The home affairs select committee released a seminal report yesterday. It is the culmination of work that started on 12 April 2016. The incidents with Naz Shah, Ken Livingstone and Jacqui Walker all came to light or took place after the inquiry was announced. Unless the committee had some great insight that the former mayor of London was due another controversy involving Britain’s Jewish community, it is hard to suggest – as some have done – that this is part of some establishment plot to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.
The report is thorough, thoughtful and is the unanimous view of the committee. This should give everyone – particularly the Labour party and the National Union of Students – cause for reflection. A sober analysis is required, not a hot-headed response. (more…)
The launch of yesterday’s report of the Shami Chakrabarti inquiry was a missed opportunity for Labour. This had little to do with the author of the report – which I will come to in a minute – but the behaviour of the leader. To use such an event as an advertorial for his leaders ‘eyes …’ was laughable. Equally to have attacks on Be-Leavers like Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage for their ‘dog whistle … [no] flog horn’ racism in the recent EU referendum campaign but no condemnation of the former mayor of London Ken Livingstone – who triggered this inquiry in the first place – or Jackie Walker of Momentum who suggested that Jews paid for the slave trade was pathetic party politics and left the Labour leader wanting. Leadership is calling out your own side not just your opponents. Then, an at best a poor choice of words resulted in Emily Thornberry – the new shadow foreign secretary – calling the Israeli Ambassador on the leader’s behalf to apologise for any offence caused by perceived comparisons between Israel and Daesh.(more…)
Tomorrow Shami Chakrabarti’s review into antisemitism and how it should be tackled is to be presented. I am told everyone is seeing the report tomorrow for the first time – obviously we the party members, and the Jewish community, but the leader’s office, the general secretary and the National Executive Committee too. It should be a seminal moment for Labour. The opportunity is welcome to draw a line under Ken Livingstone’s ugly statements and the career that went before that has been littered with offensive remarks to Jews. But it should do much more. It should chart a way for Labour to move from the bottom of the pack on these issues to somewhere in the premier league. (more…)
Director of Progress, Richard Angell, has promoted an “8 Point Plan” within the Labour Party, which calls for a lifetime ban for those judged anti-semitic. It is available here.
Workers’ Liberty have written: “Until the left’s political programme on Israel-Palestine is picked apart and corrected, incidents like these will continue to occur. Labour Party expulsions would have little effect on left anti-semitism; they would explain nothing and educate no-one.”
Cathy Nugent, editor of Workers’ Liberty’s newspaper Solidarity, will debate the issue with Richard Angell. Entry is free; all are welcome.
Andy Burnham has just emerged from a meeting at a mosque in Newport, south Wales, when we catch up with him. He has been out on the stump in support of Labour’s police and crime commissioner candidates. But the high-profile brief of shadow home secretary inevitably oscillates between being visible campaigning for Labour and handling some of the trickiest questions of the day around policing, security and integration. (more…)