In defence of Jeremy Corbyn

Naive he may be, but he’s consistent – and at least he’s thinking about the future

28 November 2015

9:00 AM

28 November 2015

9:00 AM

What strange people we Brits are. We spend years moaning that our politicians are cynical opportunists who don’t stand for anything. Then along comes an opposition leader who has principles — and appears to stick by them even when it makes him unpopular — and he is dismissed as a joke.

Jeremy Corbyn has been ridiculed in recent days for the feebleness of his foreign policy. It is widely agreed that his positions on terrorism and Isis show how unelectable and useless he is. At the same time, we say he is a grave threat to national security.

But what has Corbyn said that is so stupid or dangerous? In the wake of the attacks in Paris, he declared that Britain ‘must not be drawn into responses that feed the cycle of violence and hate’. He has urged his country not to ‘keep making the same mistakes’ in the Middle East, something he has been saying for decades. ‘Enthusiasm for interventions has only multiplied the threats to us,’ he says, not unreasonably. He has said he will not support airstrikes in Syria unless it is clear that military action will help us achieve our strategic objective of defeating Isis.

If you look at Corbyn’s actual words — rather than the Twitter feeds of the organisations he is affiliated with or the outbursts of his crazy fans — his response to the difficult and frightening problem of terrorism has been sensible, cautious and moral. Like a good Christian, he thinks violence should be a last resort, as he showed with his reluctance to embrace a ‘shoot to kill’ policy for security services in Britain, and his statement that it would have been ‘far better’ for the serial beheader Mohammed Emwazi (‘Jihadi John’) to have been tried in court rather than taken out by drones.

Ah, say Corbyn’s critics, but he is equivocating. As Nick Cohen and Charles Moore argued in the magazine last week, Corbyn and the radical left are not anti-violence but anti-West. They have to stop themselves from saying what they really think, which is that we privileged Europeans deserve to be terrorised, because to do so would be political suicide. They therefore adapt their language or speak in code.

It is true that the Corbynistas’ view of the world is as Manichean as George W. Bush’s — only where Bush saw bad they see good, and vice-versa. It is also true, probably, that Corbyn and his closest allies change their language in public to sound less offensive to the majority, while still dog-whistling to their radical fans. But all politicians do that. And while Corbyn’s language may at times be slippery, in his politics he has remained almost shockingly steadfast.

How easy it would have been for him to have added his voice to the general whooping at the death of Emwazi. Or to have said that any wannabe terrorist can expect to be obliterated by our security services wherever they are found. But he hasn’t. Despite intense pressure to echo the majority view, Corbyn has more or less stuck to the non–violent positions that he has always held. Even the most belligerent Tory must admit that takes courage, even if it is politically naive.

Compare Corbyn’s foreign policy with David Cameron’s and the Labour leader begins to look downright noble. Cameron, remember, used to present himself as an alternative to war-on-terror zealots. As leader of the opposition, he used to say that liberty ‘cannot be dropped from the air by an unmanned drone’. As Prime Minister, however, he has been banging away on the war drum, trying to persuade the public to sing along.

It was Cameron who, along with Sarkozy, led the charge to attack Libya and remove Gaddafi. That intervention ended the rule of a nasty dictator, but it also created a failed state, another dangerous ‘ungoverned space’ through which migrants now pour in their millions en route to Europe. Libya has become both a handy training ground for jihadis and a springboard for them to launch into the West. But the Cameroons have never admitted to their failure.

It becomes clearer with every crisis that Cameron makes up his foreign policy as he goes along. This week his aides have been pompously telling MPs to ‘be Churchill not Chamberlain’ in the face of the terror threat. Cameron hopes that the prevailing mood of fear and loathing about Isis will mean he can persuade Parliament to bomb Syria. Except we all know that two years ago, Cameron wanted to bomb Isis’s great enemy, President Assad, which would have been a tremendous boon to Islamist scumbags across the region.

You might argue that such a dramatic volte-face is the sign of a true leader — someone willing to accept when he is wrong. Except that Cameron and his gang have never admitted they were wrong. George Osborne maintains that Parliament’s rejection of the move against Assad in 2013 was ‘one of the worst decisions the House of Commons has ever made’.

We all wish Isis gone, but the new plan to bomb Syria is as little thought-through as the last one. There’s no evidence that more air strikes (without troops on the ground) will bring peace to Syria and Iraq. To succeed, objectives and a strategy are needed, both of which the Cameroons lack. Jeremy Corbyn is mocked for calling for a ‘negotiated settlement’ with Assad and other parties in the conflict — how wet! — but at least he is trying to think about the future. Cameron’s Syria plan is to get himself worked up, throw a few more bombs at the baddies, and hope for the best. We have to ask: which leader is the more deluded?

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Freddy Gray is deputy editor of The Spectator.

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Show comments
  • An article in the Speccy with which I agree 100%. It has happened before, but pleased to acknowledge this one! Well written, focused and true. Well said Freddy Gray.

  • Steve Walker

    To sum up this article: Despite the utter bafoonery and moral cowardice of Jeremy Corbyn, he should be congratulated for sticking to his ‘principles’.

    As much as I’d love to shower him with praise, if his only merit is to be consistent, whether that be in his severe loathing of the West or the tacit refusal to consider any policy which doesn’t involve bombarding his Islamist pals with warm hugs and friendship bracelets, then I’ll take the pro-active inconsistencies of Cameron any day.

    • keggsie

      So you would press the button and kill us all. I’m sure all humanity will thank you for that. Now who is the REAL buffoon.

      Corbyn is a threat. The article writer knows this and all the Tory party know this. Which is exactly why they are doing their best to vilify him. As for so called New Labour people they are scared that they will lose their seat and cushy job.

      • Steve Walker

        Leaving aside the obvious contradiction of your first two sentences – how could ‘all humanity’ thank me for anything if I’ve just wiped it out? – that your understanding of military intervention in Syria amounts to ‘pressing a button’ is, I’m sure unintentionally on your part, a damning indictment of your and indeed the Left’s frightening inability to entertain the prospect of force without resorting to hyperbole.

        Only a blindly devoted comrade to the cause would refer to the (entirely justified) vilification of Corbyn as the byproduct of a Tory smear campaign, rather than the inevitable resulting backlash against a man who has spent his entire career allying himself with some of the most vile individuals and organisations on the planet.

        • zimzalabim87

          The first two sentences were clearly rhetorical device, interesting that you missed this given that your own comments are full of them. You then go on to make accusations of hyperbole, again interesting given that you rely on it in your own vitriolic comments. You appear to believe that Keggsie is a synecdoche for the Left, falsely. Stating opinions as facts… etc.

          • Steve Walker

            No, merely that he is a supporter of the left, which I have no reason to doubt having viewed his previous comments on topics other than this one. I suspect you are aware of this but wished to use the word synecdoche to demonstrate your linguistic prowess.

          • zimzalabim87

            “I’m sure unintentionally on your part, a damning indictment of your and indeed the Left’s…” You make a non sequitur from the individual to the collective; a false assumption that the views of an individual represent the views of the whole, which is fallacious.

            As to my choice of wording (which is wholly irrelevant from the matter at hand, as I suspect you are aware), I prefer to use the right tool for the job. ‘Synecdoche’ is the term most appropriate to describe the language that you used so I used it.

          • Steve Walker

            The choice of wording is indeed wholly irrelevant; why then are you so preoccupied with it? I made a generalisation about the left based on the views of an individual who identifies with the left precisely because the views of Corbyn et al best match his own. Fallacious perhaps, but hardly without merit and certainly not so unfounded that it requires such a level of analysis as to detract from the original post (as I suspect you too are aware).

          • zimzalabim87

            It was you that brought up the wording, not me. I was the one who said it was irrelevant. I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of your criticisms and the fallacies that you were falling into.

            Generalisations are often fraught with errors, as are assumptions and presumptions, best to avoid them and stick to the facts.

            I’m not sure how you’ve come to the conclusion that a fallacious statement can have merit. A fallacious statement absolutely detracts from an argument. An argument based on a fallacy; it is at best sophistic rhetoric, at worst ignorant ranting – neither of which have any place in a rational discussion.

          • keggsie

            Exactly although he is right about one thing – I am on the left. The reality is like all his ilk he is terrified of Corby (a) actually being right and (b) proving an effective leader (which he beginning to be, and (c) he leads the Labour Party to victory.

          • RuariJM

            “Proving an effective leader (which he is beginning to be)”

            In what reality is that happening?

            Rule one of leadership: don’t split the party. He is struggling with that one.

        • keggsie

          There is no contradiction Cameron would be willing to press the button if he thought it would him and his party any good. BTW do you actually have any idea of how a nuclear explosion works.

          It is normal Tory practice to vilify people they perceive as a threat. IF you don’t know that you don’t understand your own party.

          As for aligning himself with people you call vile how many ‘vile countries has Cameron been selling arms to – Saudi Arabia springs to min. How many vile dictators has you beloved party aligned itself with – Chile’s Pinochet who your beloved Margaret called a friend. A man who overthrew a democratically elected president then herded thousands of people into the Santiago football stadium and massacred them not to mention the thousands that disappeared.

          And you obviously have forgotten the vile terrorists your Tory gvt as well as past Labour gvts have negotiated with – the IRA for starters.

          If you call nearly trebling the membership of the Labour Party as a backlash then I’d suggest educating yourself.

          You like the rest of Tory vermin that inhabit this nation are fearful. That’s the trth of the matter. And you know it.

          • picolax

            delusion: a fixed false belief unable to be altered by rational argument or fact

            says it all about that contributor really.

          • Steve Walker

            I would take the time to offer a point by point critique of the many errors in your reply but it seems that short of a show trial, there is little I or my fellow eleven million Tory-voting vermin brethren can do to dissuade you from the great cause. Onwards comrade!

          • keggsie

            Go on. We could all do with a laugh.

            BTW I said Tory vermin not 11 million Tory-voting vermin. People who are fooled by Tory rhetoric are just that – fools, and not vermin. Those, like you who choose to believe your own propaganda are vermin. Aneurin Bevan once called people like you less than vermin. For my part vermin is adequate.

            I notice you use the oft-Tory response comrade when you have little to offer. Isn’t it funny how a simple 2 syllable word, which simply means friend, can be used as an insult. Even a cat wouldn’t call a rat comrade. But the word vermin when applied to Tories actually has quite a few meanings. Just thought I’d throw that in.

            Thank you incidentally recognising that I have made a mark and noticing I am on the left.

            Just a question how much did the Tory party increase its membership by when the crawled back to power some would say by scurrilous means but I’ll let that go?

            Labour’s membership continues to grow substantially with Corbyn as leader.

            The only backlash (re you first post) that will occur is when people realise the lies spouted by Osborne et al are finally realised by an awaked public.

      • UKSteve

        Hilariously stupid.

        No-one will ever use nuclear weapons, and their entire value – in tens of billions of £’s – lies in the brinkmanship and deterrence by possession.

        That you don’t realise this is no surprise whatever. You type the most immature drivel, yet insult posters gratuitously and out-of-the-blue, where you’ve posted nothing.

        That the ‘modern-day Michael Foot’ (with the dress sense, but without the patriotism, charisma or oratorical skill) doesn’t is absolutely catastrophic, which, as we see, is under serious review.

    • sebantvale

      pro-active and inconsistent meaning populist and reactionary, and endangering long term stability and peace making. Corbyn is quite simply a grown up and critical thinking politician, who weighs everything and comes to balanced realistic and yes sometimes very unpopular decisions, we should be so lucky to have him as PM! esp with the ignorant people in this country who treat politics like soap operas. Because Corbyn doesnt have a tantrum and get angry and bomb everyone at once he cant be trusted on defense? what a complete joke!

      • keggsie

        Which is why the Tories fear him in reality. Those who fear generally resort to vilifying. When this doesn’t work they attack the individual personally and those around him or her. Then they try to stop them. In the end these vilifiers lose. And the Tories WILL lose.

      • Steve Walker

        My apologies, I wasn’t aware the only two choices available are to either bomb everyone at once or avoid any military action whatsoever. Thank you for so brilliantly illustrating the left’s infantile need to resort to false dichotomies.

        I think you’ll find the reasons he can’t be trusted on defence are far more pressing and indeed far more numerous than the superficial argument that he doesn’t resort to violence. Indeed, given that he favours disarmament of both our nuclear deterrent and our military as a whole, to suggest that his defence policy is anything other than dangerous, irresponsible and wholly inadequate is baffling, to say the least.

        • Perpetua1

          Nuclear disarmament, yes, but Corbyn has argued for well-resourced conventional forces in its place. He may be a pacifist himself, but he knows a country must be defended.

        • sebantvale

          Bombing towns and villages are on the table, there will be civilian deaths. But more than that its strategically counter productive to the goal. Bombing the terrorists will be their next big recruitment drive and just
          expand their appeal to those on the edge of joining right now but still
          resisting. Only a cruel or ignorant world argues that an ideology that is anti west and anti democratic and one that is driven by violence can be solved by yet more violence and with the same tools are the terror, fight terror with terror right? Yeah, what a success that was for Bush! The military industrial complex and war mongering money machine is driving this too, bigger budgets and tax payer money given to that industry. How did military action solve the war on terror, someone please tell me the day that occured, hasn’t the war on terror expanded everytime we took action? Not one country or dictator we bombed led to a more peaceful country, not one, since this war on terror started. Noone is learning the lessons, Corbyn stood against Iraq, against Libya, proven right over and over, his track record and outcome of his ‘peacemaking’ ideology’ is proven and consistent, and he will be right about this too, if they go in there will be blowback and we will see it before the next election. In fact I predict if they go in and he stays as leader that track record and acknowledgement that he was yet again right not to meddle, will help him win labour in 2020.

