Episode 132 – NOTHING IS HAPPENING so this week is all about Labour, with some history from Professor Steve Fielding (@polprofsteve), Corbyn’s second referendum nod, a poorly researched bit on anti-Semitism and other tired tired ramblings as Tiernan (@TiernanDouieb) brings you yet another podcast recorded after a gig.
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NOTHING IS HAPPENING so this week is all about Labour, with some history from Professor Steve Fielding (@polprofsteve), Corbyn’s second referendum nod, a poorly researched bit on anti-Semitism and other tired tired ramblings as Tiernan (@TiernanDouieb) brings you yet another podcast recorded after a gig.
Links and sources of info from Steve’s interview:
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the podcast that would take a look at the funny side of politics but can’t seem to work out how you find sides on an endlessly downward spiral. I’m Tiernan Douieb, and this week Labour leader and anthropomorphised fatigue Jeremy Corbyn has said that the party will support an amendment on a public vote, which is great except that no one’s called a second referendum a public vote before. Is it going to require everyone doing it in broad daylight in the town square so everyone can see your shitty choices and condemn you for them for the rest of your life? If so, I’m totally in. This was big news but actually its still in line with what was decided at the party conference last year, may still not mean that one happens if Labour’s Brexit amendment gets passed, and if it does that not enough MPs are likely to vote for it anyway or if they did, that there’d be enough time. Nor does it deal with the fact that every vote we’ve had is a people’s or public vote and they often choose really shitty things so perhaps the best thing to do is let robots or animals vote or just put it all down to a game of ip dip doo.
Aside from these little moments where everyone pretends something positive has happened even though it hasn’t, like if someone tries to make being stuck in traffic better by shouting that ‘the sat nav clock has gone down and now it’s only added 20 minutes onto our 5 hour journey’. Quit your smiling, this is all life we’ll never get back. So apart from that, British politics continues to be somehow both incredibly boring and terrifying all at once, like being crushed to death by a very slowly falling wall with paint drying on it. Oh no this is awful but also please, please hurry up and end this. Prime Minister and misshapen crab Theresa May has announced that there will be no meaningful vote until March 12th, leaving just 17 days until the planned leave date, and only 3 for any rebel MPs to prepare for the Ides of March so they can politically assassinate an overblown leader who’s abusing their power. Though of course in a Shakespeare play featuring this current Prime Minister, May would shrug off any defections, would probably not even notice any attacks and just carry on like a creaking factory machine while making some speech about how friends, romans and countrymen all need to unite together to get her deal through.
As May arrived at an EU Leaders summit in Sharm-El-Sheik, Egypt, briefly swapping her red lines for the Red Sea and endless British tuts of disappointment for a more Kingly one, she announced another delay to MPs say on her deal, while rumours abound that she might also delay Brexit by two more months, or possibly even two years. It’s amazing that we’re at a point where I would both agree that’s a good idea but also OH GOD WHY WON’T IT END, WON’T SOMEONE PUT IT OUT OF ITS MISERY? Seriously, who is directing this? Peter Jackson? Whatever happens it’s clear that parliamentary recess was cancelled last week in order for no one to do anything with their time. Now admittedly, I cancel plans all the time so I can sit on my arse instead, but when I do it, it doesn’t mean a ton of kitchen and cleaning staff, political journalists and more all have to cancel their plans too in the hope that I may do something vaguely useful. No, more often than not, if I tell you I’m not coming out for a drink, then all parties are a lot happier.
May went to Brussels again and no progress was made, again, with certain rumours suggesting negotiations aren’t even happening. I’m starting to wonder if she’s just found a quiet room in the Berlaymont building that her key card still gives her access to and she hides in it for up to four hours at a time breathing slowly and scribbling on beer mats ideas as to how she can say the same thing yet again but with 15% different words. The rest of it is all more of the same too. Disgraced MP Liam The Disgrace Fox announced that trade deals with Japan and Turkey won’t be ready in time for the March 29th deadline, and by not ready he probably means he hasn’t started them yet and has spent the last few weeks shouting at Bernard Matthews products and trying to track down an 80s art rock band. Human Barm Cake Boris Johnson complained that everyone says Brexiteers are far right, and that’s a fair complaint because in his case, he has no political affiliation or conviction apart from self-gain.
