Despite admitting in an interview in this morning's edition of the Morning Star that he was ‘no bloody expert on Venezuela’, Chris Williamson, the Labour MP for Derby North, made it quite clear this afternoon who he believes is to blame for the socialist country's problems – and it most certainly isn't Maduro's socialist government.
Speaking at a Solidarity with Venezuela fringe event at Labour conference, Williamson described how the country – a place where women now exchange sex for nappies for their babies and where the capital city is the most murderous city on earth – was undoubtedly witnessing ‘difficult and tough times’ and that ‘mistakes had been made’. However, it was the US and Donald Trump's sanctions that were far more to blame than anything enacted by the left-wing government, he told the event.
But the real villain – which was mentioned far more times than Venezuela was – was the media. ‘If you read the BBC, you would think Venezuela was a dictatorship,’ Williamson told the audience. ‘By all means, report on the difficulties, of course that's your job, but your job is surely also to give a bit of balance isn't it? And to give the other side of the story. And I just honestly wish you would do that.’
Nick Cohen and Channel 4's Michael Crick, who were both in the audience reporting on the event, were singled out in particular for not covering the story as Williamson saw fit. But questions directed at the MP had been sanctioned, so despite Williamson suggesting that ‘dialogue’ was the answer to Venezuela's problems, he refused to speak directly to any members of the press who wanted to try out this radical approach.
There was some respite, though: one publication was singled out as being an exemplary model – ‘the only outlet to have given a balanced report’ on the situation. No prizes for guessing who. The Morning Star, of course. ‘Luckily, there are a growing number of people like Williamson in the Labour Party’ trilled the newspaper earlier today. Who says the media isn't balanced?