Latest post on Left Futures

Fly on the wall documentary “Jeremy Corbyn: The Outsider” (video)

For the last two months, a film crew from have had behind the scenes access to Jeremy Corbyn and his team. This is the result.


  1. Jim Denham says:

    What in bloodybleedinhellandthenameodchristalmighty made Corbyn, and more particularly, his “media advisor” Seumas Milne agree to cooperate with the filming of that PR disaster?

    1. Rob Bab says:

      It wasn’t a PR disaster, far from it. JC came across as a normal person, someone who didn’t put on airs and graces to impress people. I liked the way he went into that woman’s house on the estate and stayed there for quite a while, he’s genuine. That’s what people crave, they want to be acknowledged and listened to. For many people now living on the estates, it is soul destroying. For many, Pandora’s box is empty.
      When JC comes to town you feel you can put some trust in this man and he’ll do his best to not let you down.
      The documentary looked a bit chaotic in places but that’s Ok, made it interesting and spontaneous. It’s not the be all and end all of docs but it certainly wasn’t bad, definitely watchable to a wide audience.
      Just image what the “Getting To Know Dave” docu’s going to like, with Cameron, man of the people, wandering around Savile Row looking for bespoke sock suspenders.
      JC came to one of our Oaxaca demos, the man has integrity, he is for the people, worldwide!

  2. Tim Wilkinson says:

    You’d need to elaborate on what the problem is. I saw a portrayal of Corbyn as a real, dedicated person, rapidly developing his skills in political rituals like PMQs while maintaining his integrity.

    I saw the antisemitism bullshit put into its proper perspective – as a nasty smear campaign featuring overblown hyper-aggressive attacks from the Tories (Cameron) and the Labour Right (Mann), as against everyone’s favourite nasal-voiced newt-fancier looking mildly bemused.

    And I saw the issue of extreme & unprofessional hostility from the traditional media hammered home.

    So key messages were got across, and the one ‘story arc’ had an upward trajectory.

    There are always going to be things one would prefer left out (if one didn’t mind making it obviously one-sided). The slightly inaccurate depiction of Corbyn’s popularity as due to young idealists does feed into the ‘jejune’ narrative, but I don’t think that has much purchase with the overwhelming proponderance of the vid’s consumers – i.e. not politics & media buffs or middle-aged floating voters, but young ‘uns.

    But don’t believe me, look at the media response. They were clearly deeply disappointed that what they’d hoped would be a rich seam of anti-Corbyn gold to be mined for weeks turned out to give them nothing to work with. What few half-hearted attempts there have been to use this against Corbyn have been laughably content-free. Which is where I came in.

  3. Karl Stewart says:

    I tend to agree with Tim here. I can’t see anything in this film that’s damaging to Corbyn.

    1. Rob Bab says:

      Did you see anything that was positive from Corbyn? I felt it was a bit uplifting, because the way it was filmed could have made him look a **** but he always ended up looking like a decent bloke.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        Yes, I liked the part where his team seemed to be trying to get him to focus on scoring points over Ian Duncan Smith’s resignation, but that he decided to keep his main focus on the plight of refugees.

        The narrative from both the film maker and MSM was that Corbyn had missed a trick, but outside of the Westminster ‘bubble’ the impression given was of a genuine person concentrating on a real issue affecting large numbers of desperate people, rather than on the self-important IDS.

  4. John Penney says:

    The Corbyn team wre obviously seriously misled as to the political leanings of the , supposed “Jeremy for Leader” supporting bod doing the interviewing on this unwise little video. His actual politics, as repeatedly revealed by his selection of negative snide, images and events, and his obsession with the judgements of a universally hostile mass media, was very much that of the Guardian “bitterites”.

    The naïve , damaging, on screen behaviour of some central members of Jeremy’s inner team , was quite astonishing – feeding the quite obviously already decided “story narrative” of a shambolic new leader and unprofessional team , missing political opportunities because of their supposed amateurism.

    It should have been quite obvious to Seamas Milne, or whoever decided to let in a camera team , free to decide how to represent Jeremy and his team, that positive images and narrative are priceless commodities for a political party – and you don’t take unnecessary risks by opening your doors to dodgy film companies with an agenda which quite clearly did not have helping the growth of a new Left agenda around Jeremy’s new leadership as its aim.

    Jeremy undoubtedly rose above the petty , snide, nitpicking that ran throughout the film, with his personal integrity shining through – but it can easily be seen that from fairly early on Jeremy had sussed out the interviewer as fundamentally hostile – and was bitterly regretting ever taking part.