MP’s Anna ‘I once had to kill a dog with my bare hands’ Soubry, Greg ‘David Gauke without glasses’ Clark and David ‘Greg Clark with glasses’ Gauke telling May she has to delay Brexit and that the hard Brexiteers in the European Research Group will only have themselves to blame for it, which is a stupid thing to say as they don’t understand collective responsibility. Or individual responsibility. Or the word responsibility. One of them in fact, Andrew Bridgeden, so named after his many ancestors who would make dens under bridges and terrorise goats, has said that ministers who can’t back government policies should resign, even though he’s voted against the Prime Minister lot and is sadly still, well, anywhere.
Now of course, I say nothing happened, but in fact, the Independent Group did happen, and that is one thing you can definitely say about the new political group in Westminster who are not officially a party. While that sounds like they could be an exciting, underground warehouse rave, it actually means that they are registered as a company which is a great way of telling ordinary people that you too are against the elite and by the way, would you like to buy some merch and sign up for our mailing list? After a tedious launch day that mainly involved them denouncing the racism in the Labour party before one of their members, Angela Smith went on TV to describe Asian people as having a funny tinge, which is rich coming from someone who’s pallor is mostly decomposed. The seven formerly Labour MPs that announced the group were joined firstly by another Labour MP, Joan ‘Norman Nasal Helmet for a head’ Ryan, who is most well known for losing her seat in 2010 due to it being revealed in the expenses scandal that she’d spent a ton of taxpayer money doing up her home in Enfield, which according to record, still hasn’t paid back despite being ordered to. So maybe that explains where the Independent Group will get their funding from eh? Then next to join the drudgaloution, were three Conservative MPs, Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston and Anna Soubry, aka The Sugarvagues, who proceeded to really stamp in what they all stood for by praising austerity, saying they don’t want more Tories to join them as that might start a general election which would be bad, and that not having any policies is what puts them above other political parties. Sure. In the same way me not having any experience as a surgeon puts me way above other surgeons, so someone give me a scalpel and lemme have a go eh? Who wants to be my first patient? In fact Anna ‘Spitting Image puppet of herself’ Soubry said that the TIG is something new and doesn’t need policies as that’s the old way of thinking. Actually, based on how Brexit negotiations have gone, I’d say that’s pretty much in line with everyone else. And yes, they are now referred to as the TIG, with members known as TIGgers, probably because they all bounced from their former parties, and they are the only ones, with occasional friends dressing up as them but ultimately not trying very hard and leaving them to wander into the wilderness alone.
A week later all we know is that they’re against Brexit but have an office above a Wetherspoons pub called the Unicorn, which is like being against cake while sitting on a cake called the ultimate cake. They’re against racism, but only the sort other people are guilty of, that because they are a company they are actually less accountable than recently The Brexit Party and that if you aren’t sure what they do then according to entirely Perspex man Chuka Ummuna, you should check their website which crashed for most of the beginning of last week. Oh and they all went for a meal in Nandos according to a selfie on Ummuna’s account where it looks a lot like Soubry is upset she had to order at the till, Angela Smith is concerned her meal has a funny tinge and everyone is having nothing hotter than lemon and herb. So, as I said before, nothing has really happened.
The Labour Party’s response to the Independent Group, was, as you’d expect, mixed. Shadow Foreign Secretary and Joanna Scanlan stunt double Emily Thornberry said she would rather die than join a party other than Labour, so whatever you do, don’t invite her to your birthday as it could get messy and tragic real quick. Jeremy Corbyn said that he was disappointed about the MPs who’d left and that walking away from the Labour movement achieves nothing, and considering the TIGgers current lack of policies, he’s actually not wrong. Shadow Chancellor and someone who is constantly sad that the county football team he manages is always losing John McDonnell said that in order to deal with criticism from MPs, Labour need to carry out a mammoth listening exercise, which is one way to say you may try to address the elephant in the room. Chair of Momentum and also various other pieces of clunky furniture Jon Lansman has now openly said that anti-Semitism is a major problem in the party, saying that conspiracy theorists are more of a problem for Labour than the Tories. Though that’s probably because it’s hard for the Conservatives to have theories on all the conspiratorial meetings they’re likely actually carrying out. With that all out in the open, Deputy leader and spongebob in glasses Tom Watson is setting up a group within the party for disaffected MPs, which I’m really hoping they call Labour Pains. This comes just days after disgraced councillor and
The Prime Minister was less bothered about Conservative resignations, saying it was extremely disappointing that MPs had left, which based on her record could well be a compliment, especially as they’d actually managed to leave something successfully. It could be though that May is just gutted that she had to spend £1bn getting the 10 DUP ministers to vote with her, when the 11 TIGgers have said they’ll do it for free.
