Peter Tatchell. Photo: Wikimedia Commons Peter Tatchell. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Tatchell’s obsession with self-publicity has now led him to attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and the anti-war movement

Not content with attacking the most left-wing Labour leader ever, Peter Tatchell now weighs in with an Independent article attacking the Stop the War Coalition. I’d like to make a few points about Stop the War (and Jeremy’s) record. But first on Tatchell himself. He repeatedly claims that he has always supported STW. This is a lie. He has never had anything to do with the organisation, never been on its steering committee, never donated, never affiliated his self-styled foundation to it, never attended meetings except to attack it.

He has political differences with STW and always has had, taken to their most ludicrous with his placard on one demo for troops out of Afghanistan but not yet. For the full and unexpurgated details of this see Andrew Murray on our website. It is clear from his record that he is not actually anti war a lot of the time, especially when it matters. 

His obsession with self-publicity may bring him some satisfaction but it also leads him into siding with the right-wing media far too often. I see that Andrew Neil is praising his latest stunt. He talks about solidarity, but shows none towards Jeremy who is under constant attack from these people, nor to the major anti war organisation in any NATO country. I and colleagues have been repeatedly attacked from the likes of the Mail, but that is ok with him. Indeed he encourages it. 

On the facts, STW condemned the Russian bombing on the day it happened and have done ever since. We condemn all bombing from whatever side in Syria. We do not support no fly zones because we see them as military intervention. We would support airdrops if agreed by the UN but not by the British military unilaterally. We do support securing an end to the war and for aid to be got through where possible. We also have actively supported demos in solidarity with the refugees from Syria and believe that they should have the right to a life in Europe if that is what they want. 

One of the most amazing things about people like Tatchell is that they act as if there were only foreign intervention from Russia and Iran, whereas this is a war – as even Boris Johnson has noticed – being fought by a range of different powers, many of whose aim is most certainly regime change. The opposition has received arms, money and logistical support from the US, UK, Turkey, Saudi etc. There are covert operations involving special forces going on now, as there is bombing of Syria. Of which Tatchell has nothing to say.

Jeremy Corbyn has a principled record, and even if some people don’t agree with what he says, or think he should go further, he wants an end to this war and aid and help for refugees. So that’s a reason to break up his meetings? I think Tatchell is totally wrong on this, but in a democracy he has the right to say it. He doesn’t have the right to target others on the left who take a different position or to try to wreck their meetings or demonstrations, as he has done on several occasions.

Lindsey German

As national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey was a key organiser of the largest demonstration, and one of the largest mass movements, in British history.

Her books include ‘Material Girls: Women, Men and Work’, ‘Sex, Class and Socialism’, ‘A People’s History of London’ (with John Rees) and ‘How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women’.