    • keggsie

      Define moral cowardice by the way. I’ve never met a Tory yet who possesses either ethics or morals which incidentally mean the same thing.

      • UKSteve

        “….either ethics or morals which incidentally mean the same thing.”

        Absolutely hilarious. Another dictionary-free household.

        • keggsie

          So says another ill-educated Tory. The word ethics has its root in Greek meaning, guess what? Morals. The word moral has its roots in Latin meaning guess what – morals.

          Expensive education really is wasted on thick people. Keep reading the Sun. It’s evidently your intellectual level.

          • UKSteve

            Firstly, please change your avatar, as your industrial-strength imbecility is enough of an insult to English speakers everywhere – the French don’t deserve it.

            If you think ‘ethics ‘and ‘morals’ are synonymous, you are even more stupid than your childish ‘style’ of posting implies. I can cite several academic but accessible works on both ethics and morals, and philosophy wasn’t even my first degree. But as you are clearly in the double-digit IQ range, it would be like suggesting a book on nuclear reactors to a farmyard animal. And that obviously goes for your clueless up-voters.

            Now, back to your Lego or whatever so that adults can discourse…

    • Craig Forshaw

      He doesn’t loath the west, he loathes the way it has allowed itself to be perverted by capitalists and lunatics both within and without it. Further, he is a politician who thinks diplomacy should probably come first, and that we shouldn’t resort to just doing the same things that got us into this mess over and over because the PMCs in the states want their share price to rise before Christmas and Hollande is terrified of looking weak. Finally, ISIS have been being bombed for ages now, and the Paris attacks still happened. There are loads of innocent people in Syria and Iraq being essentially held hostage by ISIS. The only way bombing solves the ISIS problem is if you wholesale condone the slaughter of innocent men, women and children in the process, and that still wouldn’t solve it as the people responsible for the Paris attacks weren’t from Syria or Iraq: they were from France and Belgium. Moron.

    • RuariJM

      Rather amusingly put!

  • Andrew Smith

    If a politician were to stick rigidly to principles of bringing back slavery, restricting the franchise and restoring the full powers of the House of Lords, I don’t think many would admire him for his principled stance.

    • UncleJaysus

      Corbyn is sticking to decent, morally-correct principles though, so, your point is borderline trolling.

    • zimzalabim87

      Indeed, I don’t expect many would admire anyone who held such immoral views. This is a straw man that is hardly analogous to situation being presented.

      • Andrew Smith

        A straw man is an argument desiged to refute an argument not being advanced. As far as I understand the article, the author is praising JC for sticking to principle. I wanted to show that it is the moral principle involved, not the fact of holding principle which should be evaluated. I could take to an accusation of argument ad absurdem, but not a straw man.

    • Faff

      By very much the same token I don’t think celebrity chefs should be praised for being able to cook lovely meals because it is conceivable that human flesh could be cooked and eaten by cannibals.

      I used exactly the same structure as you and achieved exactly the same end (i.e. nonsense).

    • Luke

      Shall I face palm myself for you?

  • UncleJaysus

    I agree with this article. It’s nice to see that sometimes people can stop blindly following either left or right, and just look at the facts of a situation. Corbyn is talking sense and taking past mistakes into account; Cameron is playing politics and risks putting the UK in genuine danger by inspiring terrorists to attack us in our own cities.

    Forget left or right: just understand that knee-jerk bombings achieve nothing positive. All that happens is innocent people will get caught up in the airstrikes, they will lose their lives or their loved ones and they will then be primed for radicalisation. We will bomb them, and make them hate us. We will create the ‘terrorists’ of tomorrow.

    • Josh Danby

      Agreed, it’s at least good to see some objective consideration of Corbyn’s stance here. Although I disagree with the extended stereotyping of his supporters – I’d say personally I, and many other people I know fall into the category of “left wing zealots” in the imaginations of right wing polemics, but in reality this apparently strong vein of west-hating trotskyites in Labour’s recent membership surge is pretty much just made up. I don’t hate the West, I bloody love it – for all it’s many faults Europe is the best damn continent in the world. I don’t believe Corbyn hates the west too – he simply wants us to hold ourselves to account for our actions. Through that particular lens his current stance makes a lot more sense than some paranoiac fantasy that this is all part of his master plan to bring about the doom of capitalism.
      *cough*.. anyway other than this it’s a good article.

  • Simon Cook

    The press have had it in for Corbyn since day one. Papers like The Sun you would expect to publish their mindless, sensationalist uninformed tripe but the Guardian, The Independent and of course this paper have not been slow in coming forward to denigrate, criticise and generally defame like bullies in the playground picking on the nice kid who is cleverer than them, so it is little wonder that the general public can not see through the propagandist mistruths and slandered persona they project of him.

    • Faff

      The Spectator has been a little untoward in places but the DT has gone completely off its meds over Corbyn. Dan Hodges has set up what appears to be a permanent outpost of pseuds’ corner in his column. His arguments against Corbyn are so bizarre and illogical that I’ve started to wonder whether he’s a complicated form of fifth columnist, whose aim, by continually insulting the intelligence of the DT readership is to make Corbyn supporters of them by the back door.

      • Alex

        Or maybe he is just thick

      • Toni Massari

        Interesting conspiracy theory! I did wonder myself, but it is probably more to do with journalists working as automata and using tactics that got old even as thy did.. but didn’t notice. Age has crept up on them, the world, politics, events and even we, the revolutionary children of the 60s are now elderly!

        Sic transit gloria mundi!

        • Faff

          Haha! My ‘conspiracy theory’ was offered with my tongue wedged firmly in my cheek. I think the sad truth is Dan Hodges is a hack and a rollover.

    • Toni Massari

      “Papers like the Sun” wel.. it’s printed on paper, yes… but that’s about it… personally I should like to ask lobby the Sun to print on nice soft, absorbent paper, more in keeping with its fundamental nature and ultimate use 😉 .

  • TimBob

    It is incorrect to suggest David Cameron is making up his foreign policy as he goes along. It is in fact also incorrect to think that many of our politician’s are just stupid or don’t know what they are doing… David Cameron knows exactly what he is doing. He knew exactly what he was doing when he decided to bomb Libya, he knew exactly what he was doing when he tried to get support for removing Assad, and he knows exactly what he is doing now.

    These people are in fact very intelligent and know exactly what they are doing… The actions they take are inline with there agenda… Now can we move on to asking the question when are we going to remove all these criminals from power.

    • Faff

      The view from the military, security and academic security fields is that Cameron is astrategic and completely lacking in his understanding of detail. If you wish to contest the criticism that he plays ‘whack-a-mole’ rather than having a strategy, then I’m afraid the burden of proof is on you.

  • Gavin Morris

    There’s no evidence that troops on the ground will do any good either, unless you think Iraq and Afghanistan have been raging successes.

    • Kellys_Eye

      There is evidence from the Syrian Army itself which is making much more rapid ground with the help of Russia…OUR boots on the ground though, no way, we have no mandate nor invitation to help… and UK is principal agent of Rome anyhow.. so we are part of the problem not the solution… if we were honest, we would not be pointing fingers at Assad, elected and respected, as an imaginary despot but working with Syria to help overcome ISIS which likely has British involvement anyhow…

      • mrmineo

        Do you actually understand what’s going on in Syria? ‘pointing fingers at Assad, elected and respected, as an imaginary despot ‘. Obviously not. Assad, the least lunatic son of Hafez al Assad, responsible for the 1982 massacre in Hama that casts a shadow over the whole psyche of the country (Google it, but I can save you a bit of time: estimated 10 to 30,000 people killed in a month long bombardment of the town of Hama in 1982, as part of an operation to suppress a rebellion by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood). Assad and his forces, heavily bolstered by Hezbollah and elite Iranian units (air support courtesy of the Russians), responsible for the majority of civilian deaths in Syria (estimates range from 60 to 91%). Assad ‘elected and respected’ only in areas he controls through the suppression of any dissent by his brutal Mukhabarat. Assad, where this mess started during the Arab Spring, as wide-spread peaceful protests around the country against his rule were met with hails bullets from his security forces. I don’t have a dog in this fight (there’s 500 groups to choose from in Syria according to Charles Lister, who’s spent quite some time there),. neither do I support the bombing of the barbarian IS, or ISIL, or whatever you want to call them. You can’t bomb their horrific ideology out of existence, any more than bombing Assad would have created a better Syria (see also: Iraq). But please, read up on Syria before you say stuff like that.

  • Faff

    Acknowledging that attrition feeds the enemy’s cause is not naive, it is informed. The thing is that we know the enemy’s strategy because it is from the same playbook as other insurgent/terrorist forces. Mao, Marighella, the IRA Greenbook, the AQ Handbook – all make the same strategic points as does the counter-insurgency literature (Galula, Petraeus etc.). The only person talking about addressing the enemy’s strategy rather than just using bombs and hoping for the best is Corbyn and he gets called naive – for me that is a looking glass assessment.

    Given that asymmetric wars are won by the smaller power more often than they are won by the larger power (Arreguin-Toft), we really do need to drop our institutional reliance on force and try strategy for once.

    • Alex

      I’m sure they know this. The bombs are for public consumption.

  • Todd Unctious

    Corbyn scares the media. He has no side to him. His honesty reduced them to seeking to ridicule him but he retains far more public support than Miliband or Brown.

    • RuariJM

      I think that both those named had a great deal more support than Jeremy Corbyn, three months after becoming leader of the Labour Party. Outside the self-referential circle of the SWP and other £3 tourists, that is.

      • Todd Unctious

        In October YouGov measured support for Corbyn policies. 80% favour the £10 living wage, 75% rent controls, 55% renationalising railways and utilities, 58% ending the academies nonsense, 40% the £1 million maximum wage and one third scrapping Trident.

        • Adrian Wilkins

          It was rather more than 55% in favour of renationalisation in 2013, presumably because they weren’t framing the policies as being those of Corbyn :

          Even 52% of Tories were in favour of renationalising both the railways and energy companies.


          And that’s why they fear Corbyn so : a politician who’s policy actually reflects the will of the people, even (on some policies) Tories. Hence all the ad-hominem attacks – because if they start to attack his policies, they actually have to give them enough column inches to explain what they are.

        • RuariJM

          Which poll was that?

          A genuine question; I have t seen that one. Could you link to it, please?

          Btw – £10 “living wage” is not a “Corbyn proposal”. It’s what the Chance.lor has renamed the Minimum Wage and is the level he said that it would rise to by 2020 (iirc).

          Fwiw, I have described that particular piece of chicanery (renaming the Minimum Wage) as dishonest, inadequate and insulting. The Living Wage is calculated (inside London) as being around £15/HR for a 40hr week. That’s because things are so expensive in London.

          • Todd Unctious

            Err, You Gov.

          • RuariJM

            YouGov does lots of polls. It exists to do polls. Its very raison d’etre is to conduct polls.

            I know you say it was a YouGov poll. I asked which one. I said that I hadn’t seen that (particular) one. I have seen lots of others but not a poll with those numbers.

            I am giving you the benefit of the doubt and working on the basis that it does actually exist. However, I haven’t been able to find it.

            Would you be kind enough to provide a link to it, please?

          • Todd Unctious

            Are you not capable of looking up the Independent on 23 July?

          • RuariJM

            Lord, this is like pulling teeth.

            Provide a link! If you have looked it up, copy the url and paste it here!

            Can you do that?

  • Kellys_Eye

    Good Article, except the slight on Gaddafi, obviously no research done on that situation… having handed control of Libya to the people in 1977, it is technically impossible for him to have been a dictator… he was only vilified because he stood against Western control of Africa and so was setting up Investment and development banks that would have replaced control via IMF and World bank…. meaning a lucrative exploitation market would have been lost… Libya had a better standard of life than most western nations and was an embarrassment to the West… and Gaddafi was very clued in and gave lectures on the evil inherent in the Western structures that enable countries like his to be destroyed at will by weak excuses…

    • Mungus Blanchart

      When his own population asked for basic rights like voting, he bombed them with his airforce. Libya had a better standard of living because they had lots of oil money and hired millions of foreigners to do all their work for them.

      It was a gigantic farce, and it ended badly as all these tin-pot dictators do.

  • 101Truth101

    What’s really behind all of the intense pr re regime change, a gross failure in Libya, in Iraq, etc. Now, on to Syria with that same battle cry? Are we going to buy into that?

    • Mary Ann

      Of course, most of the electorate can’t think beyond knee-jerk.

      • 101Truth101

        I agree, and that is very dangerous for us all. They must study up and not react via ‘knee-jerk’. Too, too many like that on this continent. Absolutely no good.

  • phil

    “It is widely agreed that his positions on terrorism and Isis show how unelectable and useless he is.” Who is widely agreeing, let me guess the Murdoch press, the establishment and you lot? Funny that. He’s won the largest share of the vote in any leadership election in this country, by a landslide. Get your facts right.

    • Dalglish07

      That is true and indeed the article is correct but it won’t, and none of the posters on here can prevent the country from profoundly distrusting Corbyn. It is not just what the Murdoch press have said, it is a deep seated distrust of doctrinaire utopianism and internationalism. Any time we have ever had a properly leftwing government has been after serious economic turmoil and we just aren’t there. I live in a northern city and hear the same all the time from taxi drivers, shopkeepers and everybody I work with……………..he is just too damned student in his concerns and that will never change.

    • KingEric

      I seem to remember you banging on about Corbyn’s share of the vote in the leadership election before. It is about as meaningful as if Sir Alex Ferguson won a massive share of the “Greatest Manager Ever” poll held only amongst Manchester United fans. In the wider world, it means nothing.

