Attack on Corbyn over World War One is another false argument


If false arguments are all the Uptight Right can use to attack Jeremy Corbyn, they’re on a hiding to nothing.

The latest attempt to disparage the Labour leader cherry-picks words from a speech he made in 2013 regarding the centenary commemoration of World War One to build what is known as an ‘Argument by Selective Observation’.

In other words, they’ve found a single line that – used out of context – might make Mr Corbyn’s views seem bad. They’ve ignored everything else he said, in the hope that you will, too.

Here’s the Huffington Post, setting the record straight:

The right-wing press have launched a scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn claiming a video from 2013 shows him calling WWI commemorations “pointless”.

Only it doesn’t.

The papers – the Daily Mail, Daily Express and The Telegraph – concentrate on one line from the speech in which the Labour Leader says: “I’m not sure what there is to commemorate about the First World War.”

[His full speech] paints a more nuanced picture.

Corbyn says: “[Scottish socialist and first Labour MP] Keir Hardie was a great opponent of the First World War and apparently next year the government is proposing to spend shedloads of money commemorating the First World War. I’m not sure what there is to commemorate about the First World War other than the mass slaughter of millions of young men and women, mainly men, on the Western Front and all the other places.

“And it was a war of the declining empires and anyone who’s read or even dipped into Hobson’s great work of the early part of the 20th century, written post World War, presaged the whole First World War as a war between monopolies fighting between [inaudible] markets.

“The reason I say this is next year the government are planning this celebration and I think that’s an opportunity for us. It’s an opportunity to discuss war and discuss peace and to put up an alternative point of view.”

Source: Jeremy Corbyn Attacked Over First World War Comments, But The Full Picture Is Very Different

We know the Conservatives have an extremely romanticised view of World War One – a view that Michael Gove tried to force on our schoolchildren when he was education secretary. His attack on what he described as Left-Wing “myths” about the conflict, including one of our most revered TV comedies – Blackadder Goes Forth – attracted a harsh rebuttal from Tony Robinson, one of the show’s stars.

The final humiliation for Gove came in November last year, when in the run-up to Remembrance Day, Blackadder co-scripter Ben Elton said Gove’s jingoistic rantings had been the inspiration for his novel Time and Time Again, in which a man travels back in time in an attempt to prevent the war from ever taking place.

Having tried to revive myths about World War One last year, it seems the Tories are trying to use the war to create myths about Jeremy Corbyn. It all tends to indicate just one thing:

No matter how hard you try, you can’t teach Tories anything they don’t want to learn!

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


11 thoughts on “Attack on Corbyn over World War One is another false argument

  1. NMac

    My grandfather served on the Western Front and in 1917 was badly wounded with a disfiguring facial wound was within a fraction of killing him instantly. That this appalling experience and the appalling slaughter haunted him for the rest of his life became evident some 54 years later when, just before he died, clearly confused and in tears, he begged my Uncle, his youngest son, who was with him holding his hand by his bedside, not to let them send him “over the top” again as he didn’t think he could stand it and he would be branded a coward.

    He always considered the First World War a pointless bloodbath to “keep the toffs” in power. He was a brave man who all his life supported the Labour Party. I am absolutely certain he would have agreed wholeheartedly with Jeremy Corbyn and, furthermore, he would have supported him as the Labour leader.

    The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn appear to be becoming increasingly strident and desperate, but they will continue to come thick and fast.

  2. Jonathan Wilson

    I expect the selective quote to prove and argument from the Reich wing papers… but D’anaconda in the Graun uses the Reich wing presses selective quotes and furthers the arguments against Corbyn. I have to say I’m getting mighty fed up with the “left” wing press spending more time attacking Corbyn than the ****ing cun’servatives.

  3. Paul

    More lies from the vile propaganda tory right-wing scum press. The Sun, The Mail, the Express,the telegraph, the times.

  4. AndyH

    “politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder”.

    What armchair pacifist offered these cowardly sentiments? Oh yeah it was Harry Patch, who during the First World War fought at the Battle of Passchendaele, where a shell killed three of his comrades and severely injured him. Lance Corporal Patch died at 111, the last surviving British Tommy.

  5. Neil Shaplin

    Isn’t this the exact same tactic that Cameron used during his conference speech? The whole “Killing Bin-Laden was a tragedy” schtick? And wasn’t this tactic resoundly mocked into oblivion then?

  6. Joanna

    I like what Jeremy said at the end of his speech, “providing for need, not grabbing for greed”
    Micheal Gove already tried to brainwash schoolchildren about WW1, thankfully the highly respected Tony Robinson waded in!!!

  7. Neilth

    In my town the labour town council recognised in 2013 that there were a number of organisations planning to ‘do something’ for WW1. It was clear that some coordination was needed so a group was established to discuss and arrange appropriate ways to commemorate the events from 1914 to 1918.

    Displays and exhibitions, events, improvements to memorials, and educational materials etc have been arranged during the last year or so and will continue over the next few years. Articles have been written by the various groups for the local rag.

    Groups involved have been Western Front Association, local cadet groups, the local library, local churches and The Quakers, schools and individuals The British Legion and the police, amongst others.

    The emphasis is very much on commemoration, not celebration, of the struggles that both those who were directly involved in the conflict, those left at home, people from the empire who got involved and some of the less remembered arenas such as Africa, Palestine and Salonica as well as the contribution of the merchant navy etc

    The Quakers are keen to remind people of the conscientious objectors who went to war to drive ambulances or carry stretchers.

    My point then is that there is much to commemorate during this anniversary but that there is a Socialist perspective which can be applied where we look at the tragedy of war and the contribution that individuals made but that the causes and bad leadership from the ‘ruling classes’ were at the root causes of the war and served to prolong it, and that the ordinary soldier and their junior officers were seen as disposable.

    We need to be on the offensive in this as in other things and stop the jingoists from hijacking the anniversaries. This can only be done by providing leadership and direction.

  8. David Bacon

    Corbyn’s so called critics only demonstrate their own vapid stupidity and ignorance. My grandfather died 1915 in the Irish Sea on a minesweeper which was known to be unseaworthy.Some years later my grandmother threw his medals in the dustbin, calling them worthless.Many brave men, and indeed not so brave men from all sides died needlessly in that war.The war was pointless. The ordinary people of Europe had no quarrel with each other and one might have thought that the closely related royal families might have had a restraining hand – but no, they promoted the war with some fervour. So, apart from millions of deaths which were, yes, pointless, an impoverished, humiliated and embittered Germany was made to pay reparations well beyond their means. All that WW1 achieved was WW2, concentration camps in which millions of Jews and others died and millions more soldiers from all sides. Corbyn is right to express his doubts. But, of course those right wingers know this and their take on his views is just cold cynicism.

Comments are closed.