Corbyn’s comments on the IRA are being scandalously overplayed – but he needs to get this behind him

by Kevin Meagher

What on earth does Jeremy Corbyn think he’s doing? Claiming Sinn Fein showed ‘courage in abundance’ and that Martin McGuinness made an ‘essential and historic contribution’ to peace in Northern Ireland? Does he not understand how that goes down with voters?

Of course Corbyn paid neither compliment. Tony Blair made the first remark and Theresa May the second. The very same people Corbyn is vilified for speaking to when it was unfashionable to do so are exactly the same people lauded by statesman today. C’est la vie.

Corbyn’s interview with Sophy Ridge on Sky News on Sunday, in which she repeatedly asked him to condemn the IRA’s bombing campaign, was glib and tried to create a hierarchy of victims. Were those killed by loyalists less important? Or those killed by British Forces? By singling out the IRA’s killings,Sky News appears to think so.

As the New Statesman’s Jonn Elledge has already pointed out, Corbyn did answered Ridge’s question perfectly reasonably (‘I condemn all the bombing by both the loyalists and the IRA’).

Indeed, it was all the more remiss to raise it as last week saw the 43rd anniversary of bombings inDublin and Monaghan which killed 33 people in the Irish Republic – the troubles’ single biggest loss of life. Loyalists admitted the attacks, but the suspicion remains that British state assets colluded with them.

All of which is to say this is complex stuff. Yet given Ridge has just a quarter of the audience of ITV’sPeston on Sunday show, a degree of media hyperbole on these issues is probably inevitable. (Especially when ‘event moments’ from an otherwise run-of-the-mill interview play well on catch-up media).

Of course, it’s fairly disastrous retail politics for the Labour leader to become embroiled in semantic rows about whether his disavowal of the IRA was fulsome enough midway through a general election campaign.

Yet it’s clear this attack line was always coming. The busy bees in the Conservative Research Department and their friends in the right-wing media were always going to see to that.

However, there’s a sense that the public has already priced-in what it thinks of Corbyn and his associations with radical politics and I’d be surprised if this latest hullabaloo has a significant effect on the polls.

With their big personality attack on Corbyn launched we await to see if it has the desired effect. If not, what else have the Tories got left to throw at Jezza?

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut

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11 Responses to “Corbyn’s comments on the IRA are being scandalously overplayed – but he needs to get this behind him”

  1. Tafia says:

    Personally, with what has just happened in Manchester, I think the photos of Corbyn with Adams and McGuiness (while they were sill active terrorists), along with photos of him with leading lights from Hamas etc are going to be the undoing of Labour’s campaign.

    The likes of the Sun, The Star, The Daily Mail, The Express and The Telegraph are goinfg to have a field day once the initial shock of this latest outrage dulls a little.

    Msy has just had her bad week – I think Corbyn’s will be starting later ths week.

  2. John P Reid says:

    Condemning bombings swing condemning all the killings what about those shot, stabbed ,beat or lynched,

  3. A Williams says:

    Blair and May praised the IRA for putting down the gun and bomb, Corbyn and McDonald stood with them while using the gun and bomb. They were not interested in progressing the peace process, they wanted an IRA victory over the British State and the bloodshed was the accepted price.

  4. ad says:

    IRA terrorist-turned-informer O’Callaghan, a convicted double killer, said he witnessed the impact of the support from the Labour figures during the 1980s.

    Writing in The Sun he said: “IRA men and women, many young and hopelessly politically naive, derived great encouragement from the solidarity openly displayed by Corbyn, McDonnell and their associates.

    “I know. I was there. I witnessed the effect.

    “They might not have pulled a trigger or planted a bomb but they certainly made it easier for those who did.

    “By boosting our morale, they prolonged the violence and without a doubt for that, have blood on their own hands.”

  5. @Most of Corbyn’s younger admirers have little memory or knowledge of ‘the Troubles’ Lots of unknown people contributed to the peace process behind the scenes but are not credited with it. On the doorstep my response to a question of this kind would be “well, they are not killing each other on the streets of Northern Ireland any more are they”? Corbyn played his part in that and thank the stars that he, and others, did.

  6. Tony says:

    Good to see Chuka Umunna condemn Theresa Villier’s repetition of BBC lies about Corbyn on the “Daily Politics” yesterday.

