Corbyn: Behind those slurs

In the aftermath of the Manchester suicide bombing, there was an agreed pause in electioneering. As soon as it started again, everyone was soon attacking Jeremy Corbyn, for making a supposedly insensitive statement about why Britain is one of the countries targeted by terrorists. Given the high level of emotions concerning the terrible attack, loss of life, and many still requiring treatment, it might be understandable to condemn the Labour leader for his speech. He was accused of being thoughtless, and that his speech was poorly timed too. When that failed to get enough backlash, they dragged out the old accusations that he supported the IRA, decades ago.

But let’s look at the substance of what he said, and forget the heated atmosphere for a moment. He was not blaming British troops, as has been alleged, rather the policies of this country in slavishly supporting America, and becoming involved in foreign wars against Muslim countries. Many of his own colleagues were quick to attack him, and the opposition parties queued up to have their say about him too. I am not in his party, and I doubt he will win in June. But what he said was true.

If you send the armed forces of your country thousands of miles, to become involved in proxy wars that are not your business, you can expect a backlash at home. France, Russia, Britain, and many other countries who have chosen to involve themselves in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen have seen the repercussions of their decisions arrive on the streets of major European cities, and in some US states too. If, as it is claimed, the Jihadists and militants seek to destroy the western way of life, then why are there no attacks in Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Finland, Slovenia, and so many other countries I could list here? You don’t have to be an expert strategist to work out that only those nations happy to become embroiled in the wars in troubled lands are those being attacked in return.

And it doesn’t end with actually sending troops. Supporting countries like Saudi Arabia in their wars against their old and new enemies, or taking sides in favour of Sunni or Shiite against the other, is little different to being physically involved in the fighting. It seems to me that Corbyn was not only correct in his assertion that we must stop fighting, and start talking, but that his timing was actually just right, following a painful reminder of the consequences of not doing so.

Of course, a cynical person might also see that the so-called ‘unelectable’ socialist was doing quite well in the polls recently, and pulling back the previous big lead the government was enjoying. His tax policies, nationalisation policies, and big-spending promises about health reforms and better housing were beginning to capture the imagination of voters, after all. His latest speech about terrorism was a good one, designed to try to set this country on the road to peace, at the expense of money lost to the arms industry, and a cooling down of our relationship with America.

And we couldn’t have that, could we? That just wouldn’t do.

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19 comments

  1. Woebegone but Hopeful

    There are many important points raised and thus difficult to separate the various issues, each a compound of its own complexities
    It is a given fact. Labour will always be vilified by the Right-Of-Centre Press and they must have been so happy when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader, he would only have to sneeze and they would create a condemnatory story out of it.
    His views on foreign policy are not actually that far removed from President Dwight Eisenhower’s who said a war should never be entered into without clear exit strategy, something which has been lacking in the decades after WWII.
    As regards the rise of the hijackers of Islam and the subsequent attraction of the disaffected, (and the downright insane-has to be said); this has some similarities to the post WWII revolutionary movements who espoused various ideologies which had tenuous links to Marxism or what they decided was Marxism. The problem however is a deep one and here some parallels with Ulster can be drawn, only far more so, as it were. Sadly there will probably need to be a military component to the solution as ISIS and Al-Qeda both have another linkage – Nazism.
    And all of the above is just a skimming of the surface!

    Returning to Labour and Jeremy Corbyn. One interesting aspect has been the number of people who I’ve heard say something along the lines of ‘Nice bloke, I think he means well and not shady…but….’ which says something but I’m not too sure what. I will as I have done before vote Labour, (in the fine British spirit that the alternatives are worse).
    I have one misgiving though, and this is a bit of an elephant in a room- Labour’s own Nasty Wing. These fly into a rage at any sign of opposition, and seem to seek out targets with all the feral glee of their Cousins in Hate of the USA’s Alt-Right. In doing so they become ideal fodder for the ever vigilant (sarcasm warning) guardians of our democracy of the Right-of-Centre Press. I do not go on FaceBook any more for this very reason. They betray socialism with their lack of constructive dialogue.
    In conclusion; after all this I must be brief- I have a faith (yep) in the USA’s folk to put an end to this singular circumstance of President Trump; from reading several blogs on WP there is a lot of effort going in to making his tenure very uncomfortable for this amateur outfit.
    OK. I’m done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. democratizemoney

