Tony Greenstein | 11 September 2021 | Post Views:

A New Labour Lexicon – A guide to the Perplexed Labour Party member

Politics and the English Language – How Herr Stürmer Changed the Meaning of Ordinary Words

We are all familiar with the abuse of language. When the Mafia ask you to pay them ‘protection money’ they are not offering you an insurance policy, at least not in the normal sense of the word. What they mean is that if you don’t hand over regular amounts of cash then your life may not be worth living.

Likewise when Keith Stürmer and his glove puppet David Evans talk about ‘rooting out’ anti-Semites what they really mean is getting rid of anti-racists and anti-imperialists. None of this is new even if the debasement of political language has reached new heights under Sir Stürmer.

In 1946 George Orwell wrote an essayPolitics and the English Language” describing this phenomenon.

‘Political language …is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.’

Orwell described how

‘political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible… The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.’ That was why ‘political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.’

Orwell wrote 1984 about a dystopian future in which terms such as Newspeak and Doublethink entered the English language. We see this clearly in the Labour Party with terms such as Notice of Investigation that victims of the purge are sent.

The process bears as much relation to an ‘Investigation’ as the Inquisition did. A genuine investigation starts out from a dispassionate search for the truth whereas ‘investigations’ in the Labour Party are merely a search for any evidence, however trivial with which to exclude you. The decision has already been reached, what is necessary is turning up some evidence.

Orwell saw the debasement of language as reflecting the debasement of society and a not too subtle attempt to control and restrict the parameters of thought of the lower classes. Just as the Victorians opposed teaching children to write, as opposed to reading, because they might start thinking of challenging their condition (reading being necessary in order to read instructions), so the idea behind distorting and changing the meaning of words is to restrict peoples’ ability to think beyond the mundane.

A good example is the term ‘moderate’ and ‘extremist’. When I was arrested earlier in the year on a Palestine Action outing to Elbit, I was remanded for a week in Birmingham prison. At reception a prison officer asked me whether or not I was an ‘extremist’. I used the opportunity to probe into what she meant by extremist and it was clear that she had very little idea of what this loaded term meant. I put it to her that all those who had fought for freedom in the past, from the Chartists to the Suffragettes had been termed ‘extremists’ in their time.

Of course the Jewish Chronicle, an ‘extreme’ example of journalistic malevolence (indeed to describe the Jewish Chronicle’s scribblers as journalists is another abuse of language) then said I had compared myself to the suffragettes. Proof if any were needed that stupidity isn’t confined to the lower classes!

Of course the term ‘extremist’ is used as a way of delineating the boundaries of acceptable thought. So the Prevent Thinking programme is based on eliminating extremists whom they define as people who think subversive thoughts.

So if you support Israel bombing a few families in Gaza into oblivion then that is fine, because that is how we introduce third world peoples to the benefits of western civilisation. But if you support the Palestinians, then that is ‘extremist’ because according to the IHRA Definition of ‘anti-Semitism’ (itself a prime example of Doublethink) you are anti-Semitic.

The use of the term ‘moderate’ is another example of how language is changed in order to bestow an air of neutrality on loaded political terms. So if you support Trident nuclear submarines which can murder millions of people at a drop of a hat you are a ‘moderate’. However if you oppose weapons of mass murder you are an ‘extremist’ and a threat to our way of life.

A good example of the use of the ‘moderate’ v ‘extremist’ binary is when the Roosevelt Administration in 1933 were trying to prevent the Boycott of the Nazi regime growing. A State Department spokesman argued that Hitler represented an ‘element of moderation’ in the Nazi Party and that a boycott campaign would undermine his position! (Edwin Black, The Transfer Agreement, p.19)

What is remarkable is how someone with nothing to say came to lead the Labour Party – a perfect picture of nothing

Closely allied to this is Doublethink or to put it in psychological terms, Cognitive Dissonance. Holding two contradictory beliefs at the same time. So there are for example people who describe themselves as Zionists who also believe that they are Anti-racists. Owen Jones is probably the best example of someone who effortlessly manages to lie to himself (as well as to everyone else!)

