Last night’s televised “Battle for No. 10” proved a cataclysmic disaster for the Tories. Before the debate even ended #TheresaMayGIFS was a trending hashtag on Twitter, representing her perceived failure in animated form. But this hasn’t stopped the establishment trying to rewrite history to turn defeat into victory
In last night’s TV “battle” aired on Sky News and Channel 4 (it wasn’t a debate since there was no direct interaction between the two party leaders), Corbyn was competent. Not brilliant, but competent, but he effortlessly outshone May, because apparently bare competence is a thing she can only dream of.
Even after the Tories sent pre-scripted talking points to all their members with instructions to Tweet them during the debate, and even after the famous Tory Jeremy Paxman made an exhibition of his bias by hectoring and screaming at Corbyn while allowing May to ramble and stumble uninterrupted for as long as she chose, the end result was a car crash, and #TheresaMayGIFS is currently a trending Twitter hashtag celebrating her grandiose and absolute fail.
— Cheryl Diane (@cheryldthomas1) May 29, 2017
— Elliot Newstead (@ejnewstead) May 29, 2017
— Abagael (@abssims) May 29, 2017
— Tom Worth (@tomworthtweets) May 29, 2017
For those who didn’t watch May’s performance last night, you need to find some excerpts to appreciate the totality of the disaster. It almost can’t be overstated. She faltered, she evaded, she fudged. She was heckled over her claims on education and the NHS. She stumbled over what would be the realities or otherwise of the ignoble “dementia tax.” She made Clinton look warm, animated and on the ball. In terms of wit and charisma she made George W. Bush look like Gore Vidal. She talked much of the time in broken memes and disconnected soundbites. She made it too obvious that they call her Maybot for a reason.
Go to social media and the alternative media and you will be in no doubt who “won” last night. Immediately following the televised showdown informal polls such as the one below were claiming a knockout victory for Corbyn.
This small clip of an audience member mouthing “that’s bollocks” as May talks about her plans for the NHS has gone viral:
— HannahJane Parkinson (@ladyhaja) May 29, 2017
But go to the mainstream media and it’s a different story. On the one hand we get the Daily Mirror that actually admits some of the embarrassing truth about May’s nightmare performance, and the Guardian acknowledging the disaster hashtag in small print on the front page, but also “balancing” with the claim “both sides say they won”.
But the Telegraph eschews even a pretence of honesty and is actually trying to say, with a straight face, that May “won” last night. Makes you realise why it decided to permanently disable comments and why it now hides most of its content behind a pay wall. Sky News is also in the parallel universe where the question of who won is up for debate. The Mail ignores the car crash TV performance completely and just puts out more of its usual anti-Corbyn middle-England fear porn designed to terrorise the middle classes into voting for their own impoverishment.
Imagine Corbyn had been laughed at and heckled by the invited audience. Imagine there was a viral gif of a member of the audience mouthing “that’s bollocks” as he was speaking about the NHS. Imagine his performance had been so bad it became a social media hashtag symbolising a pratfall. How crucified would Corbyn be in the headlines?
If there’s a fair vote on June 8 (yes that has to be an “if” these days), and if Theresa Hashtag May finds herself back in No. 10 it will prove beyond doubt that democracy is a sham when a small group of super-wealthy media barons can re-invent history as they please and flaunt their bias without shame or consequence.