    I just watched a program called “Reliable Sources” on CNN which reports on the news and journalism before reading your blog today (one of the perils of a stationary bike). From what I surmise from that program the fellow who wanted to stop all Muslims from entering the US made nice with the Saudis and the Muslim Nations and Israel and lectured our allies. The import of the program is that while this man was on his “trip” he and his administration totally ignored the press contingent accompanying him. Total press interactions were less than a minute. OK, we can give him the finger, but your leaders do have to deal with him. My condolences. As for voting for or following someone who says outrageous things (and I know not who says what in your current campaign), you might want to look at what happened to us (and by extension you) when these who speak their mind get elected, especially if they have a weak mind and behave like an unconstrained teen. In The Federalist Papers (a series of Newspaper articles written in support of our Constitution during the campaign for ratification), there are warnings about demigods. I would add, be caution of outspoken idiots too.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Thanks, Theo. Corbyn is an old-school socialist who is not afraid to talk about disarmament, nationalisation, and such things. He is no Trump, but unlike that man, is probably not destined to become the leader of his country
      Best wishes, Pete..

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Eddy Winko

    I think the very criticism that Corbyn received was politicking the events, rather than him using it as an opportunity, any opportunity to try and stick the knife in rather than entering into discussion. I don’t know that’s he’s right, but it can be no worse a solution that the government seems to have perused without success for many many years. I watch the polls with great interest and have everything crossed for a Labour win!
    Sadly too many people seem to use the argument that Labour have messed up in th past, without realising that this is a completely new Labour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      It would be exciting if he won. After the Brexit vote, one can only hope for another upset. But putting my ‘real life’ hat on for a moment, it seems likely that his success will be judged on the reduction of the Tory majority, rather than a win.
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. theshammuramat

    The farther everyone stays away from America the better right now-its a very sick puppy. I emigrated here in the early seventies and became heavily involved with activists who were protesting the Vietnam War. I also loved being here because of the huge geography and also the classless society. In addition the opportunities for women’s education were just opening up and I got into Berkeley and obtained a degree in Social Science. I was on track to marry Baron Janvrin (this is absolutely true) Queen’s private secretary whom I had met when he was a young LT in the Foreign Office where I also served (in Iran). I fled as a refugee from class and from who I was supposed to be as a woman – his wife. This country has been very good to me – a long and interesting career, a wonderful husband and two creative children. Unfortunately I think that Bush and the neo liberals got us and GB into these wars as well as the military industrial society which thrives in the US. Now we’ve got a clown at the head of government who I believe will be impeached and hopefully soon before he embroils us in a war started on twitter. He and his disgusting family represent the kind of moral and ethical malaise that the US has fallen into. Many of the young millennials (as evidenced on the most popular articles on the site Medium) show more interest in how they’ll make their next million. I am always sick at heart to see articles like how I made my first million or how my boyfriend screwed me get thousands of likes and the ones in ThinkProgress – one of the best political journals around (also on Medium) get a handful. But all is not lost Allan Ishac a political satirists in the US also gets a lot of hits on Medium and he is doing stellar lifting- as good as Baldwin on Saturday Night Live check him out. I do think however there is a growing group of young political resisters and they together with us old boomers from the left aka Richard Parker (see resistance movement at Harvard) will try our best to swing the Titanic. Yes that’s America now the bloody Titanic heading towards a huge iceberg (climate change and every other thing). Anyway GB needs a big turnaround like us and a wake up call. Even thought I live here and love it I also love my country of birth in all its green and pleasant land! Best of luck in this election.

    Liked by 1 person

    • beetleypete

      Thanks for your thoughts, the links, and the detailed information, Felicity.
      Realistically, I fear we are heading for another spell of Thatcherite government over here, but that’s the penalty of living in a ‘democracy’, I suppose. I will check out the links.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  5. John Liming

    I sympathize with some of the positions stated on your post but I maintain that it is impossible to create and maintain a productive and positive dialogue with an ideology that has eventual world domination as its driving force. I know there are a lot of people who do not understand that and who will argue with that until they are blue in the face, but the ideology at the bottom of all these problems is nowhere near being compatible with the values of The West and are, in fact, diametrically opposed to “The Great Satan” and all similar entities who are ripe for eventual take over and rule as Caliphates. Peaceful co-existence is a bad dream and unattainable in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

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