The Independents

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Tombstones in the Herrlisheim Jewish cemetery, north of Strasbourg CNN

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.

Place de la République, Tuesday

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.

New Labour for Old

Who’s he?

Sometimes, I wonder, idly, about British politics. The Canadians are about to vote, the Brits have a right wing mandate for the next four years and all credible opposition has descended into factional infighting and recrimination. Labour is not so much licking its wounds but has been placed on life support. All through my life the Labour party have been at the gates of Downing Street, and often enough stormed them, only to be beaten back at a subsequent election. Even Tony Blair’s soft centrism failed to sway my own instinctive pull to the right. But, what might happen to the Conservative party if those barbarians disappear? Jeremy Corbyn, the vegetarian cyclist and teetotaller represents the barbarian, old-school face of the Labour Party. Steeped in Marxist-Leninist ideology, a union man to his toenails, a fiercely combative and frequently bad-tempered debater, he may take some beating. But, one should not assume that he will lift the Labour leadership, despite the best efforts of the Socialist Workers, rightist fifth-columnists and Communists to inflate the voting numbers. The slender possibility remains that when second preferences are counted Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham will scrape through. But theirs would be a miserable, half-hearted victory: humiliated before they even begin. Their party now faces one of two alternatives: a ‘real’ hard left, miners’ revenge victory for Mr Corbyn, or a Pyrrhic victory for Ms Cooper or Mr Burnham who says the Labour party may split and I do not doubt him. The Right, and especially the Kippers will at first rejoice. The barbarians are fighting among themselves and no longer threaten us! Huzza! And it is true that a Labour party rushing headlong to destruction would guarantee the Conservatives’ return to office in 2020. Shall I, then, live under a Tory prime minister until I’m at least 75? Perhaps. But the isolationists’ pulling up the drawbridge may be too high a price to pay. Corbyn keeps strange bedfellows – he has hosted Hamas and Hezbollah leaders, amongst others which isn’t surprising since an irreligious man has sno understanding of the religiously motivated agendas of such people. He is the favourite by a mile at this point – so just as a marker, here’s the odds for today. Let’s hope the old saying is right, ‘it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.’

Meanwhile…Calais migrants are storming the Channel tunnel in their thousands, desperate to get to the UK, seen still as the Promised Land and the Brits’ response is currently feebly ineffectual. All over Europe, people desperate to flee war zones and destitution are beating a path to their doors. Greek islands and Lampedusa are overrun by those who have survived the perilous and ruinously expensive journey, trafficked by those who have cynically  made money out of the desperation of others. The whole demographic of Europe is changing and the least that the British voter can expect is a Government both muscular enough and compassionate enough to take appropriate action. If Corbyn gets in, he’ll fling wide the immigration gate and have them all working down the Welsh coal mines he wants to re-open.