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Twitter Reacts to Last Night's Jeremy Corbyn Vs. Boris Johnson Debate

By Petr Knava | Politics | November 20, 2019 |

By Petr Knava | Politics | November 20, 2019 |


johnson-corbyn-debate-header.jpg

The first General Election debate of Britain’s GE 2019 took place last night. It aired on ITV—a channel which isn’t quite as bad when it comes to disguising government stenography as ‘objective journalism’ as the BBC but not quite as good at the occasional moment of elite-busting truth-telling that once in a while appears on, say, Sky, or Channel 4. The event was watched by an average of 6.7 million viewers and was hosted by broadcaster and journalist Julie Etchingham who did quite a good job of keeping everything running well—though like everyone else let a shocking amount of Johnson lies fly by without challenge (a leniency that has tectonic power to shape the state of a nation and which I have discussed numerous times in the past and, let’s face it, probably will again in the future).

The debate was between current Prime Minister Boris Johnson who hopes to extend his term with an actual election victory on December 12th, and Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn, who wants to offer the country a chance to try something fairer and more human after half a century of neoliberalism. Jo Swinson—Margaret Thatcher-worshipping, Tory-enabling, nuclear button-pushing leader of the Liberal Democrats—was not included in the debates, this despite her bringing a court challenge aimed at putting her on the line-up which was rejected with a, ‘Sorry, we’ve already got a Tory.’

The event itself was a bit of a curious sight. Political debates always are on this side of the pond, as our politics are not geared towards the kind of Presidential Personality Show theatre that American politics are. For better and worse. Nevertheless it proceeded quite predictably, with Johnson taking the opportunity to hammer the ‘Get Grexit Done’ button over and over and over and over again—even after the topic at hand had ostensibly moved on—and Corbyn doing a decent enough, if not nearly perfect, job of using the rare opportunity to talk to voters without the usual media distortion present to sell his party’s vision for a genuine alternative.

In other words, on the one side you had a compassionate, caring politician centering the urgency of the climate crisis and highlighting how it was going to affect the most vulnerable communities around the world (an act worthy of heckling by some clearly incredibly well-adjusted audience member), telling the truth about how the Tories are selling off the NHS to private companies, and offering a once in a lifetime chance for a more just society—all without, somehow, resorting to personal attack against Johnson (which is something I personally think he could’ve actually done a bit of, especially in the areas of the debate concerned with questions about personal integrity, but he’s simply too decent a human to do so). And on the other side there was a posh, rude, ruthless and entitled capitalist who talked over everyone, had nothing of substance to say, and lied through his teeth throughout the entire debate—again with no challenge from the moderator. An ITV poll conducted after the event put Corbyn as the ‘winner’ at 78 percent. That’s data skewed somewhat by left-wing Twitter bias. YouGov, an oft-cited polling organisation—which is Tory through and through—put Johnson as the ‘winner’ by 1 percent. I personally wasn’t totally happy with the debate—both for Corbyn not going quite as hard as he should have, and for ITV allowing all those Johnson lies to go unchallenged—but the net effect was, I think, positive—as is the case for most times when Corbyn is allowed direct access to the electorate.

Oh, and in response to a question about their opinions about the monarchy—to which Corbyn responded with a ‘It needs a bit of improvement’—Johnson gave perhaps the most…bold(?)…answer of the night: ‘The monarchy is beyond reproach.’ The monarchy.

Anyway, this is how Twitter reacted to the event:

A lot of attention today was on the fact that the Conservative Press Office changed their Twitter handle to ‘Fact Check UK’ in an effort to disguise their spin as objective fact. Surprisingly, even the BBC took them to task for this:

And a friendly reminder of how the establishment media protects the status quo, from respected, lifelong Conservative, journalist Peter Oborne:

Indeed.



Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.


Header Image Source: Getty Images


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