Drifting Without Direction – Are these the Dying Days of Corbyn’s Leadership?
Appeasement of the Right, Sacrificing Political Allies and Political Indecisiveness Will be Corbyn’s Legacy
Many of Corbyn’s loyal supporters can brook no criticism. They will swear fealty to Jezza until the day he resigns and then it will be as if he never existed. Uncritical support has been worse than the hostility of his enemies because it has allowed Corbyn’s mistakes to go unchallenged.
The last Labour Party conference merely compounded Corbyn’s failures. His inability to understand what lay behind the false anti-Semitism campaign has been his single biggest error of judgment. It has sapped his strength and drained his leadership of direction and purpose. Corbyn has comprehensively lost control of the narrative.
It is obvious that only a handful of Labour members are anti-Semitic in the sense of the Oxford English dictionary definition. How is it that in the midst of the Windrush Scandal, caused by the ‘hostile environment’ policy which New Labour was responsible for initiating under Alan Johnson, that anti-Semitism could be seen as Labour’s biggest failing?
It should have been obvious that if the Tory press was concerned about ‘anti-Semitism’ then something was amiss. Since when has the Sun, Mail and Express ever been concerned about genuine racism? How is it that those who fill their columns demonising asylum seekers and Muslims, to say nothing of employing neo-Nazi Katie Hopkins could be genuinely concerned about anti-Semitism?
When Tom Watson stated that he won’t rest until the very last anti-Semite is expelled from the Labour Party what prevented Corbyn from pointing out that this is the same Tom Watson who during the Hodge Hill byelection in 2004 was the campaign organiser who issued a leaflet with the slogan: “Labour is on your side, the Lib Dems are on the side of failed asylum seekers.”
This is the same Tom Watson who defended racist Labour MP Phil Woolas who ran a campaign in 2010 which, in the words of his election agent, was designed to ‘make the white folk angry’. Yet Tom Watson, generously subsidised by Labour Friends of Israel millionaire Sir Trevor Chinn, wrote that ‘I’ve lost sleep thinking about poor old Phil Woolas and his leaflets.’
Quite amazingly Corbyn and his public school advisers – James Schneider and Seamus Milne – never once thought to go public on this and call out Watson’s hypocrisy.
Len McLuskey criticised ‘Jewish community leaders’ (Zionists) ‘who were ‘Refusing To Take ‘Yes’ For An Answer’ In other words whatever Corbyn did, from betraying Ken Livingsone to adopting the IHRA, they weren’t satisfied. Did it never occur to Corbyn and his cloth-eared advisors that the explanation was simple. If the purpose of the ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign was to remove Corbyn then they could never be satisfied until Corbyn was gone?
When the history of this period comes to be written then the anti-Semitism smear campaign will be seen to be what it was – a state driven smear campaign orchestrated by the secret state, in particular the Israeli state as Al Jazeera’s The Lobby proved.
The anti-Semitism campaign could have been halted in its tracks by Corbyn standing up to his accusers and saying that he condemned anti-Semitism but he also condemned the weaponisation of anti-Semitism and the making of false accusations of anti-Semitism against Palestinian supporters.
In other words he could have called the Jewish Labour Movement’s bluff. The same JLM which was refounded in 2015 in order to destabilise his leadership
Corbyn could have made a point of meeting with Jewish Voices for Labour, openly and publicly. Instead he backed off and sought to appease his enemies and betray his friends.
Corbyn could have put to bed the allegations that he was a terrorist sympathiser by throwing such accusations back at his first interview on the subject by Krishnan Guru Murthy. If Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorists then why is a state that deliberately targets civilians and unarmed demonstrators not a terrorist state? Instead Corbyn accepted that ‘terrorist’ is a label attached to the enemies of the West rather than a description of those who use terror against civilians
When the JLM threatened to disaffiliate from the Labour Party Corbyn should have welcomed it. It should have been the cue to form a genuine Jewish section, since anti-racist and anti-Zionist Jews can’t join the JLM whereas racists are always welcome
Instead Corbyn issued pleaded with them to stay and was rewarded by a vote of no confidence passed against him!But it wasn’t just the anti-Semitism campaign, important though it was for changing the narrative from anti-racism to ‘anti-Semitism’
Opposing Open Selection at the 2018 Labour Party conference meant that Corbyn would always be the prisoner of those who loathed him, not least the loathsome Margaret Hodge. Instead we have a trigger ballot system that has so far led to just two trigger ballots.
This Tweet is being used to justify the expulsion, without even a hearing, of Ann Mitchell, Chair of Brighton & Hove PSC
The witchhunt has gathered pace. As one of the earliest casualties it is is now entrapping anyone who says anything critical of the Israeli state. The Chair of Brighton and Hove PSC has been suspended for a series of tweets such as quoting Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper that the ‘world sees Israel as a racist state.’
Well the world does see a state that supplies the Burmese junta with weapons, which trained Guatemala’s death squads which killed 200,000 Mayan Indians, to say nothing of the military occupation of the West Bank, as a pariah state. But Corbyn has moved so far from his original support of the Palestinians that any criticism of Israel is now seen as anti-Semitic!
This is the consequence of adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. The IHRA gives as an illustration of anti-Semitism ‘Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel’. yet that is what the Labour Party is doing when it suspends people because it equates criticising Israel as anti-Semitic.
Corbyn is wedded to the two state solution for Palestine. The only people today who support 2 states are supporters of the Occupation who use it as a camouflage for Israel’s continued occupation. Of course Corbyn promises to recognise the Palestinian state! Unfortunately there isn’t a Palestinian state so such a gesture is entirely meaningless.
The failure to oppose the witch-hunt is a failure to defend his own supporters. Virtually no racist on the Right, not even the despicable Luke Akehurst who openly supported the mowing down of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza, has been suspended or expelled. No clearer evidence can there be that Jewish lives are more valuable than Palestinian lives, ‘anti-Semitism’ more than any other form of racism.
Nothing Ken Livingstone said was anti-Semitic. He offered a particular interpretation of history. What kind of party has such contempt for freedom of speech that it penalises those who dare to speak their mind about events in the past? It is a fact that the Nazis singled out the Zionists in Germany for favourable treatment. It is attested to by Zionist historians – David Cesarani, Lucy Dawidowicz, Francis Nicosia amongst others.
Marc Wadsworth’s expulsion was equally shameful. He had accused someone, US Embassy ‘Protected’ asset, Ruth Smeeth MP of working hand-in-glove with Daily Telegraph journalists, which she was. How was that anti-Semitic?
Jackie Walker and myself were further collateral damage. The final shameful act was not standing up and declaring, after Tom Watson organised a round robin from Labour MPs and Peers, that Chris Williamson was an anti-racist and should not be resuspended. Instead Corbyn kept quiet in the belief that if he threw another supporter to the wolves he would buy himself more time.
Corbyn was the Secretary in the 1980’s for Labour Against the Witch-hunt. 30 years ago Corbyn would have been the first person to oppose fast track expulsions of people without a hearing.
When a Carlos Latuff cartoon showing Netanyahu aiming missiles at Corbyn appeared outside Labour’s conference, the Zionists howled and Corbyn bowed. He asked the Police, who were initially reluctant, to remove it.
Corbyn absurdly allowed the Tories to call the shots and portray themselves as a party opposed to anti-Semitism. The Tories were the only governing conservative party in Western Europe who supported Viktor Orban, the anti-Semitic Hungarian Prime Minister, when the European Parliament censured him. The Tory Party sits in the European Conservative Reform group with 3 (at least) anti-Semitic parties. Yet instead of raising this every time a Tory opens their mouth on ‘anti-Semitism’ Corbyn went along with Theresa May and idiotically adopted the IHRA immediately after she did.
Yes of course Corbyn’s economic proposals in terms of austerity – scrapping universal credit, renationalising the utilities etc. are progressive. But if you lose control of the overall political narrative then you will not win on the NHS or poverty.
Jo Swinson, the Lib-Dems execrable leader, can attack Corbyn over ‘anti-Semitism’ precisely because he has ceded the narrative on anti-Semitism. ‘Anti-Semitism’ is a code word for political acceptability and Corbyn long ago ran up the white flag of surrender. It was inevitable that once Corbyn apologised for ‘anti-Semitism’ his enemies wouldn’t say ‘thank you’ but they would redouble their attacks.
The Jewish Chronicle openly calls Corbyn an anti-Semite, week after week going so far as to say that he is an ‘existential threat’ to the Jewish community. Yet despite this Corbyn is stupid enough to say that anyone denying there is an anti-Semitism problem in the Labour Party is part of the problem. Since Corbyn denies he is an anti-Semite presumably he is accepting that he is part of the same problem!
Corbyn’s handling of Brexit could not have been worse. He has allowed the dissident Tories to set the agenda. His previous opposition to the EEC, led by a Communist Party which followed the Soviet policy of weakening Europe, has been little short of disastrous.
