Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is a victim of yet another smear. This time it’s an attempt to link him with one of the 1993 bombings in Warrington attributed to the Provisional IRA. But the claim, ludicrous as it appears, barely survived before it vanished with little trace into the ethernet.
Except that is not quite true.
David Aaronovitch yesterday accused “Red Action” rather than the IRA of having carried out the terrorist atrocity of the #WarringtonBomb and accused #Corbyn of being a close associate of the bombers. No allegation against the Leader of the Opposition could be more serious.
— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) August 27, 2018
The smear against Corbyn appears to have first originated with the Times newspaper, when Andrew Gilligan asserted that Corbyn attended several meetings with anti-fascists Red Action.
Next, Times columnist David Aaronovitch went one step further to argue that at least one Red Action member may have been responsible for the second of two Warrington bombings in 1993, both claimed by the IRA:
Finally, for a completely different reason, I've been going back over the 1993 Warrington bombing. There's a big possibility that it was carried out by far-left people associated with a group called Red Action. I offer no prizes for which Labour figure was close to Red Action.
— David Aaronovitch (@DAaronovitch) August 26, 2018
This follows a 2013 BBC documentary which also speculated about Red Action involvement.
What is known is that Patrick Hayes, a Red Action member, and Jan Taylor were convicted of planting a bomb outside Harrods in London and on a train in Kent, purportedly on behalf of the IRA.
But there has been no evidence produced that links either Hayes or Taylor with the Warrington atrocities.
Aaronovitch’s allegations against Corbyn seemingly came after the Wikipedia page on Red Action was edited on 19 August – the same day Gilligan’s article was published:
So Corbyn is guilty by (alledged) association because there is a “big possibility” of Red Action involvement in the Warrington bombing? I checked out RA on Wikipedia – guess what? It was edited YESTERDAY to link Jeremy Corbyn to them. https://t.co/PATEhUv0BV
— Lisa (@lisa_k_c) August 26, 2018
Here is the edit:
How our corrupt media works in smearing @jeremycorbyn . 24 hrs before a Murdoch journo tweeted a comment linking Corbyn to the Warrington bombing, someone changes the Wikipedia page to associate Corbyn with the Group he accuses of the bombing. It's why we need to #ChangeTheMedia pic.twitter.com/bjWSalCrez
— Chris Furlong (@SocialistChris) August 27, 2018
The edit, which was later removed, said:
In August 2018, it was reported that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was investigated by the police due to his involvement with the group while as an MP in the 1980s and 1990s. According to Andrew Gilligan in the The Sunday Times, ‘Jeremy Corbyn came to the attention of police after becoming involved with Red Action’ and ‘Corbyn spoke at at least three Red Action meetings between 1985 and 1992 and the group sometimes met at his then constituency office, ex-members said.’
There were several edits and re-edits to the Red Action page during the following days, specifically regarding mentions of Corbyn.
The recent smears come shortly after shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted that a revival of the Anti Nazi League could be needed to help confront a rising far-right:
With the scale of Tommy Robinson demos, the storming of Bookmarks bookshop, & now Boris Johnson’s Islamophobic comments, we can no longer ignore the rise of far right politics in our society. Maybe it’s time for an AntiNazi League type cultural and political campaign to resist.
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) August 6, 2018
There were two bombings in Warrington in 1993 – the first was at the gas works, but no one was injured.
Tragically the second bombing in Bridge Street killed three-year-old Johnathan Ball and twelve-year-old Tim Parry and injured 54 members of the public. But the perpetrators of the bombing have never been identified, let alone charged or convicted.
The families of those who died or were injured in that bombing deserve justice, not media speculation and party politics.
– Read more from The Canary about Jeremy Corbyn.
Featured image via Sophie Brown – Wikimedia