Time should be up for the Tories’ fifth column in Labour

THERE comes a time in the life of any witch-hunt when evidence dragged out to sustain it becomes ever more tenuous and convinces the perpetrators that the game is up.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s embarrassing intervention when he confused Jeremy Corbyn’s comments with those of Holocaust survivor Hajo Meyer before confirming that the Labour leader’s real crime was criticising Israel could have been that time.

If it wasn’t, then Margaret Hodge’s distasteful equation of the fear she claims to have felt receiving a letter from Labour’s disciplinary committee with that of her Holocaust survivor father as he prepared to flee nazi Germany must surely signal the end.

Isn’t Hodge ashamed at manipulating her father’s unimaginable plight, shared with millions of others, to put it on a par with a committee that is so rigidly totalitarian that it dropped its investigation on receipt of a solicitor’s letter?

Aren’t Hodge’s supporters inside Labour or outside vexed to see such cheapening of the Holocaust experience as to equate the Labour Party with nazi dictatorship?

If all parallels drawn between the nazi yoke over Europe and Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands are adjudged illegitimate from the outset, how can linking the Labour Party with the Third Reich be acceptable?

It was inevitable that Corbyn supporters would mock Hodge’s comments online, drawing allusions between wholly disproportionate historical events and, predictably, Rupert Murdoch’s flagship rag The Sun has called this “tasteless.”

Many people may believe that telling lies about Liverpool football fans at Hillsborough or keeping a constant barrage of hatred against Muslims, asylum-seekers, trade unionists and whoever else is in the frame is slightly more tasteless.

Hodge and her supporters might well reflect that, if The Sun is on her side, it might be time to reassess their position.

Corbyn struck a chord with many previously alienated people in Britain by speaking out on issues that the politically convergent major parties had little to say on — public ownership of railways, water and power companies, student debt, affordable housing, defending the NHS and people in work who depended on benefits or foodbanks.

Hundreds of thousands of them liked what they heard and signed up to Labour, refreshing a party that New Labour had gutted and disillusioned.

Whatever the efforts by Corbyn and his leadership team, there has been precious little mention of these vital issues about which only Labour has a clear message.

Corbyn’s innate decency and readiness to believe he can be wrong led him to accept initial allegations of anti-semitism and to promise, as a lifelong anti-racist, that firm action would be taken.

But every pledge has been thrown back in his face, as the anti-Labour media, conservative Jewish circles, New Labour backbenchers and, now, even the head of an overseas government have united in hostility to Corbyn, telling him he isn’t fit to be party leader.

That may be their view, but it is not their decision to take.

Labour’s members made their minds up twice — even more convincingly the second time around — that Corbyn is their choice.

They want a socialist, an anti-imperialist, an anti-racist because they’ve seen the alternatives and the problems they caused.

It’s make-your-mind-up time for Hodge and her friends in the group of rent-a-quote holdouts from a previous regime who take turns to tell anti-Labour media outlets what they want to hear.

They can either stop embarrassing themselves with hyperbolic comparisons between Labour and the nazis or be seen clearly as the Tory Party’s fifth column.


This article appeared in The Morning Star 17th August 2018.