The difference between how Labour and the Conservatives tackle the bullying US president became very apparent on 4 December. Both Boris Johnson and John McDonnell found themselves having to respond to a situation concerning Donald Trump. Johnson chose to lie down. McDonnell chose to stand up.
In essence, it took one sentence from the shadow chancellor – alongside one pathetic attempt at damage control from Johnson – to unmask the latter as a coward.
A video of Johnson and other world leaders appearing to laugh at Trump at a NATO event circulated on 4 December. In the video, Johnson can be seen smiling and laughing along with the others during the conversation.
After the video went viral, however, a Downing Street source made the following grovelling comments:
The Prime Minister was hosting and engaging with world leaders. It is others that were having the conversations and Boris certainly was not leading, as can be seen from the clip.
You did not see any commentary from him except for an innocent question as to why one was late.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Contrast that with McDonnell’s answer to a question after a speech on the same day. Sky News asked him:
Is the president of the United States lying when he says that the NHS isn’t on the table in trade talks?
McDonnell responded, explaining why Trump’s recent claim that the US wants “nothing to do” with the NHS should be taken with a pinch of salt:
Donald Trump has a passing relationship with reality and truth sometimes.
In short, McDonnell didn’t bootlick, like Johnson, in a situation that could offend Trump. Instead, he called the president out.
The shadow chancellor also said: “all the evidence that we’ve seen has demonstrated objectively that [the NHS] is [on the table]”. He’s referring to the 400+ page dossier that Labour recently revealed. The documents detail discussions held between UK and US authorities on a post-Brexit trade deal. They show that the US wants “total market access” in the deal – meaning access to everything – and unless something is explicitly off the table, known as “negative listing”, it’s on the table.
The documents do not show that the NHS is off the table, so, by default, it’s currently on the table. Johnson has said that he would walk away from trade talks if Trump insists on the NHS being involved. But the Conservatives have had two years to rule the NHS out categorically since the talks began and yet haven’t. In fact, Johnson and nearly all other Conservative MPs voted on 23 October to ensure the NHS was included in any future trade deal, after Labour put forward a motion to protect it.
So don’t let the Tory-cheerleaders parading as journalists in Britain distract you by running stories linking the dossier to Russia. That story is based on a report by Graphika’s Ben Nimmo, who argues that “initial efforts” to “amplify” the trade deal documents online “resemble” Russian tactics seen previously. But the author himself says he doesn’t have the data to prove anything for sure, and no-one has claimed the documents aren’t real.
Plus, Nimmo is an ex-NATO press officer who worked for the Institute for Statecraft in 2015/16. The Institute became notorious after its Integrity Initiative was exposed spreading smears about Jeremy Corbyn in 2018. The UK Foreign Office funded the Integrity Initiative to the tune of £1.96m in 2018/19. Nimmo is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which journalist Max Blumenthal describes as:
basically NATO’s unofficial think tank, and it takes money from the Gulf States, it takes money from the arms industry, it takes money from corporations like Chevron and Exxon Mobil and everyone else.
Who would you rather?
Given how vindictive Trump has shown himself to be, anyone who criticises him knows there may be consequences. But Labour is obviously willing to face them in order to point out the bloody obvious and protect the NHS.
In contrast, Johnson effectively ran about screaming “It wasn’t me! It wasn’t me!” when caught in a situation that might scupper Trump’s fondness for him. Although, like the US president, Johnson also has a tendency for fibs. So whether Trump can believe him is a whole other matter.
The most important question, however, is who would you trust more to stand up for Britain’s interests? I’d wager it’s those who aren’t tiptoeing around the president but are telling it like it is.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?