Appalling bad journalism is par the course for The Telegraph these days, and this idiocy from James Kirkup on the Oldham West Labour shortlist is no exception. Screaming, Daily Mail-stylee that "With an icepick in Oldham, Jeremy Corbyn's purge of Labour has begun", things must be very serious indeed. Except, of course, they're not.
As was announced earlier, the four to make the Oldham West shortlist are local council leader Jim McMahon, Chris Williamson (ex-of Derby North), local councillor Mohammed Azam, and Jane East, our candidate in Colne Valley this May. It's a strong field and I think it's fair to say it reflects well the range of views in the party. Though I must declare for Chris as he was a dedicated, energetic, and effective MP for Derby North. He's also the best candidate politics-wise to build on Michael Meacher's legacy. And, lastly, I know him. That is, of course, should he actually still be standing. At the time of writing a rumour is doing the rounds that he's pulled out. The others I cannot speak for, though a cursory glance around suggest Jim and Jane are somewhat more centrist than either Chris or Mohammed.
Not that these facts bother wee Jimmy Kirkup. Because my old mucker Kate Godfrey, former Stafford candidate who was recently embroiled in the controversy around Seumas Milne's appointment, didn't make the shortlist it obviously means that nice Mr Corbyn has unheated cattle trucks ready to deport Blairites en masse to his Islington allotment gulag. Of course, I don't know why the three-person shortlisting panel appointed by the NEC overlooked Kate, though I doubt a week's worth of boat rocking would have enhanced her chances. But a purge it does not make, especially when the "purgers" included Keith Vaz and Ellie Reeves - people hardly noted for hard left credentials.
And neither is it when you consider the constituency. The article might have made sense if the shortlist was rammed with lefties, but it isn't. Or if it was a right wing Labour MP who'd passed away as opposed to a stalwart of the left, but that wasn't the case either. What we have is yet another intellectually dishonest scribbler trying to shoe horn a story into a pre-fixed narrative. In short, another cock-up by Kirkup.