Labour's antisemitic cancer shows the party for what it has become – a cult of keyboard warriors and raging Corbynistas

A light has been shone into the darkness but it has not served as disinfectant. It has guided these creeping things out into the open

Tom Peck
Monday 02 April 2018 17:38 BST
Protesters gather outside Parliament in opposition to antisemitism in the Labour Party

It’s Day 11 of the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis – and it is one that is still unfolding.

On Saturday, the chair of Labour’s “disputes panel”, Christine Shawcroft, stood down, in the wake of widespread mockery of her decision to “resolve” a dispute over Alan Bull and his posting of an article which denied the Holocaust – and the resolution didn’t involve telling him he could no longer stand as a councillor for the Labour Party.

Pause. Deep breath. When you imply that someone is a Holocaust denier, the details are important. Bull posted an article on Facebook which read, “International Red Cross report confirms the Holocaust of 6m Jews is a hoax”.

Bull has now claimed that someone took a screenshot of the Facebook page and edited out Bull’s additional comments, which, he said, would have put the re-posting of the article in context. He said he is the victim of “doctored screenshots”.

Anyhoo. Shawcroft has since made clear in a Facebook post of her own that, in her role as disputes panel chair, she hadn’t in fact seen the Holocaust denial when she chaired the dispute, and as soon as she did she “told the member that he should have antisemitism training”.

So that’s alright then. Try to imagine antisemitism training and it is hard to see anything other than The Simpsons opening credits. All the alleged antisemite’s friends out there in the sunshine having fun, knocking on doors, putting leaflets through letter boxes, and there’s the accused, rosette rested temporarily on the desk, while he writes out “The Holocaust is not a hoax” on the blackboard one hundred times, before picking it up and dashing out to rejoin them.

Naturally, in her final rhetorical flourish, Shawcroft added: “This whole row is being stirred up to attack Jeremy, as we all know.”

And it was stirred up even more on Sunday, when details of appalling antisemitic Facebook groups with 400,000 members, including 20 of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s staff, were all over the front of The Sunday Times, featuring some charming motifs as Star of David flags with swastikas on.

And on Sunday night, Jeremy Corbyn responded to all of it by deleting his own personal Facebook account, stripping from the public record any activity he might have undertaken in these groups, dating back years.

It is a crisis that is having a depressingly familiar effect on public life. We know, from a horrific US presidential election and its aftermath, what it is like when a mainstream, leading political figure has his position consolidated and protected by a drone army of cultists, conspiracy theorists and straightforward racists.

We have looked on in horror as public conversation in America has been forced to descend into horrific places. Newspaper columnists and television anchors have no choice but to enter a world of commentating on people who brag about sexual assault, commit racist and misogynistic abuse, as well as mock the disabled.

And now, in Britain, the Labour Party demeans British politics and British public life. The deranged Rothschildists in their fetid corners of the internet have followed their idol into the mainstream. They have their own websites, their own blogs.

A light has been shone into the darkness, but it has not served as disinfectant. It has guided these creeping things out into the open.

Jewish people march on Westminster because they feel that they can no longer rely on the Labour Party, that most natural guarantor of their protection, to do just that.

Labour politicians walk out of parliament to join with protesters who are victims of racism, an act that could hardly be more in keeping with the values of the party, and are instantly set upon by the usual Corbynista blogging attack dogs, for no other crime than standing up for their values in defiance of the party leader, an act their idol, Corbyn, has done for decades, and is a key reason for his idolisation.

It is difficult to know where this story ends. The Labour Party has never been a cult before, as it is now. A fetid, deadly alliance of committed and able old-timer processologists and three-quid keyboard warriors, whose real rage is centred on their feelings about being the undeserving victims of the financial crash.

This anger is gladly harvested by a dim clique whose epistemology begins and ends with blaming America and its allies for all the world’s ills.

Crises that last this long do not easily go away. Not when they are as real, as serious, and as badly managed as this. They cannot be whatabouted their way out of.

From here, it is hard to foresee a time in which Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has ceased to be a malign influence on British public life. The cancer is not in pockets. It is rife. And it appears too big to be cut out.

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