Back in the late 1980s, I traveled to the old Ayresome Park ground to see Manchester United lose 1-0 at Middlesbrough. The game was awful and the experience miserable - as soon as you left the coach the police forced the visiting fans into the ground, and it actually seemed colder inside than outside. About the only thing I remember of the game was noticing the Falklands War veteran Simon Weston on the terraces with the United fans. I looked over once, and then decided someone who has had severe facial burns probably does not want people staring at him all day.
Simon Weston is back in the news after making a minor intervention in the Labour leadership debate, arguing that Jeremy Corbyn could lose the Falklands Islands to Argentina, via some form of joint sovereignty. This would be a very difficult thing for a Corbyn government to do, not least because the islands display unanimity in the view they wish to remain British. Given the suffering they experienced during the Argentinian invasion and occupation in 1982, there is no love lost for their former enemies.
Weston's comments seemed to particularly infuriate some of Jeremy Corbyn's cyber army, including the prominent socialist writer Richard Seymour, who blogs as Leninology, and contributes to the Guardian's Comment is Free. According to Seymour, no one cares what Simon Weston thinks, and if he knew anything, he would 'still have his face'. Nice sentiments (captured below in a screenshot by James Bloodworth):
Stay classy, 'Lenin'. pic.twitter.com/bdHD2bPMEm— James Bloodworth (@J_Bloodworth) August 30, 2015
In Richard Seymour's world, a working class man who joins the armed forces at a young age, and receives serious injury fighting a fascist military dictatorship occupying a peaceful British territory, is to be condemned as knowing nothing. He is then mocked with regards to the injury he received. How far some contemporary socialists stand from the class they claim to represent.
It is apparently a myth that George Orwell ever wrote “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” But let Richard Seymour sleep soundly in his bed tonight - the real world will carry on without him. And his ideas.