Garvan Walshe was National and International Security Policy Adviser to the Conservative Party until 2008.
In The Producers, Mel Brooks and his sidekick decide to put on a musical so terrible that it’s doomed to fail. As well as the eponymous Springtime for Hitler and Germany/Winter for Poland and France, the play features such ditties as Come on Baby, be a smartie/Come and join the Nazi Party.
It would seem The Producers have got their hands on the Labour Party. Jealous of Corbyn the Musical, did they script this strategy session, held beneath signed photographs of the EdStone?
— Look at Clause IV. We need to change it. I don’t think the opening “Labour is a social democratic party…” is very good.
— Yes, it’s too associated with parliamentary institutions people don’t trust. We need direct action.
— Quite right “Labour is a social direct action party”.
— “Socialist” not social.
— Good good.
— But have you read Matthew Goodwin’s book?
— Where he talks about how the “left behind”, older, poorer people are turning to UKIP. Shouldn’t we do something for them?
— What do they like?
— White vans?
— Shut up, Emily.
— They’re patriots. They like “British Values”.
— Hmm…“Labour is a British Values Socialist Direct Action Party”. Doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue…
— What about “nation” — they like the nation, don’t they?
— Good. “Labour is a National Socialist Direct Action Party”. NSDAP.
— And you know, Labour, it sounds just a bit too, well, difficult.
— Yeah, we’re the party of workers; work should be enjoyable.
— “Work through joy.”
— Nah, sounds like a holiday camp.
— Did someone say “camp”?
— Never mind, Ken, go back to your newts.
— We need something, I don’t know emancipatory.
— Emancipatory, having to do with freedom.
— You mean, like “makes you free”
— Labour makes you free?
— Nobody asked you, Liz. Everyone knows you’re a Blairite stooge.
— Part of some great international conspiracy.
— Of the rich.
— And the media establishment.
— Because we’re Labour, for the many, not the Zionists.
— That doesn’t quite scan does it?
— You’re right. Let’s just drop the “Zionist” rubbish.
— Yeah. Labour, for the many, not the jew!
It didn’t, obviously, happen like that. The truth is a good deal more alarming. Labour has been taken over by the far left; and far-leftists aren’t just much more “left-wing” than other leftists. They don’t just believe in greater equality or are more suspicious of authority than more moderate, left wingers. Their ideology is totally different. While moderate leftists supported parliamentary democracy, the far left hoped for a Soviet victory in the Cold War.
Though the collapse of the Soviet Union deprived the pro-Soviet left of an alternative, they didn’t abandon their view that the Western capitalist system was illegitimate and incapable of reform. Theirs is a Manichean struggle.
Their doctrine makes moral judgements easy. Its only principle is that the West is on the wrong side of history. Therefore, the West’s crimes are treated as proof of its immoral repression; while anti-western crimes are excused because they are the only way to resist Western hegemony.
Israel finds itself on the wrong side of this divide, and the Manichean left excuses anti-semitism because it’s directed against the “system”. But by the standards of the things the far left has excused, anti-semitism in the Labour party isn’t so bad – compared to the Ukrainian famine, Stalin’s purges, the cultural revolution, or the especially vicious Peruvian terrorist group Sendero Luminoso. To a movement used to overlooking the murder of millions, anti-semitism is the mildest of sins.
Britain’s Labour party is now controlled by these Manichaeans, and they simply don’t care how rude or offensive they are when they suggest that Hitler supported Zionism; or, when deciding to demonise Israel, out of all the tyrannies in world history only ever compare it to the Nazis.
It did not come as a surprise that a petition supporting the disciplining of John Mann, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-semitism, not Ken Livingstone, quickly reached thousands of signatures. The far left is riddled with this prejudice. Jeremy Corbyn could only change that by standing up to the people who have been his allies all his political life. If his performance at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, where he was happy to condemn the Conservative Party but only said he did “not approve” of Hamas and Hezbollah, is anything to go by, don’t expect him to.