Tory Press smears this week that Corbyn once met a Czechoslovakian, have backfired badly after old Brillo Pad himself took them to task. Then on Question Time Ash Sarkar [@AyoCeasar] ripped them to shreds again…

As Paul Mason noted: “The Corbyn spy smear is the moment the UK press crossed line from right wing propaganda to Breitbart style fake news.”

But they seem to be not just keen on smears and propaganda but also suffering from some kind of political amnesia.

Just who was meeting extreme regimes in the 1980s?

When Margaret Thatcher met PW Botha met at Chequers the height of the apartheid government in 1984 – which was itself a crucial breach in South Africa’s international isolation – she have him shelter and credibility. British banks like Barclays were resisting the mass boycott that was at work.

Botha and his regime were international pariah’s supported by only a handful of countries, including Britain. Botha, who had been Prime Minister since 1978, had “only just avoided being detained as a Nazi sympathiser” during the Second World War and was a man with “a reputation for a quick temper, and intolerance of criticism”.

Similarly if Corbyn having cup of tea with a Czech makes him a ‘traitor’ what does Thatcher’s warm welcome for the most brutal Eastern European Communist Dictator of all, Nicolae Ceaușescu of Romania make her?

Helpfully the Thatcher Foundation cites her warm speech at a dinner in his honour in 1981where she raises a glass to him saying:

“Our commercial relations are healthy. Britain is proud of its contribution to the development of the Romanian aircraft industry, a particularly good example of co-operation to joint advantage. But the scope for trade and co-operation between our two countries is far from exhausted. [end p3] It is important that we should do more. I know, Mr. Prime Minister, that your own responsibilities in Romania lie predominantly in the economic field, and am confident that your visit will give new impetus to the development of our commercial and economic relations. We have tried to arrange for you a programme in this country which takes full account of your interests….I would like to raise my glass to you, Mr. Prime Minister, to the happiness and prosperity of the Romanian people and to the further co-operation between Romania and Britain….”


On Christmas Day in 1989 – just eight years later Ceaușescu and his wife were tried and shot.

As the Independent reports, Thatcher also had direct ties with General Pinochet: “Tories have forgotten that Thatcher wasn’t just a terrorist sympathiser, but close friends with one”.

“Thatcher’s support for Chile’s former torturer-in-chief General Pinochet is no secret; it was something she was proud of. Despite her assertion that “The United States and Britain have together been the greatest alliance in defence of liberty and justice,” Thatcher refused to back down in her support of a man who overthrew a democratically elected government. This was a man who initiated the notorious Caravan of Death, the army unit that travelled the country by helicopter, murdering and torturing the General’s opponents.”

It’s all worth remembering as the Tory party’s disgraceful smear unit goes into play with the backing of their friends in the media.