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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Anti-Semitism row moves back to blame-game mode

I don't know to what extent there is an anti-Semitism problem within the Labour Party. Like others I can only judge on the evidence that is presented to us in the media, by the testimony of MPs who have said they have been subject to racist abuse and the views of Jewish groups who feel that Labour is not taking these issues seriously enough.

I understand that due process can mean delays in dealing with abusers and that sometimes, when people believe that they are being discriminated against, it can be difficult to win back their trust. That can only happen if their concerns are taken seriously and proper processes put in place to deal with them.

It does not help therefore, if a major ally of the Labour leader decides to take the issue by the horns and starts attributing motives to those who are shouting the loudest about the problem. Nevertheless that is what Len McCluskey has done.

As the Independent reports, the Unite General Secretary has accused “Corbyn-hater” Labour MPs of working in cahoots with Tory newspapers to undermine their leader, fuelling the party’s internal wars:

In a blistering attack, the boss of the powerful Unite union said the rebel MPs were “working overtime trying to present the Labour party as a morass of misogyny, anti-Semitism and bullying”.

He named Chris Leslie, Neil Coyle, John Woodcock, Wes Streeting and Ian Austin as being among "a dismal chorus whose every dirge makes winning a Labour government more difficult".

hey were “smearing” a “decent and honourable man who has fought racism and anti-Semitism all his life”, Mr McCluskey claimed, adding: “To see Tory MPs cheer and applaud them was shameful”

The Unite general secretary said their actions made him “understand” the pressure from some on the left of the Labour party to make it easier to sack MPs.

“I look with disgust at the behaviour of the Corbyn-hater MPs who join forces with the most reactionary elements of the media establishment and I understand why there is a growing demand for mandatory reselection,” he said.

The veiled threat to MPs that they should shut up or be deselected will only inflame the situation and underline concerns that the party leadership is not concerned with properly addressing anti-Semitism within Labour. McCluskey may think he is helping Jeremy Corbyn but he is actually making the situation worse.
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