    Jeremy’s inner team need to be a lot more clued up on propaganda methods than this – and from his dire, sometimes downright peculiar, performance on screen they need to keep an eye on their young activities/events organiser .

    It didn’t damage Jeremy – but it did nothing positive for him or his team either – so it was a complete waste of time. Jeremy’s team can’t afford to waste time.

    1. Tim Wilkinson says:

      I agree with most of those points, but skip to the bottom line: it didn’t do any damage.

      Now add the unmentioned factors: 1. Other things equal, publicity is better than lack of it 2. This reaches youth, who need to be motivated to vote 3. On a meta level, having (a) done something so apparently risky and (b) got away with it adds up to quite a positive.

      I imagine this kind of factor was considered in deciding to go ahead. The ability to halt filming for several days also made it somewhat less risky.

      & the point about upward trajectory seems to me important. Identifying improvement is much easier than judging absolute performance level.

      Agreed, this film gave the impression of a somewhat amateurish operation, but at this, insurgent, stage that may be no bad thing. Unspun authenticity, non-WM insider status, all that. By 2020 the image will have to be focussed more on dependability, competence and Darwinian-style proxy indicators of fitness like polish. But that is all relative and if we can be on an upward curve while the Cons are still on a downward one, that’s a good part of the battle won.

      1. rod says:

        “Unspun authenticity, non-WM insider status”

        And that’s exactly what we need.

        Jim Murphy tried the ‘vote-for-me-I’m-a-Tory’ approach in Scotland and it didn’t do him nor Labour any good.

        And Miliband’s Tory-lite approach (austerity, military invention and privatisation of the NHS) didn’t do the trick.

        Best to dump the spin and Tory mimicry and get on with working towards a Corbyn win in 2020.

    2. Rob Bab says:

      “…that positive images and narrative are priceless commodities for a political party”
      Not sure about that, people are waking up to ‘fake’, people want real. And ‘real’ is not always necessarily positive, it just is.

  5. Bazza says:

    I quite enjoyed the first half but to me it then tended to go downhill a bit.
    PMQs and facing Cameron should be windows of opportunity where you get your powerful points over and we should go for the Tories jugular; they are really hurting working class/working people/ the poor and we should show no mercy but not highlighting the budget mess with IDS was a missed opp I believe but I guess the team are learning oh and perhaps a good joke or two could also be pretty powerful.
    The worst bit was Cameron’s grotesque attack on Jeremy re his ‘friends’ – we were shown Jeremy standing up but because of an editorial decision were not allowed to hear his reply – this may just have been a provocative editorial decision but not allowing him to defend himself to me came over as an injustice!
    What I think the film did show which many may have not realised was Jeremy being steelier than some may have imagined which is probably no bad thing.
    The problem with such films is there are 2 agendas – those of Jeremy’s advisors and those of the film makers and I think I would prefer more co-production but would definitely be wary of ‘independent’ media organisations.
    So perhaps 1.5 cheers out of 3 for this.

  6. prianikoff says:

    Outsiders are In.

    Just to remind people of the history another (beat generation) outsider, Bernie Sanders.

    Hillary can hear the relentless pounding of sneakers and feel the-Bern breathing down her neck as they enter the final straight.

    She’ll need those super-delegates and the corporate money!

  7. David Pavett says:

    After months of Corbyn bashing we feel a huge sense of relief when a media production about Corbyn is not overall damaging. All the same there is a need to give some insight into what the new Labour politics is about, what the obstacles to it in the Party are (its not just the MPs) and some kind of indication about the social changes envisaged along with a rough time frame for them. I don’t think that the film helped with any of these things. Like the media in general it presented the current state of Labour entirely in terms of the person and personality of Jeremy Corbyn and a few of those around him.

    I too was relieved that it was not damaging overall to Corbyn but we surely need something rather more than that. A hint, at least, of political analysis could have lifted the piece above the mundane and would have gone further than showing us that Corbyn as an individual is a thoroughly decent sort. Even many of his critics acknowledge that.

  8. The most depressing bit was Corbyn on the phone talking about the horrible Freedland and the person on the other end ( Milne ? ) says ” We need to respond to that “.

    NO !!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s reacting to each and every piece of bullshit that has got us into the mess we are in now, a mess that is only going to get worse.

    1. I don’t feel comfortable agreeing with Jim Denham, not even on it being Tuesday, but he is surely right in that Milne is an unmitigated disaster. Jon isn’t helping much either.

© 2023 Left Futures | Powered by WordPress | theme originated from PrimePress by Ravi Varma