Corbyn talks of ‘respecting’ the 2016 referendum. Why? Do we say the same of previous general elections? If so we would never have another one. People change their minds. The point is to ask why large numbers of working class people in the North voted for Brexit and then to campaign to persuade them that Europe, for which one can read immigrants, are not the reason for deindustrialisation or poverty.
That means having a message whereas Corbyn has had no message on Europe and to now say that he will neither support Remain or Leave merely compounds the image of his indecisiveness. On the major issue of the day to have no opinion is astounding.
It is reminiscent of Corbyn’s pledge on a referendum on Irish Unity when he said he would remain neutral. Why? The Partition of Ireland, as Tony Benn once said, is a crime against the Irish people. Yet again Corbyn appeased, in this case the Unionists.
Of course the treacherous behaviour of Momentum’s Jon Lansman, who deliberately fanned the fires of ‘anti-Semitism’ were damaging. Lansman believes he can win over a reactionary Jewish community to a socialist agenda. Utterly absurd and signs of a messiah complex.
Corbyn if he had any sense of history could have pointed out that if anti-Semitism was a problem, then it was a problem historically amongst the Labour Right. It was the founder of the Fabians, former Colonial Secretary Lord Passfield (Sydney Webb) who wrote that while ‘French, German, Russian Socialism is Jew-ridden. We, thank heaven, are free”. Herbert Morrison, for whom the Zionist settlement in Palestine was ‘typical of the finest of British colonisers in the history of our Empire’ as Home Secretary during the war vigorously opposed the immigration of Jewish refugees from Nazi occupied Europe. Unfortunately history is a foreign country to Corbyn.
We are in the midst of a political and constitutional crisis. It’s not everyday that the Supreme Court rules unanimously against the government on an issue like the Royal Prerogative. It’s not every day that 21 Tory MPs, including two former Chancellors, are expelled from the Party.
It is difficult to know what is likely to happen but I will hazard a guess. Boris Johnson will not come back with a deal because Europe will not accept a hard border in Ireland and a threat to the single market and customs union.
If Boris Johnson does not accept the Benn Law on extending Article 50 it is likely that there will be a vote of no confidence. Given that Corbyn will not have a majority to elect him as temporary Prime Minister there is a grave danger of a national government which is supported by large numbers of Labour MPs. This is one more reason why it was so stupid of Corbyn to have rejected Open Selection.
I pride myself that I called both the 2015 and 2017 General Elections correctly. I predicted that Labour could gain a hung parliament even though it was behind by over 20% in the polls. Labour is again behind but I have no such confidence now. History doesn’t repeat itself. Corbyn believes he can ignore Brexit which played a major part in key Labour victories in Kensington, Canterbury, Leamington Spa and Brighton Kemptown amongst others.
Labour was seen as the party of Remain in 2017. Today it is different. Corbyn’s appalling dithering and refusal to accept that Brexit is a project of the Right and that one can criticise the EU’s free market policies whilst rejecting Leave has allowed the Lib Dems to come back from near death. It is an appalling miscalculation by Corbyn and his abysmal advisors, most notably Seamus Milne.
There is no guarantee that Labour will increase its number of seats in the forthcoming General Election. The Lib Dems will eat into the Tory vote and possibly there will be ‘national’ Tories standing. But even if Labour were in a position with the SNP to form a government does anyone seriously believe that Margaret Hodge, Smeeth, Ellman or for that matter Tom Watson, would support a Corbyn government?
Another mistake was not to accept Jon Lansman’s proposal to abolish the Deputy Leader. True Lansman did it for his own opportunistic reasons, to ‘prove’ that after betraying Chris Williamson he was still on the left, but you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth! Abolishing the post was the only way, of removing this cancer in Labour politics. Corbyn should have seized the opportunity with both hands.
No doubt historians will write about the present period as one in which we came within an inch of seeing a socialist government in Britain and but for the lack of a backbone Corbyn let the opportunity fall through his hands.
The prospect of a Corbyn led government must have frightened the Americans. The idea of someone who was anti-NATO, anti-Trident and anti-war leading the second major party in their closest ally in Europe was enough to give the average member of the CIA nightmares. Israel clearly did its duty with the concocted ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign ably backed by the British Establishment.
Corbyn’s utter stupidity, backed up by John McDonnell, was to take his enemies professions of concern about ‘anti-Semitism’ at face value.