Owen Smith: nasty Marxist who talks of 'smashing people'

Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith's remark that the Labour Party should 'smash Theresa May back on her heels' tells us everything we need to know about him, writes Christopher Goff.

It wasn't the cleverest of things to say, was it? You can just imagine the Owen Smith faction of the Labour Party sat with their heads collectively in their hands after hearing his "smash her back on her heels" remark, made by the challenger to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party during what was supposed to have been a keynote speech of his.

Smith's remark, aimed at Prime Minister Theresa May, was made during a speech he gave at the site of the former Orgreave Coking Works, in South Yorkshire. That Smith decided to make this deeply unpleasant remark in the place he did so was interesting in as much as Orgreave has gone down in Labour Party history as being the place where lots of striking mineworkers got so consummately roughed-up by Police Officers during the 1984-85 Miners' Strike.

What we can perhaps take from Smith's now infamous remark, as well as his apparent fixation with the Miners' Strike and Orgreave, is that the guy seems to be stuck in some kind of 1980s time warp. In fact, on this matter one cannot help but notice the similarity between his style and that of some 1980s Marxist firebrand – of which there were quite a few – heavily into the business of 'smashing people', complete with a pair of Eighties-style spectacles that might have last been worn by Erich Honecker.

But what else did Owen Smith have to say during his disastrous speech at that shrine-to-Marxism, the former Orgreave Coking Works? Well, the former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary did in fact make 20 new policy pledges, claiming that the country needed "a cold-eyed and practical revolution … that puts in place the laws and the levers that can genuinely even things up". However, it soon became apparent that many of Smith's 'new' policy pledges weren't very new at all. There were pledges to increase spending on the health service, to increase the rate of income tax for high earners, and also a pledge to create a Ministry for Labour – all things that some would say are already firmly embedded into Labour Party policy.

With so few differences between the respective political outlooks of Owen Smith and Jeremey Corbyn the Labour Party leadership contest seems to be taking on the feel of a battle of personalities, and this analysis perhaps goes some way in explaining Smith's choice of words at Orgreave. The avuncular Jeremy Corbyn clearly lacks an 'edge', but if Smith thought he could exploit this failing – if that's what it is – by making a deeply unpleasant remark about Prime Minister Theresa May, well then he got things badly wrong.

In case Owen Smith hasn't quite noticed, the nation is looking in on his challenge to become leader of his party. Only words that might play well amongst the Marxist-thug element of the Labour Party are a little lost on the rest of us.

Copyright © Christopher Goff
Tag: Politics
Uploaded: 28 July, 2016.