Live in Truth: Jeremy Corbyn Versus Václav Havel

Looking at the framed copy of Charter 77 signed by Václav Havel hanging on Guido’s office wall yesterday, it occurred to to him that at the same time Jeremy Corbyn was having tea with Lt Jan Dymic, an officer of the Czech Státní bezpečnost (StB), Havel was probably enduring one of his many prison stints courtesy of the same StB service. Compare the moral character of Corbyn and Havel:

  • Before being elected to political office Havel was a celebrated playwright and intellectual. As a dissident he was jailed many times and his plays were banned from being performed in Czechoslovakia.
  • Before being elected to political office Corbyn was an official with the Garment Workers Union.
  • Havel was once charged by the StB with being a “rabid opponent of socialism”.
  • Corbyn is a rabid proponent of socialism.
  • After the crushing of the Prague Spring by Warsaw Pact tanks in 1968, Havel was banned from leaving the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
  • Corbyn took his then girlfriend Diane Abbott on holiday to East Germany (Warsaw Pact member country) a few years after the crushing of the Prague Spring.
  • In later life Havel was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Order of Canada, the Four Freedoms Award, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, and the Hanno R. Ellenbogen Citizenship Award. In 1991 Havel declined a nomination for the Nobel Prize.
  • Corbyn was awarded the Seán MacBride Peace Prize in 2017, named after the former IRA Director of Intelligence.

Corbyn’s cultists don’t see any problem with him meeting with StB and Stasi agents, the same people who were jailing dissidents for writing plays…

mdi-timer 20 February 2018 @ 12:43 20 Feb 2018 @ 12:43 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Václav Havel; Playwright, Dissident and President R.I.P.

You may ask what kind of republic I dream of. Let me reply: I dream of a republic independent, free, and democratic, of a republic economically prosperous and yet socially just; in short, of a humane republic that serves the individual and that therefore holds the hope that the individual will serve it in turn.

Václav Havel, 1990 New Year’s Day Inaugural Presidential Address

The Guardian has the longest obituary of the Czech dissident Charter 77 leader who, following the 1989 Velvet Revolution, became president. The obituary is seemingly comprehensive yet politically suspect in tone, somehow neglecting to mention that Havel was charged by the Czech Communist Party with being a “rabid opponent of socialism”. Ed West in The Telegraph says he was one of the few who could be described as a political and intellectual hero. Havel’s life demonstrates that really great political change is the art of the impossible.

Havel was serious but not solemn, as can be seen from the signature on Guido’s English language copy of Charter 77, published by Index on Censorship in May 1977. Incidentally, Guido got his copy at an auction held in the heart of The Guardian building

mdi-timer 18 December 2011 @ 16:56 18 Dec 2011 @ 16:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Reporting from the Guardian

Guido was at the Index on Censorship Awards ceremony last night, deep in the bowels of the Guardian’s new fancy offices. The purpose built modern building will make a great museum when the paper eventually goes bust.

The event was packed to the gills with media luvvies and Islington’s finest. David Hare gave a splendidly acerbic speech. Chairman Johnathan Dimbleby raged against the “censorship” of the BBC’s Middle East reporter Jeremy Bowen, who was mildly criticised for his blatant anti-Israeli bias by the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee. Guido thought it a gentle rebuke to Bowen given how biased his broadcasts from the supposedly impartial state broadcaster seem. Hardly makes him a dissident, does it? He has been given no punishment, no demotion, nothing. Wonder if he had been criticised for anti-Palestinian bias would the room have been so concerned?

Stereotypically the auction fundraiser saw a week in a Tuscan villa get the top bid from the assembled Hampstead liberals and Guardianistas. No, it really did. Guido was very pleased to win the auction for a copy of the Charter 77 human rights manifesto signed by Václav Havel himself. The dissident playwright was imprisoned multiple times during the Soviet era by an authoritarian socialist Czech regime, his plays were banned and he was reduced to working as a sweeper in a brewery. After the Velvet Revolution he ended up being President of the freed Czech Republic. It went for a tenth of the price of that week in Tuscany. Guardianistas really do have different values…

mdi-timer 22 April 2009 @ 18:36 22 Apr 2009 @ 18:36 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments