I find Labour’s newest election strategy to be quite strange. I’m young, naïve and obsessed with competition, but I always thought the aim of an election was to win it. I didn’t think the aim was to repeatedly punch oneself in the face and then claim it’s everyone else doing the beating.
This anti-Semitism row is something that will rock Labour to the core for generations, I think, or at least hope. Not because of any sense of vindictiveness or anti-leftism, but because if it does rock the foundations upon which Labour rests, then it will stop resting and start working towards a more inclusive politics.
Because that’s what Corbyn wanted, right? He wanted to make politics something the people would be interested, invested in. He’s read out questions from ordinary people across the country, including come exceptionally gifted and verbose 11 year olds. He almost made me believe that things can change.
Because that’s what Corbyn wanted, right? He wanted to make politics something the people would be interested, invested in.
But they don’t, they haven’t. When faced with a potential threat like Ken ‘the newt man’ Livingstone, and all the other anti-Semitic incidents from Labour’s recent history (of which there are a surprisingly large amount), instead of being more open, Labour closed ranks. And rather than catching it as they should have done, the point has sailed right over their heads.
I don’t even think that Corbyn is the problem, to be fair. I think he’s at least a man of some principles, and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt over reports that he wanted Mann reprimanded if Livingstone was. It’s the fact that his supporters, or at least some of them, are willing to ignore a party wide problem with anti-Semitic behaviour because ironically, they think it’s a conspiracy theory.
And rather than catching it as they should have done, the point has sailed right over their heads.
But then, in some ways, he’s displaying a sort of weakness. He’s so invested or grateful in those supporters that he’s not willing to come out and condemn them. He’s loyal to Diane Abbot and Ken Livingstone, just as they’re loyal to him. Loyalty is all well and good, but it must be questioned at all times. You can’t just have blind faith.
Of course, I could make some comparison to Hitler here, but the only people who would criticise me then are Blairites. Honestly, the idea that this is some kind of vicious campaign by disenfranchised Blairite party members is completely ridiculous. It wasn’t Blair and his supporters who made Labour party members say anti-Semitic things.
It wasn’t Blair and his supporters who made Labour party members say anti-Semitic things.
They weren’t overseeing Naz Shah’s Facebook or accompanying Livingstone to the Daily Politics show’s interview. Anti-Semites are idiotic by themselves. But even if Naz and Ken didn’t have ever present Blairites, they had Nick Griffin and George Gallaway. Who needs political rivals when you have friends like them?
Of course, while they didn’t cause the upheaval, the Blairites stand to gain something from it. In many senses, they’re a lot like the Tories. They’ve been handed a gift, and if this gift isn’t sorted soon then the two groups will be walking hand in hand over Labour’s mutilated, desiccated corpse. Proverbially, of course.
They’ve been handed a gift, and if this gift isn’t sorted soon then the two groups will be walking hand in hand over Labour’s mutilated, desiccated corpse.
Essentially, there has to be condemnation without a catch, because anti-Semitism won’t be ended in the Labour party unless it is fully accepted that it is there. No excuses, no blame, no passing the book. No claiming that it’s someone else’s fault, or that the backlash is because of something else. If someone says that something is a problem, then it is just that – a problem, and not the fact that someone said it.
But I don’t know if the Labour party can do that. I have this theory, that the most united party is the one that wins elections. That’s why I think the Tories won this time, and it’s why I don’t know who’ll win at the next. But there is one thing I do know – my political compass has somewhat changed recently, and I was considering voting Labour. At this moment in time; no longer.