THE shocking attack on the US Congress is a wake-up call for anyone who believes in democracy and freedom.
The violent assault, as elected officials upheld their country’s constitution, was appalling. To see the President incite it was unbelievable.
It has rightly been condemned around the world.
But spare me the sickening hypocrisy of the Jeremy Corbyn-supporting hard left here in Britain.
Thankfully, we’ve been spared violence on that scale, the deaths it caused and the invasion of Parliament, but they and Trump are two sides of the same coin.
Extremists who bully and intimidate their opponents.
Who thinks people who praised violent street protests in Britain, supported the IRA, backed dictatorships abroad and allowed a political party to be poisoned by racism would protect our democracy?
The good sense of the British people kept Corbyn out of power, but look at the way the hard left set up Momentum to strengthen their grip on the Labour Party. And look how the mob on social media target anyone who dares to challenge them.
Would a hard-left government not have changed the rules to stay in power?
Would the hard-line Stalinists they work with have accepted an election defeat?
And ask yourself whether there is much difference between Trump inciting his supporters in Washington and John McDonnell backing violent protests in London?
Around seven years ago he called for “insurrection” to “bring down” the Government and praised rioters who attacked — he said “kicked the s**t” out of — the Conservative Party’s offices just down the road from Parliament.
In 2013, he backed illegal action to bring down elected governments, saying: “We used to call it insurrection. Now we’re polite and say it’s direct action.”
And in 2015 he said Conservative MPs should not be allowed to “show their face anywhere” without being subjected to “direct action”.
Both Trump and the hard left target the media just for doing their job.
Abusing journalists for daring to ask reasonable questions became routine at Labour events. The hard left condemn Trump for sexism and demeaning behaviour, but women often bore the brunt of their attacks.
Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, was subjected to the most appalling misogynistic abuse and threats. It got so bad that she needed a bodyguard at Labour’s annual conference.
Imagine that: In modern Britain, a journalist needed to be protected just for doing her job. What a disgrace.
McDonnell repeated comments calling for Esther McVey, a government minister, to be lynched and called her a “stain of inhumanity”.
Jewish women MPs got it worst of all, targeted with the most disgusting insults and violent threats. Luciana Berger needed police protection at Labour’s conference.
She and Louise Ellman were chased out of the party and their seats in Parliament by racist bullies.
What right have the hard left got to accuse anyone else of racism after the shameful way Labour was poisoned with anti-Jewish racism? A party with a proud record of fighting for justice and equality was found to have broken the law in its treatment of Jewish people.
What is the difference between Trump using conspiracy theories to claim the election result was stolen, and the hard-left “betrayal” myth that claims Corbyn almost won in 2017 but was cheated out of victory by sabotage by moderate MPs and Labour staff?
And look at what McDonnell and Corbyn said about the IRA.
McDonnell wanted “people involved in the armed struggle” — people he said had used “bombs and bullets” — to be honoured.
People like him and Corbyn were not trying to negotiate a peace deal between two warring sides. They wanted a victory for the republicans.
That’s why Corbyn was among a handful who voted against the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985 and why McDonnell opposed setting up a power-sharing assembly which eventually became the Good Friday Agreement because “an assembly is not what people have laid down their lives for over 30 years . . . the settlement must be for a united Ireland.”
There’s another striking similarity.
Just like Trump, they are so convinced they are right and so certain of their virtue, they can’t understand how anyone might not agree with them or support them without being selfish, evil, or brain-washed by a conspiracy organised against them.
And the Labour MPs who fell in line, serving loyally in Corbyn’s team, sustaining his leadership and campaigning to make him Prime Minister remind me of the craven Republican members of Congress who swallowed all their principles to back Trump and cling on to their jobs.
Look at Angela Rayner, the new Deputy Leader, who was one of the tiny number of MPs to back Corbyn, served loyally in his team throughout and recently called him a “thoroughly decent man”.
Hard-liners prosper when moderates won’t take them on. And this is the big lesson of the last few years — here and across the Atlantic.
We can’t be complacent about our democracy and the legal system and free press that ensure it works. Mainstream politicians have got to stand up for and defend them and oppose extremism whatever the costs.
And while no one could call Labour leader Keir Starmer an extremist, the last few years show how vulnerable Labour is to a hard left takeover, which is why he should boot them all out.
Expelling Corbyn, McDonnell and the extremist cranks who support them would persuade the British people that Labour can be trusted again.
- Lord Austin was Labour MP for Dudley North from 2005 to 2019 and is founder and chairman of Mainstream, the campaign against extremism.
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