Labour’s new Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell apologised on Question Time last night for any “offense” his speech in 2003 praising the “bombs and bullets” of the IRA might have caused:
“I think my choice of words were wrong. I accept that. I should not have said the issue about the honouring, I actually said afterwards that there’s no cause that justifies the loss of life in this way… I accept it was a mistake to use those words, but actually if it contributed to saving one life or preventing someone else being maimed it was worth doing because we did hold onto the peace process… If I gave offense, and I clearly have, from the bottom of my heart I apologise, I apologise.”
John’s new found understanding of the offence of his words, lies in stark contrast to the way he defended his comments back in 2003:
” the tabloid-led response to my recent remarks took me by surprise… Why, I wonder, has my speech become an issue now – both for the media and for nameless spokespersons within the Labour party?”
The problem with his I-did-it-for-peace spin is that the Good Friday Agreement was signed 5 years earlier in 1998. What was it about becoming Shadow Chancellor that made you change your mind John?