Labour frontbencher takes apart Tory MP over Venezuela on BBCQT, proving Labour’s imperialist days are over

Richard Burgon and Conservative MP Helen Whately
Joshua Funnell

Richard Burgon represented Labour on BBC Question Time this week. And he was in no mood to take lectures on Venezuela. But more importantly, he showed that Labour will no longer be cheerleaders for Western-backed regime change efforts.

Devastatingly calling out Tory hypocrisy

BBCQT put particular focus on the ongoing US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela.

Overall, Burgon didn’t give an idealised account of the current Venezuelan government. Instead, he gave a reasoned and pragmatic analysis of the situation, calling for a negotiated settlement rather than hostile Western intervention.

He also called out the hypocrisy of Conservative MP Helen Whately, who shamelessly attempted to take the moral high ground over Venezuela against Burgon:

And that’s a key point to highlight amid all the current talk on Venezuela: that while Western governments openly push for a coup against the oil-rich democracy in Venezuela, they fully back the murderous oil-rich dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.

The BBC set-up

The mainstream media have led weeks (and years) of biased coverage of Venezuela. And that serves several purposes. Firstly, to demonise Venezuela’s left-leaning government as a pretext for regime change. Secondly, to hype up the West’s anointed leader, Juan Guaidó. Absent from all this analysis is acknowledgement of the economic warfare conducted against the country. Nor is there any historical context highlighting the numerous US interventions throughout Latin America, and Venezuela in particular.

A third purpose Venezuela serves is as a stick to beat Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour with. The media’s bogeyman ‘socialist’ government is used to smear Labour by association. This is because many Labour politicians have expressed support for Venezuela’s government in the past. Also, right-wing fearmongers wish to terrify British people into believing that Labour’s democratic socialist project will lead to a similar situation to that currently happening in Venezuela. It’s a typical smear. And it’s a complete fallacy, as The Canary has explained.

Considering the above, it came as no surprise that – when Venezuela was raised on BBCQT – host Fiona Bruce took special care to direct the question at Labour’s shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon.

Staying strong: No apologies from Burgon

Burgon refused to bow to pressure from an overwhelmingly hostile panel. And it was refreshing to watch. Instead of expressing regret for historically supporting Venezuela’s government, the shadow minister acknowledged its achievements:

He also acknowledged the oil-covered elephant in the room that motivates US interest in the country, a fact apparently lost on Fiona Bruce:

And here is US national security advisor John Bolton unashamedly admitting to Washington’s oil motivation live on Fox News, as Burgon referenced:

Elsewhere, Burgon has expressly condemned the desire for US regime change in Venezuela in an open letter in the Guardian:

And Burgon also acknowledged the brutality of Venezuelan governments prior to left-leaning ones (a fact conveniently ignored because they were supported by the West):

A welcome change to Blair’s party of imperialism

Burgon’s views on Venezuela will please many concerned that Labour’s anti-imperialist stance may soften as it gets closer to power. It also shows the unwillingness of the new breed of Labour politicians to indulge in regime change as though it’s a divine right of the West. And it’s a clear renouncement of Tony Blair‘s criminal interventionist legacy.

Featured image by YouTube and YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Well not everyone is playing the fool on the BBC! However the overall theme of the USA has been to destablize this country for 20 years, and grooming it through overt funding until a leader of their choice emerges as Juan Guaido is.
      Lets detail the whole story of America’s social crime against this democracy. They created this social mess deliberately, and with consciousness. There is such a disconnect with facts for the Tories I doubt any truth will penetrate far into their cerebal cortex.
      Thinking on their own isn’t in the deck of cards they are playing with.
      How does the BBC deny its serving with a faux dignity the wishes, and aspirations of John Bolton’s vision for America, and Donald Trump as well who is described as the worst President ever to grace that country’s Leadership.
      Just because England used to be an Empire they are led by the man who has all the bombs?
      I’d say that’s the only reason why.

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