John McDonnell was 'just a bit excited' when he called for insurrection against Tories, says Labour activist

John McDonnell was just a 'bit excited' when he called for insurrection, says Labour activist

John McDonnell previously called for insurrection

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

John McDonnell was just a "bit excited" when he called for an insurrection and didn't mean he wanted violence, according to a Labour activist.

It has been revealed that Labour's deputy leader called for insurrection against the Conservatives in a speech in 2013.

He said that "Parliamentary democracy doesn't work" adding  "We used to call it insurrection. Now we're polite and say it's direct action. Let's get back to calling it what it is, it's insurrection. We want to bring this government down by whatever mechanism we have."

Journalist Christian Wolmar told Julia Hartley-Brewer that it was a classic example of a "Daily Mail story," suggesting the story had been given a political slant at McDonnell's expense.

He added: "There’s no way that either Jeremy [Corbyn] or John [McDonnell] are putting forward the idea that we’ve got to have an armed insurrection and get to the barricades.

McDonnell "obviously got a bit excited in his speech to a bunch of students," he said. "What he meant is that he wanted to see more strikes he wanted to see coordinated action against austerity. There's no conceivable possibility that a modern politician would believe in the sort of revolution we could have in Russia in 1913.

"There's nowhere there where he's saying 'we have to have violent insurrection.' He doesn't mentioned the word violence."

However Julia argued that the definition of "insurrection is defined as violent uprising."

Wolmar responded by saying she'd have to ask McDonnell about "what he precisely meant." However he admitted "I don’t think what John McDonnell said was very sensible."  

Julia asked whether Wolmar would condemn McDonnell if he made a similar comment now, in his role as shadow cabinet. McDonnell refused to give a categoric answer, saying he'd "look at it on a case-by-case basis."

Turning to the wider perception of an agenda against Jeremy Corbyn, Wolmar said the Labour leader was "smeared" in the recent election over his links with the IRA, a claim which drew scorn and laughter from Julia.

Listen to the full interview above

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