Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign team released a video on the Labour leader’s Facebook page yesterday, designed to address perceived misconceptions that surround him and his supporters.
The video, though, backfired. On social media, people have said it merely proves that Corbyn and some of his supporters are often guilty of being patronising and naive.
In the video, a handful of Corbyn supporters are asked questions on whether the Islington North MP could be realistically elected as prime minister, and whether there is an antisemitism problem in the party.
The supporters dismissed criticism of the Labour leader and, in some cases, laughed off questions they were asked.
The video attracted widespread criticism on social media. On Facebook, the most liked comment read:
“Is Jeremy Corbyn unelectable? *Laughter*. That is a snapshot of what is such a problem around Corbyn.
I voted for him and I believe in him a lot but he has this pretty awful patronising group of supporters around him that are so condescending it is getting everyones backs up around them.
I have met them and they are so ready to swarm over you if you have any genuine questions. So frustrating.”
Here are some of the most telling responses from the people interviewed in the video.
This is a line Corbyn himself often takes. Last year he defended his electability by saying “I have been elected eight times, the last time on a high turnout, with the highest ever vote with the highest ever majority. I think that compares favourably.”
But, as New Statesman’s Stephen Bush has rigorously argued, Corbyn’s success in his own constituency is very different to winning a general election. Islington North has been a safe Labour seat since before World War 2. Plus, his constituency is far from a microcosm for how the general population feels about him and his politics.
This is another response regularly offered up by Corbyn’s supporters. Corbyn does indeed enjoy popularity among the Labour party members who elect him. But on a national level, he has some of the worst leader approval ratings in history – and that matters.
One supporter then draws an interesting comparison to Leicester City’s unlikely title success last season:
Things became even stranger when Corbynites were asked: “Do you promote antisemitism?”
First came a spectacular example of whataboutery, in which a supporter criticised a Conservative policy of nearly a century ago:
Then a supporter actually threw the piece of paper containing the antisemitism question on the floor.
As one Twitter user pointed out, “he literally throws the bit of paper with the question about anti-Semitism on it. Throws it away. What a metaphor for Corbyn’s Labour.”
Watch the full video below: