What do Corbyn supporters on twitter think about Islamism and Western foreign policy?

'Corbyn and his supporters do not want us to think about Paris because they cannot accept that privileged westerners can be victims. If Isis kills them, it is their own or their governments’ fault.'  Nick Cohen. Source

Below are the results of some twitter polls I did recently. I was interested to know the attitudes of Corbyn supporters on twitter compared to the more general twitterati. I was particularly interested to know whether Nick Cohen's portrayal of Corbyn supporters was accurate.

Of course, mine is not a very scientific survey, and it should be remembered that respondents are not representative of the twitterati generally, but of those who happen to follow me (Corbynites are probably over-represented).

"Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam and is entirely the fault of the West"

Notice the following:
82% of Corbyn supporters rejected the view that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam and is entirely the fault of the West.

"Islamism is a significant problem in the UK"

55% of Corbyn supporters disagreed with "Islamism is a significant problem in the UK" and only 33% agreed. However, 32% of all twitterati polled disagreed and 55% agreed.

It appears it would be wrong to suggest all, or even most, Corbynites think that Islamism is not a significant problem in the UK. Indeed, a third of them are convinced Islamism is a significant problem, with another 12% unsure.

"Is terrorism to some significant degree a product of Western foreign policy?" 

Yes, 73% of Corbynites think terrorism is to some significant extent a product of Western foreign policy. However, 55% of all  twitterati polled also think that.

That terrorism is to some significant degree a product of Western foreign policy is the majority view amongst not just Corbynites but the polled twitterati more generally. In which case, pointing a finger exclusively at Corbynites on his issue seems unjustified.

Portrayals of Corbyn supporters by Nick Cohen

Nick Cohen has said the following about Corbyn supporters (I repeat that original quote):

'Corbyn and his supporters do not want us to think about Paris because they cannot accept that privileged westerners can be victims. If Isis kills them, it is their own or their governments’ fault.' Source.

'Corbyn and his comrades bring their support for the .... the women-, Jew- and gay- haters of radical Islam...'

'Corbyn, along with too much of ‘progressive opinion’, has a mistrust bordering on hatred for western powers. They do not just condemn the West for its crimes, which are frequent enough. They are ‘Occidentalists’, to use the jargon: people who see the West as the ‘root cause’ of all evil.' Source.

What's Nick's evidence for these claims about Corbyn's supporters hating the West, supporting radical Islam, and blaming Isis terrorist attacks in Paris primarily on the West? He offers none. Except sometimes some anecdotes about a Corbynite who said this or did that.

Now undoubtedly, some of Corbyn's followers are indeed West-hating Islamist-apologists. But you obviously don't establish that all, of even most, Corbyn supporters are West-hating Islamist-apologists by wheeling out a few, or even many, anecdotes.

As any good critical thinker (which I know Nick can be) will tell you, such anecdotal evidence is the sort of evidence by which e.g. bloodletting was justified for two thousand years. It's the sort of evidence shoddy, partisan hacks use.

Which makes Nick Cohen's (an otherwise decent journalist) unsubstantiated portraits of Corbyn supporters - apparently based entirely on anecdotal evidence - all the more baffling. It's also why I devoted a full 10 minutes to getting a slightly more informed view of what Corbyn's supporters actually think.


I think Jeremy Corbyn is probably a decent bloke, not morally disgusting (whereas Cameron really is). He favours dialogue and to that end he certainly has used friendly and inclusive language with respect to some arseholes (though so did Thatcher re Pinochet, Cameron re Saudi, etc.). He has also lent somewhat in the direction of IRA and Hamas, but I think because he perceives them to be the underdogs lacking adequate representation and political clout, not because approves their violent attacks. Attacks of a sort that he publicly denounces all round, in fact. I don't defend everything Corbyn has said and done, but I know that he has been misrepresented and smeared. That claim he thought it a tragedy Osama Bin Laden was killed - bullshit. Been on Press TV? So have I, alongside a former US Ambassador. Who was Jewish. Standing in front of a poster praising Mao and Stalin? Check my blog post below on that - utterly ludicrous story. Why this concentration on such anecdotes? Because his opponents do not want to engage him on the economy, austerity, nationalisation, the NHS, etc, because he'll win. This 'Corbyn is a moral monster - look over there!' thing is to a large extent a smokescreen. Journalists - please don't contribute to it! Let's get the other issues at least as much coverage (they should be getting much more, in fact).