A friend of mine, who shall have to remain nameless given the State of Terror currently in force in the Labour Party has compiled a list of common terms in the Labour Party and their new meanings. Unfortunately I cannot give him or her the credit which is due because an appearance on my blog would give rise to an automatic auto-exclusion (itself of course an example of the debasement of language since you are not excluding yourself, they are excluding you!).

Tony Greenstein

Anti-semite used be a person who hates Jews, now a person Jews hate – that is, Jews as defined by the Board of Deputies (see below). Whereas the old anti-semitism was a stick used by the far-right with which to beat Jews, the “new antisemitism” is a stick used by racist Jews and non-Jews to beat anti-racists with.

Broad Church – The Broad Church is a building whose central element is a Knave (used to be spelled “nave”) but now updated. “B” also for

Board of Deputies – used to be a body opposed to any physical resistance to anti-semitism. Today it is a BODy calling those advocating physical resistance to fascists anti-semites (see above, or rather, look away).

Community – this retains its old meaning but when preceded by the word “Jewish” loses its plural form. “C” also stands for

Confidentiality – this used to indicate a protection for those accused of an offence but today denotes a stripping away from those accused of the right to announce or discuss accusations or seek support in any form. “C” also stands for

Candidate a person chosen by the leadership for his or her loyalty to Keir Starmer.

Denier (disambiguation: nothing to do with nylon stockings) and

Denialist This used to be applied to holocaust deniers (anti-semites) but today refers to the denial of statistics offered by the Community Security Trust, denial of exaggerated estimates of anti-semitism promoted by the Labour leadership in favour of evidence-based estimates or denying that David Evans has the right to determine what can and cannot be discussed in a branch meeting. If talking about the weather seems unsuitable it can be used as common conversation opener: “Do you deny that there was anti-semitism in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn?”

Enough (as in Enough is enough) – a mistranslation of the Hebrew word “Dayenu”, convenient for any placard.

Emet (truth) this term has fallen into disuse. It is an intriguing example of “culture capture”, like Israel using the Star of David, whereby a religious idea is adopted for political purposes (see also “Dayenu” the refrain of a Passover prayer). Used to be limited to the phrase “Enough already” but this is long out of use.

Forde a disappearing act, as in the phrase “to do a Forde”, that is, to so redefine your purpose so as to discount your own existence. It is an updated version of what happens when Snark hunters find a Boojum. (For all literary references see Rule Book 2019)

Governance and Legal Unit GLU (no “e” in the spelling but don’t let that spoil the joke) is an organisation that will stick at nothing. Also known as the Teflon Truth Unit. Generally confused with the Compliance Unit, which is itself generally confused.

Hasbara refers to Israeli state propaganda, which according to the leadership does not exist because to say it exists is an anti-semitic trope. “H” also stands for

Humpty Dumpty famous for his arbitrary definitions.

Inclusive an archaism now only found in documents that exclude Party critics, usage otherwise ornamental. Also

Investigation a long drawn-out procedure following a punishment (Historians say it used to be the other way round). Also

Israel the only country with no propaganda machine (see above for Israeli state propaganda).

Jew a person designated as such by the BoD, a supporter of Israel no matter what. Member of a rapidly dwindling group in the Labour Party. Not to be used in the phrase “anti-Zionist Jew”, even in a party that loves oxymorons.

Keir Starmer name of a legal expert that wouldn’t know a clause from a Klutz. A person “doing a Forde” (on his own). “K” could also stand for

Kafka a man who wasted his time describing an unnamed victimising bureaucracy when he could just as well have described the current Labour Party.

LAW (not to be confused with the phrase Book of the Law) this used to be a campaign but has now been redesignated as a Political Party because it wouldn’t “do a Forde”. (See “Support”, or rather, don’t if you want to stay in the Labour Party.)