Oh, and Labour MP and sad Pete Waterman Ian Austin also resigned from the party which surprised everyone as judging by most of his views, I’d assumed he’d left years ago. He hasn’t joined the Independent Group though, as its much easier to not join in the first place than try and find out just how unpopular you really are.
In other news Foreign Secretary and man who is the entire stupidity of stepping on a rake, but in a suit, Jeremy Hunt has been trying his best to follow in his predecessor’s clown footsteps by offending people all over the globe. Firstly Japan nearly cancelled all talks about a post-Brexit deal after a letter from Hunt was taken as high handed and appearing to accuse the Japanese government of a lack of urgency. Which is a hell of a cheek from a government who’s taking forever to do nothing. Then Jeremy wrote to Berlin asking the German government to start selling arms to Saudi Arabia again stressing that if Europe don’t sell them weapons, then they may turn to Russia or China for them. Gasp, imagine that, Yemeni children dying from someone else’s weapons? What would those kids say if they knew the UK only wanted to send the £200m of aid they’ve just announced and not try and kill them before they touch it so it can be reused for a Brexit no deal situation? Doesn’t bare thinking about. Then after that Hunt, on a visit to Slovenia, referred to the country as formerly a Soviet vassal state, which, er, it never was. But hey, they shouldn’t be offended right, as he can’t even remember where his wife is from. I mean, maybe just maybe, this is the beginnings of Hunt announcing a beautiful utopian world view based on him not knowing where anywhere is, so what is the point of borders when we’re essentially all the same? Or more likely, he’s going to have to start asking Germany to supply him with arms soon, just so he can safely leave all the places he’s insulted.
In Venezuela there have been violent clashes at the borders between Columbia and Brazil as President and angry Mario Brother Nicholas Maduro has blocked humanitarian aid from coming in. I don’t want to defend Maduro, but it must be quite galling being offered aid by the US who have imposed sanctions on you in the first place. Hey, you can only have this food if you beg for it. Maduro’s treatment and violent reaction to protestors has been horrific, but it seems their only other option is a US backed intervention which historically has been like trying to help with a forest fire by cooking some marshmallows on it and then stealing anything that hasn’t burned down. With inflated gall bladder and President Donald Trump pushing for the opposition leader to take charge, that leaves the Venezuelan people with a tough choice. Home grown authoritarian or one from abroad? Maybe they should ask Jeremy Hunt who might be able to advise them on the best way to get shot depending on the food they have?
Lastly, ISIS bride Shamima Begum has had her citizenship stripped, on account of her views not aligning with the extremist hostile views of the British government. Grape with Eyebrows and Home Secretary Sajid Javid, defended his decision which will make Begum stateless which is illegal under UK law, by saying ‘it is his job to make sure Britain is safe’. So I’m surprised he hasn’t tried to deport the government yet. And Labour have announced a pledge on new flexible working rights which, finally, is great news for contortionists, yoga teachers and gymnasts.
So, as I said, not much going on really.
Yeah ParPolBrods. What’s going on with you? I am enjoying this glorious and wouldn’t it be unusual if not for the impending doom of climate change weather that is hitting the UK in February. It was 17 degrees in Wales yesterday, which is nuts. I’m genuinely worried people there have dried out and need to be saved by some volunteers with a squidgee and a bucket of luke warm water. But, as is often the case with things that are bad for you like cake, or having a pet alligator, this world is ending weather is very lovely and I happily spent the weekend doing our kids politics show in Canterbury at the theatre on the campus where my old university is. I mean, it’s not old, I am old, it has somehow not aged and that’s hugely selfish of it. Then I bought some smelly cheese and no one sat next to me my whole journey home because of it. So that’s definitely a win right? Even if the cheese was French and I might not be able to get it ever again and all the vitamin D I had means bees are dead. Or something. Yes, I appear to have an issue with actually enjoying anything right now. Apart from you all obviously and being able to vent this shit every week. Oh and my family. But mainly you. Thanks for being all up in this show’s grill again and if you’re to the show, yes it is pretending to be comedy but is largely laced with nihilistic pessimism. Tragedy plus an absolute lack of time and all that. Like last week’s show, this week’s is shouted out after a gig so apologies for an odd mix of adrenaline and its slow departure that will show itself over a podcast that will probably reduce in pace throughout until I just fall asleep at the end. Next week’s show will be worse as I’ll have done the crazy 26.2 hour show that is happening on Weds and Thursday this week, which you can still sponsor me for if you’re into that sort of thing, and as a result I have no idea if I’ll have time or energy to get a guest for it either. But let’s face it, there is also a large chance absolutely nothing will have happened anyway so maybe I’ll just bang some spoons together and shout animal noises for an hour instead. Oh and obviously there are things happening all over the world and you may have noticed an entire absence of US, or at the moment, Venezuelan or anywhere-else-an bits on this show and I will aim to get back on all that as soon as I don’t have to talk about things happening with Brexit that aren’t happening. So, I dunno, around 2052 or something.
