From the Corbyn frying pan to the anti-semitic fire
In yesterday’s Daily Mail, Brandon Lewis brilliantly chronicled the anti-semitic swamp in which Labour’s leadership is now engulfed. It may be that these latest ‘wreath’ revelations, are the nail in the coffin for Jeremy Corbyn, in terms of his image in the eyes of the public. No longer kind grandfather; more embarrassing relative.
But let us imagine for a moment that he was forced out of the Labour leadership and a softer left leader were installed in his place. Would things be better for Britain’s Jews? I fear not. Of course, a more moderate Labour leadership would move the party away from being tainted with anti-semitism; but, amongst the membership, there would be a huge backlash – it would be ‘the Jews’ who would be blamed for the removal of Corbyn.
The anti-semites from the far left who have infiltrated Labour will not suddenly go away. Because the current Labour movement has given them a chance to band together and show strength in numbers, these extremists will remain a significant force for evil for a long time yet. If Jews/Zionists/Benjamin Netanyahu were blamed for getting rid of Corbyn, the move would provide extraordinary fuel for the fire of anti-semitic conspiracy theories, and would probably act as an unvirtuous circle encouraging many more Far Left anti-semites to coalesce.
The result would be that aggressive anti-semitic incidents, both on and off social media, will rise. That is why, during the moving debate on anti-semitism in the Commons, a few months ago, I described the ‘air as tightening for British Jews’.
The Big Society is back
Well done, Tracey Crouch. Not only is she one of the best Sports Ministers for a long time but, while the ‘Boris brouhah’ has been carrying on, she seems to have single-handedly resuscitated The Big Society. I always believed in the Big Society concept, as I thought it was a way for Conservatives to show that social capital was as important as economic capital.
Under her new proposals, Tracey has set out new measures to build up social capital – engaging citizens through technology and other means, in neighbourhoods and communities. I am not surprised that Danny Kruger, a new adviser in the Culture Department, is the architect of some of this: he is one of the best people in the Conservative Party, and understands social capital more than most.
A new Centrist Party?
I don’t understand what all this discussion in the Westminster Village regarding a new centrist anti-Brexit party is all about. We already have one – it’s called the Liberal Democrats. That’s why some of us were mystified when Vince Cable missed an important Brexit vote, apparently for a dinner to discuss the formation of a new centrist party, when he is currently the leader of one! The reality is that if the Lib Dems were credible no-one would be talking of the need for a new party from the centre.
This is not to say that such a party won’t come. But such an event is likely to happen after Brexit, not before. These massive splits won’t happen over Europe, but over economics and society. Could Blue Labour and Red Tories become an amorphous group against hard-core libertarians or Blairite corporatists, for example? Would a hard left socialist party split, following a putsch against Corbyn? Could there be a breakaway Cultural Conservative movement focusing on ‘Burka wars’, for example, against what they see as the ‘politically correct’ intelligentsia? I have no idea what will happen post-Brexit, but there is a feeling in the air that change is coming.
Summer watching and reading
Why not start by watching The Crucible, with a masterful performance by Daniel Day Lewis: it is a tale of accusations, treachery, show trials and death. You might also view Sophie Scholl – the harrowing tale of the German White Rose student movement, who stood up against Nazism and were executed for their courage.
Then, you might read Conclave, a novel about the accession of a new Pope by Robert Harris – a great example of how to run a leadership contest and how the most unexpected can win. If you feel like a bit of Amazon-bashing, read not James Bloodworth’s Hired, but the hilarious Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell. Although it is not his purpose, Blythell gives a remarkable account of Amazon’s stranglehold on the book trade in the UK, and the unfair competitive practices that result (disclaimer: I am a guilty Amazon user).
If, like some of us, you have dumbed down and can only read Twitter, then @MPsassistant is perhaps the most wonderful political Twitter account ever conceived. It tells you more about MPs proclivities than most political journalists have done in a long time.