Jeremy Corbyn's National Anthem Silence Prompts Tabloid Frenzy Over 'Hapless' Labour Leader

One Newspaper Managed To Stay Calm Over Corbyn's Anthem Silence

Jeremy Corbyn sparked outrage among much of the British press on the third day of his leadership, this time for choosing not to sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain Anniversary remembrance event.

The newly-elected Labour leader, who is also a long-standing republican, was hounded by newspapers for opting for "respectful silence" over singing the words of a song praising the monarch.

The Sun called Corbyn "hapless and furious", lambasting him for "remaining tight-lipped" during the anthem.

Another Murdoch-owned paper, The Times, led on a 95-year-old former RAF commander who branded Corbyn "small-minded" and a "bigot" for his actions.

Other papers, the i and Daily Telegraph also splashed on the furore - the former highlighting Tuesday's row while the latter claimed Corbyn had snubbed both "Queen and country".

Telegraph journalists led on the line he was accused of being "disloyal" and "dishonourable".

But their outcry prompted thousands of social media users to wade into the debate.

One news site, Welfare Weekly, garnered support on Twitter for blasting the prominent coverage over news surfacing on the same day that David Cameron had successfully pushed his tax credits slash through the Commons.

The IFS itself concluded only 13% of the in-work credit losses for poor families would be compensated by the new so-called National Living Wage.

Others, including comedian David Schneider, chimed in with agreement.

Others highlighted the marked difference in tone between Tuesday and Wednesday's Sun front pages, the paper first smearing Corbyn for paying tribute to the Queen, before fellowing up the next day with a scathing attack on the Labour leader for snubbing her.

Playwright and novelist Bonnie Greer also shared a post that went viral on social media, allegedly from a serving officer who attended the remembrance event on Tuesday.

The figure is said to have criticised defence secretary Michael Fallon for "trying to catch the cameras", and thanked Corbyn for "coming and paying your respects", unlike Cameron who spent his time "show boating and glad handing", they claimed.

But the Daily Mirror offered a voice of calm in the otherwise frenzied discussion of Corbyn's action by other newspapers.

It claimed that while in no doubt his decision not to sing the national anthem angered many, there was an important distinction that had been lost in the furore between patriotism and loyalty to the monarch.

"As an avowed republican," leader writers commented, "Corbyn would have been branded a hypocrite had he belted out God Save The Queen.

"Whatever your view of him, it is absurd to suggest he was showing a lack of respect to our country's war heroes. He was there to pay them respect and he chose to do so silently."

It added: "People are inevitably divided on the issue. Those who enjoy singing the anthem should be allowed to do so and those who prefer to reflect shouldn't be abused or bullied"

Those words chimed with the analysis of long-standing media pundit Roy Greenslade, who used his media column in the Guardian to remind readers of the "hypocrisy" Corbyn would have been accused of.

"As a republican of many, many years standing, he would have been accused of hypocrisy if he had mouthed the words of an anthem that celebrates a monarch rather than a nation (and is overly religious too)," he mused on Wednesday.

Corbyn was elected Labour leader on Saturday

Greenslade even added an anecdote about having snubbed Queen Elizabeth II himself once, writing: "Yes, I can’t fault that argument. And I think, going on my own experience, the Queen might even agree.

"When she was a guest at a Newspaper Society lunch some years ago I failed to sing the anthem while standing at a table within her sight. Her press secretary later told me she wasn’t in the least bit offended. Well, that’s what he said anyway."

The outcry comes as The Sun's Tuesday front page was rubbished by experts and even its own source, after it tried to smear new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by branding the republican a "hypocrite" for kissing the Queen's hand to secure more than £6m of taxpayer funds.


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