I suppose there’s no way I can avoid passing comment on the reinstatement of Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour Party, so let’s not waste any time in doing so. His return is an absolute disgrace, an insult to the entire Jewish community, as well as anyone anywhere who has ever opposed racism. After committing Labour to tackle anti-Jewish hate following his landslide election as leader, Keir Starmer faces the return of a man who has done more than anyone else to allow antisemitism and to form and then expand, creating a cesspit of hate. Well done, Labour.
The lawyer Simon Myerson has set out some of the instances of racism that came about on Corbyn’s watch: ‘Mural, irony, wreaths for murderers, friends with people propounding Jewish elimination, friends with holocaust deniers, failure to lead against racism properly.’ That’s some charge sheet, but the reality is even worse. The cranky old leader was aided abetted by other elements on the far left, but as leader, he must carry the can. Labour’s massively flawed internal disciplinary system has decided to overlook the evidence of antisemitism and effectively restore racism to its ranks.
Corbyn is the very worst of us, wrapped up in an inflated ego, deluded by a sense of self-importance that perhaps came about with this career backbencher who was accidentally elected to be Labour leader – and a bizarre cult began to chant his name. There is little in Corbyn’s dismal career to suggest this is a man of any substance or standing and in recent years his self-proclaimed lifetime campaign against ‘all sorts of racism’ was shown to be at best dubious and at worst a lie.
Should the likes of Jeremy Corbyn be kicked out of the Labour Party? I suppose it depends what kind of Labour Party you want. If you want one where Jewish people feel unsafe and are even hounded out of the party, then I don’t see how the answer can be no. I was aware, even in my younger days in the Labour Party, of suspicion and dislike of Jews and, because of the innocence of youth and my own ignorance of the subject, I did not really question it. I had heard various tropes before the word even existed and must have concluded this was a general societal issue. And it is. But when the leading party of opposition attracts racists – and since Corbyn became leader, that’s what has happened – you cannot sit by and ignore it. Which is what Labour did yesterday when reinstating Corbyn.
This may come across as an attack on Jeremy Corbyn from someone who despises the man and indeed the ground he walks on. That’s because it is. And it reminds us of the simple choice we have to make. Do we want a Labour Party that exists to represent the working class in order to bring about fairness, equality and opportunity or do we want one that is little more than a middle class debating society, a political movement which has no interest in building a national coalition to defeat the Conservatives? The latter is the very definition of Corbynism, with added antisemitism.
Starmer cannot be held responsible for the return of Corbyn. He stood to one side to allow disciplinary matters to take place on the correct manner, unlike Corbyn’s office when he was leader who regularly interfered in antisemitism complaints. But in implementing the entire EHRC report on antisemitism, future investigations will be fully independent and not involve the crony friends of Corbyn or anyone else for that matter.
After a promising start under Starmer,. Labour has slipped back into the sewers of politics. Once again, Jews have been let down by the so-called party of anti-racism. Antisemitism will always be a problem in Labour for as long as there are antisemites in its ranks. Yesterday, we were reminded that they haven’t gone away.