Split by Brexit, riven with anti-Semitism, Labour is hanging by a thread

by Rob Marchant

Recent days have surely seen more political turmoil and uncertainty than has been seen in a generation; perhaps even in the whole postwar period. It is certainly extraordinary that, two weeks out from an enormous political event, no-one can really say with any certainty how things will turn out, or even what the plan of action is.

But what of Labour? Jeremy Corbyn, in present circumstances, is surely the luckiest leader of all: the strange return of a sovereign Parliament and the disarray of Theresa May’s Tories has helped camouflage Labour’s violent, internal convulsions, albeit temporarily.

For the past few months, Labour has been being riven by two potent forces at the same time.

First, the Leader’s disingenuous position on Brexit being finally laid bare for all to see: the Emperor never had any clothes. it was only ever a matter of time before his attempt to ride two horses at once ended in Labour doing the splits, and not far off literally so.

All Shadow Cabinet members can do is go on the media and mouth platitudes, while Corbyn refuses to answer a straight question. No-one believes them any more, except the Corbyn cult itself, within the party. Labour’s surviving frontbenchers have become a standing joke, as Emily Maitlis’ open exasperation with Barry Gardiner on Newsnight showed.

The second blow has been the gradual implosion of the party over anti-Semitism, for the simple reason that it refuses to pay anything more than lip-service to the problem.

Of the two, it seems clear that the second is the real killer: the most pernicious and long-lasting.

Labour could yet, if Corbyn became irreparably damaged for whatever reason, replace him with someone willing to bow to the majority view of the party membership: that they do not want Brexit. Although there might be a group who would never forgive Labour for the damage done already, that applies equally to both major parties at the moment and, chances are, they would give a new leader the benefit of the doubt.

The same is not, sadly, true of anti-Semitism. It is now at the point where it is genuinely doubtful whether or not the party can actually recover, because the rot has already gone so deep into the membership. In any event, it would really require a turnaround in both the NEC and the party machine, neither of which are going to happen until Corbyn goes, and possibly not after that, either.

Political resignations over the last few weeks are starting to grow from a trickle to a flood. The other week, as reported here at Uncut, a group of experienced, moderate councillors resigned, following the TIG defections. Key councils are now in the hands of the Corbynite clowns, including Haringey and Brighton. Liverpool is, once again, crumbling.

For those seeing echoes in this “councils going bad” back to the 80s days of Militant, there are clear parallels, yes – not least the return of Derek Hatton – but it is not the same.

It is not comparable because, for all the organisation came close to strangling the party, parasite-like, the leadership never fell to the far left. It has now.

The leadership has now been in the hands of the far left for three-and-a-half years (if you do not recognise Corbyn as “far left”, then you have simply been putting your fingers in your ears to the mountains of information on his past – for example the excellent Corbyn in The Times Twitter feed.

If you do recognise that it is in the hands of the far left, you see how much danger the party is now in, because – among many disastrous effects – there is no end in sight for its cancerous anti-Semitism problem, worsening day by day.

This week, the party readmits the wag who thought that “Jew process” was an acceptable joke to make in a party meeting. Suspended MP Chris Williamson is patted on the back by his old pal Corbyn in the Commons. A headline in the New York Times, not constrained by the niceties of the British press, openly describes our beloved party as “Jeremy Corbyn’s Anti-Semitic Labour Party. That is, the stench has even crossed the Atlantic.

In case it were not blindingly obvious, the people in charge of the party are not remotely serious in tackling the problem.

Worse, the message anti-Semites within are seeing from the top is still, in Tracey Ullman’s immortal words, “tone it down a bit, lads”. Not that the current Zeitgeist is repugnant apologism, which must be stamped out.

It is useful to read, if you have not already, this heartfelt piece in the Jewish Chronicle by one of Corbyn’s own foot-soldiers, resigning from the party in Islington North. The weary directness with which someone who had lived close to Corbyn for years, physically and politically, was devastating:

“And I wonder why we took no notice of this behaviour at that time. I can only conclude that we saw you as an irrelevance and your activities anachronistic.

Unfortunately you are no longer an irrelevance. You are leader of the Labour party. You and your coterie of ideologues and aristo-Stalinists have created an institutional culture where anti-Semitism thrives. It has been brought from the fringe of the party to the forefront of the party.”

It is masked by the current Westminster shenanigans over Brexit, but the party is currently hanging by a thread. Even with a general election, which could happen and would most likely be lost, the Augean stables would be little cleaner on the other side, and possibly worse, as new Corbynite MPs would replace retiring or deselected ones.

Something, somewhere, soon has to give.