Thanks for all the reviews that were posted up on iTunes last week. Only 63 needed to hit the big 200 and there are at least 64 of you that listen to this, so if you have a spare minute please do head to your podcast app of choice or any that have been oppressively forced upon you by some weird pod authoritarian, and hit the 5 stars and write something should you feel compelled. It is a big help and allows me to pretend it’s worth doing this instead of telling my daughter to stop eating her socks all day. Thanks also to whichever of you donated to the ko-fi last week. I do know who it is but you put anonymous as your name so I will never reveal ahahhahahahahah. And if you too can afford to buy me a coffee or drink for knocking this crap out every week, then please head to ko-fi.com/parpolbro where you can do a one-off or monthly payment of a few quid, or patreon.com/parpolbro which is the same but in dollars and so more annoying. I’ve popped the long show sponsor link on the podcast blurb info too if you want to do that as well. And of course, if you can’t do any of those things just write the podcast RSS feed all over your walls at work like a mild version of the Shining, until everyone you know subscribes.
I’m meant to plug something here but can’t remember what it was so instead, the kids politics show ‘How Does This Politics Thing Work Then?’ is next at the Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford on March 10th and based on how the last few have gone, it will be a lot of fun. So far, the children have mostly elected Labour, or Lib Dem and Green coalition governments in the show which either means none of the UKIPpers can persuade their middle aged children to come along – har har I’m being mildy ageist – or the next generation will sort things out, as long as they can swim and pollinate food by themselves. But then their policies are also often things like ‘give me all the sweets’ so we’re probably still screwed.
This week is pretty much all about Labour. I interviewed Professor Steven Fielding who knows all about Labour history and tells me all about what these immensely dull party splits mean other than that I know have to shout ‘shut up shut up’ at even more parties on the television. Then I’m taking a just facts and figures update look at anti-Semitism in the party which sounds as awful as it will be and if that hasn’t made you already switch off and have more fun punching a blender, then I’m afraid there is the tiniest little bit of this too:
I wasn’t going to do a Brexit Fallout this week because the news about anything happening has been worse than news on a Royal Wedding or Royal Baby. Lots of pundits trying desperately to say ‘May still hasn’t done anything’ over and over again before asking each other ‘what’s her strategy? Why doesn’t she want a vote? Why isn’t she doing anything?’ and all the guests having to find ways of saying ‘because she’s an absolute shitbag’ or ‘because she can’t do anything because the EU have already said what she can do and she won’t do it because she’s a shitbag’. Then every PMQs or Parliamentary jerk circle involves Corbyn or someone else saying ‘make sure there’s no no deal’ and May says ‘there’s only two ways to stop a no deal which both involve things that can’t happen but I’ll insist can because I’m a shitbag’. I’m now pretty sure this is some endless bad place torture we’re all deserving of.
