BY WILL HOLLIS
It has been nearly a month since the General Election, and Jeremy Corbyn’s subsequent decision that he will resign, and the Labour Party’s search for a new leader is in full swing. The period of reflection does not seem to be going well, and they are yet to truly address what it was about Jeremy Corbyn that the wider electorate found so unelectable.
“We have in Jeremy a man without honour and without shame – and a type of preening narcissism that means he thinks he’s still got something left to offer.” These were the words of Mary Creagh, a former Labour MP. It speaks volumes of her character, and the characters of so many of her Labour colleagues who feel the same, that despite this being what they really think they were asking the country to make him PM less than a month ago.
So what do we know about Corbyn as a man? We know that he has a short temper, something that occasionally flashes in interviews but has by and large been successfully kept under wraps by his team. We know that he has a pathological incapability of admitting he’s wrong; even in the aftermath of the most devastating Labour defeat in 85 years his first response was to say that Labour won the argument. We know that he acts like a petulant child when things have not gone his way, as was so visibly apparent with his behaviour at the Queen’s Speech. We know that the perception of vast swathes of the electorate is that he hates his country, and who could blame them? The man has time and again sided with terrorists and enemies of the state over Britain. As LOTO he sided with Russia over the intelligence services when over the Salisbury attacks, and his recent response to the death of Iranian terrorist Qasem Soleimani was exactly what you would expect from a man who was paid £20,000 by Press TV. We know that his core beliefs are centred on a philosophy that has only ever brought pain, destruction and death when it has been put into practice. Mary Creagh’s attack on Mr Corbyn’s character may have been seen as scathing, but really it should have been seen as reserved.
From early on in his campaign to be elected as the leader of the Labour Party, Corbynistas built up a mythology around him. This “kinder, gentler politics” was going to be different, and it was going to take a different type of politician to achieve this. Magic Grandpa was a kind, gentle man who liked his allotment and making jam. He was a man of peace, a pacifist against all forms of violence. He had stood up for social justice and fought racism, and there was even a photo of him being arrested fighting apartheid at a time Boris and Cameron were being super posh at Oxford’s Bullingdon Club. Of course, it was nothing but myth.
We soon saw the true face of the “kinder, gentler politics”, with violence on the streets, dead vermin being sent to Tory staffers, and even the day after his crushing defeat, wannabe doctor Annabelle Lea went on TV to say how she wished Boris Johnson a horrible death. This girl, young and foolish and so full of hate, encapsulated the grassroots Corbyn movement in a few moments as she stood in her ‘F*** Boris’ t-shirt.
The idea that Corbyn is a man of peace is possibly the most laughable aspect of his mythology. It is true that he has opposed the British military, and any action they have ever taken. Yet his support for violent regimes across the world, or violence in the name of something he agrees with, is consistent. His support for the IRA is well documented, as is his praise for Castro or Chavez. He surrounds and aligns himself with those like John McDonnell who calls rioters “the very best of our movement” and said in regard to a female MP “we should lynch the bitch.” If he does condemn the violence of enemies of the state, he has to somehow blame their violence on western forces, such as days after the 2005 bombings in London when he said it had happened, “because of the way we inflict an insecurity on so many other people around the world. We have to be very clear about that.” Even this weekend – with Iran admitting it shot down a Ukrainian plane – Corbyn tweeted about a mere “crash”.
Perhaps the most perpetuated myth about Jeremy Corbyn is that he somehow had an important role in ending apartheid. It comes down to one photo; one, out of context, photo. This photo should be given to history students so they can understand how a photo can be so far from what it seems. Corbyn was protesting the right of the City of London Anti-Apartheid Group (CLAAG) to hold 24 hour protests after a court had ruled against them. The mainstream Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) had asked them not to, and ultimately this extreme far left splinter group did more to hinder the cause of ending Apartheid than helping it. As always, the number one priority for Corbyn was far left extremism.
Ultimately, the thing that Jeremy Corbyn will most be remembered for is racism. He has seen dark forces unleashed in his name, and had he won last month nearly 50% of Jewish people in Britain were actively considering leaving the UK as a direct consequence. The Equality and Human Rights Commission are still investigating the party he leads for institutional racism. His supporters will say that none of this is his fault, that he has opposed all forms of racism all his life. However defending an anti-Semitic mural, laying a wreath for terrorists who killed Jews, allowing Luciana Berger to be bullied out of the Labour Party, refusing to act when cases of anti-Semitism were committed because the perpetrators were loyal to him, and calling Hezbollah and Hamas friends would all suggest that he himself has a problem with anti-Semitism.
The Labour Party will decide who succeeds Jeremy Corbyn. They will have to make a choice between whether they want to continue on from what has been not just a political disaster, but an ethical one, or change direction. Will the successor be able to stand up and apologise, not just for losing (that’s easy), but for asking the country to support a man like Jeremy Corbyn? Looking at those who have put themselves forward it would appear not. They should be able to apologise for supporting him themselves. They should be able to fully reject Jeremy Corbyn the man, Jeremy Corbyn the myth, and Jeremy Corbyn the racist.
Will is a London-based moderate conservative who believes in free markets and civil liberties.