Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attended several events supporting the IRA in the 1980s and 1990s, and was on the editorial board of a left-wing magazine that supported the Brighton Bombing of 1984, according to a brutal report in The Telegraph.
The bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton killed five people and injured dozens. The IRA used a time-bomb, placed in the hotel a month before the Conservative Party conference that year, to destroy the front of the hotel. It was intended to assassinate former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, but she and her entire leadership team were staying in a different area of the hotel and they survived.
Corbyn repeatedly attended memorial services to dead IRA terrorists, according to The Telegraph:
Between 1986 and 1992, Mr Corbyn attended and spoke each year at the annual “Connolly/Sands” commemoration in London to honour dead IRA terrorists and support imprisoned IRA “prisoners of war.”
Programmes for the events have been obtained by the Telegraph.
The programme for the 1987 event, on May 16 of that year, praises the “soldiers of the IRA,” saying: “We are proud of our people and the revolutionaries who are an integral part of that people.”
The programme for the 1988 event, on May 8 of that year, states that “in this, the conclusive phase in the war to rid Ireland of the scourge of British imperialism… force of arms is the only method capable of bringing this about.”
Corbyn has previously said that he attended events with various militant or armed groups because he was attempting to maintain links with them that were necessary to eventually bring them into peace negotiations. Corbyn did not comment when reached by The Telegraph, probably because he does not trust the paper, which has a long record of biased reporting against him.
But the Telegraph’s story on Corbyn today really does look very bad. The smoking gun is this page of Labour Briefing from 1984. Corbyn was general secretary of the editorial board at the time. Initially, the magazine made a statement that condemned the bombing but changed its stance when many supporters indicated they were sympathetic to the attempt to kill Thatcher. In the next issue, “The National Editorial Board meeting dissociated itself from the statement,” the magazine said, saying that the magazine had “made a serious political misjudgment.”
The following article did not explicitly condone the bombing, or specifically say it supported the IRA — a fact that The Telegraph glosses over. But it clearly sympathises with “the Irish republican movement though we may not always agree with all their tactics or policies.”
“The British only sit up and take notice when they are bombed into it,” the magazine says, calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Northern Ireland. Briefing’s logic was that as the Thatcher government was using troops and violence to suppress dissent in Northern Ireland, then violence in response was to be expected. But the magazine also treated the Brighton bombing in almost a light-hearted way, calling it a “big bang” and printing two jokes about the act. One was: “What do you call four dead Tories? A start.” The second ws about Norman Tebbit, the former trade secretary who once urged unemployed people to “get on their bikes and looks for work.” He was pulled from the rubble in his pajamas and his wife was permanently disabled in the bombing: “Try riding your bike now, Norman,” the magazine said.
Here’s the crucial page from Labour Briefing:
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