The man Jeremy Corbyn wants to be Labour’s next MP in Manchester Gorton criticised Armed Forces Day as “strange“, Guido can reveal. Sam Wheeler, the Unite and Momentum-backed candidate seeking selection in Gorton, made the comment in a blog post about the British armed forces in 2012. Claiming that Britons “use” the armed forces to make themselves “feel good”, Wheeler wrote:
“Increasingly, Britain uses its armed forces to shore up a waning sense of national identity and importance, to make ourselves feel we are on the side of goodness and freedom. When the futility of our interventions becomes apparent, we bring out the bunting, hence the strange new event of ‘Armed Forces Day’ on the 30th of June. We vaunt the heroes collectively as symbols of national valour. We demand young people, disproportionately from the poorer areas of our islands, die, so we can feel good about our country.”
Wheeler went on to criticise “hand-wringing” about the Assad regime’s slaughter of Syrians, mocking those who supported intervention for not going to fight themselves:
“The recent hand-wringing over Syria brings this point home expertly. There is nothing stopping those who believe in Responsibility to Protect catching a plane to Lebanon, buying a gun and taking up the fight against the brutal Assad regime. It’s what the International Brigades did in Spain. Indeed, it’s what the Mujahedeen have been doing for decades… What liberal interventionists really want is NATO to kill Syrians until the Syrians stop killing Syrians. They want a vast military machine that comes at the cost of a social safety net for America’s poor, staffed disproportionately by America’s poor, to kill human beings they have never met.”
Sure these views will go down well on the streets of Gorton…
Meet Sam Wheeler, the Corbynista vying for selection as Labour’s candidate in the Manchester Gorton by-election. Unite-backed Wheeler is at the centre of a vicious selection battle after Labour moderates succeeded in getting pro-Corbyn Rebecca Long-Bailey kicked off the selection panel and replaced with Keith Vaz. Corbynistas fear Vaz, backed by Tom Watson, will favour Afzal Khan, despite his anti-Semitism row issues. One Labour moderate tells Guido that Corbyn’s enforcer Karie Murphy, another Unite crony, has been trying to get Vaz kicked off the selection panel. Meanwhile Momentum are pushing hard. A source says: “Momentum members have been sent up to Manchester from London to influence the local membership. They’re pulling out all the stops”. So far the Labour leader’s office have failed to win any by-election selections, so a Corbynista has yet to face the electorate. Could that change in Gorton?