‘Absolutely shameless’: Ken Loach says BBC helped ‘destroy’ Jeremy Corbyn

Andrew Pulver@Andrew_Pulver Fri 16 Dec 2022 – https://www.theguardian.com/

Director says media has ‘rewritten history’ to expunge ex-Labour leader and attacks Starmer regime for ‘manipulating the rules’

Ken Loach
Ken Loach said the treatment of Jeremy Corbyn is ‘like the photograph of Trotsky that Stalin cut out’. Photograph: Biel Aliño/EPA

The film director Ken Loach has attacked the BBC for its “absolutely shameless role” in what he describes as “the destruction of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership” of the Labour party.

In an interview with Equal Times, Loach said that the BBC “played a prime role” in the departure of the former Labour leader and Corbyn’s “whole political project, that nearly became the government three years ago, has been wiped out of the public discourse.”

Loach agreed that Corbyn’s tenure as leader, which ended in 2020 after Labour’s defeat in the 2019 general election, had been “delegitimised”. He said: “They’ve rewritten history so that it doesn’t exist. It’s like the photograph of Trotsky that Stalin cut out. The man doesn’t exist in history. Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t exist in history now.”

Loach also took aim at the current leadership of the Labour party, saying “the manipulation of the rules and the straight aggression has been unbelievable. It should be unbelievable: the manipulation of rules against the left, the imposition of candidates, expulsions and the fact that at least 200,000 people as far as we know – and probably more – have left the Labour party under [Keir] Starmer. It’s not even a news story! If ever we needed a clear example of political manipulation by the broadcasters, there it is.”

Loach said in 2021 that he had been forced out of the Labour party for “not disown[ing] those already expelled”. He had previously left the Labour party in the 1990s, reportedly in disgust at Tony Blair, and rejoined after Corbyn’s election as leader. He stood for the Respect party in the 2004 European parliament elections and in 2013 helped launch Left Unity.

Loach said the Guardian was a “joint offender” alongside the BBC in the coverage of Corbyn. “As part of the liberal media, when those two led the silence on this extraordinary story, then of course the rightwing press will make the most of it,” he said.

While many of his feature films, including I, Daniel Blake and Sorry We Missed You, have received funding from the BBC, Loach has criticised the organisation in the past, saying in 2016 that its news operation was “manipulative and deeply political”, and in 2019 describing a Panorama investigation into antisemitism in the Labour party as “probably the most disgusting programme I’ve ever seen on the BBC. It raised the horror of racism in the most atrocious propagandistic way, with crude journalism, and it bought the propaganda from people who were intent on destroying Corbyn.” The BBC rejected Labour’s complaints over the Panorama investigation, and Ofcom said it considered it “impartial”.