Week 52: Prat – Jeremy Corbyn

by George_East on December 29, 2015

Labour_PratThe final Prat of the Week award goes to Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn for not shutting the fuck up

One thing remarkable about the new Labour leadership is just how incompetent it is. There are all kinds of things that can be said about the ideological direction of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn – things that, as they say, reasonable people can disagree about (as the writers of this blog do).

But what is hard not to agree about is just how many own goals the leadership seems to score. Utterly avoidable PR disasters. This has ranged from the failure of Jeremy Corbyn to sing the national anthem, through bow gate at the cenotaph, to John McDonnell brandishing Mao’s Red Book in the Autumn Statement debate, to Corbyn quoting former Albanian dictator, Enver Hoxha.

The latest in this sequence of PR calamities came just before Christmas when Jeremy Corbyn took it upon himself to describe the Falklands War as a ‘xenophobic election stunt’ perpetrated by the Thatcher government. Now, the role of the Falklands War in helping Margaret Thatcher to her landslide in the 1983 election is well known (though perhaps the more pertinent lesson of that election for the Labour Party is that it is best not to fight an election while having a civil war in the party), but why on earth bring that up now. Why reinforce once again the thing that makes so many people suspicious of a Corbyn led Labour Party, the impression that he would always side against British armed forces, however nasty the regime.

Of course his position on the Falklands War also stands in stark contrast to the Labour Party leader of the time, Michael Foot, who in one of the finest speeches of his parliamentary career, said this:

The rights and the circumstances of the people in the Falkland Islands must be uppermost in our minds. There is no question in the Falkland Islands of any colonial dependence or anything of the sort. It is a question of people who wish to be associated with this country and who have built their whole lives on the basis of association with this country. We have a moral duty, a political duty and every other kind of duty to ensure that that is sustained.

The people of the Falkland Islands have the absolute right to look to us at this moment of their desperate plight, just as they have looked to us over the past 150 years. They are faced with an act of naked, unqualified aggression, carried out in the most shameful and disreputable circumstances. Any guarantee from this invading force is utterly worthless—as worthless as any of the guarantees that are given by this same Argentine junta to its own people.

We can hardly forget that thousands of innocent people fighting for their political rights in Argentine are in prison and have been tortured and debased. We cannot forget that fact when our friends and fellow citizens in the Falkland Islands are suffering as they are at this moment.”

The Galtieri regime was a brutal fascist dictatorship that ‘disappeared’ leftists and trade unionists. Something that Foot identifies with his characteristic moral clarity. Yet the impression that Corbyn gives, once again, is that his enemy’s enemy is his friend. There are lots of things to criticise the Thatcher administration about, including its conduct of the Falklands War (the sinking of the General Belgrano in particular) but why the fuck even go there when you have the reputation that you do, particularly given that it is, in political terms, ancient history.

As another great Labour leader, Clement Attlee, once said about a particularly irksome cabinet minister: ‘a period of silence from you, would be most welcome’.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Killingworth December 29, 2015 at 6:22 pm

35 years ago, as Organiser for the Hornsey Labour Party, Corbyn was recruiting as many IMG moles as he could into it. I don’t believe he’s changed an inch (or an ounce, or whatever it is you use to measure the extent of change).

What has changed is the acceptability of low-rent Trotskyism within the Labour Party.


John Stone December 30, 2015 at 6:33 am

The problem is folk want an authentic voice from the left. Unfortunately the only one that was offered came with all this baggage.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: