Jeremy Corbyn wouldn’t get my vote, by Jean Calder

(This is the complete text of my column published on 5th September 2015 in the Brighton Argus which was edited to remove the paragraph relating to Sinn Fein and the IRA)

I didn’t have a vote in the labour leadership election and I’m was glad of that. People assumed I’d want to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, but they were wrong.
I like Corbyn’s anti austerity agenda, his respect for unions and the public sector, his rejection of privatisation and Trident and his scepticism about the European Union. However, I have some serious doubts about him. 

Despite apparent support for women’s rights, other policy positions he’s taken put their rights at risk. He appears to have been a broken reed in the Islington child abuse scandal, when desperate whistle-blowers first sought his help. I believe the stance he takes now on aspects of foreign policy put human rights at risk.

Much of what Corbyn has said about the plight of Palestinians and the brutality of Israeli state forces and illegal settlers is absolutely true. However, in rightly expressing solidarity with the Palestinians, he has also made common cause with Islamists who have no interest in establishing a just and democratic state (certainly not one offering equality to women, homosexuals or Jews). They want a caliphate, a theocratic fascist dictatorship. 

Corbyn has said it’s important to “talk” to people like Hamas and has offered the Peace process in Northern Ireland as an example. However, facilitating negotiation between participants in conflict is different from sharing a platform and giving the appearance of uncritical support for individuals such as Raed Salah of Hamas who has repeated the ‘blood libel’ against Jews (that Jews use Christian children’s blood in rituals) and says it is un-islamic to support women’s equality. 

It’s also absurd to equate violent islamists with the IRA. The IRA and Sinn Fein were not fascist organisations. Both were committed to Irish re-unification and British withdrawal, but crucially also to the maintenance of a democratic, non-sectarian secular Irish state. They was not imperialistic or expansionist. Hamas, in contrast, fights for a world-wide caliphate.

I question Corbyn’s attitude to Isis. In 2014, Corbyn said of Isis. “Yes, they are brutal,”..… “Yes, some of what they have done is quite appalling, likewise what the Americans did in Fallujah and other places is appalling.” Furious commentators have focussed on his comments on Fallujah and whether he should have equated Isis’ brutality with that of the Americans, but my concern is rather different. 

I make no defence of US conduct of the Iraq war. I question why Corbyn uses this to deflect attention from Isis atrocities. Above all, I want to know why he said only “some” of what Isis had done was “quite appalling”. I’d like to know which of Isis’ activities Corbyn thinks are acceptable. I see none – just brutal occupation by a so-called state in which men buy and sell naked children into sex slavery in public markets, pray before they rape them, stone women, throw gay men from high buildings and execute subject peoples and those they consider apostates with mediaeval cruelty – while abroad, waging war on civilians. 

Corbyn says the rise of Isis has been assisted by American and UK foreign policy. He’s right, but it didn’t create ISIS and it doesn’t excuse it – any more than the Treaty of Versailles caused or excused the rise of nazi Germany.  

There are some political forces with which no just government can safely negotiate because they are just too violent and dangerous to humanity. Hitler’s Germany was one, Pol Pot’s Cambodia another. Isis’ caliphate is yet another. At some point Isis, and crucially the fascist theocratic ideology that drives it, will need to be fought and beaten – not contained as Corbyn suggests. 

9 Responses

  1. I can’t b long as I’m under sedation. I support Jeremy for all the reasons Jean Gave. I dont accept the child abuse ones from John mann MP I agree isl should b defeated not talked 2 but they r the West’s creation NATO supports Turkish attacks on Kurds. Hama’s is conservative not fascist raeed sallah does nots suppsupport blood libel. Jeremy is head. and shoulders above the rest. women r also refugees so r children women r hit by benefit cap

  2. The radical right is having a field day over the refugee issue which they ally to Islamisation and this creates a populist backlash. Jeremy Corbyn’s election won’t appeal to ukippers and the like so much as to educated red-greens fed up with austerity politics. It may play well in Brighton and Scotland(and thus help keep the UK together) but will lose in England where the centre disappeared or went to the Tories.
    Jeremy’s economic programme risks fuelling inflation which in turn is likely to lead to enforced austerity.It is all so reminiscent of Michael Foot.The point of politics is to achieve your intended effects through creating a majority coalition, not to be a purist permanent minority.

    • i forgot 2say re Isis. Jean says she questions Corbyn’s attitude towards them. I question hers. does she have the foggiest idea of how they originated or y they are growing stronger or who supports them today? think Turkey, Saudi, Israeli. ask why their purported opponent the USA supports Turkey’s war on Isis’s most effective opponent the Kurds then you might understand y JC linked in us atrocities with those of Isis.

