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A VIDEO circulates via social media of four soldiers firing guns at a shooting range with a banner stating “happy with that.” The camera then pans across to their target, a picture of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition.
This has caused shock and outrage from many political commentators but it is no wonder that animosity has grown towards Corbyn since he became leader of the Labour Party.
The press he has received has gone from him being a bumbling “nice” man to terrorist sympathiser and traitor, among other accusations such as Czech spy, Russian stooge and anti-semite.
It has been an insidious attempt to undermine the leader of the opposition and becomes more absurd and heightened as he steps closer to government.
However, to see our own armed forces filming themselves shooting a target with Jeremy Corbyn’s face on it is chilling. An action like this legitimises violent action against politicians and perhaps even those that support them. Our military are meant to protect us, but this is the second time in only a few months that they have shown that young members of the armed forces are being drawn into the fascist right-wing propaganda spreading across our country.
Comments left by people watching this video showed the contempt in which they have for the Labour leader but also repeat the lies that they have been told by the mainstream media. Calling him a traitor and accusing him of threatening to decimate our armed forces if he became Prime Minister. Yet absurdly it is this Conservative government that has shrunk our armed forces to the smallest size since the Napoleonic wars.
Labour under Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to properly fund our defence and ensure that our soldiers are properly equipped and well resourced and on top of that the manifesto promises to improve the livelihood of our soldiers.
“We have a duty to properly reward and remunerate our armed forces. Under the Conservatives, our armed forces have been hit by rent rises, pay restraint and changes to tax and benefits, putting real pressure on service personnel and their families. We will ensure they get the pay and living conditions that their service merits.”
It is obvious that these soldiers are not aware of the benefits that a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party offers them and their families and why would they be?
Mainstream media perpetually push any other narrative apart from an honest one regarding the leader of the opposition and the narrative that the Conservative Party supports. Theresa May herself shouted it last week at PMQs: “The biggest threat to our standing in the world, to our defence, to our economy is sitting on the Labour front bench.”
Jeremy Corbyn has already been attacked and yet even that assault has been trivialised by the mainstream media, making light of it by perpetuating the narrative that only an egg was thrown at him. To the point that some outlets are questioning the arrest and conviction of a man that physically attacked a 69-year-old man, unprovoked.
After the tragic murder of Labour MP Jo Cox and the story that came to light yesterday of a 22-year-old man plotting to murder his local Labour MP Rosie Cooper, this behaviour is beyond irresponsible.
The threat of murderous intent by people that have been inspired by a far-right narrative is growing and not enough is being done to challenge it. Last week Tommy Robinson was given a platform outside Parliament despite him being banned by Facebook and Twitter for encouraging hate speech.
Someone that has been continually proven to be lying about refugees and minority groups to incite hatred had a platform to speak outside the Houses of Parliament.
Although we may not always agree with our politicians, presenting them as a target for violent attack in any form is unacceptable, especially by our armed forces.
An army spokesperson says: “We are aware of a video circulating on social media, this behaviour is totally unacceptable and falls well below the high standards the army expects, a full investigation has been launched.”
Many will berate these soldiers for their actions and they would do so rightly. However, the investigation shouldn’t stop at these young men but also their direct superiors. Questions should be asked, what has influenced these soldiers to behave like this? Is it mainstream media or have they been influenced by hierarchy within the military?
Instances like this just make the case stronger for Leveson II. We must hold our media to account for the lies and stories they are promoting. The media should be a tool that holds democracy to account and it should be trusted by the people who consume it.
However, the fear of a leadership that would encourage a fairer tax system and rules that would ensure the media publish accurate information is enough for them to present continuous smears against the opposition leader.
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