McCarthyism a theoretical movement whose founding document starts with the words “Are you or have you ever been…” Although not currently an acknowledged source, its practices have been adopted by the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit. (Disambiguation: nothing to do with current hard-nut Cardiff City manager.)

Nakba a Palestinian festival in which hundreds of thousands of people flee an imaginary threat never to return, an illusion (see Hasbara)

Open Labour a Labour Party oxymoron. (Note: The Party loves oxymorons; example: Keir Starmer, the Unity candidate (for Unity, see below). Another important “O”-word (apart from oxymoron itself) is

Offence This cannot be defined except by those claiming offence and since they feel offended there is nothing left to discuss.

Political Party this term is used in the old rule book (see below) to refer to organisations competing electorally with Labour; it now refers mainly to campaigns meriting proscription even if they call on their members to support Labour. It is thought that anyway the whole concept of the Political Party will soon disappear in favour of the more modern term: Electoral Platform. For the reason “P” also stands for

Potential Parliamentary Candidate – a person unblemished by Labour Movement activism.

Qu’ran the Holy Book (like the Rulebook) of a people generally disregarded by Labour.

Rulebook when thrown at members they seem to disappear without “doing a Forde”

Supporter member of a Political Party (see above) that the leadership wants to see disappear. Note a significant change in meaning here. The archaic use of the term referred to a person giving regular material support to an organisation. Today it refers to anyone not agreeing to punish or proscribe a person or organisation.

Tigs an organisation that “did a Forde” (see above) and disappeared.

Unity related to the word Unicorn, an imaginary beast (see under oxymoron: Keir Starmer, the Unity candidate)

Values a new term, often following the word “Labour” and replacing others with a clearer meaning like policies and principles.

Welcoming (opposite of Uncomfortable) – a “welcoming atmosphere” is one which refuses to allow any statement that might challenge the deeply held views of a Zionist in the audience.

X – termination – Andrew Adonis’ term for debate within a broad church. And, of course,

X-pulsion this used to be a forcible exclusion of a member following a protracted investigation, followed by a review by the NCC or NEC or both. The procedure has now been automated and auto-triggered (see “doing a Forde”).

Yaxley-Lennon term no longer in use outside journalism. Current equivalent Tommy Robinson. Mr Robinson is a fascist who supports the Israeli right.

Zionism historically considered by Labour to be a liberation movement but since today this is obviously ridiculous, it is increasingly used instead as a replacement for Judaism. Note: whereas Zionism is never said to be the same as Judaism, anti-Zionism is considered to be the same as anti-Semitism.

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Tony Greenstein


  1. Esther on 11/09/2021 at 10:55am

    And what about the Labour Party mantra “trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary people are valid”? A meaningless and circular statement of faith, which we resist at our peril. The Labour Party is one massive gaslighting machine.
    War us peace
    PS all human people are valid.

  2. Faraz on 11/09/2021 at 1:53pm

    Piquant explainations

  3. Jonathan Bellos on 11/09/2021 at 1:56pm

    Hilarious. Suggest you photocopy this lexicon onto a sheet of A4, laminate it and give it out to all delegates at the Labour Party conference. This handy user-guide will enable them to cut through the tedious bullshit and stop them falling asleep. Lamination is desirable so that you can more easily wipe it down after the expected sick-making hypocrisy of Starmer, Evans and associated sycophants (no pun intended)

  4. Janet Beale on 11/09/2021 at 7:21pm

    Absolutely brilliant – yes this needs to be circulated at the Labour Party conference

  5. David Prichard-Jones on 12/09/2021 at 7:17am

    A most instructive and entertaining article, which should be compulsory reading for anyone considering joining the Labour Party for any reason other than self-advancement!

  6. Jacob Butler on 12/09/2021 at 5:53pm

    Pardon my ignorance but what was “Tigs – an organisation that “did a Forde” (see above) and disappeared. ”
    I’m sure it will come back to me with a hint or two

    Keep up the good work!

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