Published: 8 December, 2016
RICHARD Burgon, Labour shadow Lord Chancellor, began with a mock apology at a “celebration” of the life of Fidel Castro on Monday evening.
He admitted his attendance at the Trades Union Congress in Bloomsbury might not go down well with some people. But, he stressed, he didn’t mind one way or the other. He knew of course that Jeremy Corbyn’s praise of Castro a few days earlier had, inevitably, upset a lot of Labour MPs – and certainly the tabloids.
But Burgon, a bit of a tub-thumper, didn’t hold back, lauding Castro as the “most successful revolutionary in human history”, to thunderous applause from a packed hall of more than 500 people.
More accolades had come from writer Tariq Ali who described Castro as the “last revolutionary giant”.
In a moving speech, the Angolan ambassador Lieutenant-Colonel Rui Goncalves said if it wasn’t for Castro he would not be standing there. He had fought alongside Cuban soldiers in the final battle of the late 1980s that had defeated the South African army and thus helped to end the Apartheid regime.