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Politics: Jeremy Corbyn: Fit to be Labour Leader?

In my book ‘Comments of a Common Man’ (both the first edition and the new second edition), I have been rather restrained in any criticism of Jeremy Corbyn, although less so on those behind him.

Here’s an extract from the second edition:

'Jeremy Corbyn has been consistent over decades in his beliefs. He is an avowed far-left socialist and well-known for being so. He has always, since being elected as an MP, been something of a maverick, willing to buck the trend and go against the party line. Of itself that’s not necessarily a bad thing but he also has two big flaws; firstly, like many others in Politics, he has never held a real job in the real world and secondly, he has also shown demonstrative support for organisations like Hezbollah and HAMAS, organisations that set off bombs in crowded city centres, killing ordinary people.

Not only that but since Corbyn became leader, there has been a disturbing rise in Anti-Semitism, including towards those Labour MPs who happen to be Jewish. Corbyn has spoken against it but has he spoken strongly enough? There are increasing numbers who say not, including Jewish newspapers in the UK and, more significantly perhaps, long-standing members of the Labour party itself. Is Jeremy Corbyn an Anti-Semite? My own guess is no, he is not, but that said, he does have past associations with, and has spoken in support of, organisations whose aim is the destruction of Israel. Whether Corbyn is or is not Anti-Semitic, it remains the case that extremism has grown within the Labour party in recent times'.

Since the second edition of ‘Comments of a Common Man’ went to print, there has of course, been the rather extraordinary news of Corbyn attending the burial site of the perpetrators of the Munich Olympic Games terror attacks back in 1972.

There is pictorial evidence of Jeremy Corbyn at this burial site; he says that he was there in memory of all those killed (and by definition therefore, not just the terrorists). He has been quoted as saying, of this latest furore, that although he was there, ‘I don’t think I was involved in it’, when it came to the laying of wreaths on the graves of the terrorists. Yet in those photographs, he is shown carrying a wreath.

Surely he should know what he was or was not involved in?

Whatever one’s own views of Israel, one thing cannot be denied by anybody; it is simply wrong to put on a mask and kill people simply because of their faith, their country of origin or their skin colour or anything else. That is what the terrorists did in 1972, it is what terrorists did before then and it is what terrorists have done since.

Corbyn has criticised Israel for the Gaza Strip, which is in effect, a Palestinian enclave cut off from the rest of the world by Israel. Supplies of everything needed to stay alive in Gaza are controlled by Israel. Is Jeremy Corbyn right to criticise Israel for its control over Gaza? That is for you to consider but what he has not done is criticise HAMAS for firing rockets out of Gaza and at targets in Israel. Perhaps if he did, he might find himself thought of more evenly by those who criticise him now.

Which is the real question; as leader of the Labour Party and thus the one who would be Prime Minister of the UK should Labour win a general election while he is leader, is he fit to hold that office? Given his undeniable past support for terrorist organisations, is he even fit to be a member of the UK Parliament, an MP?

One really has to ask that question firstly of the local constituency association in London that selected him and carry on doing so, and then also of those living in that constituency who voted Labour and therefore gave Corbyn his job as an MP to begin with. And of course, continuing to vote for him when a general election comes along and thus keeping him as their MP.

Are there really that many people who condone terrorism living in Corbyn’s constituency? Or is that area so gripped by the extreme left that they can select no other possible candidate?

The same, or very similar, questions need to be asked of John McDonnell’s constituency to the west of London (and just north of Heathrow Airport). McDonnell has also voiced some support for terrorism in the past.

I have great misgivings about the Labour Party as it stands today and do so because of what has happened to it since Corbyn became the leader of it. Far-left extremism has taken over Labour and that it has is now undeniable – and it has to be said that any organisation takes its lead from those at the top of it. Except…is Jeremy Corbyn a ‘bad’ man? Is he really the one who sets that lead for others to follow?

I’m not sure that he is. There are numerous examples in the past of people who are sincere in their beliefs becoming leader of an organisation but find they become Leader almost in name only as real control is exerted by those behind them, most of whom are not elected to their positions, but are otherwise seen as vital in the scheme of things. Corbyn may thus fall into one of two categories; either he is very weak and doesn’t have the strength of character to condemn the excesses of those who follow him. Or…he is a very clever man, who knows fine well that he needs those who hide behind his name and the name of the Labour Party, to remain as leader.

In either case, it is now clear that Corbyn is not the saviour some believe and he not only must never become Prime Minister, he should not be an MP at all.

I do not criticise Jeremy Corbyn for his beliefs. He is entitled to hold them and to express them and I will defend his right to do so. I may not agree with him, but he has the right to hold his views. What he is not entitled to do however, is seek to impose them on others, which he is doing by the way in which he leads the Labour party.

What is also without doubt now is that until or unless the Labour Party takes control of itself back from the extremists that have seized it, regardless of who the party’s leader is, it should never again be elected to govern the United Kingdom.

You can read more on this and on other aspects of life in the UK today in ‘Comments of a Common Man’, available from Amazon at £12.99.

© Kevan James 2018.

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