This week, the Corbynistas bared their teeth. They gave us an insight into the mob-like authoritarianism that lurks behind the facade of their ‘kind’ politics. They insisted Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t a spy for the Stalinists while at the same time exposing their Stalinist tendencies. ‘How dare you lump us in with Stalinists?’, they cried, while in the next breath making manic-eyed videos threatening the press and forming online mobs to punish those who criticise their Dear Leader. The irony has been dark.
For the first time, I feel fearful of Corbynism. Until now, I’ve seen the Corbynistas as a somewhat tragic movement, a kind of cosplay for middle-class millennials who doll up their rather staid politics — their love of the nanny state, their fear of Brexit, their preference for identity politics over class politics — in Marxist memes and Red blather. But this week we have seen another side to them. We have seen their intolerance of rowdy political criticism, their instinct for political interference in the press. This looks increasingly like a movement of petit-bourgeois vengeance.
Exhibit A is Corbyn’s positively Trumpite threat to the press that ‘change is coming’. For all the Corbyn camp’s loathing of Trump, they share his brutish disdain for the trouble-making media. In the video, Corbyn’s contorted face takes to task right-wing newspapers that have indulged the Czech spy story over the past week, and warns that when the Corbynistas come to power there will be a shake-up of press ownership and pressure on press oligarchs to pay more taxes.