Labour chancellor John McDonnell may have provoked laughter in the Commons this week for quoting from Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book, but at least he did not defend the views of the Chinese tyrant.
The same cannot be said, however, for international development shadow secretary Diane Abbott, who told the Beeb’s This Week that were some upsides to Chairman Mao’s murderous rule when asked why people wore t-shirts with his image on.
“I suppose that some people would judge that on balance Mao did more good than harm. You can’t say that about the Nazis,” Abbott said, much to the mirth of former Tory politician Michael Portillo.
Asked to elaborate on this “good”, Abbott said:
“He led his country from feudalism, he helped to defeat the Japanese, and he left his country on the verge of the great economic success they are having now.”
Later on she claimed to just be “putting the case for Mao”, although she seemed rather unconcerned about the double standard.
Regardless, it is true that some Marxists have tried to dispute just how many people the Chinese tyrant killed, as Times hack Oliver Kamm highlighted back in 2007 following a long, rambling piece by one Joseph Ball, who was a bit upset when he was compared to a Holocaust denier.