While magnanimously acknowledging that Castro had “his flaws”, the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition enthused about that “champion of social justice”.
Allow me to translate from the modern. Social justice actually means social injustice: a transfer of property from those who have a just claim to it to those who don’t – including the arbiters of social justice themselves.
As an essential corollary, those who interpret social justice differently have to be killed, imprisoned, driven into exile or otherwise disposed of. Eventually uniformity of opinion descends on those who remain: they all begin to see social justice in exactly the same light.
By those criteria, Jeremy’s idol isn’t so much a champion as a runner-up. The top spot is shared by Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, although Fidel did his level best and it was a close-run thing.
The number of those El Jefe killed never quite reached 100,000. On the plus side, unlike that wimp Lenin, Fidel, his brother Raúl and his acolyte Che took a hands-on approach to executions.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Castro and his jolly friends flattered their role models no end. Like Lenin’s Bolsheviks, they grabbed power in several stages.
First, they took part in a revolution driven by others. Then they ousted their former coalition partners and banned free elections. Then they eliminated the ancien régime by the expedients I outlined above. Then they killed their former allies and, while at it, those of Fidel’s comrades who had ideas above their station.
Where that was done with the benefit of quasi-legal procedure, it sounded like a Spanish translation from the Russian popularised by the 1930s show trials. Defence attorneys would sum up by stating their disgust for the defendants and apologising for having to defend such vermin.
And Guevara came up with a legal insight that repeated practically word for word an earlier revelation by Stalin’s prosecutor Vyshinsky:
“We need no shilly-shallying with court procedures. This is a revolution, and evidence is secondary. We must act according to our convictions. They’re all a gang of criminals and murderers. Then don’t forget we have an appellate tribunal.|”
So they did, which body was presided over by Guevara himself. As a finishing touch, having passed and upheld the death sentence, the multi-tasking Che would often carry it out himself.
As this was going on, Corbyn’s “champion of social justice” smiled an avuncular smile into his shaggy beard. He himself was too busy with his personal harem. Well, at least, unlike his brother, he liked women.
While at it, Fidel was doing to Cuba what he did to his girlfriends. For social justice can’t be achieved all at once. It’s a dynamic process, essentially a journey from Point A to Point B.
When Castro arrived, Cuba under Batista was the second most prosperous country in Latin America. In some categories, such as the number of cars or telephones per capita, it was ahead of Italy.
Call it Point A. Point B is accurately described by a reader of mine, and I hope Mr Bosanquet doesn’t mind my quoting him:
“When I travelled to Cuba just before Fidel’s handover of power, Havana was a decaying slum, the only food around was stale ham and cheese sandwiches, teachers and doctors were living in penury, the people in the countryside were virtually starving, the only way young men could make money was hustling fake cigars – women through prostitution. I visited a friend with appendicitis in hospital and it was a filthy slum with patients dying from infections.”
Verily I say unto you: that free medical care is dear at the price. And judging by the fact that Cuba’s average monthly wage is currently under £15, things couldn’t have improved much since that observation was made, some 10 years ago.
The cause of social justice in Cuba has been served so well that Corbyn’s panegyrics are being echoed and outdone by his likeminded Castratos.
Thus the former MP George Galloway: “You were the greatest man I ever met, Comandante Fidel.”
Lord Hain, the former Labour cabinet minister: “Castro created a society of unparalleled access to free health, education and equal opportunity despite an economically throttling US siege.”
Rob Miller, director of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign: “Certainly Fidel, Raúl and Che Guevara are… revered as the historic generation.”
To the former London mayor Ken Livingston, Castro was an “absolute giant of the twentieth century”.
Transatlantic fans of social justice wouldn’t be outdone. Thus Canada’s PM Trudeau: “Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.”
And Obama recalled “the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation.” That he most certainly did, though perhaps not quite in the way Barack Hussein meant.
I don’t know about you, but I have nightmares of our own jefes and comandantes taking over in the name of social justice. I wake up bathed in cold sweat, hoarse from my own screams.