The Corner

National Security & Defense

Know Corbyn by The Company He Keeps

As Charlie explained here, the nasty piece of work better known as Jeremy Corbyn, a creepy authoritarian  fanatic  man of principle with a revealing fondness (or is it just thrills by association) for the hard men, Chavez, Putin, an IRA comrade or two,  has just been elected the leader of Britain’s Labour Party. It’s unlikely that he will ever make it to 10 Downing Street, but it’s not impossible, something that ought to be of serious concern both to Brits and to the country’s allies abroad.

To get a sense of how just how deep into the sewer Corbyn is prepared to swim, check out this piece by the writer Howard Jacobson that was published in the Independent a week or so ago. Here’s an extract:

More serious in a politician riding the wave of a credulous revivalism to high office is a dogma-driven mind, a serene conviction of rectitude, and yes, bad judgement in the matter of the company he keeps. This latter charge, levelled at Corbyn on account of the bigots, deniers and exterminationists he hasn’t scrupled to appear with on platforms and at rallies, is often repudiated as guilt by association, as though it is self-evident that a person is never to be held responsible for those he just happens to go on finding himself standing next to, or perchance agreeing with.

But association with a certain order of person, when it is habitual, can be its own offence. “I am not a criminal but I seem to find myself frequently in criminal company” is a statement that evades more questions than it answers. Corbyn’s explanation for denying all knowledge of meeting a notorious advocate of terror and then recalling it when his advisers remembered the occasion for him – a leftist politician, he argued, couldn’t be expected to recall every radical with a murderous agenda he encountered – was a careless, not to say comical admission of the habituation I’m talking about. Mix less often with bombers and fanatics, Mr Corbyn, in places where bombers and fanatics are bound to congregate, and the ones you do meet might linger longer in your mind.

His justification for calling Hamas or the IRA his friends is that it’s only by talking that peace is achieved. This would be laudable were it not disingenuous. For much depends on what the “talking” comprises. Doubtless the British Government talked secretly to the IRA, but it wasn’t being chummy, or expressing sympathy with their aims, that brought them to the table. And if sweet-talking Hamas is to be forgiven for the results it might yield, then by the same logic Corbyn should be cosying up to Benjamin Netanyahu. In fact, the Stop the War Coalition, which Corbyn chairs, is pressing for Netanyahu to be arrested for war crimes when he visits Britain and, at the time of writing, Corbyn is listed to be among those demonstrating against the presence of the Israeli soccer team in Cardiff. To terrorists we speak, to footballers we don’t.

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