Shaun Lawson

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Person.png Shaun Lawson TwitterRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(academic, writer)

Shaun Lawson is a writer and academic editor specialising in politics and international relations on the global media platform openDemocracy and on blogging platform Medium.[1]

Enough is Enough

On 12 January 2019, Shaun Lawson wrote an article entitled "Enough is Enough: Rachel Riley, GnasherJew, and the Political Weaponisation of Antisemitism".[2]

Zionist David Collier took issue with the article by writing on his blog on 14 January 2019 with "Shaun Lawson smears Jewish anti-racists and lies about them".[3]

Scapegoating Jeremy Corbyn

In a series of tweets in February 2019,[4] Shaun Lawson wrote:

In Leviticus, a goat is ritually burdened with the sins of others, then cast away into the desert. "And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for Azazel". Scapegoating.

Scapegoating has occurred throughout history: and not only with goats either. It's happened with bulls and just as much, with humans. In ancient Greece, one or two individuals would be sent away to die, in a bid to save a whole community.

There are haunting, moving stories of the remains being discovered of individuals sent high up a mountain to starve to death. Away from their children and their families. And in some cases, their skulls still have this heartbreaking look of total abandonment; complete rejection.

Jeremy Corbyn has not been cast away to die, thank heavens - so we should keep a sense of perspective. But in modern terms, no question, he's a scapegoat par excellence. And in British politics, unlike Thatcher or Blair, he hasn't done anything to deserve it.

He's scapegoated for Brexit. He's scapegoated for MPs opposed to him from the outset of his leadership having left (when was John Major blamed for the rebel Tories under his government? It's they who were deservedly blamed most of the time).

He's scapegoated for not being able to wave a magic wand and change the Parliamentary arithmetic out of nothing. He's scapegoated for not having a 'credible plan' for Brexit, despite Donald Tusk having said it's a plan the EU could work with.

He's scapegoated for there being no 2nd referendum, despite himself proposing a Parliamentary amendment in such regard which was voted down.

He's scapegoated for the obviously appalling crime of the poorest in society actually being given a voice at last.

He's scapegoated for not winning the 2017 election - despite having spent the previous 21 months constantly undermined by his Parliamentary Party, who were completely wrong in just about all of their analysis. Above all, their belief that Labour was now too left wing.

Scapegoated for not winning an election which Labour started 20 points behind. A snap election called by Theresa May for the express purposes of destroying Labour for at least a generation and 'crushing the saboteurs'. The result? A hung Parliament.

He's scapegoated for not making greater inroads in Scotland - despite the damage having all been done by New Labour's arrogance and complacency. Labour's image is dirt to many Scots. It'll take a generation to undo that.

He's scapegoated for opening up party democracy. Scapegoated by political illiterates who don't understand our archaic electoral system, and think he can afford to abandon working class Leave voters who voted Leave because they'd been betrayed for decades.

He's scapegoated for being a 'Marxist', 'Leninist', 'Trotskyist' or 'Stalinist' (what, all of them?!) - by people in such a bubble that they can't see the world changing all around them and do not care about skyrocketing poverty, homelessness, inequality, rent or house prices.

He's scapegoated for not being an autocrat then scapegoated for being one (even though he's the exact opposite of one). He's scapegoated as some terrible 'economic danger' having stood on a moderate, centre-left platform in 2017. A platform of European-style social democracy.

He's scapegoated as a 'liar' on Brexit despite that manifesto supporting Brexit. Scapegoated for the obviously disgraceful crime of respecting democracy!

He's scapegoated for 'not being able to get his message across' when virtually the entire media is implacably opposed to him; and even the public broadcaster is openly, willfully, deliberately biased in its treatment of him and his party.

He's scapegoated for random trolls anywhere in the world on the internet, who he apparently has the unique power to magic away.

He's scapegoated for antisemitism despite his party taking more steps to combat it than any other party in British history.

His policies aren't scrutinised; they're caricatured, by a media whose only interest is ridiculing and excoriating him and all his supporters, which could not care less about the causes of his rise: the sheer perniciousness of neoliberalism. The failure of our entire system.

Even his personality and appearance are scapegoated. His raincoat. His mild manner. His refusal to speak in soundbites at Prime Minister's Questions. "We just can't have someone like him as PM! He's a danger, a danger I tell you!"

And all this, at a time the public is sick to the back teeth of oily, slick-haired salesmen who speak with forked tongue then sell them all down the river the moment they get into power. 'Power', please note, not 'office'. Our leaders are supposed to be our democratic servants.

Corbyn is. Corbyn understands that perfectly. That's why his expense claims were so low. Meanwhile, the Tories publicly bribe a party of bigots to stay in power; and were even trying to bribe Labour MPs the other week too.

Jeremy Corbyn cannot be both 'useless' and magically able to solve all our ills - or else - at the same time. The truth is: he's inflicted more defeats on the government than the opposition to Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron combined. 'Useless', obviously.

The truth is: he oversaw the largest rise in Labour's share of the vote since 1945 - despite standing on a platform which the media and his own Parliamentary Party insisted would destroy Labour forever.

The truth is: he saved Labour from a quite hideous post-2015 fate: bankrupt, bereft, without a clue, hemmed in from all sides. The truth is: he, personally, has given so much hope to so many millions ignored, shut out and walked all over for decades on end.

And here's the thing about much of the left. Many of us have known the kind of adversity which our political opponents never have. That adversity, that - in many of our cases - trauma - is why we reach out and empathise with those who've experienced similar things.

It's why we see causes, not symptoms. It's why so many of us are in caring professions, while so many on the right disappear off to enrich themselves and give nothing back (including, in many cases, even taxes: which they avoid through their accountants and offshore havens).

And it's also why, when we see someone under such sustained, never-ending attack (constant abuse every single day: why is it the media doesn't care about that, but does care about disgusting abuse of others?) for the crime of representing us, we stand by him.

The more abuse he gets, the more steadfast our resolve becomes. The unprecedented nature of this onslaught can only mean one thing: much of the British establishment is up to its neck in cronyism and corruption, and terrified of what would come out under a Corbyn government.

I can't speak for my followers - but I'd like to think most of them, like me, would be delighted to discuss issues people have with Corbyn's leadership *constructively*. Through analysis based on facts. Not just opening your mouths and letting your bellies rumble.

Not cliche, not caricature, not lies, not ill-informed nonsense. But actual detail. Real, thoughtful analysis. There's loads of things that can be criticised about his leadership. He's not the Messiah... but he's not a very naughty boy either. The truth lies somewhere in between.

But if you just join in with the scapegoating - if you have some ritualistic desire to blame seemingly everything on the planet on a kind, decent, gentle man - the truth is: it's not Corbyn who has the problem. It's you. /ENDS[5]