      • phil

        Well Sir Alex Ferguson’s record as the most successful manager ever isn’t determined by a ‘poll’, so to speak. But by his record. I checked online to confirm his record, despite not supporting Man United. So for Jeremy Corbyn it’s a fact that he won the largest share of the vote, and not by some poll? Poor argument.

        • KingEric

          Do you understand “as if”? There was never a poll. My post intended to show that winning a poll limited to fellow travellers is meaningless in the real world. Hopefully even you can get that.

          • phil

            I understand “as if” perfectly….that your comment really is meaningless.

          • KingEric

            The only meaningless thing around here is you desperately trying to use Corbyn’s election by lefties as some sort of proof that he is therefore capable of winning a general election amongst an electorate not comprised solely of lefties. Puerile arguement.

          • phil

            Hahaha what???!!!! I’m not sure if I can be bothered to respond to that but the dust at the bottom of my computer screen is very interesting indeed.

          • KingEric

            The dust also seems more interesting than your posts or the (limited) workings of your brain.

        • Hamburger

          More successful than Pep Guardiola? I think not. Your argument is flawed as you too are projecting results of a false sample.

  • brittas

    It doesn’t matter what the media, his own party , the Tories or Westminster as a whole think about Jeremy Corbyn. I keep reading about his naivety and it astonishes me. It is the naivety of the system I can’t believe. He is galvanising massive support from outside the system and there is every chance his movement will be even more numerically superior come 2020. Then it becomes a tsunami of newly registered voters and guess who they will be voting for ? There is an outside chance that even without winning over any independent voters, or party affiliated voters his movement could carry him into number 10 if it keeps on growing at the current rate and why would it not ? I am old enough to have seen sea changes in politics before and personally the air seems a little salty and sea breezy to me . The public are at breaking point with austerity and the first one to hand them a lifeline wins.

    • RuariJM

      You talk as if there will be tens of millions of new voters and they will all be voting for Corbyn.

      There are some in the world who suspect that will be unlikely. Indeed, who look at the current trends in opinion polls (allowing for their unreliability) and wonder if the Labour vote will hold up above 25%. In England, that is; it has already fallen below that in Scotland and it looks like dropping below the Tories’ share.

      • brittas

        Do you remember the election that first put Thatcher in power ? I do . She was the joke candidate. …not even her own party thought she could win …. sea changes ….paradigm shifts….public reaching breaking points and doing unexpected things …..seen it all before. Just as unbelievable then as now and yet…….it happened. I am not dogmatic I was careful to say what could happen …to see an outside possibility as def possible in the right circumstances. If you look at the % of people who don’t bother to vote and imagine them being engaged in the political process for the first time or the first time in a long time then surprising things happen, ask Obama 😉

        • RuariJM

          Yes, I do remember the election of Margaret Thatcher as Tory Party leader, very well.

          If you think she was the ‘joke candidate’ then I suspect that you got your information somewhat second-hand.

          When the Social Contract and wage restraint were in operation under the Lib-Lab pact, her popularity soared. It is true, however, to say that Callaghan would probably have won an outright majority if he had gone to the Polls in 1978 – but he was so much up himself that he didn’t. And lost the following spring.

          • Toni Massari

            Callaghan was an insufferably arrogant man who thought no woman could beat him!

          • RuariJM

            On that we agree!

      • Toni Massari

        Given just 24% of tory vote, Corbyn still has an option to form a Coalition with the other progressive Parties: Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru. Im a paid-up member of the Green Party but I support Corbyn wholeheartedly and will lobby my Party to work with him, when the time comes, and power-share fairly, in good-humour, because there is nothing we cannot achieve if we negotiate and treat each other with respect.

        My true fear is the first assassination of a British political leader… I would not put it past them, just as I fear for Senator Sanders!

        • RuariJM

          Spenser Percival.

          A major of the problem with Corbyn is the fact that he isn’t really Labour. He voted against his own party hundreds of times. His primary appeal is indeed to the Green Party, SWP (a number of whose front organisations he has been involved with over the years), the TUSC, etc etc.

          And he doesn’t seem to understand Parliamentary democracy. He seems to be under the impression that winning an election – an internal election – confers dictatorial powers.

    • phil

      Well put. It’s the naivety of the system that’s gives JC the upper hand.

      • Toni Massari

        Make NO mistake, the man has been in Westminster 32 years, held his views unswervingly throughout and served under Labour before it became New Labour (Old Tory). He was a friend of Tony Benn http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/09/19/21/2C8646FB00000578-0-image-a-1_1442696210524.jpg

        There is the rub! A man who has humility and a great rational mind, common sense and can argue calmly, for what he believes, without being swayed by public opinion, stick to his guns and vote against his own Party when he disagrees.

        THAT is my kind of PM!

      • brittas

        Win lose or draw I am a woman in my 60’s who is greatly enjoying the sight of a wrong footed Westminster while it lasts. I am enjoying the sight of a Labour leader out protesting with the proles. I am enjoying watching the PM squirm at question time looking for a response to questions with voters names attached . I am even enjoying the evident panic in the right wing media as they get unashamedly more and more extreme and make a complete show of themselves . I am gleefully enjoying the shake up I make no bones about it. If it makes for a lasting change, however small, great if not at least I saw this happen once before I croak!

    • Toni Massari

      The Media nd the System are more like trains than buses or bandwagons… they run on rails. This is what they have always done and the opposition has always responded in kind, like yobbos either side of a street, before a fight, trading insults, jeering and laughing uproariously. They are simply not used to a man who remains calm, civilised, who exhibits gentle, self-deprecating humour, humility, defers to his electorate and (and this is what they can’t grasp… ) HAS STUCK TO HIS GUNS FOR 32 YEARS!

      These politicians are weathervanes, he is a signpost, just as Tony Benn was, and we missed him horribly when he died, the last honest Alderman of the Party. Now Jeremy is showing a new generation what politics could be if it returned to its roots…
      POLIS = people; politics = “of the people”.

      What remains to be seen is whether we can get the Conservathieves out before 2020.

  • Loxford

    I endorse the article except to describe Corbyn as politically naive? With his years of experience, that, he is not. He has the most clear, intelligible ideals I’ve heard in Westminster for years with one or two exceptions.
    There is an establishment in the UK, a cross party elite that does not want his kind of politics and are fighting to quash it before it gains too much influence. One reason, it is soaring in popularity. `Democratically, this is a threat to the norm. The norm being the kind of politics that excludes and alienates the electorate, drives them away from taking part/voting.
    An engaged public threatens the very foundation of the wealthy elite’s financial institutions simply by realising things are not fairly run, their is huge privilege for the few at the increasing expense of the many.
    An article like this in the mainstream media is comparatively rare. Why?
    We know why, most of the mainstream media is part and parcel to the elite system.

    There is nothing we don’t know here. All the stops are out to rubbish some genuine ideals – and to distract.
    A bit of war can do the trick. Those vids of hi-tech “take-outs”, the confrontational painting of “the enemy” whoever that may be at the time. In this case it’s a tough one? Certainly there’s ISIS but otherwise is it Assad, the different factions and rebels, the Russians?………Don’t even go there.
    ….And perhaps that’s the right way of thinking for the present.

    • MD

      i enjoyed your comment as much as the article. Do you write as a profession?

      • Loxford

        Very kind of you, thank you.
        I used to write as a profession but not in this sphere at all. I am a musician, I used to write a lot of music.
        Politics? I could be tempted. Give the Editor my number!
        (I’m quite politically active on social media).


        • Beeza

          Yes I’ll second MDs comment and also say comments in general here today are a lot more intelligent than the norm

    • Mary Ann

      And our masters win again.

      • Toni Massari

        How.. hermetic!

    • Toni Massari

      Hear! Hear! But I hope they go on thinking he is of no consequence, frankly, else I fear that the Conservathieves will deploy other, more sinister tactics to bring down Jeremy Corbyn, True Labour (as opposed to New Labour) and defamate both.

      I reiterate that I am not partisan, as a paid-up member of the green Party, but I welcome the wave of Progressive politics that is swelling up with support for the four progressive Parties. Ad Majora!

      • Loxford

        I share your non partisanship. I like Corbyn, of course. This now makes me a Labour supporter but politics is not sport. Unlike a football supporter of a certain team I did not sign up for life. I support the person, the principals and the policies not the party.
        Had Corbyn not surfaced I would be voting Green again (I have voted Lib Dem too, although they have rather blown it for me). I see so much in common with Corbyn’s Labour and the Green Party.
        What future is there for Labour if they return to the Blair policies? Their newly found popularity is entirely due to Corbyn, if the PLP remove him they will hemorrhage support, membership and trust.
        It all seems so damned obvious, the PLP surely know what they are doing, their bitterness runs very deep.

  • Dalglish07

    He does speak a lot of sense but I truly believe that most of the country is too distrustful and self interested to hear it.
    A large rump of the electorate are doing ok (not all, but enough), employment is high, most don’t notice austerity apart from the odd extended bin collection. As long as Tesco is open, mortgage rates low, schools are open, Black Friday is still on, the internet works, the I-phone 6s is coming down in price, not too many airmen get killed dropping bombs on Syria and taxes feel about right…they just don’t care.
    Add to that the fact that Jeremy has an image and some views that are very at odds with what most people believe they want in a prime minister and I have severe doubts that the electoral circumstances exist where he could ever make it into the top job. I just don’t see it and I speak to many people every day who just don’t see it either.
    I am sitting opposite a chap who lives in the Oldham West ward, he was canvassed by a labour party rep two days ago who almost apologetically asked whether he would be voting labour. My colleague said that he couldn’t while JC was at the top and the canvasser just apologised and thanked him for his time. I’m sorry, I quite like the guy and a fair bit of the message, but it just ain’t happening in early 21st century Britain.

    • Beeza

      I kind of agree with you there, however he does get out and about among ordinary folks and away from London, might just provoke the sleeping millions that don’t or didn’t vote last time.
      The other factor being this lots ineptness to get anything right, they are likelt to shoot themselves in the foot, imagine if the last budget had been just before an election

      • Rhys Morgan

        What even begins to suggest that those who didn’t vote last time would vote Corbyn?

        • dreamerman

          Because there was nothing worth voting for before? Now we finally have an individual with some human principles rather than pure political manipulation. Many many many people have said that recently, though of course the results of any future election depend on how much the british public as a whole are happy to go along with politics for the politicians and elite. Win or lose, Corbyn has proved he has a massive moral superiority over nearly all other mainstream politicians and given politics as a whole a nice kick in the principles.

          • Dalglish07

            Dreamerman, I am not sure anybody cares. Economy, economy, economy, nothing else matters. I have just asked round my little office and everybody has decided that while it is lovely to be nice, as long as the Christmas queues aren’t too long and the mulled wine is hot, the Middle East can get knotted.

          • Alex

            That’s all very well but they will be the first ones whinging when the price of oil goes up or there is another terrorist attack here.

      • Dalglish07

        I think, but am not sure obviously, that the regions will be less likely to vote for JC than London. There seems to be so little ideology left.

        • Alex

          But these are people whose non-politics must have developed in the stultifying 1990s and 2000s. Corbyn may prove to be ahead of his time generationally.

  • paul oxley

    A sensible, intelligent, honest , fair minded and well written article in the Spectator..wonders will never cease

    I look forward to reading more like this in The Mail, Sun, Express and Telegraph in the coming weeks and months ..

    But I wont hold my breath .

    • Toni Massari

      Hmmmm I wouldn’t hold my breath, if I were you!
      I have seen no flying pigs yet!

  • Ed O’Meara

    Bravo. Very fair. I wish we could put proper analysis above partisanship, particularly from a media which seems allergic to highlighting the mistakes of our government…which I thought was rather the point of a free press.

    • Beeza

      a press FREE to print whatever rubbish it thinks will please it’s owner/readers is not free, it is as shackled as any oppressed states press.
      A true free press would print facts and employ writers of talent to present a balanced views of the political implications of those facts (writerS more than one).
      I think on that score we are in for a long wait for a free press, but the article above does give some small hope

  • ‘Naive he may be…’ you understand he wants to be prime minister?

    • Craig Forshaw

      He isn’t naive. Hoping for peace, and doing you damnest to bring it about, is not naivety. It’s optimism – something we haven’t seen in British politics in a very long time.

    • Suffolk Jason

      Margaret Thatcher was, at first, considered naive. It’s the usual charge made against any “signpost” politician- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBvMQPiDZ3k

  • Bayesian_Rationalist

    If I had to guess which of the many right-wing media outlets would write a sensible and balanced analysis of Jeremy Corbyn, including some serious discussion of policy, it would be The Spectator.

  • balakris

    the comments show the speccie has a large no of left inclined readers.
    i am one for just the wit and style of many of its writers.

    • Alex

      There is a fair bit of partisan nonsense written but at least it is done in a clear straightforward way. The problem with the nonsense over at the lefty papers – feminism and so on – is it is so wordy, soporific and manipulative.

  • Mary Ann

    For years people have been complaining that there was no difference between the three main parties, like him or hate him, at least we have an opposition now. I think he has a point, we helped to bring down regimes in the Middle East and things have not got any better, while I would like to see Daesh destroyed we need something to make Syria regain peace, we failed in Iraq and in Libya.

    • Eques

      “like him or hate him, at least we have an opposition now.”

      Thank you!!! A voice of reason at last.

      By what extraordinary double think do “moderate” Labour MPs and their admirers imagine that the way to provide strong opposition is to, er, abstain on Tory laws?

      Yesterday, we had 2 major U-Turns from the government on 2 issues that Corbyn made a fuss about in 2 separate PMQs.

      Somehow, the entire media has thought it appropriate to present this as a triumph for the government!!!

      When the Corbyn camp U-turn on something, it is of course portrayed as a humiliating, cack – handed failure, although none of their U-turns have been as spectacular and clear cut as those of the government’s “triumph” yesterday.

