By Ben Pensant
As the PLP plotters continue their pathetic attempts to smear Jeremy Corbyn – next thing they’ll be saying he hates Geordies just because he’s never heard of Ant and Dec – it’s encouraging to see true Labour men like John McDonnell refusing to be beaten by focusing on the stuff that really matters to the public, such as fighting for the underdog, holding the government to task and trying to strip Sir Richard Branson of his title. Some may question why anyone outside of the shadow cabinet gives two shits what the Virgin Trains traitor calls himself, though it makes more sense when you remember Branson’s nephew changed his name to Ned RocknRoll. Let’s see how wacky he looks when Labour seize power and ban deed poll as well as bearded billionaires – RocknRoll’s gonna look a right knacker shuffling around the gulag with ridiculous birth moniker ‘Abel Smith’ tattooed on his shaven forehead. And before anyone accuses me of hypocrisy: yes, I recently changed my name too. The difference is I did so as a symbolic gesture to commemorate becoming a virtuous liberal who is right about everything. Ned did it because his uncle’s a cunt.
But in last week’s Sunday Mirror McDonnell honed in on one of the burning issues that keeps traditional Labour supporters up at night. Well, apart from Blairite bastards and Leave-voting racists, that is – they are kept awake by guilt and shame for hating immigrants, smearing a principled man and plunging the UK into a recession that still hasn’t happened yet. Speaking of stuff keeping us up at night, it’s quite clear Branson is kept awake worrying about what will happen to his shitty privatised railway company when Jezza cruises to Number Ten. This entirely unfounded scenario would certainly explain Branson’s vendetta against Corbyn for telling blatant lies about his company. And Branson’s vendetta would certainly explain McDonnell’s eagerness to strip the Virgin owner of his knighthood. But as Corbyn and his allies are never wrong about anything and nothing is ever their fault – ever – it’s quite clear McDonnell’s campaign against Branson is based purely on ethical grounds and not at all a pointlessly spiteful tirade that would have little impact if it came from a member of the government never mind a man who has more chance of growing a new top lip than ever being called Chancellor (unless when the shadow cabinet’s annual fancy dress ball comes around he gets first dibs on Hitler).
But that’s the regressive left in a nutshell – we have no time for half measures. Just take a look at fellow traveller Michael Moore’s polemical masterpiece Fahrenheit 9/11. Moore couldn’t stop at simply criticising the 2003 invasion of Iraq; he had to go one better and depict Baathist era Baghdad as a delightful utopia where kids flew kites and played on slides and life was one long wedding banquet with not a torture chamber or mass grave in sight. Similarly for St Jezza, if you’re a modern leftist you can’t merely point out the many problems with Virgin Trains. No, you have to live out your victimhood fantasy by pretending you were forced to spend a whole train journey sitting on the floor. Until you get caught out and you and your lackies tie yourselves in illogical knots with contradictory claims and a web of deceit so unconvincing it makes Keith Vaz look like Keyser Soze. None of which matters because when you’re right, you know you’re right and little things like time dated CCTV footage matter not a jot if they get in the way of the narrative. And boy, is that narrative getting stronger by the day.
So no, John isn’t going to let it lie and frankly, why should he? This is a man of principle, remember. Just look at his brave stand against tax relief for unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies, clearly motivated by ethics and accountability and nothing whatsoever to do with Labour leadership rival Owen Smith’s previous career as Head of Policy for an unscrupulous pharmaceutical company.
To give Smith his dues, he has shown a shred of decency recently by pledging to ignore the democratic will of the people and call for a second EU referendum because he, Eddie Izzard, David Lammy and thousands of social media snowflakes didn’t like the result of the first one. He won’t get the chance of course – Corbyn wont let him – but it’s refreshing to know the Welsh wonder is just as in sync with traditional Labour supporters as our Dear Leader. So full marks for sticking it to the dumb racist proles with their piss-stained jeans and Pokémon Go. But we still hate you and all the other members of the Chicken Coup and look forward to hanging you from a lamp-post on Downing Street.
