LISTENING to Owen Jones on Sky News yesterday talking about Momentum mobilising behind Lisa Forbes’s successful campaign at the Peterborough by-election, I was instantly taken back to an incident in 2017.
As a Labour Party member I went to constituency meetings in Gloucester each month. When Corbyn faced his second vote of no confidence by his cabinet and backbenchers, it fell to branches and trade unions to cast their vote for or against. All branch meetings I had attended up to that point had on average 25-40 members, mostly centrists. On the night of the vote 124 members, mostly new Left-wing and Momentum supporters, cast their vote. Jeremy Corbyn won in Gloucester by 100. This is how Momentum and Left-wingers mobilise. It was no different in Peterborough.
During the selection process within Peterborough CLP, Lisa Forbes (backed by Unite) was voted in as Parliamentary candidate against Samantha Hemraj (backed by Unison and USDAW) in a two-horse race. It is a bad night for politics when one of the two people, both endorsed by pro-Palestinian unions, wins the by-election. For no matter how much Lisa Forbes apologises and fawns over the press that she had made a simple error of ‘liking’ an anti-Semitic social media post, her track record says different.
She ‘liked’ a post by Ismail Ibn Saeed which said: ‘This is the outcome when you have a fair just leader. All it takes is the leader of a nation to address their people with a positive notion of building unity amongst themselves and face repercussion for those who create hate. Unfortunately our leader Theresa May feeds off this rhetoric to keep her Zionist Slave Masters agenda alive’.
In a grovelling apology after her win, she pleaded: ‘I have no issue with any community. I think anti-Semitism is abhorrent. I actually liked a video of children praying about the atrocities that had happened in New Zealand and I hadn’t paid much attention to the text above it. I apologise for that and I’m really sorry and I just hope that people will understand that I don’t have a bad bone in my body towards any race of people and anti-Semitism is something that I condemn completely.’
However, as a trade unionist representative for Unite, that union led by the rabid red Corbynite Len McCluskey, she is influential in her activities to the point where she could put herself forward for selection as a candidate for Parliament.
If she then states that anti-Semitism is abhorrent, how does she excuse herself from affiliation to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign? Along with 15 other unions, including Unison, GMB, and USDAW, Unite supports the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) campaign against Israel. Indeed, Len McCluskey has said: ‘I am very proud that Unite the Union, alongside numerous other UK trade unions, are affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and work closely with the organisation to build a mass workers’ movement committed to ending Israel’s occupation and upholding international law and human rights.’
Anti-Semitism runs through the core of this Left-wing Labour party. Nothing will be done to assuage it until Corbyn takes a stand and shows real leadership. Except, that is never going to happen when he consorts with the likes of Hamas. Everything about this election and the party Lisa Forbes represents smacks of anti-Semitism and no amounts of apologies will make it disappear.
Indeed, on friday there were fresh calls for the deselection of Tom Watson as deputy leader because of his stance on anti-Semitism and his criticism concerning lack of leadership within the Labour Party. In ruling governments, when people criticise leadership under these kind of socialist tropes, they are taken away and never seen again.
Therefore, for me, Lisa Forbes is another step towards a socialism that I do not want in this country. And I guess, when the voters of Peterborough see what this party will bestow upon the British people if elected to government, they may wake up to the fact that they never should have voted for her just because of the red rosette.