  • Kevin Jackson

    I think the flaw in your argument is that you (newspapers generally) think the general public accept what your slant on things. You say Jeremy Corbyn “has been rediculed” as if every free thinking person in the UK is making him an item of redicule. The reality is that the press (as in everything they do) do not want to report the facts they want to air a sensationalist view. If news outlets just reported the facts rather than opinion the world would be a better place.

    • Faff

      I think what’s happened in the case of Corbyn is very interesting. The overwhelmingly negative response in the press has been countered by news distribution on social media drawn from blogs and alt-news outlets. Faced with a media controlled by wealthy elites, Corbyn’s supporters have effectively created their own counter-media aimed at presenting him in a less frenzied and deranged context.

      I’ve also observed that Tories of my acquaintance have started to think the press is taking them for a ride on Corbyn – I know this is an unscientific appraisal, a sample size of half a dozen hardly constitutes a survey – take this last observation as seriously as you might take a survey commissioned by The Sun 😉

      • Toni Massari

        Wonderful! The longer they go on thinking he’s no threat the longer Labour has have to rally and organise, campaign and recruit. As an aside, Note that I am a Green Party member, so this is not even MY True Labour, but I rejoice at Corbyn’s victories because they mean one less inch for the Conservathieves. Besides, I really, truly admire and respect this man, and at 60 I can honestly say I never thought I would ever feel that way about any politician.

  • Loxford

    I note a number of people that aspire to the sort of negative argument without actually disliking Corbyn. Here in these comments as well as out there in space.

    I feel a sense of incredulity that leads to phrases such as, “Yeh, it’s all very nice but not in the real world”…..of what? Economics and politics?
    If that’s your world then none of this applies – you might as well stop here and go and read the FT.

    Those that actually make an effort to make it to the polling booth (let’s face it there are millions that unbalance our democracy by not), do get what they voted for.
    The dreadful turn out that delivers a government based on 25% is one part of the failure of the system. The apathy that follows feeds the increasing demoralised voters that believe there is either no point or they vote tactically.
    Tactical voting is promoted by all parties, don’t waste your vote on them, they cannot win here (my own ex MP used to put out that message). So the electorate are herded to the same conclusion.
    One solution – Compulsory voting – sure include a box to abstain (but I bet no one would use it!).

    Where were we?
    I ask myself what is the real world? Is it the city, the financial institutions and the top bankers that we must allocate freedom from regulation, tax, morals? Otherwise they will desert our shores and we will all go down the plug This must be due to the complete lack of people in the land to take their place!!!

    So, back to Corbyn. You must ask yourself…..
    Is he niave?
    How does he compare to his peers?
    Does he mean what he says?
    Does he have principals that he is prepared to stand by?

    When you’ve answered them……Ask yourself the same questions.


    • Well said.

    • hobspawn

       “The dreadful turn out that delivers a government based on 25% is one part of the failure of the system.”

      I suspect it’s the other way around: people don’t turn out because the system is working well – why change it? A high turnout might be a result of dissatisfaction.

      “One solution – Compulsory voting – sure include a box to abstain.”

      A friend of mine is fond of saying “don’t vote – it only encourages the bastards”. A no show is better than an abstention because it allows you to stay in the pub with the same result. Compulsory voting with option to abstain is just a coercive waste of most people’s time.

      “Is he niave?… …Does he have principals…”

      Hard to say.

      • Loxford

        The system is only working well for the system.
        It’s OK to not agree but at least make some contribution other than ‘do nothing’.
        That’s mainly what got us here.

        • Catullus

          We need to be able to vote electronically, both online and by phone, and voting should be compulsory.

          • Loxford

            That would indeed make it easy and encourage people to vote. I wonder if there is the risk of hacking and cheating? Hard copies are less easy to tamper with, online is another world……

          • hobspawn

            Probably less crooked than our current postal vote farce.

        • hobspawn

          I see my very simple point needs further explanation. What is the difference between not showing up to vote, and turning up to put a vote in a box labelled ‘abstain’? The difference is a total waste of time, including the time of those who count the ballot papers. Meanwhile, there are countless reasons why people may not be willing, able or inclined to vote. Are those people to be criminalised? It is important to have the freedom not to vote. A low turnout does not necessarily indicate a broken system. Apathy is a symptom of political success. The oppressed always turn out to vote.

    • UKSteve

      “One solution – Compulsory voting – sure include a box to abstain….”

      Agreed; works well in Australia.

  • Perpetua1

    The second Spectator article I’ve read today with which I strongly agree, the first being by Andrew Bacevich: https://spectator.com.au/2015/11/sorry-but-just-bombing-isis-in-syria-wont-help-anyone/

    This is quality journalism and I wish we had more of it.

  • Robert Eckert

    “How easy it would have been for him to have added his voice to the general whooping at the death of Emwazi.” Not easy for him, when he’s on Emwazi’s side.

    • Craig Forshaw

      Utter rubbish. He said he wanted him to stand trial for his crimes. How is that taking his side, you deluded loon?

      • R M

        > “stand trial”
        > “deluded loon”


      • Robert Eckert

        He doesn’t actually believe crimes were committed. He wanted a trial so he could play defense attorney and get the poor victim of western imperialism proclaimed innocent.
        Yes, I’m being sarcastic and exaggerating, but not by much.

        • Luke

          Get over yourself, seems most people can see the point he was trying to make (Hint: Note western values). It was echoed by family members of the victims too, so should be respected.

        • smoke me a kipper

          You’re just making stuff up.

          • Robert Eckert

            This is how he comes across. We don’t hear from him condemnations of acts of murder, only condemnations of proposed ways of stopping the murders.

          • dreamerman

            So do you actually listen to what he has to say or just rely on quotes? He is ALWAYS condemning acts of murder – it’s a pretty fundamnetal part of being a pacifist after all. Maybe those parts of what he says just dont get quoted as much in the media.

          • Robert Eckert

            “He is ALWAYS condemning acts of murder” by the evil western imperialists. If he has to mention acts of murder by non-westerners he always seems to feel this need to throw in a false equivalence to an act by his preferred villains.

        • Faff

          That’s deranged – completely deranged.

        • Catullus

          You need sectioning. Does your mother know you’re on her laptop?

        • Craig Forshaw

          Sarcasm and exaggeration don’t mean, “I made it up”. In future, whenever you want to say something political, I think you need to have a meme of Indigo Montoya shoved in your face so you realise you need to study the meaning of words before you use them.

      • starfish

        Easy to voice such an opinion when he knows it is unrealistic

      • Bob-B

        He forgotten to explain how Emwazi could be arrested and brought to trial. I’m sure he had a cunning plan in mind, but he didn’t reveal it.

        • UKSteve

          It was a secret plan. Only he knew it.

        • Craig Forshaw

          Oh, hey, just like we never put Saddam on trial. I remember when that wasn’t a realistic possibility.

      • UKSteve

        See Bob-B’s comment below. He made yours look total rubbis hin 2 lines.

        “Arrest” – hilarious – and these A-holes are asking for people’s votes.

        • Craig Forshaw

          Yep, because we’ve never put anyone on trial for war crimes, or caught people committing terror attacks, and there is certainly no way of, you know, actually going to Syria, taking back those places, and helping to sort out the whole mess there. Better to kill them all and let God sort them out, right?

          • UKSteve

            And your “point” is….?

    • Catullus


      • Robert Eckert

        You need some education on the use of hyperbole in satire. You also are seriously lacking in basic manners. Both humorlessness and ill temper are common symptoms of a certain species of insufferable leftism which is unfortunately all too common among the Corbinites.

        • Alex

          We have been funding Wahhabi extremists for several decades in order to fight proxy oil wars with Russia. Who is on whose side?

  • Luke

    Finally a journalist who hasn’t worked backwards from the stance ‘I don’t like Jeremy Corbyn’. I appluad you. Nice to see no major ‘slant of hand’ for once.

    If you asked me 5 years ago I would have said NO to bombing. But we have got ourselves into such a mess in the Middle East now that it seems it is needed, but not as a sole means.

    Cameron and the Tory’s have no mind for stratergy or a long term vision. They think only in the short term. This mess isn’t going to be cleaned up quickly, it will take years of slow but steady progress to get the middle east stable again. This can only be achieved by a strong stratergy that acknowledges the need for compromise in areas and one which utilises all avalible avenues, not just one.

  • Mark Whitehead

    What a relief to read a grown-up piece on Corbyn after the drivel by Nick Cohen – which Freddy Gray must have found somewhat embarrassing.

  • Old Fox

    The most slippery section of this slippery piece concerns the way “all politicians” change their “language” for public consumption, leading to the conclusion that it’s perfectly all right if Corbyn does it. This is either naïve or malign. Changing “language” should not be confused with tailoring opinions; nor should those “private” opinions get away with being so lightly condoned – not if they involve sympathy for terrorism, which they do. As to Syria, Cameron was mistaken in his attempt to get rid of Assad since the only beneficiaries of such a policy would have been our current enemies; on Libya he made similarly “idealist” or “ethical” blunder. Now that he has decided to support France in attacking those who actually do present a threat, he deserves support. No it won’t solve the problem but then a single raid on Berlin wouldn’t have won the war. No it won’t increase our own risk because we are at the highest risk in any case. I suggest that Mr Gray remove his head from his own fundament for a moment and pay attention. He currently views reality through clouds of self righteous flatulence.

    • cardigan

      “No it won’t solve the problem”

      So why do it?

      • Old Fox

        Because it goes some way towards a solution, as was made plain by what I went to say. Dishonest quotation is a low trick.

  • GreenWyvern

    Corbyn is not as bad as he has been painted, and has good intentions, but…

    …he is so inward-looking and filled with his own self-righteousness that has no feel for when he is out of tune with the public. He has no political common sense, no feeling for what the public expect, and that is a terminal failing for a politician.

    • Loxford

      Inward looking is not a bad thing, although I’m sure that’s not how you mean it. Please show me a politician less self righteous? His a politician! Everyone of them has to canvass, sell their story. Would you have him stay silent? We would never have heard of him.
      I ask you, who among our present leading politicians displays common sense, feeling for what the public expects? (All the things that George Osborne is criticised for not having). Unless, cynically we all expect the worse and that’s what we usually end up with.

      I do believe people are sold a story of fear about the economy, that is one of the main arguments put forward against Corbyn.
      What is the economy? Is it something in the city (told in figures in the billions) we are not privy to that they tell us “It’s doing well”, or It’s tanking”? One to make us feel good. The other to prepare us for the worst. Whatever the economy is up to nothing really changes down the ladder.

      So, down in the Westminster institution who do you rate?

    • Name

      “inward-looking and filled with his own self-righteousness”. / Believing
      in what one stands for. Standing up for what one believes in, (weird
      when a politician actually does that). “he has no political common
      sense, no feeling for what the public expect”. / What the public expect?
      What do you expect? Even though the ideology of this politician is
      widely considered far more humane and relative to the majority of
      British citizens… ‘I am not being pandered therefore I do not feel
      special. I will vote for the politician promising what I want to hear
      even though I doubt they will follow through. Still… It’s nice to feel

  • davidshort10

    Well said. Corbyn is consistent, Cameron is inconsistent and to blow with the wind on such important issues shows Murdoch was right when he said when asked in the early day what the thought of the pre-PM Cameron: ‘Not much’.

    • Dalglish07

      I have no interest in consistency, I want the correct decision. I change my mind ten times per day.

      • dreamerman

        In the case of Cameron though, it boils down to out-right lies as much as changes of stratagy (which have to be done, i agree). Sometimes he is inconsistant because he knows the public would not support the party if their real plans were there for all to see. “We will not cut tax credits” was a good one. Any talk about trying to eradicate poverty as well.

  • Carlos

    You do realise that the man behind him is a mass murderer. I disagree with your comment on ‘as a good Christian, violence should be the last resort,’ as an atheist I use my logic to understand that life is the most precious thing that we have and no life should be taken unless you take the life of others, because it’s fair. Isis needs to be eliminated but the problem are all the innocent hostages down there and innocent people don’t deserve to die. if you want to defend Britain, you got to think about protecting yourself and loved ones first. It’s like protecting your family from a killer, first you make sure your family is protected and then you go out and kill the killer however if you are out and looking for the killer, the killer may get to your family first in which case you efforts were futile. Therefore raise national security first and then think about the air strikes later. Protecting Britain like increasing security and make sure all criminals with a terrorist background are in jail and then think about Syria.

  • starfish


    This is complete rubbish

    Corbyn has been a serial rebel throughout his political career and is now afraid of rebellions against him

    He has consistently supported terrorists, regimes and causes that are antidemocratic butideologically in line with his world view

    He inhabits a left-wing groupthink bubble where differing opinions are shouted down or ignored

    he has surrounded himself with psycophants who are ill-qualified to perform the tasks he has assigned them

    Everyday he displays poor judgement and misreads the public mood

    He seeks to represent only the small coterie of like-minded activists that put him in his current position when he should be representing the interests of the entire Labour party and the country

    And now he fails to realise that his MPs don’t just represent the Labour Party they represent their constituents , many of whom did not vote Labour

    Consistency of position is to be admired but when it flies in the face of common sense, history, advice and the public will it increasingly looks like obstinacy

    • Phil

      What do you mean by ‘supported’ terrorists and anti-democratic regimes? Is creating dialogue supporting, or is it seeking a solution? Often talking to seriously unfavorable people is a much tougher proposition then simply refusing to talk to them and/or dropping bombs, even if such actions can and often do prove counterproductive.

      And would you also explain how these are groups are ideologically in line with his world view?

    • Dalglish07

      Leave your job now and set up a newspaper. Great comment.

