Obviously by framing Jeremy Corbyn as a terrorist sympathiser, McFadden was hoping to inflict serious harm on his leadership. The bit I struggle to understand, is how he thought he could take such a cheap shot at his leader and still keep his job.
When I was growing up my mum often had a disturbing looking book about serial killers in her hand. “They fascinate me,” she used to say when I asked her why she read them. It wasn’t just their unspeakably horrific crimes that fascinated her. She was also interested in their childhoods. I’d frequently hear her say things like, “His mother used to put cigarettes out on him and then ignore him for weeks on end. His father used to rape the mother in front of him. His uncle sexually molested him for years. No wonder he turned out the way he did.” Did this way of thinking make my mum a serial killer sympathiser? Some people might think so. They might argue – not unreasonably – that far more child abuse victims live productive law abiding lives, than go on to become serial killers. However, I would argue that my mum was simply recognising how complex and individual human beings are. What will break one person, might make another person stronger.
When my daughter was sixteen she started dating a seventeen year old from Palestine. He’d been sent over to live in the uk at the age of twelve after he lost both his parents, and his younger sister – his only sibling – to an Israeli bomb. When my daughter met him, he lived alone in a one bedroom flat provided by the council, having been let go by his foster family the year before; and when I say let go I mean really let go. Eager to maintain ties to his foster family, he took cards and gifts to his ex foster parents on their respective birthdays, but when his 18th birthday came around it went unacknowledged. Their work was done.
If this untethered, rejected, and desperately sad young man, had later gone on to become radicalised, and even committed a terrorist atrocity, part of me wouldn’t have been surprised. To my way of thinking, such immense trauma and loss at such a young age, made him fertile ground into which to sow seeds of hate. Or maybe it would be fairer to say germinate seeds already there, because who of us wouldn’t feel rage and hatred toward those who’d killed, or aided in the killing, of our entire family?
Would my lack of surprise make me a terrorist sympathiser? I don’t think so. I would still have roundly condemned him for any atrocity he’d committed against innocent people, and fervently wished he’d chosen another way of dealing with his anger. But no doubt Pat McFadden would say I was. And if I’d been leader of the Labour Party who’d openly expressed my lack of surprise, Pat would probably out me as such in the commons. ‘May I ask the prime minister to reject the view that sees terrorist acts as always being a response or a reaction to what we in the West do?’ he’d say glancing pointedly my way. ‘Does he agree that such an approach risks infantilising the terrorists and treating them like children, when the truth is that they are adults who are entirely responsible for what they do? No one forces them to kill innocent people in Paris or Beirut. Unless we are clear about that, we will fail even to understand the threat we face, let alone confront it and ultimately overcome it.’
How can I be so sure this would be Pat Mcfadden’s response? Because that was the statement he chose to make to the commons after ‘Stop the War’ posted a now deleted blog with the title, “Paris reaps whirlwind of western support for extremist violence in Middle East.” McFadden made this statement in a bid to embarrass Jeremy; making hay, not just from Jeremy’s close ties to ‘Stop the War,’ but also from Jeremy’s openly expressed view that a series of disastrous western military interventions have prepared the ground for extremism to take root. Indeed, considering that both Blair and Obama have now admitted as much themselves, this view can hardly be considered radical, or as a sign of terrorist sympathy.
But according to McFadden, when Jeremy Corbyn explores the links between western foreign policy and terrorism, he deserves a public shaming. The fact Jeremy has repeatedly condemned all acts of violence, whoever perpetrates them, must be swept under the proverbial rug. To avoid a Pat McFadden shaming, Jeremy would have had to make an unequivocal statement saying that terrorism just springs up out of nowhere; and that no amount of bombing by the west of thousands of innocent people; or western sanctions that have left millions in dire poverty; or blind eyes cast by the west to contraventions of UN resolutions when it comes to their allies; can ever cause an increase in terrorism! The last line of the statement could be, ‘It’s not as if we put the bombs and guns in the jihadists hands….they just took them from the groups we’d chosen to arm.”
Except such a statement would have exposed Jeremy Corbyn to have the thinking capacity of an amoeba. While this might make him popular with the Sun – and Pat Mcfadden – it would make him a huge disappointment to those of us who want a thoughtful, honest, and intelligent leader; one who’s prepared to speak the truth, even when it can be twisted by his enemies.
Obviously by framing Jeremy Corbyn as a terrorist sympathiser, McFadden was hoping to inflict serious harm on his leadership. The bit I struggle to understand is how he thought he could take such a cheap shot at his leader and still keep his job.
Maybe to answer that I’ll need to delve into his childhood? Or would that make me a Pat McFadden sympathiser?