Corbyn: Falklands War was Tory plot – and jobless men died for Thatcher
JEREMY Corbyn’s leadership credentials are under renewed attack after it emerged that he branded the Falklands War a ‘Tory plot’ in which ‘unemployed men’ were sent to die.
Mr Corbyn, the favourite to take over as UK Labour leader, said Britain was wrong to send a taskforce to liberate the overseas territory after Argentina’s invasion in 1982.
We can reveal he refused to offer ‘loyal support’ for British troops and claimed the war was conceived to keep the Conservative Party’s ‘money-making friends in business’.
Last night, his comments drew a furious response from veterans.
Simon Weston, who suffered terrible burns when the troop landing ship Sir Galahad was bombed by Argentine jets, warned Mr Corbyn ‘could be a liability for this country’ and his attack on the Thatcher government and those who fought ‘deplorable, ignorant and absolutely offensive’.
Mr Corbyn’s outburst came while he was a key member of a hard-Left group of Labour councillors in Haringey, North London. Days after the sinking of HMS Ardent with the loss of 22 lives, a Tory councillor tabled a motion urging the council to express ‘loyal support’ for local men serving in the South Atlantic.
But Mr Corbyn refused and instead provoked outrage by seconding an amendment, which was passed, expressing only ‘sympathy’ for British servicemen – and calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops.
Mr Corbyn was quoted as saying: ‘We resent this waste of unemployed men who are being sent to the Falklands to die for Thatcher and [Argentine President] Galtieri. It is a nauseating waste of money and lives... the whole thing is a Tory plot to keep their money-making friends in business.’
In recent years Mr Corbyn’s views on the conflict have scarcely softened and he still appears to favour returning the islands to Argentina. In 2013, Mr Corbyn called the war a ‘grotesque waste of life by a corrupt and bankrupt regime against a corrupt and bankrupt British government’. Yesterday, a spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: ‘It’s no secret Jeremy was a critic of the Falklands War and has long urged a long-term negotiated settlement.’
But Labour peer Lord West, the commander of HMS Ardent which was sunk three days before Mr Corbyn’s outburst in May 1982, called his position ‘complete nonsense’.
He said: ‘I thought he believes in democracy but it seems he was happy a fascist dictatorship should crush democracy in the islands.’
Meanwhile, Tony Blair last night warned that the Left-winger was an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ option for the Labour Party.
The former Prime Minister mocked Mr Corbyn’s supporters for embracing the ‘politics of parallel reality, in which reason is an irritation, evidence a distraction, emotional impact is king and the only thing that counts is feeling good about it all’.
He added: ‘In the Alice in Wonderland world this parallel reality has created, it is we who are backwardlooking for pointing out that the Corbyn programme is exactly what we fought and lost on 30 years ago, not him for having it.’
The odds on a Corbyn victory have been cut to 1-4 on with William Hill.
We resent this waste of unemployed men who are being sent to the Falklands to die for Thatcher and Galtieri. The Foreign Office has been doing deals with the junta for years. A tide of jingoism is sweeping the country. Already £1.5billion has been spent on this invasion. It is a nauseating waste of money and lives. We are spending all this at a time when we can’t find money for houses, hospitals or wages, not for world hunger, not for aid to north-east Africa. Yet they can commandeer ships like there’s no tomorrow and send people to die in the south Atlantic.
The whole thing is a Tory plot to keep their money-making friends in business.
Corbyn at stormy council meeting, quoted in Hornsey Journal, May 1982
OUTBURST: The young Jeremy Corbyn