Labour MP John McDonnell has said he was "sorry" if he caused offence with his remarks about former Tory PM Margaret Thatcher.

Mr McDonnell had told a GMB union hustings event that he had been asked what single act he would do to improve the world if he could travel back to the 1980s.

"I said: 'Look, I was on the GMC that Mrs Thatcher abolished, I worked for the NUM and we had the NUM strike, I think I would assassinate Thatcher'." He was applauded by union members in the audience but heavily criticised by commentators.

Nile Gardiner - who worked as an aide to Lady Thatcher after she left office - wrote in his Telegraph blog that Mr McDonnell should apologise "for his disgusting, undignified and menacing words" and attacked them as "a sickening disgrace and a stain on his party".

"It is vicious language of the lowest common denominator that would shame even the worst preacher of hate," he wrote.

COMMENT: The worst preacher of hate?
That would be Margaret Thatcher, then.


JOIN THE QUEUE — 41 Comments

  1. I wonder if MP John McDonnell has an¨improve the world¨ opinion regarding the despotic/damaging leadership of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury?

  2. Probably, but I doubt it would go as far as assassination. However, believe me, you could probably count in the millions the number of British people who would have assassinated Margaret Thatcher in 1978, had they known what was going to happen. She is the most evil person alive in Britain today. I certainly would have risked eternal damnation to save my fellow citizens from what she did to them.

  3. Maybe he should have proposed to go back in time a little further and prevent Thatcher’s parents from ever meeting.

  4. Thatcher really fancied Reagan according to Ian McKellan. How Ian McKellan came by this information, I do not know.

    Anyway, it’s a horrible thought. Imagine the offspring.

  5. Didn’t Reagan star in a film about “bringing up” the offspring of such a match made in hell?

    I want lots of clever clogs points for that one!

  6. I’d give you lots of clever clog points if I knew to which film you were referring.

    You don’t mean Bringing Up Baby, do you? … That was Cary Grant.

  7. Dammit. Wrong film.
    I was thinking of “Bedtime For Bonzo.”
    Please adjust my last comment accordingly and still give me lots of clever clogs points.

  8. Bedtime for Bonzo, that must be a classic. It’s got Reagan in it, has it? Remind me never to watch it, ever.

    We haven’t actually met in person yet, have we?

    I am now so hoping that on this auspicious future occasion you will greet me with “Ah Pryor – prepare to die”.

  9. We all know I’m a sensitive boy, but I don’t think it’s just that that prompts me to say that when criticizing a political leader (or religious leader, or whoever), one can be far more clever than suggesting assassination. Such banality weakens the point one is trying to make.

  10. I think you miss the point, KJ.

    Many, many people in the UK hate Thatcher so much because of what she did to their lives, because of all the suicides she caused, because of how she changed our kids into machines, because of the sinking of the Belgrano, because she got rid of our Englishness, that they want to kill her.

    This isn’t a joke. It isn’t an exaggeration.

    If you sent this MP back through time he would assassinate her. His apology is false not his original statement.

  11. They say that Thatcher, as much as she liked and admired Reagan, considered him dimwitted.

  12. But Reagan really was dimwitted.

    It was clear years before the official announcement of his Alzheimer’s that the lights were on but nobody was home.

  13. You really must look at “Bedtime for Bonzo,” Cathy. You can tell which one is Bonzo. He is the clever one.

  14. MP, are you sure that some of your comments here will help you in your job search? I fully appreciate your passion over those years. However, try reading your comments as if you were the member of a selection committee…just sayin’

    Ronnie Raygun was nothing if he wasn’t a cheerleader for the nation. Like George W who would follow a generation later – the true evil ones found a nice empty headed puppet that the country would rally around while they maneuvered behind the scenes.

    By the way, I take it that Thatcher & Co. came to power via a coup d’etat? Surely the people of the UK wouldn’t have VOTED in such a, how did you put it? “dim witted” fashion?

  15. Renz, you really don’t like me enough to be concerned about my welfare so STFU about it.

    And, yes, the people who voted Thatcher in were dimwits. You are being incredibly thick today, aren’t you?

  16. Some people suppose, they should keep you on your toes …

    I dunno what’s with the rhyming lately, .. but it seems to work.

  17. That sense of humour thing is really difficult. I liked Frankie Boyles line “they’re all arguing whether or not she should have state funeral, all we’re thinking about is should she be dead when she gets it.” but he isn’t a politician.

    PS don’t go looking for Frankie Boyle on the net if you are of a sensitive disposition, this crack is positively polite for him.

  18. I think that she is possibly the only individual for whom I would reserve the term hate. But then being the softie you know me to be, all this god bollox gets in the way, commandments and ‘love thine enemy’ so whilst my sense of humour can appreciate the lines I would not go so far as to wish anyone dead…but my 18th birthday fell in the midst of the miners strike and I didn’t even get the key to the door as we’d already burned it at Christmas to keep warm. Does funny things to a young mans perceptions of the gospel that does.

  19. Alas, Mad Priest, I risk you being incredibly angry with me too, but I think Renz was voicing concern for your welfare. The thing is that Thatcher is a special case, and most of the people I know would agree with your remarks about assassination. But someone not from the UK (like Renz) might read it quite differently. He was just voicing concern about you. That’s what I think.

  20. Possibly, Cathy. But me and Larry have history. I am never too certain when he is being serious and when he’s trying to wind me up. One thing I do know for certain – for a belligerent sod he ain’t half got a thin skin.

  21. Possibly, Cathy. But me and Larry have history. I am never too certain when he is being serious and when he’s trying to wind me up. One thing I do know for certain – for a belligerent sod he ain’t half got a thin skin.

  22. PS. I do get how annoyed you get when people suggest you should modify what you say on the website for the sake of getting a job.

  23. Well, it’s not as if I don’t know the possible consequences of what I post. And I do have a worked out protocol which is based mostly on the fact that I am writing for intelligent people who know what priests are actually like when they are not pretending in front of “the laity.”

    And, if I’m pushed into a corner, I claim Geoffrey Chaucer as my witness.

  24. Mad Priest, I don’t know about any history with you and Larry, and so anything I say about it is affected by that. But I thought the subtext of what he was saying was that it would be nice to see you get a job. That was all.

    Most belligerent sods have thin skins, in my experience.

  25. if I’m pushed into a corner, I claim Geoffrey Chaucer as my witness.

    You could certainly do worse.

    I get, or think I get, that modifying what you say to get a job is a form of sucking up. Which is undignified. And it is obvious you are writing for people who have a brain, and who don’t therefore need “censoring”.

    But I think most OCICBWers would be overjoyed to see you get a job, and if anyone suggests holding back, it is based on that.

  26. Not quite. My blog is normal. It’s real. I just don’t see any point in pretending to be all la di da just to get a job. Especially as all the people I will come into contact with in any new job will be normal and real just like me.

    Also, as always, I have a plan. It involves Geoffrey Chaucer amongst other stuff.

  27. My blog is normal. It’s real. I just don’t see any point in pretending to be all la di da just to get a job.

    I thought this is exactly what I was saying.

    But nevermind. It’s late.

  28. Sucking up means to lick arse. I’m just not pretending to be something I’m not. I don’t suck up, either, but that’s because I just can’t, no matter how hard I try. Not sucking up is not a deliberate decision of mine – not pretending is.