Labour Party

The Record of John McDonnell, Labour MP for Rioters

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s record of supporting street violence is known now. So is his fond recollection of a P&O worker spitting in the managers’ tea every day.

The soft and charitable might think Mr McDonnell has made a few unguarded and ill-advised remarks in the heat of the moment. Don’t we all?

Well, even the softest should reach a different conclusion as more of the record is charted. McDonnell has advocated violence and thuggery time and time again for many years. Deliberately, explicitly, in prepared speeches designed to incite violence.

Here is another example. Watch this speech at a “Coalition of Resistance” meeting in 2011.

Note what he says about Ed Woollard, the man who hurled a fire extinguisher at police officers from the top of Millbank Tower at the student riot in 2010. For McDonnell, Woollard was not simply “victimised”, as has been reported. No, there’s more – solidarity!

First of all, I think we need to always express our solidarity with those in struggle and those who at the moment are suffering as a result of that struggle. I wanted to express my solidarity still and all of ours with Ed Woollard, who was arrested as you know and then prosecuted and imprisoned as a result of the demonstrations last November.

Take another look at what McDonnell is supporting.

Remember that even the crowd invading and trashing Millbank found Woollard’s act too much. “Stop throwing shit!” they chanted. So, in McDonnell’s world, the very worst fringe of a mob is not an outrage to be rejected, but a role model.

Remember too the spin Jeremy Corbyn put on this. “Straight talking?” Give us a break.

I think the point John was making was that was at the end of a student demonstration, and this person threw a fire extinguisher off a roof, which was a stupid and an absolutely wrong thing to do.

I think that and I’m sure John thinks that as well.

I think the sentence he got was possibly disproportionate to the crime that he committed, and that’s the fundamental point about it.

No, Jeremy, it’s “solidarity” with Woollard. That’s the line. Glad I could clear this up for you.

This goes for all the violence, by the way. McDonnell follows up his salute to Woollard with this:

So I think we should all from this conference send the message out to all those that have been prosecuted so far, all those who have been facing prosecution, that we stand with them today in solidarity. We stand with them.

Here’s another line from McDonnell’s “Coalition of Resistance” speech. The government is not a big enough target, oh no:

You see, I don’t want to just bring down the government anymore. I want to destroy the system.

This is how McDonnell wants it done:

I think now we’ve seen how effective direct action can be. I think we should put the message out very straightforwardly. Any institution or any individual that attacks our class, we will come for you with direct action. We will close you down. We will expose you. We’ll sit on your lawn. We’ll come into your offices. We’ll come wherever you are to confront you, to confront you!

I suspect, instead, that the voters will be coming for Labour at their very first opportunity.