I don’t suppose the latest effusion of the ‘Labour is an anti-semitic party’ proxy war has anything to do with the current elections to the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has it? This after all is the body which deigned to actually think about the now infamous definition of anti-semitism before adopting it – unlike the Conservative Party, which panicked after Channel 4 last month discovered that not a word about ant-semitism appeared anywhere in their code of conduct. For Labour at least, this was not a tick box exercise. I hope the NEC sticks by its definition which only departs from the ‘international’ working definition in relation to some wording about Israel in some ‘illustrative examples.’
That this is a proxy war is amply demonstrated by the fact that the ‘mainstream’ Jewish bodies, the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council did not call out the Conservative Party for not adopting any definition prior to Channel 4’s exposé last month. For months, all the attention was on Labour. Now, predictably, stories are emerging which suggest that the anti-Corbyn camp, in the media and elsewhere have been trawling through his past to find whatever ‘dirt’ they can. Hence, we have heard about a meeting he attended in 2010 – where the lead speaker was a survivor of Auschwitz but no fan of Israel – and so is deemed controversial. So controversial, in fact that the Campaign Against Anti-semitism launched a complaint about Corbyn’s involvement – eight years later . . .
This is all given ample coverage in the Guardian, which as ever unfailingly reports the views of what I can only describe as our very own rent-a-gob MP, anti-Corbynite John Mann. What I wonder is the secret alchemy which ensures that of all the backbench Labour MPs they could approach for a comment, the roulette ball always plops into Mr Mann’s slot? Is it lazy journalism, or what? As regards the balance of coverage in the Guardian, it seems that this can only be partially achieved through the letters columns, rarely in its news columns.
For those seeking to undermine Corbyn this war of attrition has its risks. The vitriol poured on him prior to the last general election didn’t prevent Labour doing much better than expected – although his detractors would argue Labour should have done even better. No doubt if we’d had, e.g. Owen Smith in charge we would have stormed to victory. The danger of course is that those anti-Corbynites, by pissing so hard into their own tent merely damage the fabric of the whole thing, and thus their own stature suffers too. But since they seem to hate Corbyn more than they hate the Tories (if their deeds are anything to go by) this doesn’t seem to matter. But as yet, they haven’t the courage to leave Labour to form the much rumoured ‘new centre party.’ If only they could attack Corbyn with some honesty they may deserve some credit.