journalists increasingly face, is a curse on our society."

 

'No connection to anti-Semitism'

Questioned on whether his proposals could be an act of retaliation over they way traditional newspapers have "shone a light on anti-Semitism within the Labour party", MrCorbyn replied: "I simply say this. I want us to have a strong and vibrant democracy and I support journalists who want us to have a strong and vibrant democracy.

"This isn't about any retribution or retaliation to anybody. I've spent my life fighting racism, I've spent my life opposing any form of racism. I've spent my life opposing anti-Semitism in any form. And that is exactly what my party is determined to achieve."

Listen to Ella speaking in the video above.