  3. because of poor internet communications whilst trapped in hospital I can’t make a substantive response, having lost 2 already. I hope to comment at length when back home. so just2 brief points.
    On the day of JC’s victory Jean’s comments show how out of touch she now is with young people the victims of austerity and the tide of all those enthused with saying goodbye to New Labour. even if what she said about whoJC associates with were true it would b irrelevant. in fact Jean has bought in wholesale to the lies of the mail and new labour. she particularly owes Raed Salah an apology for accepting Zionist lies about the blood libel. these lies were REJECTED by the upper immigration tribunal when salah was freed after May had tried to deport him. I know as I was consulted by the defence and cited in oral submissions.
    zombie is just a parrot for new Labour. the same old tired neocon assertions. in fact the Right has not benefited from the refugee crisis. Cameron has been forced to back down and it is, irony of ironies, the working class ukippers who r most attracted to Corbyns anti-austerity message. thousands attended his rallies in northern cities.

  4. I’ve a couple of points to make regarding this rather ill-informed blog.

    Firstly you really must educate yourself as to where ISIS came from – they arose directly from US support for al-Qaeda (yes that one) in Iraq and from UK, US and Saudi attempts to destabilise Assad in Syria. US intelligence agencies warned specifically (and repeatedly) that a cross-border ‘Islamic State’ would very likely emerge if the US and her allies carried on with their ‘divide and rule’ policies, but they carried on regardless.

    These facts, which made front page news in Germany (but, surprise, surprise not here) have been corroborated by, amongst others, the ex-chief of the Pentagon’s Defence Intelligence Agency. Here’s a very good place to start with your reading:

    View at

    A little more ‘containment’ and a litt’e less intervention (as prescribed by Corbyn) wouldn’t have got us into this mess in the first place.

    As for your guilt by association criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn, I’m surprised that’s all the the media have been able to come up with – and in any case, what’s sauce for the goose….check out this link for a some noteworthy types who seem to be able to hang out with anti-semites and despots without to much media concern.

    • I agree with Adrian almost entirely. I’ve said the same about the real roots of Isis and where they came from to Jean but she doesn’t want to believe it. It certainly doesn’t affect the analysis!

      The USA is playing a very dirty role in Syria, hence the screams about what Russia is doing. The US is, in my opinion, more interested, as is Israel, in indefinitely prolonging the conflict than finding any resolution. Hence their and NATO’s deal with Turkey giving the latter the green light to attack the Kurdish PKK and by extension the Syrian PYG.

      Assad’s regime is horrendous but the West supported Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s strategy from the beginning – which was to arm and fund the most recalcitrant and barbaric Islamic elements rather than the secular opposition. As it is Isis is stronger now than when the Western bombing offensive began a year ago and some people are now suggesting that Briitain should now engage in bombing Isis in Syria.

      Isis by the way is mistakenly seen as some super Islamist organisation. This is not so. Its upper echelons are and were dominated by ex-Baathist officers who made a deal with the Islamist devil.

      One correction to the article you linked with. It says ‘But Corbyn’s associate Raed Salah also repudiated his use of the notorious anti-Semitic blood libel, which has made no difference to those damning Corbyn.’ In fact he never used the anti-Semitic blood libel. He referred to the Inquisition in Spain and its use of children’s blood. This was accepted by the Jerusalem Magistrtes Coiurt which acquitted him of this charge but the State appealed to the Jerusalem District Court which reinstated it.

      More to the point, far more outrageous genocidal statements by government ministers and assorted Zionists are never ever punished.

    • Interesting articles on the reality of the situation in Syria and with Isis from Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn

      Syria – The Choice is Between the Bad and Far Worse – Assad or Isis
      Syria’s ‘Moderates’ Have Disappeared… and There Are No Good Guys

      also horrifying videos of a Palestinian teenager chased by a Jewish lynch mob in Jerusalem who is then executed by the Police

    • I recommend 2 article on Isis that deconstructs the Western narrative on Isis. The reaction to the Western bombing also demonstrates that far from opposing Jihadi groups in Syria the US has been supporting them in particular the al-Nusra al-Qaeda group and its affiliates.
      Questions You Aren’t Supposed To Ask About ISIS: #1 – Those Toyota Trucks

      Syria: Russian Intervention Exposes Coalition Lies. “The Terrorists R US”

      Hopefully Jean’s illusions in the West’s intentions might be put to rest?

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