Rob Marchant is an activist and former Labour party manager who blogs at The Centre Left


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35 Responses to “Split by Brexit, riven with anti-Semitism, Labour is hanging by a thread”

  1. Tafia says:

    I have been told straight by a Corbyn-supporting MP that I know vaguely, during Thursday, that Corbyn and the hierarchy will NOT support a revokation of Article 50, are quite open about that privately and that is common knowledge amongst the PLP hence why it’s not on the agenda.

  2. Dave D says:

    We could have the first proper Labour government since 1945 in power in the UK within a few weeks. We’d be mad to go back to just being Tory-lite now. Voters don’t want more Blair-style attacks on the poor and disabled. They don’t want any more anti-immigrant dog-whistling. Nor do they want any more NHS sell-offs. So, let’s all get behind our leader and boot the Tories out!

  3. Vern says:

    You are right Dave D – they want a hate filled anti semitic rabble with a liar for a leader and no credible position on Brexit.

  4. Greggo says:

    Yawn….. Another load of tiresome embittered bile by merchant. Backed up by the usual idiots. Corbyn and McDonnell have saved the labour party from the abyss it was heading under NL. Membership halved ,Scotland lost , millions of votes lost , none of it Corbyns fault .

    Well done Dave D .

  5. Anne says:

    The Tories are undoubtedly in a greater mess – it is hard to see how they will get back as a party after Brexit. Teresa May seems to have lost control.
    Regarding Corbyn, it is more his lack of leadership skills which is most telling. He has improved at PMQs but walking out of an important meeting is a juvenile act – the quality is just not there. Keir Starmer is undoubtably driving Labour’s position on Brexit – he certainly has leadership ability. Labour did produce a good manifesto but I doubt if Corbyn was the brains behind it. Tom Watson also seems to be demonstrating good leadership. Time, I think, for both leaders to step down.

  6. Join P Reid says:

    Dave D are you saying that of the 11 elections labour lost since 1970(excluding the 3 that Blair won and the 2 that Wilson got less votes in England than the Tories but formed minority gov’t’s)that none of them stood on a Attlee style manifesto? Or they stood 0n those sort of manifestos in all those elections since then and the public rejected those sort of policies in 1970, 2015, 1983, 1987( left out 92 and 2010 as they weren’t far left manifestos)

  7. Greggo says:

    Another load of embittered bile from Merchant , a really tiresome bore these days. No arguments no policies just , no nothing .

  8. John P Reid says:

    Anne, the metropolitan lawyer Starmer ticks the boxes to keep liberal London deluded that Corbyn opposes Brexit, he doesn’t as such Corbyn has no intention of stopping Brexit, he just tells starmer to say stuff of no consequence

    Find it hilarious Watson previously known for his blue labour, dislike of guardian momentum readers and Blairites,is now, their favourite person,all be it, his second Ref view even though he’s never said remain on the ballot paper, when Watson was fighting Flint for deputy, and flint and Watson in the end United in their dislike, of Stella Creasy, middle class victim politics, of leading the oppressed to the promise land, Flint not being deputy can now say she supports Brexit, if Watson hasn’t win the deputy, he’d be saying get on with Brexit too.

    As For JC too stand down
    You dint think those running it now wouldn’t want Laura Piddocks ,

    Greggo, regarding the votes lost upto 2015, do t tnot call when JC backed the 83 manifesto and labour lost 5.6million votes since the 50’s corbyn saying that his hero tony abenn should accept the blame,

  9. Mike Homfray says:

    Hysteria strikes again.
    Have you still not left the party Rob? Haven’t you grasped the fact that we prefer our party to your party?
    You now have the choice of TIG or the Conservatives where you would be much happier
    As would we, when you finally leave

  10. John P Reid says:

    Mike homfray you haD a middle class upbringing you didn’t suffer the Jack boot of Thatcher, I was homeless, the way to get homeless off the streets, was a labour government, but people like you were happy to drive away the SDP, And although I disagree with Rob on Blair and the EU. The way the metropolitan liberals that the working class in contempt is no different to Blair , difference was Blair did something about the poor, he won elections

    When you say ‘we’ prefer you can’t mean the public as Corbyn lost

  11. John P Reid says:

    Mike, labourlists poll shows,momentum like bercow and are trying to stop brexit and momentum want to overrule the Democratic result, aimed up how out of touch Corbynistas are now

    https://labourlist.org/2019/03/indicative-votes-wed-choose-another-referendum-say-labourlist-readers/

  12. Tafia says:

    The big e-petition is very very interesting. You can pull the sigantures broken down by Constituency – and that is very very revealing indeed. IIt shows the higher the Remain vote in the referendum, then the higher the signature tiotal on the petition. For example Bristol, Brighton Corbyn’s seat etc which are heavily Remain in 2016, are showing near 30% of the eletoral register on the petition. Conversely, seats that voted heavily leave are only showing around 1% of their voters on the petition.

