Andrew Murray is a Stalinist who used to work for Novosti – the Soviet Union’s news agency. He joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in the mid-70s, a time of ideological revisionism in British Communism. The Party was heading in a Eurocommunist, Gramscian direction, partly under the influence of their most recognisable member, Eric Hobsbawm.
Whereas some of the hardline Communists established the New Communist Party of Britain, Andrew Murray stayed loyal to the Party, but aligned himself with the Straight Left faction within it. This wing of the party was unrepentantly Stalinist, and defended the USSR’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1979. He is currently the Chief of Staff for the Unite union, and was elected to the TUC General Council in 2011. Murray’s unwillingness to mellow has remained true throughout 40 years of politics: he holds the same juvenile views he held as a teenager and to this day is a supporter of the North Korean régime.
This brief résumé of its current Chairman is sufficient to tell any disinterested observer all they need to know about the Stop the War Coalition. It should also tell us a great deal about its former Chairman, Jeremy Corbyn. He comes from a faction of the left in which the West is always the enemy. Whatever the West does abroad is either ‘imperialism’ or ‘colonialism’ and to be opposed as such. Nationalism is wicked when it is British nationalism; Irish nationalism is romantic and liberating. Self-determination is to be abandoned in order to indulge Argentina’s imperialist aspirations to the Falkland Islands. If the West has an enemy, the hard left will support them.
It is galling to hear the IRA-supporting Jeremy Corbyn described as a pacifist. But it is more galling to hear a man who refers to Hamas as his friends described as an anti-racism campaigner. The Hamas Charter, which calls for the death of Jews for the crime of being Jewish, is less offensive to Corbyn than the desire of the Jews for a state of their own.
We should not be surprised, therefore, that the Stop the War Coalition disgracefully wriggled out of Boris Johnson’s accusation that their distaste for War did not extend to Russia’s offensive against Allepo. Their insincere excuse – that Russia is a foreign power and they can hope only to influence the British government – strikes a hollow note after 15 years spent fanatically protesting against America and Israel.
Nor should we be surprised at the moral equivalence offered to us by Seumus Milne shortly after Prime Minister’s Question time in Parliament. He was worried that to focus on the civilian casualties caused by the Russian and Syrian government’s offensive would distract from the crimes of the Americans in that region. It is no longer shocking that this was the instinctive response of the Corbynistas. Nevertheless, we are all grateful for their willingness to remind us of their intense, visceral hatred, not just of their own country, but of the West generally. If anyone is ever short on reasons why a man like Corbyn should never be trusted to run this country, he needn’t worry; he can sleep safe in the knowledge that the good Comrade is only ever about 36 hours away from reminding him.
To allege, as Corbyn as his acolytes pretend, that all belligerents are equally wicked in war, is an example of intellectual and moral imbecility. The West operates in war according to the strictest rules of engagement known to history. When our troops occasionally fall short of these very high standards they are held accountable for it. When we fight, we fight openly, with properly trained, properly uniformed soldiers.
Many criticisms can be made of the State of Israel, but to pretend that there is a moral equivalence between the Jewish state and Hamas is impossible. Hamas deliberately uses schools and hospitals as bases to fire rockets into Israel, full in the knowledge that when Israel try and prevent these attacks, the young and the sick will be the ones to suffer. When Israel counter-attacks, they warn the civilians well in advance. It can easily be argued that this is a good reason for Israel not to counter-attack; but to pretend that those who try and defend themselves against would-be genocidists are the equivalent of those who use children as human shields is ethical acrobatics of so convoluted a variety that only skilled Marxist dialecticians could perform it successfully.