Channel 4 News journalist Michael Crick exposed Theresa May’s hypocrisy in eulogising Nelson Mandela, when the Margaret Thatcher government she supported labelled him a terrorist:
"Mrs Thatcher believed that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist…Did you think the same thing?"@Theresa_May is questioned by @MichaelLCrick about her stance on apartheid ahead of her visit to Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned. pic.twitter.com/8NdT41d1ah
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) August 28, 2018
Crick asked May:
You were active in politics in the 70s and 80s. What did you do to help release Nelson Mandela?
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May desperately tried to deflect the question before admitting:
I think you know full well that I didn’t go on protests, Michael.
Hang on a moment. At that stage, Mrs Thatcher believed that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist.
He then nailed home May’s hypocrisy in visiting Mandela’s former prison on Robben Island, asking her:
Now you’re going to be going to Robben Island, are you going to be feeling guilty that – at the time Nelson Mandela was on Robben Island – you, Theresa May, did nothing to help his release?
Following the interview, May did visit Robben Island:
Photo du Jour: PM Theresa May visits the cell which imprisoned South African President Nelson Mandela for 18 years during her visit to Cape Town. By Stefan Rousseau/PA pic.twitter.com/pciMY5Uzk9
— Stefan Rousseau (@StefanRousseau) August 28, 2018
She declared that Mandela’s:
legacy lives on in the hopes and dreams of young people here in South Africa and around the world.
But the chasm between her words and her past inaction was insurmountable to many:
Brilliant questions from C4 Michael Crick to Theresa May on her African tour. She did not protest about apartheid and yet allowed a photo opportunity in Mandela's prison cell. Total hypocrisy.
— Teresa Harding (@tehard) August 28, 2018
Theresa May, hypocrite and liar.
— raphael andrews (@rafandrews) August 29, 2018
Meanwhile, others kindly rephrased May’s response to Crick’s excellent questioning:
What did you do to help Mandela when he was incarcerated Mrs May.
Well let me be clear Michael FUCK ALL.
— Dinah Rodd 💚 ✊🌷 (@ee94d7b6360945e) August 28, 2018
Spot the difference
Many also saw a huge difference between May and Jeremy Corbyn’s record in opposing apartheid in South Africa:
— ☆• Macca •☆ ℹ (@funkiechicken) August 28, 2018
Police officers arrested Corbyn for protesting against South Africa’s apartheid regime. A fellow protester even described how the Tories “jeered anti-apartheid protesters”:
Yep, like the overwhelming majority of her party, @theresa_may believed that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist, or just didn’t care. Tories in the 1980s jeered anti-Apartheid protestors, thought them “terrorist sympathisers” & encouraged their arrest. I know, because I was there. https://t.co/SxaeqWNjK1
— Ben Sellers (@MrBenSellers) August 28, 2018
And shadow chancellor John McDonnell made it very clear who was on the right side of history:
For years there was a 24 Hour permanent picket of South Africa House in Trafalgar Square that Jeremy and I supported. I spent one Christmas Day there singing anti apartheid carols. This was at a time when the Young Tories & many Tory MPs were calling for Mandela to be hung. https://t.co/cGZINmU3SU
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) August 29, 2018
Actions speak louder than words
An Oxford Labour councillor brilliantly summed up why it’s no surprise that May did nothing to oppose apartheid. He tweeted that “fundamental to Tory ideology is the defence of hierarchy, inequality and injustice”:
Tory activists used to wear "Hang Nelson Mandela" badges. Thatcher called Mandela a "terrorist".
It's no surprise Theresa May did nothing to oppose apartheid: Fundamental to Tory ideology is the defence of hierarchy, inequality & injustice. https://t.co/lqwRaMPp1u
— Dan Iley-Williamson (@DanIleyW) August 28, 2018
Thankfully, Crick’s excellent interview demonstrated that actions, or the lack of them, speak much louder than words.
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