Following John McDonnell’s appearance on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 15 December, Tom Watson posted a barbed compliment to the shadow chancellor. But people knew exactly what Watson was up to, and they were quick to call him out.
During the interview, Marr pressed McDonnell for an apology on Labour’s election defeat. And McDonnell graciously accepted responsibility:
it’s on me… I apologise to all those wonderful Labour MPs who’ve lost their seats, who worked so hard. I apologise to all our campaigners, but most of all I apologise to those people who desperately needed a Labour government.
“If anyone’s to blame, it is me”
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) December 15, 2019
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Watson’s veiled compliment
Then shortly afterwards, enter Watson. Watson made a veiled attack on Labour’s election manifesto through a ‘compliment’ to his former colleague. Watson said McDonnell was “enigmatic” and the “stand out figure in his faction”. Then he went for the jugular:
John is one of the most enigmatic characters I ever worked with. We rowed but I admired his intellect and work ethic, which made him the stand out figure in his faction. The defeat is not ‘on him’ though. It is shared with the shadow cabinet and NEC, who supported the manifesto. https://t.co/mu9vHF9B82
— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) December 15, 2019
But nobody was buying Watson’s cunning “compliment”. And the response was just perfect:
When Watson referred to McDonnell’s “faction”, he revealed a lot about his own relationship within the Labour Party. And his comment on the manifesto doesn’t really stand up. Because research suggested Labour’s manifesto itself was popular with voters.
Watson to apologise?
While Watson takes aim at Labour through this deceitful compliment, both Corbyn and McDonnell have apologised to the British people. This says a lot about them.
They apologised to former Labour MPs and activists, but most importantly they apologised to the British people who needed this manifesto the most. Had Watson and others got behind the Labour leader then British people may have got what they so desperately needed. We await a sincere and heartfelt apology for that.
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?