IT SEEMS to be only during the leadership elections for political parties that the public get a good look at the kind of people who are party members. I have previously discussed some of the things to be seen under the rock when it is lifted at Labour Party meetings. But there is more that can be gleaned from what was said.
At the meeting I wrote about, Rebecca Long Bailey provided rambling replies to her interrogators, which might have satisfied them, but in so doing, she provided an interesting insight into Labour’s abject failure to deal with its anti-Semitic members, ironically when she was responding to the man who complained about the ‘Israeli Lobby’ and Long Bailey proclaiming herself to be a Zionist. Long Bailey’s excuse was this:
‘ . . . we know that our processes weren’t fit for purpose and there are a number of reasons for that but one of the huge reasons is that we went from being a moderately sized party to a huge party and that was a brilliant thing to happen because we energised so many people and inspired so many people but then that meant that we didn’t have processes that were fit to deal with complaints quickly enough and it wasn’t just about anti-Semitism by the way this was all forms of complaint whether it was sexual harassment, misconduct, racism, Islamophobia they weren’t processed quickly enough . . . ’
The first area to consider is that Long Bailey stated that the party membership increased from ‘moderately sized’ to ‘huge’. It is generally accepted that this rush to join Labour was due to Jeremy Corbyn being party leader. People who identified with Corbyn’s brand of hard Left socialism joined or rejoined the party. Members of some extremist political groups quit and flocked off to Labour en masse. Long Bailey admitted these flocking people caused complaints to increase. This suggests that the people causing the problems were Corbynist flockers. But Long Bailey states that the complaints were not only about anti-Semitic behaviour, there were also increases in sexism, racism and Islamophobia.
What is curious is that no feminist groups have raised the increase in sexual harassment caused by this new intake. Anti-racist organisations have been silent about the rise in hostility directed towards what they called ‘BAME’ members. Muslim groups have not contacted the press about an imported culture of hatred towards their co-religionists. What is going on here? Is there a massive cover-up by the Labour Party whereby we are being shielded from the truth about racist, sexist and Islamophobic Corbynists? Are David Lammy and Stella Creasy involved in a socialist omerta in the name of party unity?
Not quite. While it is hard to attach virtue to these flocking Corbynists, it is unlikely that their ideological beliefs include constant boorish behaviour towards women and black people. Given Corbyn’s affinity towards the Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamophobia in a party member would be tantamount to being the sneering traitor about which Corbynists unflaggingly sing whenever they flock together.
No, what infected Labour even before the rise of Corbyn was anti-Semitism. Long Bailey used the other bigotries as a kind of cover for the only one that is of significance. But consider her words again. While she could not provide figures, she was suggesting that the number of incidents leading to complaints had risen in direct proportion to the rise in members. We do not know the truth, but it is likely that the rise has been higher, especially considering the traditional hatred by Corbyn supporters of the USA, Israel, and thus Jews by extension, if not in particular. If a now-former Labour MP can get a lusty round of applause when he declares that Labour has been ‘too apologetic’ over anti-Semitism, the problem is not just with the former MP but also with his audience, yet only the MP was reported and suspended. Anti-Semitism is deeply embedded in the Labour Party. Long Bailey has more or less admitted this.