Today, being the closest Sunday to the eleventh day of the eleventh month, when in The Great War, the guns finally fell silent at the eleventh hour, was the day when we remembered all those who fought for this country, many of whom never came back from campaigns including two World Wars, Korea, Suez, Malaya, the Falkland Islands, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. It was a time for sober reflection.
But there is always someone who wants to use the occasion to attack one or other of those who participate in the ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, and in recent years that participant has been Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Whether it is the insufficiently grovelling bow, or the false claim that Jezza has not taken the occasion seriously, the attacks always turn up. And then there is Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard.
Pollard’s irrational hatred got the better of him this morning as he ranted “The sight of Corbyn laying a wreath…sickening”. Can’t he leave it out, just for one day? Many, not all of them Labour supporters, thought he should. “Maybe today we could focus on showing respect to our fallen … So what would your response be if he didn't lay a wreath? To politicise Remembrance Sunday is to disrespect their memory in my opinion” were typical.
And there was more. Rather a lot more. “Your comment ...sick! Go take a good hard look at yourself” responded one Tweeter. Another simply said “Let’s not politicise today. Let’s just pay our respects”. Another just asked “Could you not rein it in, just for one day?”.
Seemingly he cannot. The questions were plaintive and pointed: “Show decency Stephen Pollard...it's about remembering those who fought , men, women and animals ...you are the one who is shamed by that tweet” was one, with “Is he not allowed to participate in an act of remembrance? Why not?” another. And Iain Overton pointed out “Genuinely don’t understand why you’d say this. The wreath is to remember the war dead. Corbyn is a pacifist - meaning he does not want more war dead”. Quite.
One response came time and again. "Give it a rest for one day of the year … Disgusting tweet. Today of all days. Give it a rest for one day!” Some responders actually reported Pollard to Twitter, presumably for abuse. Very few agreed with him. So did he think again about his rash act? Well, he thought. But then he doubled down.
And this is his excuse. “I do realise that those of you pretending not to understand this tweet know full well, but here are just two reasons: 1) Corbyn supported many of those who killed British soldiers, such as the IRA … 2) Corbyn's involvement in another now notorious wreath laying ceremony”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.
One, talking to representatives of the nationalist community, some of whom had been democratically elected beforehand, is not supporting the IRA, or indeed any other group. Also, the Government of the day was in fact talking to the same people. And Two, the claim that the wreath laying ceremony in Tunisia was somehow honouring the terrorists who carried out the Munich Olympic attacks is a difficult one to stand up - because their bodies are buried in Libya: in other words, in another country.
For one day at least, let’s just remember the fallen. And vow not to let it happen again.
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