But thanks to Labour, who obviously knew this podcast was all about them this week, I just need to quickly mention what has happened with Corbyn’s announcement on a second referendum or, as you know I like to call it, a secorendum. When will they call it that? What about Twexit? What about TRY AGAIN DICKHEADS? Any of those would be great. Thanks. So Labour’s backing of a second referendum will only happen if their other offers to the government get rejected which is what they decided waaay back in their conference last September but hey, its easy to forget when EVERY DAY SEEMS THE FUCKING SAME. Labour’s Brexit offers or Broffers as no one says, are 1) May’s withdrawal agreement with a soft Brexit political declaration, and a legislative lock ensuring things like workers rights etc all of which would require an Article 50 delay. 2) May’s Withdrawal Agreement with a second referendum which again requires a delay or 3) Just an Article 50 delay. Imagine it as menu options at a really awful fast food place. Do you want fries that taste like shit, with an assurance the sauce won’t be as bad, and it’ll take even longer than you expected which is good but ultimately also exhausting? Or do you want fries that taste like shit and everyone who said they should taste like shit gets to say exactly how shit all over again before you eat them and yeah, that’ll be done by next year? Or do you want to just wait around for a while until you die? Anyway, there are currently only enough supportive votes in the Commons for number 3, a delay to article 50 to happen. So that’ll probably be what happens. And then we’ll have even more months of nothing happening until they have to delay it again and again with the hope that eventually the continents we know in today’s world will no longer exist and Brexit will be lost as Pangea 2 causes a strong unity between what were the British and the lost city of Atlantis. Good? Good.
INTERVIEW WITH STEVEN FIELDING
It is undisputable that in the world of politics, the British Labour Party are an incredible force of opposition. Unfortunately, as has been shown again this week with a split in the party, that’s mostly as in opposition against themselves. You know rather than the Conservatives. Which is quite a feat considering that this current government wouldn’t only struggle with organising a piss up in a brewery, they’d somehow book a venue to host it that’s never even heard of booze before and has taken its piss up terms and conditions from a dog’s collar. The MPs who have left Labour have blamed it on the party’s poor record at dealing with incidents of anti-Semitism and that’s clearly the most prevalent factor for some of them. But for others, it seems they’ve not really been very keen on the more left-wing stance that Jeremy Corbyn has taken the party since he become leader in 2015. Labour has, as is regularly said by prominent members, always been a broad church, but with an increase in membership and divides about political alignment, Brexit and racism, the party’s kinda become more of a lardy cathedral in recent years, or even a Fatican. When on one hand you have those who believe Labour is back to its original roots and Jezza is some sort of immortal dishevelled courgette saviour, to rescue them from the Conservative’s policies, just very, very slowly and he’ll just wait till no one’s looking or a rainy day or something. On the other hand, some are livid he’s pushing for Brexit, say he’s a veritable modern-day Herod and like austerity so much, they are in a new group with those who
voted for it. But with 8 Labour MPs splitting and forming the policy, and personality free Independent Group, and with more threatening to leave, it’s all very past the kiss and make-up stage and if anything that’d probably lead to more trouble. So, what happens now? Does the split from Labour hamper their future election chances? What does it mean for UK politics overall? At what point will another Western power intervene and try to provide humanitarian aid?
Well it turns out it’s not the first time there have been splits in the Labour party, nor is it the first time the question of how left wing or centre based they should be. Or the first-time racism has been an issue. In fact, such is the course of time that sometimes it’s best to just look back in order to understand how we’re stuck in an endless time loop of depressive political stupidity. Sorry, I mean, in order to look forward. So this week I spoke to Steven Fielding, a Professor of Political History at Nottingham University, who happens to have a specialist interest in the history of the Labour Party and its ever changing, shifting nature as a political xenomorph. Steven very kindly let me ask him all about what we can learn from the last time this happened in the early 80s, if we’ve seen all of it before, and if it’s true that party got their name from the French La Bourre which means The Stuffed which is why they regularly are? Ok I didn’t ask the last one, but it is interesting isn’t it? No, you’re right, it’s not. Anyway, hope you enjoy this chat with Steven, here’s our chat:
INTERVIEW WITH STEVEN PART 1
And we’ll be back with Steven in a minute but first…
I consider myself fairly left wing, but of the kind of left wing where I want freedom of speech, but I also want a lot of people to shut the fuck up. I hate workplace exploitation and inequality, but I also really like trainers and I have an iPhone. I am terrified by climate change but I also drive a car and fart fairly often, and the Conservative’s policies that have lead to deaths and a huge rise in poverty genuinely make me upset every day but if they ever stop being in government I’ll suddenly have to write a lot of new jokes and I’m so tired I’m not sure I’ll manage it. Life and personal political views are, on the whole, complicated and I’d wager a bet that most people’s actual positions are a big murky grey area, a bit like the House of Lords. But discussing left wing to centre left to centre politics right now seems to draw people firmly into one of two camps, which as mentioned in this week’s interview is sort of necessary but at the same time political self-harm and oh god why is none of it easy? So this week, what with Brexit news being as boring as ever, I thought I’d make everything worse and give a quick rundown on both the recent and not so recent problem of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party from a purely fact and report based stance, which if you think Labour are anti-Semitic, won’t change your mind and if you think they aren’t, also won’t change your mind.
