The Guardian’s ignorant hypocrisy on Corbyn’s Brexit

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The Guardian’s ignorant hypocrisy on Corbyn’s Brexit

The Guardian’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. It castigates Brexit supporters, claiming they are stupid, ignorant and ill-informed, all the while pedalling the most feeble, unsubstantiated twaddle for why Britain should remain in the European Union, says Bruce Newsome.

Jeremy Corbyn announces a u-turn on Brexit, including an ignorant claim that Britain could remain within the EU’s customs union and the EU’s decision-making while Britain negotiates trade deals without the EU in the “national interest”. Then there’s his ridiculous claim that a trade deal with America would lead to more “privatisation”, or his claim that Conservatives are using Brexit to impose a “hard border” on Ireland and destroy the Good Friday peace agreement (between Tony Blair’s government and some of the terrorist groups in Northern Ireland, 20 years ago).

Given this speech, The Guardian’s editors call his Labour Party “smarter and less fantastical than the Conservatives…a party of sensible thought in the face of adversity.”

Then the editors accuse “Tory Brexiteers” of the “illusion”, “fiction”, and “fallacy” of negotiating new trade deals with the EU and outside the EU at the same time.

The Guardian’s editors just contradicted themselves. Even their terms are illiterate.

Corbyn’s u-turn is an adoption of the policy that The Guardian has been peddling for months – including the contradictions, illiteracies, fictions, and fallacies.

I don’t object to a newspaper having a policy; I use The Guardian as an additional source; and I welcome the intellectual accountability that comes from true critical thinking, as I teach it (accepting nothing uncritically, without criticizing for its own sake). I object to The Guardian’s hypocrisy in criticizing Brexiteers as stupid and characterizing its own reporting as intellectual while channelling the stupidest anti-Brexit arguments.

The Guardian has been the uncritical channel for barmy Brexit-bashers such as Tony Blair, Lord Adonis, and Eloise Todd – the chief of a campaign for a second referendum (“Best for Britain”), which is funded by George Soros, the Hungarian billionaire, whose intervention was endorsed by The Guardian’s editors. All these people were speaking in opposition to Corbyn’s policies, which were closer to the government’s.

Corbyn’s new u-turn is towards The Guardian’s policy. In fact, exactly a week before Corbyn’s speech, the same hypocritical stupidities peaked in an opinion by the associate editor (Martin Kettle). His explicit message was: “Brexit is stupid,” or, in the quote of his anonymous Canadian friend, “the stoopidest,” which Kettle admired because the “accent made it [e]specially eloquent and damning”.

Kettle’s evidence for “foreigners’ views of Britain” sums to three people of his own selection: one is an anonymous Canadian friend; another is a German diplomat who told Theresa May live on stage at the recent European security conference that Brexit is “highly regrettable”; the third is assistant editor of the Irish Times, whose commentary is mostly on the stupidities of Brexit.

This is selection bias. Yet for Kettle these “three people…know Britain’s oddities…all three are right. They get it. And they speak for the overwhelming majority of the rest of the world.”

Just in case you read that too quickly, let me clarify how many errors are going on there. Kettle starts with a motivated bias, selects sources to fit his bias, interprets them to confirm his biases, misrepresents his sources as representative of almost everybody in the world, and proposes things as true without evidence.

Can it get any worse? Oh, it does: it gets racially prejudicial. Kettle attacks the English in ways that his own newspaper would report as “hate speech” and “racism” if seen in another newspaper and if the targets were anything other than English. According to Kettle, his Irish source “gets it that Brexit is mainly about the English. Things such as being allowed to win penalty shootouts, compelling Spanish-language atlases to call Malvinas the Falklands, and sending children up chimneys…Brexit is an act of English self-love.”

In other words, The Guardian’s line is that more than 50 million people are rule-breakers, cultural imperialists, child exploiters, and narcissists.

I was confused by this line, because I am betting that most of The Guardian’s audience are English; but then I theorized: The Guardian aims at people who think that being both English and prejudicial against the English is the height of enlightenment. That’s hypocrisy, but the hypocrisy doesn’t end there.

Kettle is too busy insulting the majority of Britons to acknowledge their arguments. Having repeatedly characterized Brexiteers as stupid, Kettle admits the “so-called brains for Brexit” (actually, they launched as “Briefings for Brexit”) “are worthy of serious respect. Some of what they say is genuinely worth considering, as alternative views always are. But these things don’t make them right.” That’s where his direct engagement ends – with a hypocritical dismissal of their arguments, after admitting that they deserve consideration.

Beyond Kettle’s evasions, there’s Kettle’s misrepresentations – alarmist, irresponsible, partisan, and hypocritically moralizing misrepresentations, such as his dishonest claim that “the Brexit fanatics” are “destroying” the Good Friday Agreement. Kettle’s only evidence is a link to a tweet by Owen Paterson (a Conservative and former Secretary for Northern Ireland), who was actually tweeting in support of a third-party article in favour of a renegotiation that would restore power-sharing. Ironically, Kettle characterizes his invented “Brexit fanatics” as “more than stupid”.

Kettle proves his own ignorance on this subject by asserting that the Good Friday Agreement “brought 30 years of killing and rioting to an end” – no, it didn’t. Surely a British newspaper editor should know that?

Then there’s Kettle’s claim that “there can be no hard Brexit without a border in Ireland.” In fact, Britain has maintained a border with Ireland since the creation of the Republic, so I am struggling to understand that proposition too. Presumably the proposition was meant as: “there can be no hard Brexit without a hard border with Ireland.”

This proposition epitomises Kettle’s reductionism: to characterize borders as either hard or soft is ignorant of the spectrum; and Britain can have both free trade and secure borders, like most of the world.

I kept wondering where on earth these fallacies and prejudices were going, until he concludes that Brexit is a challenge to the “rules-based order…liberal democracy…rights, freedom, openness and coexistence,” then prescribes that “Brexit must be softened and eventually reversed”.

The Guardian newspaper is biased, fallacious, prejudicial, partisan, dismissive, illiterate, ignorant, insulting to our intelligence, pseudo-intellectual, hypocritical, and – most unforgiveable of all – hypocritically stupid. Now Corbyn’s Labour Party is channelling it.

4.91 avg. rating (97% score) - 44 votes
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    Bruce Newsome
    Bruce Newsome, Ph.D. is a lecturer in International Relations at the University of California Berkeley
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