THE Labour frontbenchers are rather like a family. The patriarch is Jeremy Corbyn, the sprightly grandfather who, as he approaches his dotage, jets around the world to exotic locations and makes friends with the unusual people he finds there. His droning speech is normally anodyne, except on certain hot-button issues where he makes rhetorical jabs. He rarely says anything disturbing or offensive, but he shares platforms and meetings with an awful lot of people who do, and with whom he never disagrees or contradicts despite these acquaintances being of rather a vile disposition, to put it mildly. He is an assiduous networker, and is the human link for a host of viable threats to life and peace in this country and elsewhere into the British political process. It is no exaggeration to state that he helps to normalise evil.
John McDonnell is the twinkle-eyed uncle in the socialist family. He lives in the big house and has plenty of visitors rather than travelling hither and yon like grandad. He is genial and pleasant in his always-red sweater and his chintzy lounge when interviewed for the weekend political shows. However McDonnell is quite the Jekyll and Hyde. He is considerably less bland about socialism than his current boss.
There is a mainstream socialist culture of visceral hatred against their political opponents. The most obvious of late has been directed against British Jews, but it also manifests itself against anyone who openly expresses conservative ideas or puts a Conservative Party poster at home such that doing so in the UK may result in workplace hostility or a brick through their window. McDonnell has harnessed this culture of hostility for his own benefit. It must be immensely cathartic for some Leftists to see a leading politician fantasising about travelling back in time to assassinate Margaret Thatcher, which he claims to be a ‘joke’. However this is the same John McDonnell who has gone on record numerous times with his support of the ‘armed struggle’ of the IRA, the organisation whose campaign of murder included attempting to assassinate the Conservative Prime Minister Thatcher and her cabinet in 1984 and the successful killing of Lord Mountbatten in 1979.
McDonnell has called for ‘direct action’ against Conservative MPs when they are in public areas, stating: ‘I want to be in a situation where no Tory MP, no Tory or MP, no coalition minister, can travel anywhere in the country, or show their face anywhere in public, without being challenged, without direct action.’ He has doubled down on this by repeating, to the delight of his fellow-travellers, a story about a desire to lynch the Conservative minister Esther McVey.
John McDonnell is the leader of his own socialist organisation, which has annexed the Keir Hardie-era name of ‘Labour Representation Committee’ (LRC). It would be a matter of debate how the original and its namesake compare. McDonnell’s version allows entry into the British political process for those otherwise beyond the pale. One example is Jackie Walker, who was recently expelled from the Labour Party for anti-Semitism, who is the LRC’s ‘BME Equalities Seat’.
The LRC also backs Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled for his anti-Semitic harassment of Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth at the public presentation of Shami Chakrabarti’s whitewash report into Labour’s anti-Semitism. This report was so bad that it did nothing to prevent a statutory investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). It cannot be over-repeated that the only other political party that has been investigated by the EHRC for racism is the BNP.
John McDonnell is open about his Marxism and lists one of his hobbies as ‘fermenting [sic] the overthrow of capitalism’. Part of this overthrow would seem to include disbanding the Security Service MI5, as well as disarming the police, while extending ‘civil liberties and rights to organise and protest’, presumably to include aggressive forms of ‘direct action’. McDonnell denied he supported these methods, but this was quickly exposed when it emerged that he supported the organisation Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory to the point of holding up a leaflet with these demands and being described as an ‘early supporter‘. But he was wearing his trademark reassuring red sweater while doing so.
Despite all the evidence in the public domain of McDonnell’s dangerous views, he is rarely challenged and is allowed to deflect any serious questioning by interviewers. It is almost as if a pre-Macmillan era of deference has returned to the media coverage of British politics for leading socialists, only Andrew Neil not having received the memo. An example of this soft soap has to be Andrew Marr, who was perfectly happy to keep interrupting Boris Johnson as a form of homage to Neil, but was more forgiving when faced by an unashamed Marxist. It was quite easy for me to find out about McDonnell’s connection to Jackie Walker, thanks to the superb research by the Twitter account ‘Corbyn in the Times‘. Yet when Marr questioned McDonnell about Labour’s anti-Semitism, McDonnell’s direct connection to Labour’s expelled anti-Semites was not discussed. For some reason the television interviewers persist in talking to Dr Jekyll and ignore Mr Hyde. The only plausible explanation is that they fear what Mr Hyde will do should he gain public office. This apparent fear results in a form of censorship which is breached only by serious research.
McDonnell is never challenged about his record in office as Ken Livingstone’s right-hand man at the Greater London Council in the 1980s, where he tried to repeat Liverpool City Council’s trick of refusing to set a budget, thus causing chaos in local services, as a way to weaken state institutions and challenge the Thatcher government in the capital. This was seen as too extreme even for Ken Livingstone, who fired him. The Conservative government of the time subsequently abolished the GLC over such acts of political sabotage. So McDonnell has form in using high office for disruptive purposes.
When confronted by hard fact, he is a master of evasiveness. Last month, on Radio 4’s Today programme, McDonnell blamed the existence of about 150 billionaires in the UK for homelessness and people queueing at foodbanks, confusing correlation with causation, and in effect calling for the state appropriation of wealth. He refused to accept evidence that the tax burden on the very wealthy had increased since the Conservatives came to power. He called for an ‘entrepreneurial state’, which seems to be code for a return to state-run businesses operating to a socialist agenda rather than wealth-creation. When confronted by a quote from a billionaire who threatened to quit the UK, McDonnell had no answer, apart from telling the billionaire to come and see him.
The Today programme then engineered a meeting between the Billionaire and the Bolshevik. The billionaire, mobile phone entrepreneur John Caudwell, expressed sincere doubts despite McDonnell’s warm words because of the hostile rhetoric behind the policy, even though Caudwell was concerned about economically distressed people. Caudwell stated that every wealthy person he knows is considering leaving the UK, which does seem to be an implicit aim of Labour’s policy. McDonnell used blandishments by way of deflection and did not properly acknowledge Labour’s public hostility to wealth. Caudwell flatly stated that had Corbyn’s Labour been in power already, he would not have set up his business. This is where the session erupted into cross-talking. McDonnell had no answer to this accusation and refused to accept it. Caudwell accused Labour of making business owners feel like pariahs.
Fungus thrives in environments that lack sunshine, and the lack of media sunlight cast upon the darkest recesses of historic communism and its legacy organisations in the UK has allowed this ideological fungus to flourish in this country. McDonnell’s Mr Hyde activities nearly resulted in his expulsion from Labour about 15 years ago, but his own version of a Militant Tendency has been tacitly accepted by successive Labour leaders who should have known better. He openly associates with those who have been expelled for bring Labour into disrepute. It remains to be seen if he himself has caused enough disrepute to the extent of helping lead his party to a fourth consecutive General Election defeat. For the sake of the nation, it is to be hoped that Mr Hyde does not cause a Nightmare on Downing Street.