Thursday, 13 August 2015

Some lessons for Corbyn from attacks on Harold Wilson?

The revving up of the campaign against Jeremy Corbyn, within and outside the Labour Party and in the press, including the Guardian, reminds me of a period in recent British history when Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson was under similar attack.

The documentary above is rather slow moving but well worth viewing for those who weren't around at the time.

This was the cold war era and also that of the IRA campaign in Northern Ireland. What was clear then and demonstrated by the documentary is how the Establishment saw Harold Wilson as a threat to their privilege and used a range of dirty tricks and what the documentary calls 'black propaganda' against him using the media, MI5 and the CIA to undermine him. In addition of course Wilson earned US ire by refusing to send British troops to Vietnam.

I think Wilson puts his finger on it when he says:
They would naturally be brought up to believe that a socialist leader is a communist.
This assumption, whether really believed or not, is behind much of what is being said about Corbyn today.

Major General Alexander Greenwood, a stock broker from 1963-1976, talking in the documentary about the situation in the UK under Wilson, says:
You know, the people in the City of London, they weren't liking it. The people who work as stock brokers, they usually come from the best schools. A lot of them have titles you know. They weren't liking it at all. 
Our current City workers come from a wider range of backgrounds but they aren't 'liking' Corbyn' at all' either.

All this of course led to discussions of a coup involving Lord Mountbatten, Cecil King and the Queen Mother and the need to put a 'strong man' in charge of the country. LINK

I am not a conspiracy theorist but is is clear that Corbyn will be resisted by the Establishment and they will resort to dirty tricks to thwart democracy if they feel it necessary. The cold war has gone and Corbyn's democratic credentials are such that trying to label him a 'Communist' will probably fail. The MI5/6/CIA/KGB operations have been replaced by more sophisticated operations.

Tony Blair's dire warning about Corbyn may well reflect his concerns over Iraq and the Chilcot Inquiry. Corbyn was straightfoward when asked on News Night about war crimes and whether Blair should stand trial:
If he has committed a war crime, yes. Everybody who has committed a war crime should be.
Not something that will please the military or secret services.

In Corbyn's case, rather than Moscow being the focus of dirty tricks and smear campaigns, it might well be Palestine. He has been attacked for his pro-Palestine positions and accused of supporting Hamas and Hezbollah in the press and on Labour blogs. LINK  LINK

Former Tory MP Jerry Hayes suggests on his blog that rather than the Establishment, the threat against Corbyn could come from elsewhere LINK:
 Rogue elements within the security services, Mossad, American NSA veterans and a whole host of the weird and the not so wonderful could be very tempted to remove Corbyn and his chums from the scene. rogue elements in Mossad may present a threat to Corbyn.
Tongue in cheek Hayes advises Corbyn to get a food taster.

Of course Corbyn is a long way from being leader of the Labour Party, and much further from winning an election and being Prime Minister, but it is  worth  bearing in mind the lessons from the Harold Wilson era as events unfold.


I was working in a lowly job in Fleet Street between 1964 and 1971 compiling stock exchange reports for Reuters Economic Services, but it did mean that in the Fleet street pubs I was hearing many of the rumours and conspiracy theories referred to in the documentary.

I was in the weird position of cultivating stock brokers as part of my job in order to get inside information on share movements and also being a militant trade unionist representing  Natsopa clerical workers in RES.

Contradictions, don't you love 'em!


Nan. said...

Unforgettable Harold Wilson one liner -

If they'll stop telling lies about us, we'll stop telling the truth about them.

- (so good it could have come from Mike Hine himself!!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Nan.
I was impressed by the coup leaders' team: Lord Mountbatten, Cecil King and the Queen Mother. What a line-up! What times!
I suppose for a 2015 version it'd be Terry Wogan, Richard Desmond and Barbara Windsor attempting to put David Beckham in as their unifying figurehead with all the photogenic little Beckhams (Bronx, Casanova, Cruise and Harpo) to continue the dynasty ad infinitum.

Mike Hine

Martin Francis said...

You had to be there to appreciate it! Still sensitive cf Queen Mum and Lizzie's nazi salute.