    Tellingly, the Labour Leave seats arhave a very very low signature total on the petition.

    https://petitionmap.unboxedconsulting.com/?petition=241584&area=uk

    “In particular, Labour Leavers have swung behind ‘no deal. We’ll need more polling but as we see with the petition there is a massive ‘vote stacking’ problem for LAB.” is how one analyst describes it.

    Arch-Remain are mostly in very safe LAB seats (or Green, LDEM and to a lesser extent SNP). Look at the marginal LAB seats and perhaps consider that a lot of folks have “Brexit fatigue” and just want to get on with it, not drag this out through another ref or years of ongoing EU negotiations.

    CON are never going to win Islington North, Bristol West, Brighton Pavillion, etc but they could easily win Dudley North, retake Peterborough and hold on to seats like Banff and Buchan. Sure they’ll lose Richmond Park but look at how few of the “red” seats in the petition map are CON marginals.

    The map is great in that is shows it mostly a case of London+student towns (few CON marginal win/hold/lose) v rUK (lots of CON marginal win/hold/lose)

    NB If you access to someone with decent web skills you can pull the data from “behind” the map and sort it by party, etc. Even put it into a GE seat predictor is you have one so you can see the “marginal seats” by party. And it is not looking good for Labour. Far far too many votes in seats they already hold, not ‘in step’ with the voters in seats they need to win.

  13. Paul Barker says:

    I wondered what Labour response to the Peoples Vote March would be. From the stuff I looked at its a Tsunami of bile, directed mostly at the TWEE slogans & the good humour. There were unfavourable comparisons to the Real protesters of the Yellow Jackets in Paris. Screaming with Rage, throwing rocks at the Police & setting fire to public property – that’s Real Protest.
    Now that Labour have degenerated into an SWP Tribute Band, just why are any of you staying in it ?

  14. buttley says:

    As the grubby raincoat of hard breggsit opens to reveal the upright Member of Parliament, & the categorical denial of destiny is swiftly followed by the gammon march of fate…”

    Lets meet the teams……

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D2DcOi2XQAEA4TO.jpg:large

    i particularly enjoyed this paragraph from Rob

    “It is useful to read, if you have not already, this heartfelt piece in the Jewish Chronicle by one of Corbyn’s own foot-soldiers, resigning from the party in Islington North. The weary directness with which someone who had lived close to Corbyn for years, physically and POLITICALLY, was devastating:”

    so i read the most poignant piece

    the former Corbyn foot soilder, explained

    “My first job after university was working for The Fabian Society”

    oh

    “I even subscribed to Tribune before it became fashionable. Some people in the Labour movement may go as far as calling me “soft left”

    ergo he is a centerist

    close to Corbyn politically, in the sense that he is not a Tory

    i think this Steve Bell cartoon best captures comrade Rob’s current mindset

    http://belltoons.co.uk/bellworks/var/albums/If/2019/7989-260219_DEEPSADNESS.jpg?m=1551110180

  15. John P Reid says:

    was the belltoons originally in the Grauniad, always thought Bell a nasty piece of work
    and the sniping that Watson should have been more sympathetic to the TIGGERS when they left is silly and if Watson has called out Corbyn for denying his past good, no one cares about Corbyns IRA past but he shouldn’t deny what he did

  16. buttley says:

    Ken Clarke’s customs union proposal lost by just 8 votes

    the closest of any proposal

    could this be the way forward for Breggsit on Monday?

    ——————

    Corbyn will have seen off two Conservative Prime Ministers

    taken away a Tory majority

    defeated a finance bill for the first time in 41 years

    & helped assist the largest defeat against any government ever

    rumoured to be going for a gold at this years RHS Chelsea

    http://belltoons.co.uk/bellworks/var/albums/leaders/2019/4342_080219_CORBYNLIFEBELT.jpg?m=1549560536

    http://belltoons.co.uk/bellworks/var/albums/leaders/2019/4338_310119_RENDEZVOUS.jpg?m=1548869501

  17. John PReid says:

    buttley I was trying to think of another labour leader saw off 2 tory PMs and still never became PM, and it would have to go back to Henderson or Hardie

  18. Landless Peasant says:

    “Riven with anti-Semitism” should read: “Riven with false allegations of anti-Semitism”

    Example:

    https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/03/28/by-expelling-jackie-walker-labour-has-sealed-its-reputation-as-a-supporter-of-prejudice-and-racism/

  19. buttley says:

    cue meaningful corpse four……

    http://belltoons.co.uk/bellworks/var/albums/If/2019/7993-190319_CORPSEFOUR.jpg?m=1552945145

    ———————-
    John,

    Hardie, would be expelled from todays Labour Party as an anti-Semite.

