Wednesday, 9 June 2010

What did John McDonnell say that was wrong – absolutely nothing!

The election of a new Leader of the Labour Party that’s currently under way can only be best described as a non-event. However if there was one candidate that this blog had to give support too, then it would be for John McDonnell, who we would depict as an old school Laborite. However the Labour Party lost itself and sold its socialist soul to the capitalist system many moons ago, and it’s very unlikely that John or opportunist and left splitting Diane Abbott, will make it on to the ballot paper when nominations close this week, they need to secure the support of 33 MPs.

Abbott only has nine nominations, whilst John McDonnell takes 15 Labour MPs with him.

However I suppose the talking point this week were John’s remarks at a hustings event held at the GMB conference, when he said the best way to improve life in 1980's Britain would have been to assassinate Margaret Thatcher during his speech to the trade unionists assembled. This spanned a bit of a stir and disturbance from as you would have imagined the Tory press and Thatcherite advocates. However I was somewhat dismayed to have read a post on the left Socialist Unity site authored by its moderator Andy Newman who said the following:

“I want to separately discuss one issue which explains the unfortunate lack of credibility of John McDonnell, despite his many strengths."

"During the debate he joked that if he could go back to the 1980s, like in the BBC drama Ashes to Ashes, he would assassinate Thatcher. With that particular audience, it got a laugh.
Obviously, it was just a joke, but it shows a serious lack of political judgment, and also shows that while John can brilliantly empathise with a relatively small and politicised layer of activists, he has little feel for the type of politics than can build an election winning coalition reaching out to the centre left.”

I myself made the following comment on the site:

“John McDonnell said it as a joke, and that it was meant as a joke, and taken as a joke. John is a socialist the only one standing in this election and his word is good enough for me, don’t know why it’s not for others?

"On the other hand Thatcher branded Nelson Mandela a terrorist, but much worst than that she was a friend of General Pinochet a mass murderer and Demon King of Chile, During the 17 years of his government more than 3,200 people disappeared or were killed and tens of thousands were detained, tortured or exiled."

Why are some comrades reading the Sun!”

Poor old John McDonnell is not having much luck this time round and the so-called left that’s still inside the Labour Party, is fragmenting and dividing further; and within weeks after a general election defeat which was, and lets not forget led by New Labour.

Only last week Tony Benn gave his support to supposedly to Ed Miliband', as reported by the New Statesman, but now that web page has been taken down and on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC Radio 5 June 2nd he said during an interview the following:
"I have always supported John McDonnell."

"I think it's important that people should vote for those whose general approach they support, and the broader the range of discussion in the party the healthier the party will be."

"I support him (McDonnell) very strongly and the line he's taken on many issues."

So it seems that Benn supports in a way McDonnell’s inclusion on the ballot, but if he doesn’t make it I suspect he will vote for Miliband in the end.

So returning to the remarks that John said about Thatcher and clearly jokingly, we need to remember that it’s part of the role of socialists, (or at least it used to be) to agitate that’s stir up public opinion – that’s all John was doing, the old agitate, educate, organise, one, two, three.

And just who was he talking about? Margaret Hilda Thatcher the woman that put thousands on the dole, under her governance, the country experienced a cavalcade of tectonic societal shifts, leaving many struggling for a foothold in a rapidly changing country. Thatcher’s Britain was a country engaged in a class war, as industry took an about turn. The decade was forever scarred by the bitter miners’ strikes. Britain’s languishing economy, its public sector was all but renovated and drained during the Conservative Party’s policy of aggressive privatisation of public sector companies. Selling off the family silver was government policy. British Rail, British Telecom, British Steel… the sale of such publicly owned giants radically changed the direction of the economy that has led to the greed of the banking community of today, and left working class people scarred, bruised and still dressed down!

What did John McDonnell say that was wrong – absolutely nothing!


Chris H said...

In terms of improving life in the 80s and beyond John's comment was likely to have been along the right lines in terms of practical results. Thatcher inflicted so much violence against the working class and their communities, the poor, the sick, the unemployed and the trade union movement.

My cousin, a miner, took his own life after a year on strike such was the pressure on him. And why did it get to that position? Because Thatcher is a spiteful, vindictive cow who cares nothing for people but only that the working class needed to be taught a lesson, regardless of cost or common sense. When she dies I will be cracking open a classy bottle of red, not in celebration but in rememberance of a society and millions of lives ruined by her.

And as for the Labour Party leadership extravaganza? The fact that the only left-wing nomination is struggling to reach the bar speaks volumes for the future. Kinnock et al restructured the Labour Party to be a top down organisation controlled by a clique of PLP members and their 'advisors'. The fact that most of the Labour MPs could fit quite happily in the coalition government and not look out of place leads me to believe that the Labour Party is dead in the water in terms of representing the working class. Why places like Socialist Unity keep gassing over the Labour Party leadership elections is beyond me. Waste of time.

Norbert said...

Hi Chris,

That's a very powerfull comment which I'm going to promote, to a guest post, latter if that's OK?

Chris H said...

Yup, feel free to report, no problem.

Seems to line up with Mervyn's rant on your newer post as well!

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