Brian Reade – Doff your cap to the ruling class or be a Poundland Lenin

John McDonnell felt the full force of an enraged British establishment after calling Winston Churchill a villain.

Or rather, when asked in a quickfire Q&A if he was a hero or a villain, he answered “Tonypandy – villain”.

As in, it was far from heroic behaviour to set the army on striking miners, killing one of them and injuring 500.

As it was putting troops on the streets of ­Liverpool to kill two people during the 1911 transport strike.

Or dismiss hunger marchers as shirkers, send the Black and Tans to murder the Irish as Colonial Secretary in the 1920s, claim no wrong was done to “American Red Indians” or Australian aborigines by the white man and that British imperialism
was a good and natural thing as “a higher-grade race” could lead the “primitive” and “subject” races.

Heroic in defeating the Nazis? Undoubtedly. But villainous at times elsewhere?
No question.

However, such balanced thinking is frowned upon in this country.

The Queen Mother, “Gawd bless ’er”, was another old bigot who supported apartheid, refused to call Rhodesia “Zimbabwe” and claimed the EU wouldn’t work because “Huns, wops and dagos” never get on.

But say anything against our 20th-century Boudicca (who apparently also saved Britain during the Second World War by participating in East End photoshoots after the Luftwaffe had dropped by) and you’re a commie, or a Poundland Lenin as Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames called the Shadow Chancellor.

In Britain, our history has always been written from a perspective that defines the ruling class being heroic and everyone else being incidental.

Deviate from that line and you’re committing treason.

Yet that is precisely what is frequently committed when the same establishment creates heroes, in our name, through the honours system.

What level of treachery was David Cameron guilty of when he showered honours like confetti on his private staff as he walked out of Downing Street?

How ungallant was Theresa May to attempt to bribe backbenchers like Edward Leigh with the offers of knighthoods and lordships if they backed her dodgy Brexit deal?

You know Failing Grayling is going to get one when his disastrous Cabinet career is over, which is very soon.

But these acts of gross nepotism happen all the time and go completely ­unchallenged.

The Queen made her sons, Andrew and Edward, Knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter despite one weeping like a homesick nursery toddler after five minutes in the Marines and the other spending 10 hours a day on the golf course.

Sir Philip Green has finally been accused of being the sleazy, sexist, racist bullying spiv we always suspected he was, with serious calls for his ­knighthood to be taken away. But why did Tony Blair give him one in the first place?

How come real heroes like World Cup winner Gordon Banks were strung along by the Honours Committee with nods and winks about a knighthood, only to die without one?

A few days before Banks’ death, legendary actor Albert Finney passed away.

The proud Salford lad had turned down a knighthood in 2000, with these words: “I think the ‘Sir’ thing slightly perpetuates one of our diseases in England, which is snobbery.”

How right he was. The same snobbery that dictates to the masses who the nation’s heroes are.

And they’re invariably ones who shop at Harrods, not Poundland.

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