What will it take for Labour’s Jewish MPs to accept that Jeremy Corbyn despises Israel and is an unreconstructed anti-Semite? That’s a question we have been asking on TCW for a while now. How can Jews still cling to Labour when its leader is so patently intolerant as well as politically manipulative?
How can any decent Labour MP still hold up his or her head in the face of Corbyn’s anti-Semitic shame?
It beggars belief that Margaret Hodge did not resign from a party that planned disciplinary action for her speaking this truth to power, and that it took her so long in the first place to defy the leadership. It defies credulity, but sadly speaks volumes about compliant behaviour that the Holocaust gave us such a terrible lesson in and that we were all meant to learn from – Jews and Gentiles. It speaks volumes, too, about misplaced party loyalty and Labour tribalism. Likewise Ian Austin MP: how is it that he has not resigned the whip? Do these MPs really believe they can effect change from within, or that come the day, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and what Frank Field described as he resigned the Labour whip yesterday as ‘a culture of intolerance, nastiness and intimidation’ in local parties, will conveniently evaporate into the ether? In their dreams.
Not, however, in Frank Field’s. He knows it won’t. And if there is an MP in a position to judge this, it is he – as his long experience of the hard and intolerant Left depicted in this extract from his 1989 Spectator profile testifies to:
‘Trouble began almost as soon as he was elected. It was the height of the hard-left infiltration of the Labour Party, and Merseyside, a Militant nest, was worst affected. At each of his monthly constituency party meetings Field was censured, heckled and abused. He was threatened and intimidated. Moderate party members dared not speak up for him. The day before one of these meetings, he vomited while he was shaving. Looking in the mirror, he realised that he must go into the meeting and on with the fight or lose all self-respect. Instead of trying to outnumber the Militants in the association, he developed a simple tactic. He told them that if they deselected him he would immediately resign his seat and fight a by-election and would win. The tactic worked, and works to this day. Now Field attends the still hostile meetings with a light heart.’
We hope that the heart of this MP and politician of rare principle is lighter today; that he will now be free to pursue the ‘blue’ Labourism he believes in.
We also hope that his less courageous comrades who have not yet been able to imagine a future outside Labour will finally ‘man-up’ and be emboldened by Frank. And, likewise, mark their disgust for the man who has brought their party into total disrepute.
We are waiting for you – Chuka, Owen, Ed, Dan, Jess, Caroline, Liz, Pat, Yvette – the list goes on. You’ve been ready to quit for far too long. Now is not a moment too soon for them, if they want to retain any vestige of self respect and political principle.