Dan Hodges, the Mail on Sunday columnist, runs a timer on Twitter. Here is its most recent update, from Monday:
Number of days since Labour Moderates appeared in parliament square demanding Corbyn acts over Labour anti-Semitism: 112. Number of days without action: 112
That number is now up to 115, by my count. There is still no sign of any real or effective action taking place.
If anything, the confidence of Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in simply shrugging off serious concerns about anti-semitism has grown. Look at their attitude this week: apparently the Labour leader barely flickered when Margaret Hodge called him an “anti-semitic racist” to his face, an accusation that would spur most people into a response more engaged than a disinterested “I’m sorry you feel like that”.
Not only does the sight of a Jewish Labour MP expressing such views apparently not elicit any self-scrutiny from the Leader of the Opposition, but it actually invites punishment and censure for the person who speaks out. Bold as brass, Corbyn’s spokesman was quick to tell the newspapers that “The behaviour was clearly unacceptable”, and Labour is reported to be proceeding with disciplinary action against Hodge for “bringing the party into disrepute”.
Think of the number of cases in the last couple of years in which one Corbyn fan or another was caught promoting racist bile against Jewish people. What reaction was there? Jeremy was not in charge of discipline, the world was told, you couldn’t expect to get involved in this or comment in a way that might prejudge due process. ‘Due process’ in many cases turned out to mean precious little, and in others the wheels seemed to turn amazingly slowly. Nothing to do with him, of course, if anyone sought to ask the Labour leader why it was so, that’s just how our independent system works.
But what happens when a Jewish Labour MP criticises Corbyn in response? Suddenly, the leader’s spokesman is pronouncing on guilt and acceptability, and the internal disciplinary machine is swinging into action, eager to dispense righteous justice to the obviously guilty.
The message could not be more clear, really, could it?