WHY is there never a Persian cat around when you need one? That was one of the thoughts that padded forth, along with the name Ernst Stavro Blofeld, on watching Jeremy Corbyn telling off sections of the British press via a video posted on social media.

Bond films do not usually come to mind on seeing the Labour leader, but, as quarrelling children the world over say, it was him who started it, mum.

“In the last few days,” began Mr Corbyn from a lair that was less Diamonds are Forever than Laura Ashley, “the Sun, the Mail, the Telegraph and the Express have all gone a little bit James Bond.”

In what way this viewer asked, knowing the answer would be proceeding forth with the certainty of a laser heading towards Sean Connery’s groin area in Goldfinger.

“They’ve found a former Czechoslovakian spy whose claims are increasingly wild and entirely false,” said Mr Corbyn.

Ah, that would be Jan Sarkocy, who met Mr Corbyn in the 1980s and who has claimed the Labour MP was recruited as an informant. A spokesman for the Labour leader has said Mr Corybn was “neither an agent, asset, informer nor collaborator with Czechoslovak intelligence” and that the claims are “a ridiculous smear and entirely false”.

Back to the video. “It’s easy to laugh,” said Mr Corbyn looking decidedly unamused, “but something more serious is happening. Publishing these ridiculous smears that have been refuted by Czech officials shows just how worried the media bosses are by the prospect of a Labour Government. They are right to be.” After a bit more jaw-jaw about billionaire tax exiles, he issued what sounded like a declaration of war.

“Their readers, you, all of us, deserve so much better. Well, we’ve got news for them. Change is coming.” With that the picture fades, and with it the smile drops from Mr Corybn’s face like a piano off a rooftop.

Now, there will be some who sympathise with the Labour leader’s anger. There is a not so grand tradition in some parts of the British press of pillorying Labour leaders, from the forgery of the Zinoviev letter to the election day front page with the headline, “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights?”

The same folk might be equally supportive of Mr Corbyn’s lawyers sending a letter yesterday to Ben Bradley, the Tory MP and vice-chairman of the party, who made a claim about Mr Corbyn in a tweet. Mr Bradley, who has since deleted the tweet, has been asked to apologise, make a donation to charity in lieu of damages, and pay the Labour leader’s costs.

But let us get some perspective here. “Change is coming”? What can the Labour leader mean? Leveson part 2, new laws? You don’t have to be paranoid to think he is coming after the press. You don’t even have to be a known critic of Mr Corbyn, such as John Woodcock, the Labour-Co-op MP, who said: “Are we really threatening the press with more regulation because they printed a story we didn’t like? This is not okay.”

No, it is not okay. For a start, it shows a lack of understanding about how a free press operates. Mr Corbyn is not alone in this. He is not the first to cry foul when they read or hear something with which they disagree. Here in Scotland, scene of a large, pro-Yes demonstration outside the BBC during the referendum campaign, we know this more than most. A free media, operating within the rule of law, is not one that publishes or broadcasts what one side wants all of the time. Truth, accuracy and fairness result when many voices have their say, not one.

As Mr Corbyn has acknowledged, the internet has allowed those different voices to be heard, and to challenge the traditional media. At the last General Election, Labour was phenomenally successful in getting its message across to voters via social media, so much so that other parties want to learn from them. Some analysts credit Labour’s social media campaign with balancing more negative coverage elsewhere. In short, the system of many voices not one, or some, is working.

By threatening specific papers, as he has, Mr Corbyn threatens all the media. There cannot be rules for some and not others. As for being on the receiving end of unfavourable or uncomfortable coverage, Labour is not alone. Or does he think the Major Government got an easy time of it in its latter stages? Those, including some in the media, tempted to cheer Mr Corbyn on, should be careful what they wish for. That stick you think it is fair for one government to use might be deployed by another one day.

Besides being an ugly threat, the “change is coming” video does no favours to Mr Corbyn in other ways. It makes it seem as though he, and those advising him, do not trust the public to make their own minds up about what they read, that they are somehow easily led, in the grip of a greater power than their own reason.

While it may be flattering to some in the media to think they have such power, all one can say as a veteran of more years in newspapers than I care to divulge, is “Do come off it.” If people read something they think is wrong or unfair, they can complain to the paper, contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation, take legal action, or just stop buying. Those who have read the recent stories about Mr Corbyn will have taken in his unequivocal denial of the claims made against him. If he wants to say more, any newspaper or broadcaster in the land is ready and waiting for an interview.

It is to be hoped that the Labour leader will, on reflection, reckon there are better ways he can use his time than going to war against the press via a Twitter video. If he does not, and he carries on with his “change is coming” campaign, he will be keeping company not with the majority but with a certain political leader across the Atlantic, one who thought it was a good idea to react to perceived bullying by giving the same treatment back. It is not.