The refreshing candour of John McDonnell

September 18, 2015 at 6:07 am (BBC, Ireland, Jim D, labour party, reformism, republicanism)

“What I tried to do for both sides is to give them a way out with some form of dignity otherwise they wouldn’t lay their arms down.

“And can I just say this, because this has been raised with me time and time again – I accept it was a mistake to use those words, but actually if it contributed towards saving one life, or preventing someone else being maimed it was worth doing, because we did hold on to the peace process.

“There was a real risk of the republican movement splitting and some of them continuing the armed process. If I gave offence, and I clearly have, from the bottom of my heart I apologise, I apologise.”

McDonnell was honest, straightforward and (I thought) convincing on last night’s Question Time. In stark contrast to his boss in July, when asked perfectly reasonable questions about his warm words towards Hamas and Hezbollah:


  1. Jim Denham said,

    • kb72 said,

      Islamists love the idea of Corbyn. The comment below the piece you link to said it for me:-

      “I can only imagine him being completely against the latest “tougher” stance on extremism, and siding with groups like CAGE. Don’t forget that he spoke at a rally in 2006, which was demonstrating against the Danish cartoons being drawn (not against the killings that occurred). He said something along the lines of “we demand that we respect each other’s faiths.” Well, if you count secular freedoms as “faith” in terms of them being sacrosanct, he was effectively arguing (demanding) that those freedoms “respect” religious blasphemy laws by backing down. That, I reckon, is the direction he would take. “

      It’s not Corbyn’s foreign “policy” that is such a problem. It’s how it translates into domestic policy. I can see him being stupidly inter-faithy, not getting advice from the likes of Maajid Nawaz on how to tackle jihadism but instead following the CAGE, Muslim Brotherhood line in the root cause, foreign policy crap you get from Seumas Milne and using a Muslim Brotherhood site., the Middle East Eye as respectable source.

      I note the 5 Pillars Islamist site finds Jeremy Corbyn the great Muslim hope:-

      “More than anything else, in the eyes of British Muslims, Corbyn may be the one politician who might talk some sense about extremism, terrorism and foreign policy. To British Muslims, Corbyn appears to be the floating, buoyant lifebuoy in the near distance water that is needed to keep afloat the drowning community. Burdened by the onslaught of the ‘thought police’ being prepared as part of the new extremist and counter extremist five-year policy. The one where ‘Penguin’ says we have got to be more ‘intolerance to tolerance’. !.

      Corbyn’s vociferous challenge to Channel 4’s questioning about his reference to Hezbollah and Hamas as ‘friend,’ signals the danger of trying to navigate through foreign policy issues in the light of a strong world Zionist lobby which stifle debate and vilify those who attempting to engage into dialogue with the perceived ‘enemy’. “

      So what you see as embarrassing obfuscation and losing his temper under hard questioning is a “vociferous challenge”.

  2. Glasgow Working Class said,

    Corbyn and McDonnell are simmit and drawers. Too late to apologise no one will believe him.

  3. Political tourist said,

    Why apologise to the fash, bigots and Daily Mail brigade.
    Dreadful to watch.

    • Lamia said,

      You can think that McDonell should not have apologised. You are deluded if you think only ‘the fash, bigots and Daily Mail brigade’ would find his original words objectionable (unless you think that a sizeable majority of the population ARE ‘the fash, bigots and Daily Mail brigade’, in which case you are electorally scuppered anyway).

      This is a recurrent problem for Corbynistas, and an old problem for the hard left and far left generally. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, they seem convinced that deep down most people secretly agree with them.

      If someone doesn’t fancy you, it may be that they are not in fact being superficial or brainwashed – it could very well be that you are genuinely unattractive. See if you can consider that possibility. Don’t do it for more than about a couple of seconds, though – your head will probably explode.

  4. Conduit said,

    Tres drole.

    If this is serious please highlight the absence of sarc tags.

    Bearing in mind that by the time of McDonnell uttering his original Citizen Smith platitudes the peace process was well, well under way and nothing he would have said as a posturing pseudoTrot from the sidelines would have made one iota of difference.


  5. Glasgow Working Class said,

    Had to laugh at McDonnell claiming he contributed to the peace process. The Fascist PIRA needed a bailout and were given it. The British could fight on for decades and take the losses.

  6. kb72 said,

    “McDonnell will never now escape what he said in 2003. On Question Time he expressed not so much the remorse of a man who had offended people more someone who regretted that this had all come back to bite him. It should be noted that he did not retract what he had said in 2003, he merely accepted and apologised that his comments had caused offence.

    The inconvenient truth for Jeremy Corbyn is that we, of course, know why he hung up on Stephen Nolan and we know why it took John McDonnell 13 years to offer such a risible, caveated apology.

    It is because they wanted the IRA to win.

    Their pious homilies to the peace process will not wash with anyone. Their commitment to a united Ireland was total. The relationships they invested in for decades were with terrorists organisations not democratic nationalist parties.”

    “Corbyn and McDonnell had nothing to do with the peace process. Not a single person involved in the negotiations that led to the Belfast agreement has come forward to support McDonnell’s assertion that he played an active role. No historic accounts of the process include them. Corbyn and McDonnell were partisans. They were irrelevant bystanders. McDonnell’s abject attempt to suggest that he was acting as a peacemaker remains almost as insulting as the remarks that prompted the forced apology.”

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