The Labour Party leader and would-be British prime minister Jeremy Corbyn has just recruited a man called Andrew Murray to help run Labour’s general election campaign. Nobody with any interest in mainstream politics has heard of him but Corbyn has praised Murray’s “special skills”.
Special is one way of putting it.
Of course, Corbyn’s own extremist credentials are well established, but even they pale in comparison with Murray’s.
Until recently Murray was a senior figure in of the Communist Party of Britain. He expressed”solidarity” with North Korea.
In 1998, to mark the 120th anniversary of Stalin’s birth, Murray wrote for the communist-supporting Morning Star newspaper in praise of his hero. He acknowledged the Soviet leader, pictured, was responsible for “harsh measures” but lamented that “hack propagandists abominate the name of Stalin beyond all others”.
Perhaps this was because Stalin had millions murdered and caused millions more to starve?
This morning Corbyn’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, who would be in charge of Britain’s finances if Labour were elected next month, declared that it was welcome that Murray had joined Labour’s team. “We are converting people to our cause of democratic socialism,” he said.
Yet there is no evidence whatsoever that Murray has changed his odious views.
Let us imagine that the current UK prime minister, Theresa May, had recruited a senior figure from the neo-Nazi British National Party. Let us further imagine that such a person was not merely allowed into the Conservative Party but given a leading role in it.
Should there be any doubt about such a person’s opinions, let’s imagine it was then cleared up by them having written in praise of Hitler lamenting the way the Nazi leader got a bad press from “hack propagandists”.
There is rightly criticism for the way Hitler’s name is tossed all too casually into political debate. But in this case, the analogy is entirely valid. Historians argue about whether Stalin or Hitler was responsible for more deaths – but when you go beyond a few million it is doubtful whether moral distinctions can be made.
Then, finally, let us suppose that the Prime Minister defended appointing this ex BNP leader on the grounds of his “special skills”. It was suggested that it was enough for him to have switched Party – despite not apologising or renouncing his previous utterances.
This would be inconceivable. The media would certainly not accept a “nothing to see here, so what” shrug in response. Nor would the vast majority of Conservative candidates. Yet, bafflingly, there has been a general silence from Labour’s supposed “moderates”.
When will have have the decency to speak out? Don’t hold your breath.