Since I have a pathological aversion to joining anything, I have never belonged to a political party, never expressed publicly views which might be open to either rage, ridicule or challenge and I think that people’s politics, much like their religion, is often best kept in the shadows. However, I do admire people who put themselves out there, stand on platforms and argue with passion and conviction for what they believe, presumably in the hope that others will be swayed by persuasive rhetoric and be coaxed round to their way of thinking.
I admire the Independents.
Jeremy Corbyn no longer leads a political party, he is the magister imperator of a cult. Clever and devious manipulation by those around him have hoisted this obscure little man on mightier petards than his, with a view to persuading the young specifically, and the less well-educated perhaps, into a cheering raggletag army, waving a red, red flag, swept on by its own careless momentum, fuelled by online ridicule, intimidation and threats and thirsting for battle at the ballot box.
But, there is something rotten and festering at its heart.
In the same way as Karl Marx was accused of antisemitism, the more the onion layers are peeled back, the clearer the accusations become. At the heart of the cronyism that is the hallmark of the Opposition leadership, there is Jew-hating, variously defined as a rather vague, poorly informed antisemitism – in its extreme form, the belief that Jews are the financial and media Illuminati – thus to be brought low at any cost, or, the real flamethrower of anti-Zionism, the opposition to the right of the Jewish people to exist.
Hitler had similar views and it didn’t turn out well for the Jews.
France has a broad thread of antisemitic thought, to the extent that many Jews I know dare not wear a kippa in public. Antisemitic attacks in recent weeks culminated last Tuesday with vandals daubing swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans on dozens of graves in a Jewish cemetery near Strasbourg. Marine le Pen on the right and a collection of smaller fry on the left have been conspicuously silent as the outrage has accelerated and debate has raged. Yesterday, however, fourteen political parties called for an end to antisemitism and protests were loud and vociferous, in particular in the Place de la République, which is entirely consistent with the way the French do politics, but without action, such flag-waving is no more than froth and bubble, thus incapable of addressing the real problem of eradication, for which, I have to confess, I think there is no simple answer. More French made aliya last year than at any other time; Jews don’t feel safe there any more.
Neither do British Jews feel safe, including their Jewish politicians. Luciana Berger MP has been subject to a tidal wave of online vilification, including death threats. I am surprised the poor lady gets to sleep at night. Yesterday, she joined six more, resigning the Labour whip which I think was highly principled. Of the seven (now eight) MPs who quit the party yesterday and today, several said quite simply that the tipping point for their departure was the result of institutionalised antisemitism in the Labour party. If the opposition – such as it is – cannot be trusted to uphold the interests of a people group which has contributed so much to British life, they should hang their collective heads in shame, walk out of the chamber and hand in their swastikas on the way out. Or, if they have some backbone, walk away, join the Independents and take their chances.