+At some point I must have browsed the Daily Telegraph’s website, since I now get regular emails from them inviting me to subscribe. Hell would freeze over first of course. I got this from them the other day: ‘A curated selection of shock Sussex stories.’ This makes it sound like an exclusive box of chocolates from an upmarket chocolatier. Delicious centres! How about a taste of ‘Step back if you want to, but snubbing the Queen is unforgivable’ with its nutty crunch or why not try ‘I said to Meghan: 'Why don't you just jack it all in?' I didn't expect an answer’ for its fruity, gooey tongue tingling centre? So, the news is now ‘curated.’ Presumably all news is susceptible to this misapplication of the word. How about curating a selection of news about some famine, or perhaps the Australian bush fires?’ What would our old friend Clive James have to say about that I wonder?
+I heard on the radio this morning that Trump had sent out tweets in both English and Persian. If (as a rule) the former is anything to go by, the latter will be indecipherable.
+The Labour leadership contest is about to go through a silly phase, in the media at least, of finding the candidate with the best working class credentials. So far as the media is concerned, this will be about setting somebody up merely to knock them down again. I remember the late lamented Michael Meacher getting involved in something similar, which came down to the question of whether he was entitled to wear a flat cap or not. Thinking about it, I can’t recollect Tony Blair or Gordon Brown ever wearing a flat cap. It’s a big issue.
+The leadership contenders will necessarily have to confront the issue of alleged anti-Semitism in the Party (and elsewhere in the country, although that’s rarely mentioned). The news on this front is that the Board of Jewish Deputies have issued a list of 10 pledges they demand candidates adopt, namely:
‘ . . . to resolve outstanding cases of alleged antisemitism, to devolve the disciplinary process to an independent agent and to ensure transparency in the complaints process.
The remaining pledges are:
· Prevent re-admittance of prominent offenders
· Provide no platform for those who have been suspended or expelled for antisemitism
· The full adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism “with all its examples and clauses and without any caveats”
· To deliver anti-racism education programmes that have been approved by the Jewish Labour Movement, which would lead training
· To engage with the Jewish community via its “main representative groups and not through fringe organisations” such as Jewish Voice for Labour
· To replace “bland, generic statements” on anti-Jewish racism with “condemnation of specific harmful behaviours”
· For the Labour leader to take personal responsibility for ending the “antisemitism crisis”
(from the Jewish Chronicle website, 12th January)
I don’t take issue with most of this, whilst sadly acknowledging that the heavily flawed IHRA definition of anti-Semitism has already been adopted. I note that the word ‘alleged’ has at least crept into the narrative and indeed the words 'anti-Semitism crisis' appear in quotation marks. A minor acknowledgement there I think, of the questionable nature of this ‘crisis.’ What surely cannot be accepted by anyone who wishes to lead a broad based party is the thought that an outside body can dictate which groups it may engage with. It is well-known that the Board of Jewish Deputies does not represent the Jewish community in its entirety (Jewish Voice for Labour makes no such claim for itself). The Jewish Labour Movement too was distinctly anti-Labour in the recent general election, which does not make it an automatic choice for an educational role. Also, I have nothing against an independent body looking at cases of alleged anti-Semitism within the party—but then it should have a similar duty to consider all forms of alleged racism, not just one variety. Finally, I would comment how interesting it is that the Board has not made any mention of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s investigation. Do they fear it won’t deliver the result they desire?