So I didn’t watch the Panorama programme on exposing the Antisemitism within Labour until early this morning, having seen some of the reaction on Social Media last night, then I was bracing myself, but really it was much worse than I feared. But not just because of the antisemitism, but of the reaction, both within the documentary and outside of it.
The programme was damning. Its one of these things that when its laid out in front of you, with so much of it coming directly from those involved, that first hand experience. But also a lot of it straight from actual footage and emails.
The reaction from the Leader and the inner circle was as expected – deflection, whataboutary, and blaming everyone else. Most significantly is the assertion that this is a direct attack on Jeremy himself, therefore it can’t be true. Two things really came to light about this, firstly is the lack of reflection that there might be a problem, and secondly the rather clever move that this is a direct attack on Jeremy. I am still in two minds if Jeremy himself is actually antisemitic (either deliberately or through unconscious bias) or if he is just a figurehead with no actual ability to change the direction of the party. But one thing is very clear, that by focusing it as an attack on Jeremy, then everyone else who is actually leading from the back seats is delivering their own agenda through the figurehead and ensuring they don’t take the heat.
What is more distressing really is the hand wringing from members, MPs, and councillors. I kinda lost it with Darren Jones MP this morning, when I simply replied to his tweet of outrage with “So what are you going to do about it Darren”. I then followed up with a retraction of sorts, because its not just Darren. When you see tweets from Tom Watson and others, the deputy leader, saying how awful it is, then you have to ask :
WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN DOING FOR THE PAST 4 YEARS
This is not new news, this problem has been talked about as its escalated.
But all of that aside (that’s a lot to put aside), but for me its about how the staff have been treated, and glibly blamed/framed/scapegoated for this. For Labour staff members to have resigned and had mental breakdowns, to contemplate suicide because of their working conditions, and then to try to hush it up with NDAs. The party of the workers, who have staff that have been threatening to strike, who have been called all sorts of names and pushing them to the edge. Well WTAF!
Now, I’m not a member anymore, I resigned in protest, partially about this, the general and personal bullying and Brexit. But it still breaks my heart, because fundamentally Labour Values are still my values, I hope that one day this will all end and I can get back on board with a decent lefty party that cares more about communities and people. But whilst this shit is happening, and is still supported by decent people who do nothing more than tweet their anguish, then there is a point where the party will not recover, indeed, that might have already happened.
The Labour Party is supposed to be about helping those who need it. If you are a member and still paying to support this bullying and racism, then what are you going to do about it, are you going to tweet your anguish, or do something to actually make a difference? If you are staying to fight from the inside, then I can only suggest, taking cover until it all blows over isn’t working!