Andrew C said…
As a supposedly critical thinker SL, surely you can see the flaw in your article and survey ?
I would estimate that those who see your tweets (your followers) are mostly on the "left" as I have seen a number of Youtube debate/talk videos in which it is noticable how you are far more inclined to criticize the Western democracies and their policies and values than those who seek to destroy them.
Therefore, I am sure your followers will have similar sympathies - whether they support Corbyn or not.
So, there will not be many Tory or UKIP supporters among your followers !!
Stephen Law said…
Dear Andrew C. Sure, as I said, my followers may not be representative of the twitterati (and the twitterati may not be representative of the population as a whole).

However, even if most of my followers are left-leaning, it's clear many are not Corbynites. If the data should that the Corynites are not much out of step even with left-leaning, that is still bad news for Nick Cohen, who seems to think them a breed apart.

However, on thinking about it, given Corbynites are heavily represented (and the numbers suggest that) and thus non-Corbynites under-represented, my polls of what all think will be heavily skewed by the Corbynites in the Corbynite direction. So they do probably exaggerate the extent to which others concur with the Corbynites (though I also suspect many who voted in the poll of Corbynites did not then vote in the polls for all, thinking they were required to vote on one or other poll but not, when in fact they should have voted in both. That would have the effect of increasing the exhibited difference of opinion between Corbynites and on-Corbynites)

On the other hna,d those parts of the above polling are not relied on in showing that Nick Cohen's portrayal is mistaken. The polls of the Corbynites alone suffice for that.
Anonymous said…
Hi Stephen and I very much appreciate your response, and all of the labelling and categorising does make me chuckle a little.
It is refreshing to read a reply that is honest and not immediately defensive - thank you :-)

Just one general point please.
Do you not find it interesting that Corbyn (and his supporters) find it rather difficult to be critical of the beliefs that underlye the Islamist movement while at the same time always ready to bash anything that may try to counter the Islamist narrative ?
Could it be that they would find it easier to do this if Islamists were white middle-class ?
Do you not find that the more we get used to the rule that we cannot risk offending anyone under any circumstances (particularly 'minority groups') we get further away from a true perception of reality ?

Having read what I have just said, how quickly do you or your readers have a tendency to label me as right-wing or racist or islamophobic etc ?
I genuinely find this fascinating (but scarey too !)

Stephen Law said…
Hi Anon: you said "Do you not find it interesting that Corbyn (and his supporters) find it rather difficult to be critical of the beliefs that underlye the Islamist movement while at the same time always ready to bash anything that may try to counter the Islamist narrative "

But how do you know this is true of 'his supporters'? It is not true of me, or indeed any Corbynites I know with whom I have discussed such issues. So I'd like to know what evidence you have to support this claim re Corbyn's supporters. I am guessing it is anecdotal evidence, right?
Andrew C said…
Stephen, You are correct that it is anecdotal evidence and I have not performed a statistical survey and cannot provide any numbers.
However, I think it almost goes without saying does it not ? How much criticism of Islam and the behaviour of its stronger adherents do you see in the left wing press, in any Momentum articles, or in fact any 'socialist' papers, or social media outlets ?
I look at a lot of this (unscientific I know :-)
What's so interesting , and frustrating these days is the lack of intellectual honesty amongst those on the left when faced with the position that your enemies enemy must be your friend ! You do not hear much speaking out against such a poisonous ideology by these folk because @it may play into the hands of the "far right".
Stephen, I feel that in years to come we shall look back on these times with incredulity of how we have not confronted the serious, and quite possibly existential threat, facing us - for fear of offending (at the moment anyway) a minority group, and saving our ire for those who wish to try to point out this situation !
Phil said…
This is interesting, not so much in what it says about Nick Cohen (I thought he'd become an unreliable partisan hack years ago) as in the wording of the questions. I started to write a long comment on the last one in particular - why would anyone vote No? - but it got so long that I thought I'd keep it for a blog post. I'll let you know!
Philip Rand said…
Actually Dr Law....

