You know the old adage that says you’ve lost an argument the moment you bring up Adolf Hitler for any reason? Ken Livingstone proved that yesterday rather definitively. He also showed us conclusively that trying to explain something via the author of the Final Solution is a bad idea in politics, period. Particularly when you’re trying to accuse the former German chancellor, rather unusually, of being a Zionist conspirator.
Enough on Ken – it was a terrible mistake for Corbyn to have got him involved in the remaking of the Labour Party, and yesterday finally made him realise this fact (for now at least), one that has been staring him in the face for a long time. What interests me a lot more is Jeremy’s own statement on the matter:
“No, there is not a problem. We are totally opposed to anti-Semitism in any form within the party. The very small number of cases that have been brought to our attention have been dealt with swiftly and immediately, and they will be.”
Why can’t he understand that this sort of thing isn’t a suitable response when a member of your NEC, someone who also happens to be one of his closest allies in politics, starts throwing around Hitler’s name in a conversation about anti-semitism? A week out from a series of crucial elections for the Labour Party and its future, let me add. Particularly as the “swiftly and immediately” line, apart from being logistical questionable in and of itself (it’s tautological at the very least – if something is done immediately isn’t it by definition done swiftly?) is also patently untrue: the Labour leader’s office has been very slow since Jeremy took over to suspend or expel members for anti-semitic language/behaviour, seemingly reluctant to do anything about it until the public outcry becomes too great. And even when action is taken, Corbyn and someone in his inner circle comes out with a comment that essentially communicates “look, could everyone stop talking about this? We did as you asked – stop making a big deal out of the whole thing. There’s no problem here, all right?”
Corbyn and the shadow cabinet just need to come to terms with the fact that there is a problem within the party and come to terms with it. Or at the very least stop looking like they can’t understand why people might be upset by discussions involving Hitler as Zionist, and when things like that happen to sound apologetic about the whole thing, as opposed to annoyed. Yes, the increased incidents of anti-semitism within Labour might have something to do with the new intake of members. But given those are the members inspired by Corbyn and his politics, shouldn’t he consider what it is about his politics and dislike of Judaism that appear to have some correlation?
Corbynistas need to step outside the fights within Labour about party direction and ask themselves this one question: do they want far-left politics permanently linked with anti-semitism? Because that’s where we’re headed – if we’re not there already.