Most political movements would run a mile from any comparison with Chairman Mao, the 20th century’s most ruthless mass murderer. But not it seems certain Corbynites. Aaron Banstani, Senior Editor of the pro-Corbyn Novara Media, approvingly Tweeted an image of Momentum founder Jon Lansman done up as the Chinese communist dictator. For the avoidance of doubt he described Lansman as the ‘Great Helmsman’, a nickname ascribed to Mao (and also the title of a 2007 play which relates to his life).
Mao Zedong was almost certainly the most successful mass butcher in human history. His 1958-62 ‘Great Leap Forward’ alone killed something in the region of 45 million people, primarily through starvation. As a comparison imagine the (justifiable) outrage if a pro-conservative group published a picture of a Tory politician approvingly done up as Mussolini (another vile dictator but one who’s butchers bill falls a good deal short of Mao’s)?
What next – John McDonnell done up as Pol Pot? Seamus Milnes as Beria? We probably shouldn’t give them ideas.