So I should point out, I’m not really qualified to speak on this in anything other than a reports and numbers based way, as my Jewish heritage stops at my dad who was brought up Jewish, but after he married my mum who was brought up Catholic, they both gave up on it all because it would’ve really ruined weekends. What I would recommend though is going back to episode 96 when I speak to writer and actor Marlon Soloman all about what anti-Semitism is, the fine lines between that and being anti-Israeli government and more, which is all still relevant. So, my unqualified view is that it’s important to remember that nuance exists and this is one of those opposite of fun situations where it’s entirely possible that both anti-Semitism does exist in Labour and needs to be dealt with and at the same time, it’s being used by some groups to attack the party. Wait! Where have you all gone? Sigh. Ok, come back, and let me vaguely try to explain.
Anti-racism campaign Hope Not Hate published their State of Hate report last week, which pointed at a very concerning rise of the far right thanks to idiots like shaved potato Tommy Robinson, skin wrapped round the Daily Mail comments section Katie Hopkins and a group who are to political campaigns what the Ebola virus is to weight loss plans, Leave.EU. The report also mentioned a worrying rise in Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, something that has been scaled up by Sajid Javid, which is easily the harshest way to rebel against your parents ever. The whole report is interesting and depressing and largely points to how everything being fucked up means everyone is being fucked up, to paraphrase a bit. It’s worth a read. But for this bit, I wanted to mention the section on anti-Semitism. Hope Not Hate mention four groups where this type of racism is prevalent on the left wing. One is a small group of people who display very extreme, often violent anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, which is right up there for me as most stupid ideas ever. No human being is smart enough to have faked such an atrocity. Can you imagine the organisation that’d take? Chris Grayling can’t even get enough lorries in Kent for a trial run of a No Deal. The Holocaust, depressingly and upsettingly, definitely happened. Then it says there is a larger group of people who engage in conspiratorial anti-Semitism, ie believing the Rothschilds and other Jewish figureheads run everything which is again, nuts. Most people can barely multi-task as it is. I mean, if somehow the world goes all topsy turvy and it turns out that one or two people of Jewish heritage are somehow running everything ever, then fair play to them for pulling it off. I’d be knackered. Then there are activists who use anti-Semitic language when discussing Israel/Palestine and then the largest group are people who deny anti-Semitism on the left exists at all. Of course, then there is also a large amount of anti-Semitism from far-right accounts and sites too.
A Parliamentary report into anti-Semitism in the UK in 2016 was along the same lines and in terms of Labour, noted that Corbyn is an active campaigner against racism but felt he hadn’t done enough to curb anti-Semitism, nor was the commissioned Charkrabatti report enough failing to comment on differences between racism and anti-Semitism or had any clear definition of what it was. But it also concludes that every party has bad apples, or as I like to call them, bapples, and that tackling anti-Semitism in Labour wouldn’t get rid of it altogether but no party can afford to be complacent. Then it pointed out that the Lib Dems were pretty bad at it too as they kept a councillor in their party, David Ward, who said many anti-Semitic things. But I guess their concern was that if they got rid of someone, then they wouldn’t have enough players for their 5 a side team.
Obviously, that was two and a half years ago and more recently, on February 11th, Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby has released all the date on disciplinary cases to do with anti-Semitism in the party. It stated that out of 673 accusations that had occurred over the past 10 months, it lead to 96 suspensions, 12 expulsions and 6 received sanctions, with 220 cases not breaching party rules, which now adhere to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance code, and overall they relate to about 0.08% of Labour members. But it’s tricky to say that that amount is institutional or really endemic of the party unless you count those who say it isn’t a problem at all, which is hard to calculate or definitely accuse. But it is there, and as Jon Lansman, chair of Momentum said publicly this week, it is too many. Corbyn has reacted sloppily to it all, this past week replying to a sky news reporter’s list of Jewish people who have condemned him, by saying that he knew some that hadn’t, which is very much the lamest of all defences. Oh yeah some of my best friends have seen a Jewish person on TV before and didn’t turn it off. Then there was how long it took them to adapt the full IHRA code which the Conservatives also hadn’t done either, the mural, the comments on a video from 2012, Ken Livingstone shouting Hitler at everyone like a niche historic Tourette’s, Naz Shah’s Facebook posts and so on and so on, or the fact that it’s taken over two years to really get a move on with it.