    • Faff

      Much of what you say has been proven to be tabloid lies. Don’t expect to be taken seriously anywhere but The Sun with that silliness.

      • UKSteve

        Yes, the PLP is an absolute model of resolute and united cohesion, with no dissenting voices anywhere and a firm, single, harmonious voice on topical issues.

        Leftists. Clueless cretins.

    • Catullus

      Corbyn has opposed violence his entire political life with admirable consistency. It is a downright lie to say he supports terrorists. Sometimes he might have sympathy for their objectives – eg a united Ireland – but he has always opposed using violence to bring them about.

      • TheJustCity

        ‘Sometimes he might have sympathy for….’

        Such maundering casuistry typifies the mindset which sees no moral inconsistency in chumming around with terrorists. I won’t ask you whether, like Kerry, you saw in the Paris atrocities a ‘legtimacy or rationale that you could attach yourself to’.

  • Andrew John Taylor

    An excellant article. Thank you, and well done.

  • Joseph Churches Lindsay Walton

    I don’t get “the Cameroons.” What’s the joke? Did he go on holiday and there was some scandal I missed? Is it a reference to British colonialism? Is it a weird autocorrect thing? (Decently reasonable article, btw).

    • Catullus

      Cameroons = Cameron supporters.

      • Alex

        Is there such a thing?

  • majestic whine

    I never expected to read something well thought out and sensible in The Spectator. Props to you.

  • Bradley Lloyd Barnes
  • cardigan

    I think this reflects a wide circle of opinion in the UK. It is based on logic and commonsense, not gung-ho militarism.

  • cardigan

    I think this reflects a wide circle of opinion in the UK. It is based on logic and commonsense, not gung-ho militarism.

  • David Bullock

    A very well written and balanced article.

  • Glenn

    I agree. I’m confused about Corbynism, but agree with his position – we must not engage in indiscriminate tactical bombing with no thought to the strategic outcomes and our future role. Would our bombs really make any difference added to Russia, US, France? I doubt it – would just increase the death of innocents.

  • Toni Massari

    Excellent article. And yes, both TORY B-LIAR and Cameron look at Corbyn with the most undisguised loathing… EXCELLENT, it means THEY are SCARED! And so they should be… we still want B-Liar to be tried as an international criminal!

    • Tim

      Mate, they are not scared, truly, they are not scared, they are slightly concerned regarding getting this vote through, as it’s a bit chaotic on the opposition benches, but apart from that they can’t believe their good fortune.

      • Loxford

        It is tempting to believe that the dissenters in the PLP would vote against Corbyn come what may. After all, some of them have spent more time attacking him than the Government. Bearing in mind this government is pretty provocative, some might say extreme, wouldn’t you think they’d sort out their priorities?

        It serves my theory that the political straight-jacket of the Westminster/Whitehall elite draws boundaries around what is acceptable and what is not FROM ANY PARTY.
        One thing they are expected to adhere to is the priority given to the whole pudding that encompasses…..Parliament, the City, the investment houses, multinationals, banks, foreign billionaires buying into our countries infrastructure, the media moguls etc…… Lumped under the one title for us, The Economy.

        You begin to realise why they are always referring to it as if it makes any difference to us at all. They still dish out the same dirt.

        I’d rather forget parties (the whip system alone makes a nonsense of MPs representing their constituents), forget the media’s obsession with Left and Right and concentrate on the person and the policies. That’s assuming I truly believe they mean what they say.

    • Bob-B

      Obviously, Cameron is really scared of a Labour Party leader who only has the support of a very small minority of Labour MPs and has Labour 15 points behind the Tories. Really scary!

      • jenny abbott

        ‘They’ are terrified! They know that if Corbyn gets in, he will expose stuff that they really, really don’t want known. And whether you like it or not, Corbyn has MASSIVE support from ordinary working people all over the country.

        • UKSteve

          Nice fantasies – no roots in reality.

          • jenny abbott

            So you don’t reckon that, for example, Blair would be at the Hague spilling the beans?

          • UKSteve

            Honestly, I haven’t a clue of what you’re on about.

            “….spilling the beans….” on what? I would think Bliar is very busy making sure his rear is covered for when (IF!) the Chilcott report is published.

            And exactly what is it that Corbyn (who will only ever see the inside of No. 10 if he’s invited for a special briefing) is going to expose?

            This country has been all but destroyed by Labour, Cameron and his millionaire toffs are finishing it off.

          • jenny abbott

            I’m sure you’re right about Blair trying to cover himself. The Chilcott report will say what it want’s to say, but you can’t change the fact that the invasion of Iraq was illegal, and has led to the awful situation that is now the middle east. His lies are proven, and complicity with American warmongering evident. In fact I’m surprised he even dares to show his face!
            Spilling the beans means having access to all the nasty secrets they don’t want us to know – the cover ups, blackmail, bribes and underhanded dealings that go on in government and big business (amongst all parties).
            However, it’s strange you don’t understand what I’m saying – after all 5 other people seemed to understand well enough. Perhaps you should stop trolling and do some reading & research.

          • UKSteve

            As someone who marched across Westminster Bridge in 2002, you presume incorrectly.

            What you are talking about is the bread and butter of politics, but with Labour involved there is added immorality – no goverment was sleazier than Blair’s. I expected you were referring to something other than quotidian politics, but no, and you were patronising about it. I am use dot discourse on a higher level; your naivete isn’t touching – it’s alarming. Whatever…..

            Trolling? I’ve done reading and research for the last 30+ years, and written 2 books almost ready for publishing, and a clueless cretin that feels the need to preach while being spectacularly uninformed, is just too hilarious for me.

          • jenny abbott

            Whatever. There’s none so blind as will not see.

          • jenny abbott

            I hate Blair as much as you do. Corbyn isn’t Blair, and he’s clean. Who *doesn’t* want a new politics?

          • jenny abbott

            Yeah, at 62 I’ve done a fair bit of reading and research too. Blair was a vile trojan horse, and turned Labour blue – his cronies are the ones attacking Corbyn – it’s them we need to be rid of.
            I find it hard to understand that you seem to accept that lies and and corruption are the ‘bread and butter’ of politics without much bother, and yet apparently are against the man who is honest enough to want to clean it up.
            Maybe that’s my alarming, spectacularly uninformed naivete.Maybe it’s just that you’re a snob with a large ego.

          • UKSteve

            Wrong yet again! You seem to have things to say when not making your self look really silly by making wildly inaccurate asides based on single Disqus posts.

            I don’t like that it is the “bread and butter”, that is the way it has become since St. Margaret was stabbed in the back. Major’s was the government of sleaze, Bliar’s the government of deep moral corruption! It’s a;; been rotten since her reign.

            Corbyn? “Clean it up”? – well, at least I had a good laugh at that. I have absolutely zero seconds for anyone on the Left of centre – I’m old enough to remember all of the catastrophic damage they’ve done, as previously cited. I have no ego and I’m not a snob, I just genuinely can’t understand why supposedly sentient, rational people would vote Labour, after 5 decades of massive damage to our country, economy and society.

          • jenny abbott

            You are entitled to your opinion. I agree that under Blair, catastrophic damage was done to Labour. Corbyn , hopefully, will clean it up. Why is that ‘laughable’?
            I too am old enough at 62 to remember the damage done by Labour and Conservative governments. The point is, Labour has a chance to clean up it’s act! I can’t improvements happening under Blairite Labour party, or the Conservative party.
            Reading your comments, you don’t seem to realize the damage being done to the ordinary woman on the street by our current lot. There has to be hope that politics can clean up it’s act. What’s Corbyn done that’s so awful? Given us hope?

      • Toni Massari

        LOL! You clearly live somewhere else…

        Good luck with your self-delusion.

    • juliet solomon

      We sure do.

  • Phil

    Cameron has not yet put forward a convincing argument as to how exactly striking IS in Syria is going to help protect us in Britain? It is widely acknowledged that IS is hoping for such a response, precisely because it plays into their propaganda and will attract further support for those that way inclined, including here in Britain. Any IS-affiliated terrorists that strike the streets of Britain are likely to be homegrown, not from Syria.

    Now there are plenty of legitimate reasons to want to strike IS in Syria, but protecting Britain from terrorist atrocities is not high up that list. Defeating a horrendous regime that is inflicting terror, pain and death on millions in Iraq and Syria, and helping fuel a massive refugee crisis, is a far more legitimate reason and indeed it is one that we are obliged to act upon under our Responsibility to Protect as stipulated by the UN. Yet even on this count Cameron has not yet put forward a convincing argument for British bombs.

    First, in response to the question as to whether British bombs would cause more civilian casualties, he stated that Britain has very precise bombs and so civilian casualties will actually decrease. Now I can’t be the only person who see’s right through that, and I seriously doubt even Cameron believes that. It is not just knowingly false, it is a dangerously dismissive of those millions of civilians who live in the area we look set to bomb.

    Now, if he had made the argument that there may be a short term increase in civilian casualties as an inevitable part of any bombing campaign, but that in the longer term we could see a decrease in civilian casualties as IS loses ground and our strategy for stabilizing Syria comes into place, that would have been far more believable, convincing, honest and it could be argued to fall with the remits of the Responsibility to Protect. Instead he chickened out with his half-baked and awfully ignorant reply of ‘our bombs are precise’.

    Another area which I didn’t hear mentioned whatsoever is what is the expected affect that our bombing of IS will have on the myriad of other Islamist groups, including Al-Qaeda affiliated ones, in the area? Is it likely to strengthen or weaken them? Are they likely to fill the power vacuum? Will our Middle Eastern allies continue to fund, train and equip these groups?

    And this also links into what is by far the most glaring weakness of Cameron’s plan- his claims that there are 70,000 moderate fighters who can act as our ground forces. There is so many holes in this statement. First of all, who are we considering moderate? Does this include sectarian Islamist groups, albeit ones with no interest in attacking the West? And if we are excluding these groups and including purely those that most in the West would consider ‘moderate’, then 70,000 surely seems a wildly inflated figure? Furthermore, how exactly are we planning to act in coordination with these 70,000 (if that figure holds weight) ‘moderates’? They are vast vast patchwork of differing groups, with differing loyalties, differing abilities, differing commitments to coordinating with the West and different objectives that in many cases will probably be focused more on combating Assad then on committing IS?

    These questions look completely unlikely to be answered.

  • Cloud Watcher

    Remember the Viet Nam war ?

    The US dropped tonnes of bombs, exfoliated huge swathes of forest with Agent Orange, radicalised entire villages by heavy handed military operations, killed a lot of innocent people as well as lot of bad guys, and they lost because that’s not how you fight a war against guerrillas if you want to win.

    Daesh or whatever they are called these days, are guerillas, bombing isn’t going to work, you need to cut off funds & supplies and starve them out, unfortunately that doesn’t make good telly.

    The problem is the big kids are playing with exciting toys in the playground & Cameron desperately wishes to be a big kid, so he can speak to them and not be laughed at, so he’s asking for permission to get his own exciting toys out.

    And of course military action will swamp the news and get other issues such as the IP Bill out of the publics view.

    • Bob-B

      There aren’t a lot of jungles in Iraq for the ISIS ‘guerillas’ to hide in.

      • RuariJM

        Dammit! Foiled again!

      • jenny abbott

        In this case the ‘jungles’ are the innocent civilians. Would you suggest that’s OK?

      • BigBear63

        No need for Agent Orange in Syria. Just straightforward barrel bombs dropped on buildings will do the job.

        If you were a Da’esh PR man what would you be itching for? Maybe, video of innocent men, women and kids, blown to bits by our bombs. All ready to be uploaded to YouTube with the byline, “Join up and support your Muslim brothers and sisters to stop the Western Infidels from killing us”, etc, etc.

        Sounds like the best recruitment film possible. F@#k everyone uses similar imagery to recruitment their naive young men to defend the country. It works.

        • Toni Massari

          Buildings that may not, by now, have ANY DAESH terrorists but may be stuffed full of civilians locked in, tied-up, unable to escape?

      • Toni Massari

        But it is a vast Country and turkey will turn a blind eye – in its doube-agent role between the West and ISL/DAESH and then whine that it has a huge border and cannot patrol it all. DAESh will tie-up hostages and leve them in the few buildings left in Raqqa, in former camos thayhave relocated and let us bomb them. Then they will photograph and video the bodies (without the ropes) and unleash a propaganda war with pictures of bloodied, dead babies, women, children, elders… recruit MILLIONS.

        Their end game? isn’t it obvious? To unite the DOZENS of Islamic extremist terror groups around the world in a Global Jihad. objective: a Muslim World!

        How do we stop them?


    • Jingoistic

      Thank you Harold Wilson for keeping us out of the Viet-Nam war.

      • UKSteve

        He didn’t, really. We had special forces and certain other troops serving in Australian army uniforms.

    • juliet solomon

      Bang Bang You’re Dead!!!! Toys for boys. And it puts the climate conference back to about Page Ten, which will make our big bold bully boys happy.

    • rtj1211

      Actually Cameron et al want to continue the back-door arms sales policies of Britain/USA which for 35 years plus has seen enormous arms sales to anyone and everyone in the Middle East, north of £100m in commissions to ‘middle men’ like Mellor, Mark Thatcher and others in the Savoy Mafia and all wars paid for by the taxpayer, solely to the benefit of these arms dealers, arms manufacturers and private mercenaries.

    • Toni Massari

      But also Cameridiot is seeing the writing on the wall… 24% of the vote, Conservathieves would NOT have won if Jeremy Corbyn had been leader, instead of Milliband, and so he is doing what already two PMs have done before him to save themselves from defeat: go to war! It worked for Thatcher, it just about worked for B-liar, why shouldn’t it work for him.

      Because, dear Camerotten, “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time!”
      Abraham Lincoln, on deception.

