Nobody’s buying Tom Watson’s underhand ‘compliment’ to John McDonnell

Tom Watson and John McDonnell
Peadar O'Cearnaigh

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.

McDonnell interview

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.

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Previously Marr claimed none of the Labour leadership had given “a proper apology” for Labour’s defeat. But Jeremy Corbyn had already accepted “full responsibility for the result”.

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:

But nobody was buying Watson’s cunning “compliment”. And the response was just perfect:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“His faction”

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.

Featured image via Twitter – BBC PoliticsTwitter – Tom Watson

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  • Show Comments
    1. Corbyn and McDonnell may have been beaten. They ‘may’ have been humiliated. However only an abusive bully expects the person who has been beaten to apologise for it.

    2. The manifesto did go down “quite well”, if you were any, either or all of the following

      Under 30
      Student
      Have a rose tinted view of the public services when they were all nationalised
      Think that earning £80K , means you are rich enough not to be affected by tax rises
      Live in London
      Live in any other city bigger than Newcastle
      Can travel quite comfortably, always on public transport, without losing a lot of time

      Take away those who don’t fall into this category and you now see why the election was lost

    3. Banbroview is quite wrong. Most of the people who voted Labour don’t fall into those categories. The Labour voters in Wigan, Preston, Blackburn, Lancaster, Sunderland for example. £80,000 pa is well above the national average of c £30,000. Public transport is appalling in working-class areas in the north: many stayed Labour. But the real point is disparity of wealth. It is an affront to democracy because the very wealthy, either corporates or individuals, buy power. Billionaires have more influence over government policy that millions of voters. Democracy rests on equality: one person, one vote. Not one billion, all the influence you like.
      Watson was the man who declared Labour a “Remain and reform party”. That is what lost the crucial c300,000 votes in the 59 constituencies which gave Johnson his majority. It was too blank a rebuttal of the Labour Leave voters. Watson goes for the manifesto because of his right of centre parti pris.
      Stepehn Kinnock has just been on the telly talking about the “conspiracy theory” which must be shut down in the Party. What conspiracy theory is that? He needs to be clearer. And apparent confidence in Russian State intelligence. Where is the evidence any significant number of members have such confidence? Kinnock also spoke of the need for “Keynesian radicalism”. Intervention a la Keynes is better than neo-liberalism, but it isn’t radical. Keynes’s staring point is an acceptance of the relation between employee and employer. That’s about as radical as looking at the problems of feudal relations and taking feudalism for granted. There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, of Catherine the Great writing to Diderot for advice about the revolt of the Russian serfs. Diderot sent two words: “Abolish serfdom”. Good advice. What would Diderot write to Johnson if he asked for advice about, say, rough sleepers and food banks? Maybe give them houses and food.

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