Poor old Jeremy, he looked like a hostage in front of the camera reading in a detached, formal, unconvinced way the statement prepared by his captors.
He had to say something or they’d have cut his head off at the next PLP. But with some spirit, he used sophisticated techniques to get a coded message out to his supporters back home.
He expressed “horror” at what had happened in Paris, but folded that carnage in equally with others killed in Ankara, Damascus and Beirut – or anywhere else in the world where “innocent civilians” are targeted by terrorists.
His friends understand this to mean that the French are being given a lesson in suffering that Middle Easterners study daily. French civilians think they’re innocent but they are all implicated in militaristic, drone-related barbarities. They are legitimate targets, now that French airstrikes are killing Syrians.
As he went on, his friends heard him giving the same emphasis to Islamophobia in the calculus of horror – Muslims will be the real victims, even though “they are as appalled as anyone else.”
The PM came in with a lively reply. He didn’t cite the British Muslims who had in a poll expressed some sympathy with and approval of the Hebdo-murderers. But he said, “It is not good enough to say there is no connection with Islam.” He said that the killers claimed a connection with Islam and that the support of Muslim scholars was essential in the struggle.
That is quite a step in the right direction. Let them be declared heretics, the stoners, the beheaders, the crucifiers, the mutilators. Well, not the ones in Saudi Arabia obviously, the ones in Syria. Let fatwas be issued. The Muftis have engaged in the argument already but let these heretics be made a legitimate target for ordinary Muslims to kill wherever they are found.
Corbyn couldn’t have gone that far. While he is no pacifist himself (as Twitter has pointed out) he is a believer in armed struggle – as long as the struggle is against Britain.
Cameron found himself with nothing much to aim at across the dispatch box. The leader of the opposition is so insignificant as an opposition leader he has become difficult to hit.
He has to make up questions to which the answer is “shoot-to-kill”. That got the roaring Tories back into voice.
God Forbid that they will “play politics” with the Syria vote. We are told there are enough Labour rebels to counterbalance Tory rebels, but a splintering vote will damage more than the Labour party.
We need to know the answer to the fundamental question. Viz: “Whom are we trying to kill?”
Jeremy Corbyn is not the man to ask that question.
PS: If Ken Livingstone resigns from Corbyn’s defence review, maybe Gerry Adams can step in until Edward Snowden is available?