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“Because of the bravery of the IRA and people like Bobby Sands we now have a peace process”

The new Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has apologised for his 2003 remark that “It’s about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table.”

In the Daily Mirror, ‘Fleet Street Fox’ pours scorn on McDonnell’s apology, particularly on McDonnell’s claim that he only said these things in order to shore up the then-faltering peace process in Northern Ireland. (The title quote about the peace process comes from further comments he made in an effort to smooth over the controversy caused by his earlier remarks.) To praise the efficacy of “bombs and bullets” seems an odd way of waging peace, but when you are a man with McDonnell’s hitherto unsuspected influence on negotiations in which he played no part, perhaps an appearance of oddity is merely the equivalent of Clark Kent’s dorky glasses. There is a Twitter hashtag #McDonnellFacts recording Shadowchancellorman’s other thrilling deeds, all made under cover of his alternate identity as a mild-mannered fringe politician.

Me, I just admire the sheer anti-gravitic effrontery of the quote that makes the title of this post. In The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defined chutzpah as “that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan”.

15 comments to “Because of the bravery of the IRA and people like Bobby Sands we now have a peace process”

  • Niall Kilmartin

    A retired barrister once described the occasion long ago in court when a fellow barrister, defending a burglar, had to “make bricks without straw”, as he put it. He described the grizzled elderly career criminal in the dock as an orphan. “Oh come now”, remarked the equally elderly judge. “If it comes to that, I’m an orphan myself”. “And I hope, my lord”, instantly replied the barrister in calm sonorous tones, “that if you were ever in the unhappy position of my client, due account would be taken of that unfortunate fact.” At this, the cynical, bored criminal in the dock gave his barrister, “a look of undisguised respect” at the latter’s chutzpah.

    One wonders if the IRA ‘respect’ McDonnell or see him as a ‘useful idiot.

  • JohnW

    Please, God, look after Jeremy Corbyn…he’s the gift that keeps on giving!

  • John Galt III

    The West is committing autogenocide: Obama, Corbyn, and others are just the leaders in this movement. They know exactly what they are doing.

    The left runs the government agencies, the schools and colleges, media, films, music, publishing and so forth. They are all useful idiots, but then the useful idiots have no clue how this will all end up and think they will not be hurt at all. Obama and Corbyn think they know how it ends though. They are the true believers of Eric Hoffer.

  • JohnK

    John McDonnell’s “apology” was a typical political non-apology apology. He didn’t apologise because what he did was wrong and he was sorry for it. He apologised because what he did was right, and he was sorry that some people were too stupid to appreciate his genius. Vile little toad.

  • Regional

    So a son who kills his parents is entitled to special consideration as an orphan. By the way I’m 65 and an orphan.

  • Deep Lurker

    They know exactly what they are doing.

    I’m not sure which possibility is more frightening: That Obama, Corbyn, et. al. do know what they are doing, or that they don’t know what they are doing.

    (Or as Eric S. Raymond put it, that they’re “pathetic memebots running the program of a dead tyrant”)

  • Paul Marks

    Exactly Natalie – John McDonnell and Jeremy Corby……


    It is a very simple point – but many people still do not seem to understand it.

    John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn are not people who make silly mistakes in what they say.

    They are evil.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    For general interest, here is an article McDonnell wrote for the Guardian in 2003 in an effort to explain himself:

    Why I stood up for Bobby Sands.

    In it he says some things that appear to condemn terrorism, and he may even have perceived as condemning terrorism, but he always includes a get-out clause. “I abhor the killing of innocent human beings” (Left open: who is innocent? And one can abhor something and still think it necessary). “Above all else, republicans need to accept that the time for violence has gone.” (Implying that there was a good time for violence before now).

    “And without the armed struggle of the IRA over the past 30 years, the Good Friday agreement would not have acknowledged the legitimacy of the aspirations of many Irish people for a united Ireland. And without that acknowledgment we would have no peace process.”

    The claim that before the Good Friday Agreement the desire for a united Ireland was not acknowledged as legitimate is false, and McDonnell must know that. Throughout my childhood and his young manhood the party most Catholics in Northern Ireland voted for was the peaceful, constitutional, Irish Nationalist SDLP.

    Decades before the Good Friday Agreement the British government had not just acknowledged the political legitimacy of aspiring to a united Ireland, but had flatly stated that it would come about if ever a majority of the people of Northern Ireland voted for it. In the 1985 Anglo-Irish agreement both the Irish and British governments formally confirmed that both governments subscribed to the principle that any change in Northern Ireland’s status would only come about by consent of its people. That’s “confirmed”, not “introduced the idea”. The Agreement was an important diplomatic development, but the “principle of consent” was already accepted by everybody except… well, everybody except those who wanted to change its status by violent force and to hell with getting consent. That is, the Provisional IRA*, its even more violent splinter groups, and its radical chic fanboys like McDonnell.

    *The Loyalist/Protestant paramilitaries were equally brutal but they didn’t want to change the status of Northern Ireland. Not out of respect for the principle of consent but because it already was what they wanted it to be.

  • AndrewWS

    Hmmm. So is the Mirror’s long-standing support for Labour going to evaporate?

  • JohnW

    Everyone’s support for Labour is evaporating. I just hope that Corbyn can last till 2020 before New Labour regroup and stage a leadership coup.

  • John Mann

    It is a very simple point – but many people still do not seem to understand it.

    John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn are not people who make silly mistakes in what they say.

    They are evil.”

    Paul, I think the problem is that a lot of people out there are still uncertain about the respective merits of good and evil.

  • bloke in spain

    From a more Revolutionary Libertarian point of view, it’s hard to condemn McDonnell. I’d look forward to praising the bombers of socialists/conservatives & be celebrating the death toll. Only regretting the inability to get more of the bastards whilst we had the chance.

  • JohnW

    You do know that Corbyn has appointed a convicted arsonist to the front bench?

  • John Mann

    I remember the Watson arson case well. (In fact, I used to live near the Prestonfield House Hotel.) I had completely forgotten about the case, and Mike Watson, until I heard about his appointment to the shadow cabinet.

    Apparently there were some in the Labour Party who was not happy when he was reinstated as a party member in 2012: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/labour-blasted-after-firebug-peer-1444710

  • JohnW

    ‘Treat meat eaters like smokers,’ declares Corbyn’s farming minister.