‘Labour – The Big Lie’

Platform is making a documentary about the crisis in the Labour Party. The following are the key areas the film will explore:
  • THE “ANTISEMITISM” FURORE The film will tell the story of the “antisemitism” furore which dates from the election of Jeremy Corbyn in 2015. In the 2017 election the party won 30 seats and increased its vote share by 9.6%. In the 2019 election the party was heavily defeated. What part, the film will ask, did the antisemitism furore play in this extraordinary reversal?
  • THE FIFTH COLUMN The film will also look at Labour’s “fifth column” — the party within the party, which included right- wing Labour MPs and many of the the party’s paid officials who together worked to derail the Corbyn project despite Jeremy’s being elected twice as leader. The film will examine how this fifth column operated and how they attempted to undermine and sabotage the work of members on the left and all those who supported Corbyn.
  • THE THREAT TO FREE SPEECH AND DEMOCRACY The film will end by looking at the state of democracy and free speech within the Labour Party. Currently, party members, branches and CLPs who choose to discuss issues of their choice do so under the threat of censure or suspension. The film will explore how this suppression of dissent and the marginalising of voices on the left strikes at the heart of our politics not just in the Labour Party but much more widely.

In conclusion the film will ask: how can the party be reformed, and free speech and democracy be renewed? What is the way forward for the Labour Party?

The Film that got us banned !

The screening of this 30 min version of the film was not controversial at the time, indeed it was a storming success among audiences - getting the highest rating for the Audience Award that we have ever seen. (4.8 out of 5)

It was not hugely surprising that an audience at Tolpuddle - mostly made up of union activists, Labour members or ex-members, and other left leaning individuals - would be interested in this film, which explores the story of Corbyn's rise and fall and the party machinations that surrounded it. What has been surprising is that the completed feature length version of this film 'Oh Jeremy Corbyn! - The Big Lie' has been banned around the country.

Read more about why we will not be at Tolpuddle in 2023

Our Take

Small Axe Radical Short Film Reviews by Cole Diment

Christopher Reeves’ Labour The Big Lie might well bring us our most controversial film of this year’s programme. Tackling the “issue” of anti-semitism within the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s eventual ousting and suspension, Reeves asks us to question at all time not only the establishment’s malpractice but those within the very own Labour Party too.

Though in a state of non-completion, Labour The Big Lie still packs a punch. Using archival footage and talking head interviews, Reeves sets out to tackle to issue of anti-semitism that plagued, and continues to plague, Corbyn and the Labour Party. Reeves represents this as an attack from all sides of the political aisle including Conservative media orchestrating smear campaigns and Israeli political groups rallying against the Labour Party. Reeves goes on to suggest that key attacks came from within the party itself from the more right-wing and Blairite factions within the party. The question of the truth of the claims remains somewhat unresolved however – do these claims originate from a place of truth? We will see what debates this film conjures at the festival.

The tone for the end of the film seems fearful of future organising. Though uncompleted, we end on the image of Starmer’s election to the Labour Party leadership. As shown within recent weeks, encompassing the RMT union and barrister’s strike and the pending teachers and NHS strikes to name a few, Starmer has shown his resolute denial to support the interests of working people in this country. Where Reeves goes with the end of this project will be intrigue. But now we face a much more dire future in terms of a viable socialist left.

Chris has asked us to link to two projects:

Labour In Exile Network:

Platform Films:


  /  2022
Christopher James Reeves
30 mins
Original Language English
Christine Tongue