Corbyn 'attack dog' sparks describes the poppy appeal as 'racist'

Senior Labour figures have called for a far-left journalist dubbed Jeremy Corbyn's 'attack dog' to be thrown out of the party after he condemned the Poppy Appeal as 'racist'. 
Aaron Bastani, whose site Novara Media has been key in galvanising youth support among Corbyn's Labour, labelled the Royal British Legion appeal 'grotesque' and called for the charity to be shut down.
His views were quickly denounced by leading Labour figures, including deputy leader Tom Watson, who called the comments 'disrespectful'.
The scathing attack against the Poppy Appeal, which raises millions for military veterans and their loved ones, comes on the centenary anniversary of the First World War which claimed the lives of more than one million Britons. 
Bastani described the annual remembrance scheme as 'a joke' in a video posted in the run-up to Armistice Day on Sunday. 
Mr Watson lambasted Bastani's views, praising their tireless work in helping veterans.
He tweeted: 'I am proud of our Royal British Legion. They tirelessly work to support our Veterans.
'This man, who I understand has recently joined the Labour Party, does not speak for it. I'm sure all my colleagues will distance themselves from this appalling statement.'
Meanwhile, John Mann tweeted: 'This ignorant man needs throwing out of the Labour Party today.' 
The footage was posted on Twitter by Novara Media, a website previously been called the 'armed police' of Labour campaign group Momentum.
Mr Bastani's website is full of glowing tributes to Corbyn, leading to his label as one of the Labour leader's 'attack dogs'.
In the video, he rants: 'We all know about the poppy appeal, it's a bit of a joke for people on the left, every November this happens.
'I think the poppy appeal is grotesque, it has a kind of triumphalist militarism to it. It's racist, right, it's white supremacist.'
Mr Bastani also mocks the Invictus Games, an biennial athletic competition for armed forces veterans set up by Prince Harry, as a 'bizarre PR exercise' for the royal family.
In a tweet posted yesterday, the Left-wing blogger described the poppy appeal as 'absolutely sickening', calling for the money to be spent on the homeless instead.
He wrote: 'Absolutely sickening that as a country Britain spends £45million on poppies to feel good and help a worthy cause while 13,000 ex-veterans are homeless.
'When was the last time the Royal British Legion challenged the government on homelessness and public services? Joke.'
He added: 'I care about veterans. That's why I think the Royal British legion should be dissolved with it's £300 million of fixed assets redistributed to Britain's 13,000 homeless ex service personnel. 
'Surely that makes more sense than the fact it pays more than 24 people 60k a year?'
'We have 66,000 veterans who are homeless, at the cutting edge of the criminal justice system or suffering mental health issues.
'They are fighting the battle of their lives & have no political representation. Remember the dead, fight for the living.'    
Guardian columnist Owen Jones rejected calls for Bastani to be ousted from the party. In a series of tweets he replied: 'For what? If we're going to keep Tony Blair in the party even though he's paid millions by murderous dictatorships then I think we can probably find space for someone expressing an opinion.'

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