As it happens, Smith could learn a thing or two from McDonnell about principles, plenty of which were on display in last week’s Sunday Mirror column which railed against the honours system. Because as we know, the only people McDonnell thinks should be ‘honoured’ are murderers, especially ones with a penchant for wearing balaclavas and knee-capping drug dealers. As McDonnell pointed out in 2003, the IRA deserve high praise for ‘bringing Britain to the negotiating table’ a feat they pulled off by planting bombs in pubs and shopping centres that tore apart the bodies of men, women and children. Though he’s not suggesting these principled killers should take all of the credit. No, he modestly reserves some of that for himself and staunch pacifist Jeremy Corbyn, both of whom played their own significant role in bringing about peace by voting against the Anglo-Irish agreement, attending the funerals of dead IRA members, editing a far-left fanzine that praised the Brighton Bombers and actively supporting the ‘armed struggle’ for a united Ireland at every opportunity. If there were any justice these two would be knighted tomorrow for putting their necks on the line in the name of peace, harmony and siding with anyone who hates the UK. But fear not, comrades, for the day will eventually come when Jeremy wields the iron fist of the state and makes it a criminal offence not to address him as ‘Sir’, ‘Captain’, ‘President For Life’ or ‘Maximum Leader Of The People’s Republic Of New Britain (Peace Be Upon Him)’.
But McDonnell’s nothing if not an equal opportunities terrorist sympathiser. He’s got as much time for extremists of the Islamist variety as he does their Irish catholic brethren. Indeed, when not defending privately educated rioters for throwing fire extinguishers from tower blocks, McDonnell has been known to hang out with members of CAGE, the delightful ‘human rights’ group set up by former Guantanamo detainee and Islamist dissembler Moazzam Begg, which also boasts Mohammed ‘Jihadi John’ Emwazi as a former associate. Earlier this year McDonnell was pictured arm in arm with Begg and Shaker Aamer as they protested the treatment they received at the hands of the US Army in Guantanamo Bay. This is a subject close to many hearts of course, including hard-nosed investigative reporters like Frankie Boyle and PJ Harvey who feel so strongly about Aamer’s plight they’ve penned articles, filmed videos and written songs dedicated to the hapless tourist. Of course, being on the left and thus convinced of their own virtuousness, neither felt the need to spend five minutes looking at the readily available evidence which casts serious doubt on the narrative that Aamer and Begg were mere innocents abroad who only set foot in Afghanistan to help build schools and petting zoos for young girls and blind orphans. Because when you know you’re right your moral superiority allows you to ignore such irrelevant concepts as facts and proof. Especially if you’re a respected musician or an edgy Scottish comedian. An honourable bunch all round either way and when you combine McDonnell’s support for Begg, Aamer, CAGE and the IRA with his admiration of propaganda-driven authoritarian regimes it’s fair to say our John has defended more murderers and bullshitters than Johnnie Cochran.
Of course, there are some instances when gifting honours and titles to friends is perfectly acceptable, such as when the friend in question is Shami Chakrabarti and she’s awarded a peerage by Jeremy Corbyn immediately after whitewashing an investigation into anti-Semitism, burying evidence and then lying about it. Which I’m sure Begg and Aamer would approve of bearing in mind CAGE’s website has carried articles proposing such interesting ideas as the theory that 9/11 was an insurance scam carried out by Zionist billionaires. Indeed, Ms Chakrabarti once called Begg ‘a wonderful advocate for human rights and human liberty’. Brave words indeed and kudos to her for risking the wrath of the right-wing press by making such a claim about a man who last year refused to condemn stoning women to death for adultery. It’s frankly mind-boggling that decent liberals like Begg and Aamer are still smeared as extremists. It really is a fucking mystery.
Though hardly surprising given the hysteria of our Islamophobic media. These days you can’t even condone Sharia Law, visit jihadi training camps and found an organisation that campaigns on behalf of convicted terrorists without being branded an Islamist. And woe betide any harmless British aid worker who gets captured in a warzone with a fake passport, an AK47 and an acute strain of amnesia which forces him to spend the next 14 years unsuccessfully trying to remember the name of the charity he was working for when he was captured in a warzone with a fake passport, an AK47 and an acute strain of amnesia.