  7. John P Reid says:

    Gerard what part did Corbyn play in it, h didn’t denounce their shootings ,praised the IRA not ngociated with them, didn’t do anything to consult loyalists, and voted against the Anglo Irish agreement, and his actions were supporting the

    Tony the on,y lie I heard On the daily politics was Chuka saying Corbyn had denounced violence, not
    He didn’t he said he doenounced bombing and wanted peace,but he didn’t denounce shootings, wanting leave he should have denounced shootings, he was given the chance didn’t many times,

  8. Guy Atherton says:

    Corbyn is rightly being attacked. The IRA is not equivalent to the British Army. The British Army has not tried to kill an elected leader, unlike the IRA. Loyalists didn’t try to kill the Irish leader either. The IRA is worse and there is a victim heirarchy. Labour are happy to have a political correctness hierarchy.

  9. Delta says:

    Well no they are not because there is a deeper issue occurring here. Corbyn represents an ideology that has continually failed wherever it has been practised. He spent his years looking overseas to a Nirvana that never existed for people.
    It was all too easy while staring at what he perceived would be a better political to seek ways to undermine and weaken the systems that he hated. No because of the inherit material inequalities – they were just a means to an end to gain the support he and his ruthless allies would need. But the system that would never permit him and his cronies in their puritanical narrow perceptions to realise their personal ambitions.
    Surrounded with people who would never permit their own children to have to live as the cattle do Corbyn would align himself with forces that could destabilise our system that he hates.

    These people almost murdered a British Prime Minister and the reality is that Corbyn has in his choice of allies in supporting this “fight” against our institutions and our choice of Leader hates democracy and defies the judgement of people or cattle as he sees them as they gather in nameless crowds to him.

    This has been further proven that even before he seeks power his first aim is to take money from an individual of dubious extreme political origins to silence and control the free press because he cannot accept that the cattle are smarter than he is (which they are) in choosing not to by the Left wing Press that sells less than that of the centre and the right. Any dissenters even those that are balanced and say both “yes” and “no” to him are noted and “biased”.

    So Corbyns alliance with the IRA in supporting them is very telling especially when they almost kill the leader of his political opposition. Father Christmas he ‘aint.

  10. Andy Leighton says:

    “However, there’s a sense that the public has already priced-in what it thinks of Corbyn and his associations with radical politics and I’d be surprised if this latest hullabaloo has a significant effect on the polls.”

    This is absolutely true…then you consider what would be required to shift the polls; after all the jaw dropping revelations we’ve already heard about Corbyn, Abbott and Co.
    Devil worship?
    How far have Labour sunk that its core cadre are, rightly, regarded as Woolfie Smith terrorist wannabes?

  11. Paul says:

    1. The main issue is not who he condemned, but what he supported and helped and sustained.

    I don’t care if Mr Corbyn condemned loyalist terrorists. I care about his less than ambivalent attitude to terrorism.

    I accept that you can’t start to solve a problem if you do not understand where people arecoming from. But Mr Corbyn went further.

    What saddens me is that Kevin is right. Its already been factored in, but I think the truth is, people don’t care.

    “Politicians who supported terrorist violence in the past, and condemn it when it happens now, just expect us to be too polite and diplomatic to point out their hypocrisy.

    At the very least, they should answer why the violence which they backed is any less reprehensible, because you can’t take the credit for moving away from violence without also accepting it was wrong in the first place.

    Why keep bringing this up? That’s what some people will say, frustrated that those who suffered at the hands of terrorists in Northern Ireland won’t conveniently shut up and let those who supported it then, and continue to justify it in retrospect, reap the electoral benefits of joining the chorus of condemnation.

    It’s because of a suspicion that they’re not being honest, and not saying what they really think.

    The same goes for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who cosied up to Sinn Fein for decades, and now fervidly rewrites history to make it seem as if he was a behind-the-scenes negotiator for peace.

    It also goes for Dianne Abbott, who’s lined up to take charge of tackling terrorism as Home Secretary in any Labour government after June 8, who once hailed the fight for Irish unity as “our struggle”, saying “every defeat for the British state is a victory for us all.”

    Like Adams and O’Neill, they cry foul when their past words are thrown back at them, as if it’s unfair to expect them to either withdraw or stand over them.

    What really goads them is that they can’t. It’s their own words that are the problem, not the fact others refuse to forget.

    “When you’re in a war situation, I’m not saying ethics are put on hold, but I think you have a different template.” That’s what Pat Sheehan once said.

    Those who bombed Manchester this week, 21 years after the IRA set the same example, would totally agree.”

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