Every Labour canvasser will have come across him (and, invariably, it is a he).
Leering out of his doorway he delivers a deranged tirade about how the country is going to the dogs. Communist-run trade unions. Moscow gold. Economy wrecked by strikes. Scroungers living off the dole. Better off than him, an honest hardworking man.
Of course, not a racist. But too many immigrants. Especially Muslims. Bogus asylum-seekers. Should stay in France. Got a council house instead of his daughter. Live off the state. He’s accused of racism for telling the truth. In his own country!
And, in the more up-to-date version of this litany of complaints, there is Corbyn – Communist, likes Muslims and terrorists (same thing), disgrace to Britain, hates his own country, go back to Russia, God help us if he ever becomes Prime Minister.
Imagine working up that swivel-eyed screed into a 350-page book, with large excerpts reprinted in the Daily Mail. The result is Tom Bower's Dangerous Hero – Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot for Power.
Oddly, sections of the Labour left are promoting a review of Bower by Daily Mail journalist, maverick Tory, and friend-of-Iran Peter Oborne as their favoured critique. No need to resort to such false friends.
Oborne does demolish many of the book's factual inaccuracies. Mostly he wants to tell us that everything Bower has to say about antisemitism is dross too. But on that Bower has copied heavily from Dave Rich's and Dave Hirsh's books on the subject, which are much more solid than his other sources.
Where Bower has added anything of his on that, it is as far from the mark as on other issues. He claims that when Corbyn saw himself engaged in “a brave personal fight against exploitative Jewish employers of sweatshop labour”, while working for the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers in the early 1970s, that made him antisemitic.
Bower also claims, completely wrongly, that Chakrabarti’s report on antisemitism in the Labour Party “declared that any Labour Party members who were guilty of antisemitism should not be disciplined”.
Bower’s “insights” are mostly drawn not from sources but from the sort of imagination that fills the pages of the Daily Mail.
The late Eric Heffer MP was “a bullying Trotskyite”. Former NUT General Secretary Christine Blower is “a Trotskyist agitator”.
Mark Serwotka is “the Trotskyite general secretary of the PCS”. Former MP Katy Clark is “a hard-left bruiser”. John Mann, however, is “a moderate Labour MP”.
Socialist Organiser, a forerunner of Solidarity, was “the weekly newspaper representing the Trotskyist Revolutionary Socialist League [Militant tendency]”. It was Ken Livingstone’s “mouthpiece for the ambitious Trotskyite group inside the Labour Party”.
In the mid-1980s, McDonnell was “a member of three Trotskyite groups – the London Labour Party, London Labour Briefing and the Workers Revolutionary Party” (page 91). Bower forgets that at the same time he was also “a member of Liverpool’s Trotskyite Militant Tendency” (page 54). That makes four.
Liverpool was “destroyed by Marxist-led strikes after 1945”. The British Medical Association is “under the control of Momentum”. Len McCluskey and Jon Lansman “control Labour and, by extension, Jeremy Corbyn”.
“Class collaboration” is “the old Marxist notion that the bourgeoisie would eventually unite with the working class”. Gramsci advocated that socialists should “ignore the state and Parliament”.
“The Red Flag” is “a murderers’ anthem”. The RMT (not affiliated to the Labour Party) nominated Corbyn for party leader in 2015. And Len McCluskey’s son has two mothers: Karie Murphy (page 170) and Jennie Formby (page 279).
In the 1960s and 1970s, writes Bower, Britain suffered from “industrial anarchy orchestrated by communist conspirators”. There were “widespread strikes often orchestrated by Marxists or Trotskyists” who were intent on “destroying the country”.
“Red Robbo”, a British Leyland shop steward, “delighted in furthering the ruin of Britain’s motor industry”. Trade union leaders, “some of them on Russia’s payroll, were sabotaging the economy in order to topple the government.”
Corbyn welcomed Britain’s “industrial turmoil” as “an opportunity to destroy capitalism”. He has “always promoted a Marxist-Trotskyist government” and had “an unvarnished commitment to communism”.
Corbyn is dedicated to “destroying Western liberal society”, “turning Britain into a communist country” and “destroying Britain’s liberal democracy”.
As a Haringey councillor in the early 1970s he “wanted citizens to live together in Soviet-style communes”. He wanted to “turn the borough into a mini-Marxist state”. Corbyn and Lambeth Labour councillor Ted Knight “made no effort to conceal their Trotskyist agenda”.
Corbyn and his allies turned Haringey into “a barmy borough”. The council “outlawed the use of the word ‘immigrant’ in its communications, banned Irish jokes, and provided gym mats for lesbian self-defence courses.”
Unsurprisingly, “the aspirational white working class fled Islington”.
His advocacy of “community politics” is “a euphemism for using the Labour Party to spread revolutionary socialism”. His goal is “equality of poverty, not equality of opportunity to earn wealth”. He believes in “universal confiscation of the middle class’s wealth”.
Corbyn was elected Labour leader in 2015 because “none (of his opponents) were brave enough to say outright that a future Labour government should not make life better for skivers than for honest citizens.”
Today, Corbyn is surrounded by “fellow Trotskyists, including Len McCluskey and Seamus Milne”. And his idea of a day out is to “go to Highgate cemetery and study the grave of Karl Marx”.
Mixed in with these delirious outpourings there is a nasty racist undercurrent: Corbyn does not really care about the indigenous white voter (and only white voters are indigenous).
Corbyn’s vote in the 1992 general election increased because “as usual, he relied on the immigrant vote”. In his constituency work, “he was focused on them [new arrivals from Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh]”.
Corbyn “did not reveal the extent to which British Muslims were beginning to influence his calculations”. He believed in “unrestricted Muslim immigration” and did not care that this would “alienate the white working class”.
In the 2010 general election (which “Corbyn hoped that the Tories would win”) he recognised that his core vote was “low-income families, especially the migrant community” and was “contemptuous of middle-class citizens demanding value for their taxes”.
Bower even fails to explain the sub-title of his book. Indisputably, it was only by chance and reluctantly that Corbyn became the left candidate in the 2015 leadership contest. No one seriously expected him to win.
Where's “Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot for Power”?