With such prejudice aimed at two harmless moderate Muslims it’s no surprise someone like McDonnell relates to their struggle. Indeed he knows all about being an outcast having grown up with no top lip. All of which no doubt fed into the rage of his incendiary Sunday Mirror column. Though needless to say, it soon became clear his piece had been cut by Blairite editors, blatantly terrified of the no-holds barred feather-ruffling within. However I have reproduced the entire article below with the redacted passages re-inserted in italics. When I say ‘re-inserted’ I mean I have accurately predicted what I believe McDonnell must have written using my extensive knowledge of a man I’d never heard of until he waved some dead chinaman’s diary about in the House Of Commons. But like all good Corbynites know, a complete lack of knowledge about politics is no barrier to submitting to the Cult Of Jezza. In fact it’s encouraged: the last thing our Dear Leader needs is his protest movement getting buggered up by people with a deep connection to Labour and its history. So here, in its unedited glory is ‘Enjoy your millions abroad but don’t expect to take your gongs with you!’ by the redoubtable John McDonnell:
“It’s time to take control of our honours system. We want to make sure all those who make a real contribution to our society get the recognition they deserve.
But when I say ‘a real contribution’ I don’t mean those who are kind to animals or look after the elderly. I’m talking about REAL heroes who whitewash enquiries into anti-Semitism then tell lies about it.
Because it’s not just about recognising the huge contribution our artists or sportsmen and women or other well-known figures make.
In fact, if I had my way any artist or sportsmen who hasn’t endorsed Jeremy by May 2020 will be stripped of their honours, titles, leotards and paintbrushes before you can say ‘JK Rowling’.
It’s about recognising unsung heroes who keep our public services running, or devote a lifetime to local communities. It’s our way of collectively saying someone has given back to society.
And what better way to give back to society than whitewashing an enquiry into anti-Semitism then lying about it?
But the whole purpose of the honours system is undermined when the rich and the powerful can collect their gongs without giving anything back. It’s even worse when the tax exiles are given honours.
Indeed, they could at least follow Ken Livingstone’s lead by staying in this country and avoiding tax while giving something back by becoming Mayor of London, defending Islamic fundamentalists and spouting drivel about Hitler supporting Zionism.
Why should Philip Green, who ran BHS into the ground and paid his wife in Monaco £1 billion to avoid UK tax, be honoured with a ‘Sir’? The whole honours system is cheapened when freeloaders like Green are given awards.
We should treat the honours system with the same respect Jeremy treated the House of Lords by only awarding peerages to people who whitewash investigations into anti-Semitism then lie about it.
It’s time Parliament got to grips with this. We need proper oversight through Parliament of the honours system, not one where it is too easy for a Prime Minister to hand out favours to mates.
Leaders of the opposition on the other hand, should be able to hand out favours and peerages to anyone we like, in particular to people who whitewash investigations into anti-Semitism then lie about it.
And tax exiles should not be allowed to keep the privilege of an honour or a title.
Unless they’ve done something particular virtuous, such as praising Islamist groups like CAGE, accepting donations from sons of murderous dictators or whitewashing an investigation into anti-Semitism then lying about it.
It should be a simple choice for the mega rich. Run off to tax exile if you want. But you leave your titles and your honours behind you when you go.
And if the prospect of losing a pointless, empty title that only a handful of people in Westminster care less about doesn’t keep you and the British public up at night then frankly, nothing will.”
As you can see, it’s clear McDonnell’s column will have struck fear into the great, the good and the five people who bothered to read it. As with the other MPs rallying around Our Leader in this golden age of left-wing rabble-rousing, McDonnell has brought the New Kinder Gentler Politics to life by honing in on an issue that only came up because Philip Green is a Tory and Corbyn’s people don’t know how to pre-book a seat on a train.
But he follows a long tradition of principled Labour orators who’ve appealed to the public through a smart blend of progressive ideology, common sense politics and knowing what the hell they’re doing. Ramsay MacDonald, Clement Attlee, Hugh Gaitskell…the new breed of Labour members may neither know nor care who these seminal figures are and it stands to reason none of them would have been seen dead at a CND rally or an Al Quds Day march. But rest assured, they’ll be looking down at the great work being done in their name by their spiritual heirs John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn with tears in their eyes.
I think we all are.