    In the “Labour Leader” Pamphlet of 19th December 1891, Hardie wrote: “Wherever there is trouble in Europe, wherever rumours of war circulate and men’s minds are distraught with fear of change and calamity, you may be sure that a hooked-nosed Rothschild is at his games somewhere near the region of the disturbances.”

    More historic comments here
    http://www.bramley.demon.co.uk/liberal/anti-semitism-labour.html

  20. Mike Homfray says:

    John Reid.
    I had a working class upbringing on a council estate. My Dad was a welder. I really don’t know where you got the idea that I had some sort of privileged background!
    And I don’t support a second referendum and never have. However I think the reality is that it’s remain or no deal

  21. Vern says:

    You can now add “betrayed the will of the people” to the ever growing list of failings for this Labour party. I will need reminding what the party stands for and represents again.

  22. Landless Peasant says:

    Besides which, Labour is not “hanging by a thread”, they are ahead in the polls!

  23. John P Reid says:

    Landless peasant toy make me sick and your links are sh@te

    Buttery yes
    Mike, you went to university in the 80’s when I was homeless you said how cool it was it’s better to be true labour in opposition, than blue labour in power
    Yet the only way to get the homeless off the streets is a labour government yet you said it doesnt matter about winning , as for your view no deal or remain without a referndum you’re then saying if parliament won’t cote for no deal
    They should override domicracy and we don’t leave
    , says it all, that’s a Priveledged up bringing to me

  24. Landless Peasant says:

    Ok Mr.Reid, sticks & stones etc. But you cannot deny the facts; there is far less antisemitism in the Labour party than is alleged by the Right wing, and by those who seek to damage Jeremy Corbyn, and far less than in the Conservative party or in society in general. If you dislike Labour has much as you seem to do then perhaps you should consider joining the Tories or UKIP or TIG. If Socialism’s not for you then be gone.

  25. buttley says:

    Whilst the UK is happily self harming over breggsit.

    The republic of Ireland would appear to be pursuing their own form of economic self-harm, which of course our free & outward looking press, have totally ignored thus far.

    It comes in the form of the “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018”

    simply put it is a polite term for state sanctioned BDS.

    It has cleared both chambers now, & is not far off from becoming law.

    naturally, the blow back will be that the ROI will be charged as being an anti-Semitic state.

    but it will force the issue four-square into the international stage.

    it will put the US companies doing business in the ROI in a particular bind too, as i cannot see any of the US executives being up for doing a five year stint in prison, for each offence

    the irish know that many of these US companies will potentially relocate, but they seem to think that is a price worth paying.

    here is the bill

    https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/bill/2018/6/eng/initiated/b0618s.pdf

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/P-8-2019-000081_EN.html

    ————

    interestingly the co-op supports this stance, funny they arent called out as anti-Semitic for their BDS.

    https://www.co-operative.coop/ethics/illegal-settlements

  26. Landless Peasant says:

    Expect the smear campaign against Corbyn to be ramped up as we get closer to a General Election and the Rightwing start running scared. Your vile antisemitism lies are all you have to cling to, which is both disgraceful and pathetic.

    https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/04/07/a-general-election-is-in-the-offing-time-for-another-anti-semitism-smear-against-jeremy-corbyn/

  27. Mike Homfray says:

    And the naivety of those who think a centrist party could or would do anything about homelessness when they think they can somehow get the market to work….
    The lack of lasting change which endured from the last Labour government is all too obvious u

  28. John P Reid says:

    Landless peasant in ehat way have I said I dislike socialism, and for you to think socialism involves anti Semitism is terrible
    I wouldn’t join the other parties but for someone who did t vote labour post 1983 till 2017 you were the first to moan that the SDPs departure lost labour the election
    Yet you’re telling me to leave the party?
    Then you’ll have the hump when labour lose elections

    If there wasn’t anti semitism in labour this so called right you talk of would have evidence

    As for voz politics, if you believe that… rhen it’s not a smear

  29. Tafia says:

    The Wakefield Express is reporting that a petition locally to have Yvette Cooper deselected has now reached 22,900 signatures.

