We are now a fair way into the Labour Leadership contest – a contest that wasn’t wanted when you ask most members, or needed when you look at polling and election results from before the “coup” started. Lots has happened and I’ve tweeted extensively – even exhaustively – about it all, so I won’t be going into massive detail here. But I do want to bring a few things to the fore.
Firstly, Shami Chakrabarti has been given a peerage from none other than anti-honours champion Jeremy Corbyn and the usual, tired and desperate faces in the media and in politics are slamming him for hypocrisy. She got it for many reasons, not least an in-depth inquiry into allegations of “widespread anti-semitism and issues with racism”, which concluded that, while there were individuals with unacceptable views within the party, the party itself did not have a widespread issue with anti-semitism or racism.
Those tired faces are saying this peerage was a means of “buying a whitewash”; Corbyn doing a dirty deal to keep his filthy name clean. This is obviously bollocks and quite an allegation to throw around. But then, anything goes – apparently – when it’s thrown at Corbyn. With regards to the hypocrisy charge, just because Corbyn is a critic of the system doesn’t meant the system doesn’t exist. Would his critics here – who can count among their number our deputy leader Tom Watson – rather Corbyn sits back and allows Labour to go underrepresented in the Lords? Would that not be a more-valid reason to attack him? As usual, Corbyn is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t, if you’ll excuse the clunky misuse of a phrase.
With regards to the anti-semitism accusations generally, I put it to you that those using this very serious and very emotive issue as a means of furthering their own careers by using it as a weapon to bash Corbyn with are the real antisemites in this situation. Those willing to repeat the claims time and again for a large audience, despite an official inquiry ruling that there is no wide-spread issue are the ones doing real damage to the Jewish community and the Labour party, too. Jewish Voice have already asked Owen Smith to stop using the topic – and thus, the Jewish community – as a political tool.
Meanwhile, we’ve lost a third head of the establishment child abuse inquiry. This time she gave no reason for this step-down in her resignation letter. More will come out about this, obviously, but I’d say that it’s this simple: It is impossible to have an inquiry into the establishment carried out by the establishment. I don’t trust that this inquiry will perform sufficiently or report fully enough.
Then there has been the Leadership race itself, in which Jeremy Corbyn is predictably miles ahead. Some polls have the voting intention split up to 90%/10% in Corbyn’s favour. of the CLPs that have voted to nominate a candidate so far, the vast majority have voted to nominate Corbyn. More CLPs have decided not to back a candidate that have decided to back Owen Smith. That, I think, speaks volumes about just how out of touch with the membership and the wider public the PLP actually is. They honestly think they have support, but they simply do not. At least not among those who matter – the membership – though maybe they do among the millionaire donor demographic. And therein is the problem: people are sick of this cronyism and dodgy donor funding.
I’ll probably look further into this leadership race nearer the time of the ballot, but for now I’ll leave this there. I’ve lost the blogging bug lately; I’ve been unwell, busy and my mind has been elsewhere. I’ve also been without a computer and blogging on my phone is a pain in the arse. But I’ll make more of an effort to write again soon.
No Man’s Sky – the videogame I’ve been waiting years to play – is finally in the post to me so there’s no doubt I’ll be reviewing that next week at some point. Stay tuned.