In what world is Corbyn 'radical' for standing against more killing, while revenge bombing is 'moderate'?

David Cameron is falling into an emotive trap. Resisting the urge to pursue revenge may well be difficult, but there’s nothing responsible about politicians calling for bombing for bombing’s sake

Liam Young
Tuesday 17 November 2015 15:49
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The Labour Party have seen some internal divisions since Jeremy Corbyn assumed the leadership
The Labour Party have seen some internal divisions since Jeremy Corbyn assumed the leadership

In light of the recent attacks on Paris, it is only rational that we are all searching for a response. Over the last few days, newspapers and websites have devoted millions of words to a discussion concerning what we do next. Some have been informative and productive, while others have exploited the situation as a way to achieve political outcomes from a dark tragedy.

Incredibly, we’re now in a situation where Labour members of parliament calling for bombings on unknown targets, with no after-plan or no strategy, are named as ‘moderates’. Jeremy Corbyn and those loyal to his policies, with their opposition to bombings and military intervention and their lack of support for ‘shoot-to-kill’ policies, are the radicals.

Personally, I don’t think there is anything moderate about launching an attack so similar to the failed interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan – those which contributed to the development of Isis. Emotion is important, but when strategy is involved, and weapons capable of killing thousands at once, it must be removed from the equation. It is this emotive trap that Blairites and so many Tory politicians – including David Cameron – seem to be falling into. Resisting the urge to pursue revenge may well be difficult, but there’s nothing responsible about the politicians calling for bombing for bombing’s sake.

Once again, Jeremy Corbyn has found himself a target for abuse for arguing, simply and honestly, that we should not hastily commit ourselves to ending more lives. If you listen to interviews that he has conducted in the last few days since the Paris attacks yourself, you’ll see how disingenuous it is to claim that he would never have ordered the shooting of the terrorists at the Bataclan.

Instead, what it’s clear that Corbyn means is that he is not OK with racist profiling on the streets of Britain, which would lead to every black man, woman and child, with a beard and bag-pack liable to a shooting based solely on suspicion. He is not fine with that being swept under the rug. He is not happy to see death, destruction and the erosion of civil liberties rushed through government under the guise of ‘protection’ because the public are scared.

This isn’t because he’s a ‘loony leftie’, or an out-of-touch hippie. It’s because he, like many of us, remembers Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent man shot dead in London the last time shoot-to-kill policies were big in the news following a terrorist attack. And it is because he remembers a time before Isis, before Iraq saw British bombs and invasions, when the terrorist group didn’t exist. Can it really be that difficult to learn from the past? Must be really be ‘radicals’ to do it?

Jeremy Corbyn's relationship with right-wing media

When an attack such as the one in Paris is used to attack a domestic political leader like Jeremy Corbyn, it is important to scrutinise why. Friday marks one of Europe’s darkest days, and I hope that from this event we will move to further the cause of peace, rather than a ricocheting idea of conflict. If being moderate means being a war-monger, I want nothing more to do with it.

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