Now for the other side. Of those who have used anti-Semitism to criticise Labour this past week, Luciana Berger has probably suffered the worst abuse with thousands of anti-Semitic attacks on her. Two of the main offenders of this, were a Neo-Nazi called Joshua Bonehill-Paine, which I guess is his real name but I mean, really? He was sentenced to two years of prison for it and a right wing extremist called John Nimmo who got a 27 month sentence. This of course shouldn’t demean the abuse that either her, or Labour MP Ruth Smeeth have been receiving from Labour supporters, but it’s also a big indication of growing anti-Semitism that has been reported all over the world, by predominantly by far right activists in Europe and the USA and a report in the Guardian stated that violence against Jewish people, while it has risen due to an influx in Europe of migrants from Arab states, is mostly due to far right supporters more than anyone else.
Then there is Independent Group member Joan Ryan, and chairperson of Labour Friends of Israel and Ryan said the Labour party was infected with the scourge of anti-Jewish racism when she resigned last week. In 2017 she accused a Palestinian Solidarity Campaign supporter of abusing her with anti-Semitism by suggesting Labour Friends of Israel was a way to get a job in a bank. But the entire incident was filmed by al-Jazeera news for their documentary on the Israeli government’s influence on British politics, and the footage shows the PSC supporter said no such thing. Ryan reported her to the Labour party for formal investigation and she was cleared. The program Al-Jazeera was making, The Lobby, also showed footage of an Israeli embassy officer discussing a plot to take down British politicians which lead to the officer in question resigning from their position and Corbyn writing to Theresa May for an inquiry into his activities, as did an unnamed Conservative MP, with concerns about the officer’s links to Conservative Friends of Israel and Labour Friends of Israel and attempts to affect policy.
So, is there anti-Semitism in Labour? Yes. Is it endemic in the party? At 0.08% it depends on your view of endemic. Is it being dealt with? Yes. Quickly and efficiently enough? Probably not. Is growing global anti-Semitism a concern? Yes hugely. Does everyone that left Labour last week definitely give a shit? Difficult to say. Is any of this clear? Not really. Does that help or was it remotely coherent? Unlikely. Will it probably need to come up again in a year’s time? Sigh.
And now back to Steven:
INTERVIEW WITH STEVEN PART 2
Thanks tons to Steven for chatting with me. You can find him on Twitter @polprofsteve, his podcast with Emma Burnell is called Zeitgeist Tapes and you can find that on all good pod apps and he is part of the faculty of social sciences at Nottingham University, so if you’re heading there to study politics, there’s every chance you’ll get some Steven Fielding wisdom as part of your studies.
But look, there is still next week and the one after and the one after until time stops or podcasts are no longer a thing because everyone is having hours of pointless content beamed directly into their lower abdomen or something. What I mean is, I still need more interviewee suggestions for this show. Who, what, where, when, why? Ok, I’ll sort the where and when, but do let me know who to interview, what subjects you’d be interested in me interviewing people about and why oh why can’t we ever sleep? I’m so tired. You can let me know your suggestions on all the usual methods, @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast group on Facebook, the contact page on partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or try unusual methods like writing your suggestion on a green potato, eating it raw and whole and then hoping I’ll walk past just as your stomach makes the appropriate noises for me to understand who you’re suggesting before you’re overwhelmed with diarrhoea. As always, it’s much easier just to email.
And that’s all for the Partly Political Broadcast podcast this week. Many gracious noises for listening and please don’t forget to tell others about this weekly yelling condensed into a sound shell, donate to the ko-fi or patreon if you can, and give the show a review on whatever pod apps with a review system you do use, or maybe just shave it into your pet and then while walking your dog, cat, gerbil or mammoth people will note the RSS feed for the show and subscribe.
Big ups to Acast for housing this podcast in their school for gifted waveforms, to my brother The Last Skeptik for doing all the musics and to Kat Day for writing up the linear liner notes every damn week.
START SLOWING DOWN
This will be back next week when Jeremy Hunt is arrested in Turkey for referring to it on a diplomatic mission as Grease 2, aka like Greece but not as good.
This week’s show is sponsored by *SNORING SOUND EFFECTS*