You write:

"not morally disgusting (whereas Cameron really is)."

I personally know the Prime Minister (I have known him since he became my MP)... and actually he is an extremely decent person...

I also made quite a bit of money at Ladbrokes when I bet he would become leader of the Conservative Party... I did it years before the leadership contest Cameron won...so I got very, very good odds (though I knew at the time it was a pretty sure thing)...
L.Long said…
Well it is the victims fault if they are shot!! They should not have been standing in the path of the bullets coming from some harmless gun being fired by a devote muslin! The muslin cannot make you stand out of the way!
Andrew C said…
Corbyn favours reasonable dialogue ! Gosh he must a good man then - or is this really a euphemism for saying I have some sympathy or agreement with the other party, or it is something about not agreeing with the actions or views of those whose political views are contrary to his own and not able to agree that an a baddie is really a baddie !!
How about some dialogue with ISIS eh ? let's have a chat and discuss their grievances shall we ?

Stephen you are clearly falling for the labelling again - please don't stoop to that !! morally disgusting eh - honestly I really thought you were beyond that.

yours disappointedly
Daniel said…
Dear Dr Law,
If I'm not mistaken, Mr. Corbyn appeared on PressTV as a "host" of a show, where people called and expressed their support for Hamas. Corbyn praised and thanked them. It is hypocritical of you to equate your appearance or that of ex-US ambassador's with that of Mr. Corbyn. Anyone can appear as guests to any media to offer their views, but being a host of the media arm of IRGC, that has been convicted by European courts for airing "confessions" taken under torture of Maziar Baharu and others, that requires a certain degree of disregard for the cause liberty, which I is manifest in Mr. Corbyn's acts.
Philip Rand said…
Andrew % Daniel...

What is interesting is to remember that this Corbyn movement within the Labour Party follows exactly what crowd theory predicts...basically it is a youth movement and is more authoritarian than the Labour Party under the previous leadership

What old men like Dr Law do in such an environment is to provide the young Corbynites with coercion orders which produces some subjective experience of distancing for the young...this affect has been shown scientifically...

Therefore, the young are much more likely to consider the Prime Minister or any enemy of Corbyn, i.e. the BBC, press, etc. a moral threat without even thinking about it themselves...

This is the role old men like Dr Law play in these things... the Arab Spring for example follows the same dynamic...
Andrew C said…
Philip, I believe you are right, although I would put it as offering encouragement and justification for being against just about anyone who does not support minority groups or the "down-trodden masses".
I cam across, what I think is, a marvellous little book recently called "An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments" and it was quite extraordinary to me yesterday to hear Corbyns response in the Commons about the EU re-negotiation and how he and his followers have managed to sound so very reasonable and sensible while making breaking every rule in the above book with regards to clear and logical thinking.
I truly wish that this book was essential reading in all schools !

I am a bit older than Stephen Law so I would prefer you to say "older men" :-)

aljones909 said…
As a lefty (if that still means anything)former Labour supporter I'd like to echo the thoughts of Philip Rand. You said "I think Jeremy Corbyn is probably a decent bloke, not morally disgusting (whereas Cameron really is)." I would never vote Tory but I don't think all Conservatives are moral monsters. Cameron appears to be a decent human being.
Stephen Law said…
I don\t think all Conservatives are moral monsters. But Cameron is morally disgusting. Perhaps I should write a post explaining why. As to whether Philip R. actually knows the PM - Philip has such a track record of being 'creative' with the truth on my blogs that I am not inclined to believe him!