The Morning Star is to Jeremy Corbyn and Seumas Milne what the picture in the attic was to Dorian Gray in the famous story.
And it is disgusting in the extreme. Take the issue for Monday 7 October. You can see from the front page that, like all of us, they loathe the tinpot Mussolini Boris Johnson.
Ah, but look. While everybody with sense is anxious that the sneaky Johnson may find some way to twist the will of Parliament and crash out of the EU in a hard Brexit, the doughty warriors of the MS give the front page to the scandal of Johnson giving his American friend small financial perks.
Odd sense of proportion and priority? Well, no. The MS thereby hides the fact that it is entirely on Johnson’s side in his attempt to crash Britain out of the EU.
Substantively, it thinks he is right and wants him to succeed.
So too with Donald Trump. Trump faces impeachment for attempting to get the Ukrainian government to dig out scandal and dirt against his (so far) most likely Democrat opponent in the 2020 presidential election.
Here too the MS has a special angle: it supports Russia in its efforts to turn Ukraine into a vassal state of Russia.
For many decades Ukraine was, as part of the USSR, the biggest oppressed nation on Earth. Putin’s Russia wants to put it back in that category.
Lenin-communists are in favour of self-determination for such peoples as Ukraine faced with a predatory and more powerful neighbour? Yes, but the spluttering Morning Star isn’t.
It is solid for Russia. Why, exactly, is a mystery, but it is still a fact.
So, under the headline “TelephoneGate: who looks worst?”, one Zoltan Zigedy “reports” on “how the drive to impeach Trump has masked the sinister dealings of the Democrats [the American political party] in Ukraine”.
They shouldn’t be beastly to Trump. Zigedy recalls that Trump’s Democratic Party enemies are not exactly clean-handed.
Indirectly, but plainly, the MS tries to sanitise the self-proclaimed “very stable genius” Donald Trump. But why? Because Trump is friendly to Putin’s Russia and has sometimes served its purposes.
Finally, in more than one article in the 7 October issue the MS splutters indignantly at a recent EU resolution that included fascism and Stalinism (“communism”) in the same totalitarian archipelago.
Think: of Russia in the war against Nazi Germany, and the liberation of the survivors in the Auschwitz death camp.
Don’t think: of the looting and raping and slave press-ganging that the Russians engaged in as they advanced in 1944-45.
Don’t think: that Russia held a large number of European countries in a totalitarian vice for half a century.
Don’t think: of the great Stalinist network of slave-labour camps in which millions were enslaved and vast numbers died from cold, starvation, and disease. Those were not factories for killing people en masse like Auschwitz, but they killed a vast number of people anyway.
Trotsky in 1938, dealing with pre-war Nazism rather than what emerged in the war, wrote that Stalin’s political regime differed from Hitler’s “only in more unbridled savagery”.
And Trotsky knew whereof he spoke.
The Morning Star would be a lot more effective if the people running it were a little less politically stupid and shameless.
Stay as bright as you are, dim Star!