      • SunnyD

        “The problem with internet quotes is that you cant always depend on their accuracy” -Abraham Lincoln, 1864

  • Toniok

    Great stuff. As a Corbyn fan, I’m thinking of taking out a subscription to The Spectator. The new politics happens in the unlikeliest of places. Osborne and Cameron should take note.

    • Todd Unctious

      The Speccy are Jeremy’s biggest fan. A few weeks ago 7 of their top ten articles were about him. They cleave unto his every action as an acolyte to a messiah.

      • rtj1211

        Whereas the Telegraph glory in the role of Cassius – where Hodges and McTernan call weekly, if not daily, for putsch, beheading and coup.

  • David Shewan

    “If you look at Corbyn’s actual words” – we need more journalists like you.

  • Debra

    I absolutely agree! I greatly admire Corbyn for his wisdom and stregnth in the face of such opposition and pressure! I am not a political animal, and may not agree with everything that Corbyn belives in, however given the choice, I would prefer a leader who is principled, tries to apply wisdom before action, and is not easily swayed by popular pressure! Rushing in to join in the bombing campaign is a little like a child having a vindictive tantrum…………maybe the other children in the game were hoping for such a reaction! It is sometimes good to step back!

    • Olivia DavidaBernstein

      I agree Debra. Thank you.

    • TheJustCity

      Some of the greatest tyrants were ‘straight talking’ and had ‘principles’.

      • Debra

        I love a good tyrant now and again! ………………..Ultimately, nothing is totally black or totally white in this world ……….I am not a corbynite and am not affiliated to any political party. I am just saying that there is wisdom in taking a measured approach (especially when it comes to world stability and lives of others). I am not a fence sitter either……….In eastern tradition (not my origin) there is a time for contemplation (when one sees the unity in everything …..and how can you truly be in conflict with yourself?!) and a time for action (with the whole of your being). I am just saying that I do not think the time for action has come, and that it is wise to step back and get a wider view first. I can’t abide mass hysteria and sentiment, and respect the person who is strong enough to not be seduced by it.

  • fairleft

    What will succeed is severe economic sanctions on Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, until they stop providing sanctuary and economic support to ISIS and the Al Qaeda affiliated militias. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

    • ISIS are a deep state creation. Turn the TV off and recognise we need them to steal other people’s resources.

      • rtj1211

        So you’re a committed organised criminal, then?

        • UKSteve

          No, he’s a tin foil-hatter.

          • TheJustCity

            Tin foil hatters. Natural dance partners for the Corbynist Left.

  • Torgeir Salih Holgersen

    “Except we all know that two years ago, Cameron wanted to bomb Isis’s great enemy, President Assad, which would have been a tremendous boon to Islamist scumbags across the region.”

    I believe there is more consistency in the positition of Cameron and others who argued in favor of intervening in the Syrian Civil War two years ago, and who argue for joining the US-lead anti-IS-bombing campain in Syria now, than is publicly admitted by themselves.

    At the moment, they are only talking about bombing Islamic State, but emphasize that their ground troops are opposition fighters. If indeed there are 70,000 to be counted, as Cameron has claimed, they are not limited to secular Free Syrian Army fighters, but also must include the larger Salafi groups such as Ahrar al-Sham, that do not hesitate cooperating with al-Qaida in parts of Syria: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/12392/21/Gulf-allies-and-%E2%80%98Army-of-Conquest%E2%80%99.aspx. These groups are strongly supported by both Saudi Arabia and Turkey, both parts of the coalition that Cameron wants to join, but they are fighting Syrian government forces, and Russia.

    As long as there is no clear political agreement which includes Russia and the Syrian government, which is NOT part of Cameron’s stated plan, British involvement in Syria might just as well in the end up being about fighting the Syrian government forces and Russia.

    • Olivia DavidaBernstein

      Dear Contributor – Thank you. A very well presented contribution.

  • Ian Norbury
  • Matt

    There is some truth to this: consistency in politics, in the popular opinion, is a rare virtue. And I’ll be the first to admit that Cameron doesn’t really do anything; that is, he reacts, albeit with great charisma and eloquence.

    I’m of the opinion it was wrong not to bomb Assad in 2013, especially after we’re (practically) certain that he used chemical weapons. If you don’t enforce the ban on chemical weapons, which, incidentally, are included under weapons of mass destruction, you encourage others to use them. I fear also there is an obfuscation in the article by labeling Assad as ISIS’s great enemy. If I were Assad, I’d want to ISIS to maintain their presence as it keeps the spotlight elsewhere.

    Sadly, the article’s final question is an easy Corbyn. This is not to say there isn’t a sizable list of Western foreign-policy mistakes, but history has repeatedly taught us that you cannot diplomatically resolve conflicts with those who place death over life. The analogy of Chamberlain is an apt one.

    • MalcolmRedfellow

      “If you don’t enforce the ban on chemical weapons, which, incidentally, are included under weapons of mass destruction, you encourage others to use them.”

      1. I believe that the UK (and other civilised Western nations) have “seriously” tried to ban the use of chemical weapons. Except, of course, we keep the capacity to produce them at short notice, just in case.

      2. Where has there been any encouragement from the UK to “others to use them”? Unless, of course, there was some brown-envelope, under-the-counter stuff at DSEI. But let’s not consider such trifles.

      As for “The analogy of Chamberlain is an apt one”, for heaven’s sake, why? Both the Baldwin (after 1934) and the Chamberlain governments were re-arming — not sufficiently for the ultras, like Churchill, perhaps. Certainly a world away from the disarmament of recent years.

      In short, it’s all a matter of moral ambivalence.

      • Matt

        This looks a lot like finding tiny potential flaws in my reasoning, and using them to discredit my conclusion. I’ll address your points:

        1) It’s likely we have common ground here, if you’re alluding to the Western arms trade to Middle Eastern countries. In response to what you said, we also have nuclear weapons, but if Pakistan were, hypothetically, to use one tomorrow in Kashmir, I hope you’ll agree that’s a very different matter to maintaining nukes as a deterrent.

        2) The encouragement is implicit; that is, it’s a corollary of inaction. In the same way that teachers encourage recalcitrance, if they fail to discipline misbehaving students.

        3) It’s quite possible they were, you may know more about this than I do, yet I’d like to point out two things: they weren’t prepared for the naval and areal conflict with the Nazis: they had to cede military bases and secrets to the US in order to survive; it’s also arguable a direct factor in our winning of the Battle of Britain was due to the change in German strategy to bomb our cities, and not our airports.

        Secondly, Chamberlain is known by most for the Munich Agreement, widely regarded as an act of failed appeasement. He wasn’t re-arming sufficiently to face the threat, hence the later petition to the US.

        Our foreign policy is a matter of moral ambivalence I agree; however, Corbyn has indicated he doesn’t understood the nature of ISIS as I wrote in my previous comment, and his requests to negotiate with them are why I invoked the comparison to Chamberlain.

  • driver56

    They have learned nothing from previous wars in the middle east, and the 30+ years of trouble in Norther Ireland. The west has been bombing for 2 years with no effect, Corbyn is right to hold back until there is a cohesive strategy with all coalition partners including Russia,China. And every one else Then move forward, That sounds like a plan.

    • DrPlokta

      “Hold back until there is a cohesive strategy” with everyone, including Russia and China, is simply another way of saying that we should do nothing, ever. Because there will never be such a cohesive strategy. We should either go ahead with a less inclusive strategy, or we should not, but waiting for a miracle to happen is not a good plan.

      • driver56

        I think you will find that the coalition of all those countries mentioned were on course until Turkey decided to down a Russian Jet. Maybe someone does not want the coalition to happen.

      • Peter Cooper

        I keep getting a twitch in my knee, my doctor tells me that its brought on by being in the vicinity of some thing called Kneejerk planning.

      • Toni Massari

        “Do nothing, ever”. I recently watched a movie sequence involving two characters running from a predator on cracking ice of a river…

        They had to wait until the last split second each time, before they could see HOW the ice broke and WHERE it moved before jumping.

        The problem with Conservathieves is that they do not want what we THINK they want (security of Britain, defeat ISIL/DAESH) but to achieve what Thatcher and Tory B-Liar: to save their failing administration for a third term by whipping-up a convenient little war. The Falklands saved Thatcher, Iraq saved B-Liar, but Camerotten has misjudged the mood…

        People (those who do not vote UKIP, that is) have realised that these wars are not fought for us, but for the benefit of the rich, playing gods with our Nations.

        Assad, Putin, Cameron, Hollande… this is THEM!


  • Iain Paton

    The trouble in this case is that there is neither a convincing case for UK air strikes, nor a convincing case against UK air strikes.

    Air power alone won’t dislocate ISIS and will risk civilian casualties and also inflaming support for ISIS. The claim of a 70,000 anti-ISIS and non-Assad force is just a joke. And the US and France and others are bombing ISIS anyway. It is doubtful what a few British jets could offer.

    On the other hand, there is UN top-cover and the US and France are bombing anyway. This isn’t Iraq in 2003 or even Libya.

    So there’s no real reason for Corbyn to tie himself in knots. Either way, little will change – other than casualties at UK hands and the risk to RAF lives in a very messy theatre. The only potential change to this stalemate is if France moves closer to the Russian ISIS first (pro-Assad) position, which makes compelling strategic sense even if unpalatable and likely to advance Russian economic interests far more than Western interests.

    • There is an argument for getting involved. It’s called free will and not imposing yours on others. Good advice given UK, US, Israel, Qatar, Saudi creation of ISIS to steal Syrian resources. If you feel strongly about war. Go fight.

    • Matt

      “The only potential change to this stalemate is if France moves closer to the Russian ISIS first (pro-Assad) position, which makes compelling strategic sense even if unpalatable and likely to advance Russian economic interests far more than Western interests.”

      I’m curious, would this not also advance Iranian interests, which would in turn threaten local actors such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia? Also, considering Turkey has had its EU application re-opened on the condition it take in more refugees, could this not have an effect on France in the long run?

      Also, I’ve read France are among the most dogged about Assad’s deposing; why does it make compelling sense for them to about-face on this? They can obtain their vengeance through the US-led coalition. I’m aware they’ve sworn the destruction of the Islamic State, but so has President Obama, even though he knows airstrikes and insurgency groups are unlikely to achieve this, as you say.

  • ISIS are a deep state creation by Israel, UK, US, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi et al. If a person hasn’t realised that yet they are a consumer, a useless eater….unconscious.

    • UKSteve

      Or sane.

  • Jim Dodds

    I am one of those crazy fans to which Grey refers and need no lecture on the PR politics of Corbyn’s New Labour critics or on right wing Tory merchants of death. No real surgeon would shoot a patient with cancer pretending it was a cure, The desire to destroy all that opposes such folk is tantamount to all their actions, self first, self last, self always or why has the family silver, furniture, fixtures and fittings been stolen from we crazy folk who created them? The crazy folk they send to shoot and kill in defense of so called democracy fast becoming multinational corporate terrorism.. .

    • Herman Mittelholzer

      I think you have just about nailed all the key issues here.

      Unless you have shares in the defence or oil industries, or have the surname Rothschild, Bush, Clinton, Rockerfella or Chaney, you really have noting to gain from war – so why does everyone feel such a strong need to jump on the jingoistic bandwagon?

      Could it be that we are being cynically ‘played’ by the above?

    • Jill Phillips

      I agree. All the more asronishing that Assad is a UK-trained eye surgeon!

    • trobrianders

      And where does your analysis leave you? A downtrodden nobody.

      • Jim Dodds

        An 83 year old nobody still training at the gym. Happily married with one son, three stepsons, eight grandchildren spreading good-will on three continents and an ex serviceman with some knowledge of what I am writing.

        • Prakhar Manas

          Boom. And that is how you shut up dimwits committing ad hominem. Respect.

    • UKSteve

      “….fast becoming multinational corporate terrorism.”

      I though that was what was happening for years

    • Son_of_Casandra

      Would Tory merchants of Death be the equivalent of Labour Appeasers of Terrorism especially the Islamic kind?

    • Olivia DavidaBernstein

      There are some interesting points – thank you. I would like to respectfully add that Corbyn has also spoken about the funding of ISIS. The funding of these extremists has to be dealt with and at the recent G20, it was identified where the alleged funding sources were coming from. These included individuals from Western backed regimes who oppose Assad.

      • Jim Dodds

        Suggest you look up Basil Zaharoff. There seems to be nothing new under the Sun.

  • Dean Collins

    “In the wake of the attacks in Paris, he declared that Britain ‘must not be drawn into responses that feed the cycle of violence and hate’. He has urged his country not to ‘keep making the same mistakes’ in the Middle East, something he has been saying for decades”.

    ….sounds smart to me.

  • trobrianders

    Corbyn is basically a Christian. He’s what Justin Welby would be if Justin Welby had any guts.

    • Son_of_Casandra

      Would Justin Welby support the IRA? I think not.

      • Historicus_Bradicus

        Not that old chestnut again? Go to the back of the class and come back when you’re up to date?

        • Son_of_Casandra

          It’s very embarrassing when someone’s indiscretions when they’re a nobody come back to haunt them when they are in the public eye.

          • Historicus_Bradicus

            You back again? Is that it? Did you go away and find what you were looking for? Like, the full transcript of what you’re basing your stupid ‘argument’ on?

          • trobrianders

            You know he supports the IRA (complete with feeble caveats). I’m sure he’d have supported them even more if they’d used suicide bombing. The Left love their martyrs.

          • stupocalypse

            Holy hyperbole batman.

          • trobrianders

            He doesn’t love martyrs? Why does he honour them every time he sings the evil Red Flag then?

          • Spamfish

            and what is remembrance sunday about if not showing our respect for the martyrs who defended us in the world wars?