    Her Constituency voted 70% to leave. She is under increasing pressure from within her CLP from Momentum activists who want shot of her for being a Blairite, and Labour Leave who want shot of her for trying to spike Brexit. Her voters now also appear to be turning on her.

    On other fronts, Labour’s vote in Wales is collapsing because of it’s opposition to Brexit. Latest by Prof Huw Scully (who is usually bang ion the button Wales-wise)

    What would happen at a General Election?
    Cardiff North – currently Labour’s Anna McMorrin, predicted Conservative gain
    Gower – currently Labour’s Tonia Antoniazzi, predicted Conservative gain
    Vale of Clwyd – currently Labour’s Chris Ruane, predicted Conservative gain
    Wrexham – currently Labour’s Ian Lucas, predicted Conservative gain
    Ynys Mon – currently Albert Owen, predicted Plaid Cymru gain

    Welsh Assembly (which Labour have held for 20 years) even more interesting. It predicts six constituencies would change hands:

    Vale of Clwyd – currently Labour’s Ann Jones, predicted Conservative gain
    Vale of Glamorgan – currently Labour’s Jane Hutt, predicted Conservative gain
    Blaenau Gwent – currently Labour’s Alun Davies, predicted Plaid Cymru gain
    Cardiff West – currently Labour’s Mark Drakeford, predicted Plaid Cymru gain
    Caerphilly – currently Hefin David, predicted Plaid Cymru gain
    Llanelli – currently Labour’s Lee Waters, predicted Plaid Cymru gain

    Regional seats would be allocated as follows:
    North Wales: 2 Plaid, 1 Conservative, 1 Brexit Party
    Mid & West Wales: 2 Labour, 1 Plaid, 1 Brexit Party
    South Wales West: 2 Conservative, 2 Plaid
    South Wales Central: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 Brexit Party
    South Wales East: 2 Conservative, 1 Brexit Party, 1 UKIP

    Constituency and regional top-up combined:
    Labour: 23 seats (21 constituency, 2 regional)
    Plaid Cymru: 16 seats (10 constituency, 6 regional)
    Conservatives: 15 seats (8 constituency, 7 regional)
    Brexit Party: 4 seats (4 regional)
    Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (1 constituency)
    UKIP: 1 seats (1 regional)

    Labour would be 8 short of the winning line and their nearest potential political ally (Plaid) now openly despise them.

    Prof Scully commented “The apparent resurgence of two-party politics that we saw just a couple of years ago seems to be in something close to free fall. Just eighteen months ago Labour alone were at fifty percent support in Wales; now they are not much above thirty percent.”

  30. John P Reic says:

    Mike was their homeless on the streets under Blair’s time?
    Answer, No
    was Blair centrist?
    Yes
    So your view that a centrist government wouldn’t do anything about getting the homeless off the streets is nonsense
    Especially with your it’s better to be far left in opposition than centrist in power

  31. Landless Peasant says:

    Mr. Reid, I did not and am not saying that Socialism involves antisemitism! I really don’t know wtf you are talking about. I was pointing out that the allegations of antisemitism are in the main false accusations made by the Rightwing in an obviously deliberate attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, when the truth is that antisemitism within the Labour party has declined under Corbyn, and there is actually more antisemitism in the Conservative party and in the general public than in the Labour party.

    As for Labour being in decline or hanging by a thread, that is total nonsense, Labour are way ahead in the polls and their popularity has increased under Corbyn.

  32. Tafia says:

    As I was saying in my last post above.

    Two council by-elections in Wales last night. Previously safe Labour seats. Both taken easily by Plaid Cymru on massive swings with the Labour vote collapsing.

    Tory vote, although only marginal, held up.

    It’s the shape of things to come for both Labour and the Tories. Latest in-depth polling shows that although Labour lead, their vote is in entirely the wrong places and once adjusted by region in a general election labour would be wiped out in Scotland, suffer losses in England and Wales and that even though behind, the Tories (due to better geograohic distribution) would be largest party on around 280 seats and Labour on around 260 leading to a highly unstable and chaotic Parliament.

  33. steve says:

    Fantastic analysis, Rob. Well done!

    I believe your communication talent would be best deployed in the service of Chuka’s Independent group. How about it?

    I see that the Tigs are standing in the EU elections on a 2nd Referendum ticket. They are to be congratulated for this. After all, if the electorate get it wrong we have to keep asking them the same question until they get it right.

    Furthermore, if the Indies win EU seats there’s sure to be gravy train opportunities aplenty for Tig ‘communication consultants’ in Brussels.

    What’s not to like, Rob?

    Go for it!

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