Bye-bye Labour. (This time I mean it.)

I finally resigned from the Labour Party last week, after being warned that I was in danger of being disciplined for ‘anti-semitism’ on the basis of a blog I wrote some time ago arguing that the problem of anti-semitism in the party was less serious than was being made out (https://bernardjporter.com/2016/04/28/anti-semitism-and-labour/). That seemed to be regarded as almost as egregious as holocaust denial. 

But that it was almost certainly true is evidenced by none other than the recent Equalities Commission report on Labour anti-semitism, which was universally presented by the press as having found against Labour; with the results that (a) the life-long anti-racist Jeremy Corbyn was suspended by the new party hierarchy for his continued ‘denial’; and (b) constituency parties were formally instructed never to raise or discuss the issue again. In fact the Report showed almost no evidence of Labour anti-semitism at all, with even the tiny number of examples it offered being highly debatable. (The old Ken Livingstone slur was one.) Here is the Middle East correspondent Jonathan Cook’s account of the whole affair: https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2020-11-07/ehrc-labour-antisemitism-corbyn/. In my view it’s unanswerable.

But that’s water under the bridge now. The reputation of the Labour Party will probably never recover from its popular image, entirely unfounded, of having been ‘30%’ anti-semitic at one time (the real figure was 0.3%); and the reputation of British Jewry may never recover – as I wrote recently (https://bernardjporter.com/2020/11/01/plots-and-paranoia/) – from the suspicion that it may have ‘conspired’ to prevent a left-wing government coming to power, and hence have helped bring about the appalling political situation in which Britain finds itself now. 

I find this infinitely depressing. I’ve tried to transfer my political feelings over to Sweden, where I’ve just been admitted to Vänsterpartiet (the Left Party); but I find I can’t shake off my concern for my other national identity (still), or my utter despair at its apparent descent into a pit of falsehoods, propaganda and lies; taking my beloved Labour Party, of which I was an active member for nearly 60 years, with it. How do Lefties in Britain who are without the comfort of a foreign asylum to flee to, cope?

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3 Responses to Bye-bye Labour. (This time I mean it.)

  1. newtonsc@cardiff.ac.uk says:

    Well said, Bernard. I agree completely and have resigned today after 45 years in the Party. It’s very sad – I fear we are witnessing the murder of a great political party, with who knows what consequences for our country? I sent the following short email to our (Labour MP):

    ‘Anyone who now expects any serious progressive change from this Labour Party is deluding themselves.

    ‘Of course my departure will have less impact than a money spider landing on an oak table but what else is there? I haven’t the energy for participation in a civil war. And as far as elections in the next few years are concerned Labour will either be fighting while deeply divided (and therefore unelectable) or offering Blairism Mark 2 (the latter being a prospect which I regard as about as appetising and useful as a plate of dog shit). It’s not just Corbyn and all those he has brought into the Party who have been repudiated here but the political and intellectual legacy of every single Labour Party leader from Keir Hardie (excepting Blair: Brown is more complicated – a fugleman of New Labour, he was as PM driven by events into an Old Labour-style Premiership).

    I voted Labour through gritted teeth from 1997 until 2010. Not doing it again.’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony says:

    A very sad day, Bernard, and there are many others who have let their membership lapse. How is it possible to belong to a socialist party that conflates criticism of Israel with anti-semitism. And as Starmer rushes towards the centre right, expect a revival of all the old suspensions, perhaps for even criticising the leader.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Phil says:

    Not well!
    Every couple of days I go on Twitter and remind people that we haven’t been told either on what grounds or – more importantly – by what power the General Secretary suspended Jeremy Corbyn, and that unless these questions can be settled the suspension must be revoked. It has about as much effect as if I’d shouted it up the chimney. The fact that nobody has replied at all is interesting in itself – if anybody could say “it’s perfectly obvious, see Rule 14(iii) paragraph A2” surely they would have done by now, just for the fun of shutting me up. But unfortunately you can’t argue with silence, however telling it may appear.

    Liked by 2 people

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