          • trobrianders

            You know full well we don’t use that filthy term.

          • Stephen Whitaker

            Edith Cavell and Charles Fryatt were ‘martyred’ in WW1 and other examples are not hard to find.

          • trobrianders


          • Historicus_Bradicus

            Really? No, I didn’t ‘know’ that. Please provide the proof, and not just a selected paragraph from the Daily Fail. If not, I shall have to cast you in the role of idiot too.

      • kenwebb53

        Where did you read that bit of misinformation about Corbyn supporting the IRA? Now read the whole sentence if you can.

  • Loxford

    Now there are Labour MPs calling on the ELECTED (perhaps they’ve forgotten that) leader to resign. Wel…….they might do that anyway. The point here is public opinion regarding the Mid East. I know there’s spin all around but it really appears that UK public are strongly opposed to military intervention as it stands. Look at the polls.
    Let’s forget our party political differences and ask ourselves WTH (that’s the non sweary version) our politicians agenda is because it certainly is not reflecting our wishes. I know their lack of representation of their constituents is not unusual but this one is BIG with huge national and international ramifications.
    If you feel your MP is not reflecting the majority in your constituency, it’s really questionable why you are not doing something about it.

    • Duke_Bouvier

      If you are elected but turn out to be a disaster then you should be asked to resign. What don’t you get? They aren’t asking to annul the election are they?

      • Loxford

        Who is creating the disaster? Is it the leader or the dissenters?
        Anyway, my point about the M East.

        • RuariJM

          It’s the leader. Every day makes that clearer. I have never seen anything like it. Just when you think things cannot get even worse, this weekend comes along.

          Leadership 101: don’t split the party.

  • ManOfKent

    Corbyn seems to have a far better handle on this issue than warmonger Cameron has. After all just because its Christmas doesn’t mean that british forces should play the bombing equivalent of ‘Pin the tail on the donkey’.

    Cameron’s policy will kill many people and if the aim is to sate his and his party’s bloodlust then he will likely only partially succeed (they would no doubt bey for more blood before too long) but if its to significantly reduce or end the terrorist threat (which is as great now as it has been in many years supposedly) it is utterly deluded and will fail totally. You cannot defeat an enemy who has 1.6 billion potential recruits to call on by bombing them out of existence.

    Now given I am normally totally opposed to Labour and Corbyn’s views it just demonstrates how Cameron and his flunkies have got this so badly wrong

    • James Lawrence

      Not sure Cameron is a warmonger. I think he’s just trying to make some pretty difficult decisions based on limited intelligence to try and secure the interests of this country. The alternative is to leave the ME to itself and reject all our allies in the region requests for support.

      • SunnyD

        what’s wrong with Cameron using the intelligence he does have to shore up our own borders, plug the holes and beef up the security within those borders? personally, I’m all for a secretly armed cabal of officers ready to pounce at a moment’s notice… be it a terrorist threat or armed/street robbery…. all the same, Cameron is a warmonger, itching for “his” war. but what use will more bombs falling in the same place have, other than to galvanize support from the other side (and those within our borders)?

        • James Lawrence

          Why do you think the are going to drop bombs on the same place – that would be a bit silly, no?

  • Slugabed

    It’s not “we Brits” at all…
    …it’s “The Media”….Big difference.

  • BigBear63

    We shouldn’t dismiss Corbyn’s conclusions based on his pacifist inclinations. I’m not a pacifist and neither are Peter Hitchin or Max Hastings yet we each reach the same conclusion as Corbyn.

    The sad fact of British politics is the benign manner in which public opinion is negatively manipulated about a democratically elected political leader, who just a few months ago hardly anyone had heard of. A man, criticised for his relatively harder political views than the mainstream but who engenders many of the qualities the public say they admire in a politician: honesty, principles and straight, plain talking.

    Those who dislike Corbyn and Labour, in equal measure, really have no bearing on the matter. Nothing I can say will change their minds and they’ll attack him for any reason they can find. It’s the existing and would-be Labour voters, whose opinions matter. Sadly, most voters are not terribly sophisticated about politics and don’t spend hours and days pondering over the validity of every negative media article about Corbyn or Labour. They tend to absorb the information over time, and form a view, which is very hard to change. Call it received wisdom or brainwashing the effect is the same.

    In a democracy such as ours, where we have no written constitution and human rights law under continual threat, this sort of media manipulation is very worrying and will be deeply damaging to our society in the long run.

    I don’t know what the answer is but I do know that single party states are always a bad thing no matter they arise.

    • FarmerPalmer

      “We shouldn’t dismiss Corbyn’s conclusions based on his pacifist inclinations. I’m not a pacifist and neither are Peter Hitchin or Max Hastings yet we each reach the same conclusion as Corbyn.”

      Different arguments resulting in a common conclusion does not preclude disagreeing with one position while agreeing with the other..

      So if I were to agree with Max Hastings or Peter Hitchens, it should not necessarily prevent me from regarding Jeremy Corbyn as an idiot.

      • Stephen Whitaker

        No but it should at least make you consider your grounds for that judgement.

  • Picquet

    Indeed. Tony Benn was a mighty pillar of integrity in the matter of consistency (except when he was a Minister, but let’s not talk about that), but he was also very wrong.

    • Richard

      Was he? He advocated taxation, taxation, taxation, and then when he died he made sure his heirs paid as little tax as possible. Do as I say, not as I do, seems the apposite expression.

      • Tubby_Isaacs

        He didn’t really support much higher taxation than anyone else when he was a frontline politician. It was mostly different choices. The Poll Tax saved him a fortune, but he opposed it. Same with the Thatcher policy of taxing consumption more than earnings- he opposed it, even though he did well out of it.

        Nor did he do anything in his will that other people can’t do. All taxes have reliefs, and it’s not hypocritical to take advantage of them.

        • Richard

          If you’re setting yourself up as a paragon of some sort, you can’t do what other people do. That is the mark of hypocrisy.

  • spencer

    Would have been a good post up until the “like a good Christian” bit, where you completely wasted the entire point.

  • Clive

    This piece says of JeremyCorbyn:

    …he thinks violence should be a last resort…

    That is not true.

    Jeremy Corbyn associated with and thereby gave some succour to the Provisional IRA and its political face, Provisional Sinn Féin. That is a strange choice.

    It’s not strange because it runs against British interests – that is the usual interpretation. It’s strange because there were other choices concerning Northern Ireland.

    The IRA has existed for a long time. By 1969 and the start of the ‘Troubles’, it had reached the conclusion that the real problem in Ireland was discrimination against Catholics / Nationalists and that they should take a left wing stance. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Official_Irish_Republican_Army#The_shift_to_the_left.

    In 1972, the IRA declared a unilateral ceasefire (although it always had a violent option, it defended itself against violent attacks from the INLA, for instance) and decided it would try to take a political direction. It would take up any seats that were won in the Dáil, the Irish parliament and in the House of Commons – as opposed to the ‘abstentionism’ previously practised by Sinn Féin and now practised by Provisional Sinn Féin.

    In effect it accepted the union and tried to improve the lot of Catholic / Nationalist people through politics, believing that that would eventually lead to a united Ireland. The people came first, a united Ireland second.

    When that decision was made in an Ardfheis in 1969, a faction broke off that wanted to continue the violent approach. They became the Provisional IRA coupled with Provisional Sinn Féin. The original IRA was called the ‘Official IRA’ and its political side was called ‘Offical Sinn Féin’ and stood in elections as the ‘Republican Clubs’ because the law as it was then did not allow Sinn Féin to stand.

    In fact in 1977 ‘Offical Sinn Féin’ renamed itself ‘Sinn Féin The Workers Party’ and eventually in 1982 ‘The Workers’ Party’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workers%27_Party_of_Ireland. That party continued to stand in elections to this date https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workers%27_Party_of_Ireland#Electoral_performance.

    So Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell had a choice in the mid 1980s. There was a left wing party whose aspiration was to improve the lot of Northern Ireland Catholics / Nationalists through left wing politics and an end to discrimination. There was another, opposed, party bent on violent means to the end of a united Ireland.

    Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell appear to have made the violent choice.

    • RuariJM

      Pretty succinct.

      Accurate, too.

  • FarmerPalmer

    What drivel.

    “We spend years moaning that our politicians are cynical opportunists who don’t stand for anything.”
    A politician standing for something does not preclude rejecting what he or she politician espouses. Your contention is stupid just on the face of it.

    “It is also true, probably, that Corbyn and his closest allies change their language in public to sound less offensive to the majority, while still dog-whistling to their radical fans. But all politicians do that.”
    If you really believe this then Corbyn is not a new-breed politician but the deceptive Trojan-horse version whose words should not be believed. Where is the supposed honesty and integrity?

    “…his response to the difficult and frightening problem of terrorism has been sensible, cautious and moral. Like a good Christian, he thinks violence should be a last resort…”
    Good Christian? Okay, why not a “Good Muslim”? Or would that have been beyond laughable?
    And when have you hit the last resort? After appeasement, surrender, implementation of Sharia?

    The reality is that of all human requirements, security is the most primal. Animals living in constant fear will starve to death in the presence of any amount of food. We are no different. We already see civil liberties being pared back to ensure greater security. As a minority, I understand this despite being fearful of where this leads.

    If Britons don’t believe Corbyn we keep them secure neither he nor anyone like him will ever be prime minister not now not ever.

  • k perkins

    The dilemna which we face is that Corbyn is speaking the language of the people in at least one very important respect. Syrian War. Sadly he has weaknesses in many other areas but may get elected on this one cause. Theres a lesson to be learned here, Mr Cameron.

  • liberalinlosangeles

    Um no not at all.

    What Corbyn (and very hypocritically given his own past disregard for the whip or party above individual belief) is attempting to do, is make the m!O!m!E!n!T!u!M! Gang the (sole) electorate and constituency of the PLP, individually and collectively.

    Which is foolish. It would be like IDS making the Countryside Alliance the only arbiter of Tory votes back in the early aughts (*except of course the Alliance is far more mainstream and popular than M!o!M!e!N!t!U!m!)

    & incredibly dangerous In effect, Corbyn is trying to set up a type of worker’s council or Soviet (yes, I went there) which supersedes actual voters in their constituencies.

    So a Labour MP is not to be responsive to the views of his electorate (ok, ok, I mean Burke sortta held this view), but also not to his own views (err- danger, danger) but rather to a curated and ideologically pure self-appointed regime of people who are neither representative of the wider electorate/public nor accountable to them.

    Do you see the problem?

  • liberalinlosangeles

    Oh and by the way, what’s exactly consistent about forcing Labour MP’s to vote against their beliefs and constituents by imposing a whip imposed by Mr. ‘Rebel against the dastardly Whip when if verily Offends my Righteous Conscience’ Corbyn himself?

    • Stephen Whitaker

      One MP and two MPs……get it right please.

  • somewhereinthesouth

    Cameron and the FO are embarrassed that Obama thinks were no longer the US’s best ally [ and now we can’t even bomb Syria after he promised we might so we look irrelevant too ]. Meanwhile France our other “ally” has called for our help by bombing Syria since France is at “war ” [ if we do help out our contribution which amounts to maybe another 4 planes which is a pathetic – however good their bombs maybe ! ] and of course Cameron he will look weak and un-european if he cant muster bombing . [Funny I don’t recall either the French or the USA doing much to support the UK war with the IRA but thats another matter .]
    Britain staying out of Syria of course looks like we are punching below our weight. So something anything must be done to appear more powerful i.e. we must bomb, so a] Cameron can look his “allies” in the face and b ] he will actually doing something with the few boys toys we have left after the defence reviews and Labour policy of spending all taxes on welfare. Not that our contribution will sort out Syria without ground troops which isn’t going to happen cos Obama is isolationist – even to the extent that US is losing influence in the Midle East . The irony is that sorting out terrorism in Europe and indeed here means taking action at home – rooting out extremism , banning religious / muslim schools and stopping money from Saudi Arabia being to set up religious training schools , stopping excessive migration [and especially economic migration form muslim countries] and finally having an open debate about the conflict of values which some [ may be all [ versions of Islam seem to have wth western culture – stating wth Sharia law , women’s rights and gays rights. However this approach goes agiansts the chattering classes liberlapostion so we are left with bommbing Syria or doing nothing . At resent the establishment is parroting the line that none of this terrorism has anything to do oath Islam .I despair.

    • RuariJM

      You’re wrong about the Falklands. Both France and the USA gave us a great deal of support, both dilomatically and in terns if intelligence – the USA especially.

  • Sparks89

    Pretty feeble article from the Spectator here. Corbyn is not principled at all. He has no problem with Russia, Iran & Assad doing whatever they like – he just doesn’t want us to intervene.
    Wars like this one cannot be solved by political negotiation. Assad is a monster and so are ISIS.

    If we’d bombed Assad two years ago, we could have helped to strengthen non-Isis groups in Syria (such as the Kurds) and prevented that psychotic dictator from slaughtering more of his own people. The Labour MP’s (including Corbyn) and the ridiculously named ‘Stop the War’ coalition who prevented our involvement then have the blood of tens of thousands of Syrian men, women and children on their hands.

    • Stephen Whitaker

      Please direct me to where he said that he has no problem with Russia, Iran & Assad doing whatever they like…

      • James Lawrence

        When you appear on State TV you are essentially an apologist for the regime.

        • Stephen Whitaker

          What , all three states ? The liklihood is slight

          • James Lawrence

            Well he’s certainly a regular on Press TV and Russia Today. Syria not so sure about…

    • Susan Beatrice Karimchise

      Armchair general.
      Lets not get involved in other peoples civil wars.

