BRITISH LABOUR’S CORBYN VERSUS THE ELITES
British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn attacked billionaires, the tech giants and the “elite” in a speech at the Edinburgh TV festival in Scotland Thursday.
Corbyn’s supporters have accused the mainstream media of bias against him and claim rich newspaper owners like Rupert Murdoch are seeking to deter the public from his redistributive socialist policies. “Media bosses, billionaires” and “the state” have too much power to stifle political discussion and are stopping reporters from performing their “essential” role in British democracy, Corbyn said. In a speech couched in the language of class war, Corbyn rallied against the “billionaire class” and warned that “elite control” was stopping “the powerful and the wealthy” being held to account. His goal was to “take on the power of unaccountable billionaires who claim they are setting us free but in reality are holding us back.”
Corbyn proposed a windfall tax on technology companies to fund “public interest journalism,” a digital licence fee and elections to the BBC board as part of a plan to “reduce government political influence” on the taxpayer funded broadcaster. There needs to be “bold, radical thinking on the future of our media” to restore trust and limit the impact of the digital revolution, he said. Without action “a few tech giants and unaccountable billionaires will control huge swaths of our public space and debate.”
The BBC should declare the “social class” of all its presenters and journalists as part of a bid to improve its diversity, said Corbyn. The Labour leader wants a requirement that presenters supply details about their background, including whether they went to private school and their parent’s occupation and education. Corbyn said the information could then be published as part of a drive to ensure there is “complete transparency” for “all creators of BBC content.” The government already requires large companies to report their gender pay gap in an attempt to ensure that women are not under-represented at senior levels. Some firms also ask staff if they went to a fee-paying school. Damian Collins, the chairman of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said: “My concern is that this is another step down the road of questioning a journalist’s credibility. Saying ‘you’re only writing that because of your background, it’s the type of person you are’.”