It’s sickening to hear Tory ministers, at their Annual Conference, gleefully referring to ‘Labour anti-semitism’ when the charge has by now been pretty well debunked. It’s almost as bad as our new Foreign Secretary, Jeremy *unt, comparing the EU to the old Soviet Union: as if it’s holding us prisoner in the same brutal fashion (that’s what he was implying). But it illustrates the way in which the Right believes it merely has to mention certain key words, and the mud sticking to them, in order to strike negative chords with voters and turn them against Labour.
The Conference still has some way to go. If anyone’s following it on TV (and it’s painful to watch), look out for the following trigger-words: ‘communist’, ‘Militant’, ‘Marxist’, ‘anti-semite’ and so on; all I suspect taken from a list provided for speakers by the Conference organisers to pepper their speeches with, for maximum slanderous effect.
Of course Leftists do this too. The word ‘Fascist’, for example, is sometimes employed rather too loosely: although there are scores of respectable commentators now seriously if cautiously warning of the parallels between now and the 1930s. (I’m one of them: https://bernardjporter.com/2016/05/19/the-road-to-a-sort-of-fascism/.) But anti-semitism isn’t yet a weapon the Left has used against the Tories, although historically the latter deserve it far more; possibly because the charge has already been appropriated and copyrighted by the other side.
It has occurred to me that if Labour wanted a similar smear to employ against the Conservatives, paedophilia might be the one. Rumours of a Parliamentary paedophile ring have been bubbling away under the surface at Westminster for years now, kicked off by a file of alleged abuses which was submitted to the Home Office by Geoffrey Dickens, MP, in 1983, which however has been mysteriously ‘lost’ since that time: see https://theukdatabase.com/councillorspolitical-party-affiliated/westminster-scandal-114-secret-files-on-paedophile-cases-missing/. The evidence we have in that case is inconclusive, although no more so than the evidence of Labour anti-semitism. That wouldn’t prevent its being deployed, as a desperate strategy, by politicians as amoral and unprincipled as those using the anti-Jewish weapon against Labour. Kiddy-fiddling must trump anti-semitism. But Corbyn wouldn’t stoop to that. I like to think that this is one of the differences between ‘us’ and ‘them’.