  • TheJustCity

    Thought I was reading the Staggers for a moment. This piece of Millenial Corbyn-fanboy guff is redolent of the uncritical thought which has ensured the Left is now diseased and are now controlled by the totalitarian cranks who formally inhabited the margins.

    That this is by the deputy editor hardly recommends this publication. Despite being an editor, he has either not read Cohen’s piece or not understood it (time, perhaps, for a refresher course in reading and comprehension.) Corbynistas aren’t men of principal (in it’s conventional sense) peace, they embrace war and violence – if it’s against the West.

  • Evelyn Tremble

    Nick Cohen stands against everything I stand for. He is a neo-con shill and one reason I stopped buying the Guardian
    Great article, ignore the critics

  • villiers

    It is perplexing to be at
    odds with the Spectator after so many years of total agreement. What I cannot
    understand is the derisive, venomous invective directed at poor old Jeremy Corbyn. Even I can see that he closely
    resembles Steptoe, but most politicians have a faintly ludicrous look about
    them, and his looks in no way relate to his political plausibility. So I would
    greatly appreciate some explanation as to why the Spectator, together with the
    leadership of the Conservative Party are so keen on bombing Syria.

    Surely the examples
    provided by our recent adventures in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq have taught us
    that western style democracies cannot be imposed on pre-industrial, Moslem
    societies, and that any improvement in governance can only be initiated and
    maintained by the indigenous population.

    Cameron was right to
    refuse entry to the upper strata of Syrian society, the ones who can pay the smugglers,
    as it is their responsibility to remain and fight against both the Islamic
    State and the Assad dictatorship. Middle class emigration in search of western
    luxury has long been acceptable but can no longer be tolerated. Boots on the
    Ground can only be indigenous and no amount of bombing can prepare Libya, Syria
    or Afghanistan for an acceptable form of government.

    Turkey, Saudi Arabia and
    others are financing and arming fundamentalist groups. We should do more to
    finance and arm Kurdish, Christian and Jesidi militias. But that is all.
    Cameron still has not explained why bombing might diminish the threat of
    terrorism. I agree with Corbyn that it may well do the opposite.

    Instead of sending in our
    bombers, we should spend our resources on fighting our home grown militants on
    our own doorstep, finding places where they can safely be deported and sending
    a clear and unequivocal statement to any who may still be undecided that we
    shall not hesitate to take all necessary action to render them harmless. It is
    only likely to take very few examples in order to impress the majority of ISIS
    sympathisers who, I am certain, have no desire to leave Northern Europe for

    “Good government” you
    state in your 21 Nov. leader “means …. avoiding the wrong decisions. And for
    that the Prime Minister deserves credit”. Credit is better deserved by the man
    you spend so much time deriding.

    • James Lawrence

      Let me give you one reason. Mohammed Emwazi – we can either let him and his ilk continue to act as barbarians or we can kill them. I for one welcomed his death and hope there will be many more soon.

      • Yeah if only there some other way of stopping people form doing things other than killing them. Sadly no society on Earth has ever thought of one… no, wait!!! Things don’t always have to be completely black and white, and anyone accused of anything deserves a fair trial. If we decide that they don’t deserve one, then we risk becoming what we are fighting against.

        • James Lawrence

          Completely agree – if you can send the police around and arrest him. Otherwise, if you only option is to continue watching him behead people on TV then I’m all for sending a plane with a bomb

  • Asteri

    The Blairites have a stranglehold on the Labour Party and the media, the last few days has shown the full extent of their collaboration and the how low they will sink to try and oust him as leader, including bombing Syria as a means to an end.

  • Toni Massari
  • Sean L

    This is totally misconceived. The gallery Corbyn plays to, and always has done, is the far left, the activist core, those who got him where he is today: his bubble. So it wouldn’t at all have been “easier for him to join in the general whooping…”. For them it’s not about mass appeal at all. Quite the reverse. Corbyn is akin to an identity politician rousing his own sectarian group. To the hard left the masses are victims of false consciousness, and no more the primary audience than the average white is to the typical ‘community leader’, the racial rabble-rouser.

    And he’s never seen violence as a last resort, not when it’s directed against British and/or Western interests at any rate. He’s consistently supported Marxist and other violent insurrectionists throughout his career, not least the IRA who were also bombing London.

    I’m less than convinced of the case for going to war in the Middle East myself. But that’s because the principal threat to our security emanates from within. And until we start enforcing the law in respect of treason and sedition with the severity currently applied to ” anti-racist” or “hate speech” legislation against otherwise harmless individuals who pose no violent threat at all, bombing Syrians is only likely to give home-grown jihadis a further casus belli. Why should Paris 2015 be any different to New York 2001? Or Syria, Iraq?

    If it involved some kind of dual strategy, targeting at the same time the internal jihadis, that might be different. And it’s not as if there isn’t a precedent. 75 years ago British nationalists were imprisoned without trial for opposing a war, even though their leader, himself a war veteran, had vowed to fight for his country in the face of any external threat, from wherever it emanated.

    In contrast, people who actively sympathise with the jihadis are *protected* by the law. And whereas entirely innocent Germans were interned back then as a precaution, today you’re in more danger of being incarcerated for actively *opposing* the enemy. Otherwise, there’s a good line from Daniel Johnson in the current Standpoint magazine, where he says, “Stop the War”, Corbyn’s fanbase, should be renamed “Start the Jihad”.

    • Imager15

      Utter hysterical nonsense. Why don’t you actually listen to what Corbyn and his supporters are saying rather than subjecting us to your twisted subjective beliefs on the subject.

    • vieuxceps2

      Candid and clear. Why is it not more widely understood?

      • Sean L

        I’ll take a wild guess: state education?

  • James Lawrence

    You’re making the common mistake of viewing Corbyn’s stance as principled whereas if fact it is simply based on an ant-Western bias. When it comes to Russia, Iran or whoever is currently railing against the West attacking people he is either silent or gives his tacit support. Not much in the way of principle there.

    • Imager15

      I have rarely heard such a load of utter rubbish! Tonight the foreign affairs commons select committee has intelligently voted against airstrikes. It has a majority of conservative members. To suggest that those of us in the Labour Party who oppose the bombing are either tacitly supporting those who rail against the west is insulting and utterly ignorant.

      • James Lawrence

        No need to get so upset. As you can easily reread I didn’t write that those who oppose the bombing are supporting those who rail against the West. Think you’re getting confused

  • Why don’t most Spectator readers
    understand that human behaviour is 99.99% reciprocal? Broadly, people treat us how
    we treat them. The West has been invading, occupying, colonizing and, most
    recently, bombing Middle Eastern countries for decades, certainly killing millions
    of people. Since these countries do not have the capacity to engage our armed
    forces, a tiny number of them turn to killing any Western people they can get
    their hands on. If we want them to cease their defensive behaviour, we must
    first cease the murder of their citizens, the occupation of their land, and the
    theft of their oil resources. Isn’t this just common-sense?

    • Bertie

      I think you’ll find the brutal conquest of Mohammed in 632-650 came long before the Crusades in 1100.

      Thus your claim about the West has been invading, occupying, colonizing for decades is a tad hollow,and exceedingly erroneous.

      The crusades came about to “Take Back” lands stolen by the Islamic conquest

      • Nice try, Bertie, but you haven’t quite accepted morality
        yet. If an individual harms another person, then the injured party has a moral
        right to defend himself or herself, and either to take proportionate revenge,
        or to seek collective redress through the law. This does not strictly justify
        collective defense, so the fact that the Western Coalition may have killed up
        to two million Iraqis in recent years without just cause does not justify the
        911 attack that killed a small number of innocent Americans. But, since most of
        us are controlled by governments in our international relations, we apply the
        principle of morality collectively, so that, if one society harms another, the
        injured society is permitted to take revenge. But obviously, to hold modern
        people responsible for the criminal behavior of either Crusaders or ancient
        Moslems hundreds of years ago is without any moral foundation whatsoever.

        Of course, real civilization will only arrive when all individuals
        are made fully responsible for their own actions – but that is only possible if
        we return to the “consensual” self-government and autonomy of Paleolithic
        societies. How about agreeing with me, so we can make progress, Bertie?

        • Bertie

          Nice try? I’m giving you facts. Mohammed’s barbarism and his conquest came long long before the Crusades. Or do you dispute this? The crusades was clearly an attempt to recapture what was previously ours.

          Not quite sure what leads you to claim that I haven’t accepted morality as I wholeheartedly concur with your suggestion that every injured party has a moral right to defend themselves(You cant cut out the unnecessary politically correct nonsense with the himself/herself tosh!)

          You clearly miss that the expansion of Islamic extremism is as a direct result of an age old battle of civilisations -If there was no Israel, if there had been no Western powers occupying ME then Moslems would find something else to whinge,whine,and bomb/kill us over. as they did pre Crusades.

          Yet,(strangely, or not depending on your political leanings) most educational establishments fail to highlight the Pre Crusades Islamic conquest some 500 years prior, its barbarism and backwardness, and hone in on the Crusades as being a major point of contention that

          inflamed Moslem opinion….and the subsequent series of events since has merely enraged them further such that 9-11, 7/67 and other Moslem atrocities are explained away as being understandable.

          Reverting to small local orientated groupings sounds far too much of a backward step to me..and unworkable in this day an age.How are you going to push a move to such Paleolithic societies – shut everything down?

          Zero chance of agreeing with you sorry – it’s clear we come from different backgrounds, have noticeably opposing political leanings and most liekly outlooks on life,and the way things should be.

          My guiding principles are honesty, loyalty, duty and personal responsibility. Military tradition in the family over generations(but not myself). Am also, I suspect, significantly younger than yourself if your photo is actually you which might explain some of our differing opinions.

          • Look Bertie, let’s try to be a little sensible. Every nation
            state on the planet was founded by violence, because warfare has been endemic for tens of thousands of years. If you really believe in judging modern people by the brutish behavior of their ancient ancestors, then we are all serial
            killers, including you and I, but that would be a very childish and ignorant

            You appear to believe that Moslems are singularly violent,
            but why then has Iran, a country repeatedly threatened with deadly warfare by
            the West, not invaded a single country in over 200 years, and why has Iran
            provided a safe haven for a Jewish population, and why do the Iranians
            frequently avow their friendliness to the people
            of the USA?

            Or consider Iraq, a close ally of the USA until it sold oil
            to the Russians. Iraq did not attack any western country, only Iran, with the
            fully support of the USA, and Kuwait, an Arab neighbor.

            I believe several of the men responsible for 911 came from
            Saudi Arabia, but Osama Bin Laden explained clearly that the attack was due to the half million Iraqi children killed by US sanctions, and the occupation of
            his country by US troops. So who was responsible for 911? US scholars claim
            that the USA has caused the death of over 20 million people by actual or proxy warfare since 1945. Before the USA, my country, the UK, killed tens of millions of people in acquiring an empire of 28% of the world’s population. Manifestly, no Moslem country is remotely in the same league as the West for killing and injuring innocent people. If you like history, why don’t you know this?

            The fact is, we are not in a “battle of civilizations,” we are in a battle to save the minds of youngsters like yourself from state propaganda that is used to support warfare and domination of their rivals. How can we build a peaceful world if young people like yourself are dreaming of playing “Crusaders
            versus Moslem heathens” as if life was a video game? Incidentally, you say the Crusaders were recapturing “what was previously ours.” Here’s a newsflash: foreign countries are owned by the people who live there, matey.

            Finally, I referred to Paleolithic societies, because they
            had consensual government, in which warfare for resources was virtually impossible. Many of the ills of modern society, such as 80% of disease, arise purely because we ignore our natural social organization, and assume we have to kow-tow to the state, which prospers on warfare. If you really want to earn a sense of self-pride, I suggest you stop hating Moslems and start pursuing the greatest quest in history – the quest for “real civilization.”

    • Sean L

      Though the Arabs were conquering and slaving their way around north, to say nothing of east and west Africa and southern Europe long before the north Europeans got going imperially. Indeed we could easily be Arabs ourselves were it not for Charles Martel and some decisive battles that repelled the Arabs in 8th century France. After all, prior to Arab imperialism Morrocans and Algerians were no more ‘Arabs’ than than we were. Arabs are imperialists par excellence, we can’t touch them: and that’s because they have their own religion, whereas ours is itself another Middle Eastern monotheism. Thus their conquests become so thoroughly assimilated, their native identities deracinated, such that they’ve no consciousness of themselves as subjugated peoples at all: all their sacred places and holy texts become Arab/Islamic; by far the most successful form of imperialism in world history. And where they failed by military means 1300 years ago, they’re now colonising by invitation…

    • Sean L

      Quite a primitive concept that we all get what’s coming to us, you reap what you sow, just desserts etc. Mind how you go with penal reformers and the like; and the feminist lobby aren’t too keen on the idea that victims of sexual crime were asking for it really, and what could be more inherently *reciprocal*? Except when it isn’t. But it’s a misplaced use of reciprocity here, which has do more with mutuality and cooperation than retribution or karma. Besides, one might just as well say 100% of behaviour is autonomous or in response to external stimuli. So what? What’s most ridiculous about the line taken here though is the presupposition that historical agency begins and ends with the West. But if these people were only responding to what was done to them, why shouldn’t the British be doing likewise. After all 99.99% of human behaviour is reciprocal. Don’t Europeans qualify as human?

  • Jacques Strap

    Your new boyfriend?

  • Paddy

    Why is everything always about Corbyn?

    Is Corbyn going to wear a poppy at Remembrance Day parade?
    Is Corbyn going to bow to the Queen at the State Banquet?
    Is Corbyn going to kneel before the Queen at the Privy Council?

    He’s a bloody minded, childish attention seeker who has never grown-up…….. who likes the sound of his own voice……..and would be happy to debate on any issue as long as he doesn’t have to make a decision on anything.