Whosoever digs a pit shall fall in it: and he that rolls a stone, it will return upon him. – Bible Proverb – 26:17
Jeremy Corbyn probably can’t wait for this particular week to be behind him. No-sooner had the furore over Naz Shahs comments on social media began to flair up, when Ken Livingstone decided he was going to take the pressure off Naz, by painting a massive Anti-Semite target on his own back, get publicly roasted by a member of his own party, and then hide from the media circus in a toilet.
To say that I have found this all very funny, is a bit like saying “shit isn’t all that tasty”. Its certainly the truth, but the description doesn’t nearly convey to what extent.
I’m not going to lie, I have had immense fun over the last few days taking the piss out of Labour, and harshly trolling supporters on social media over the whole fiasco. I mean, this is like gold dust. If there is one thing to guarantee a reaction from a Labour supporter (especially the new ones) it’s to implicate the hallowed party as racist/ xenophobic or anti-Semitic.
Its like putting an alka-seltzer in bottle of fizzy drink. The result is instantaneous, explosive and deeply satisfying to watch. But despite my joy at the prime trolling opportunity, I can’t help but feel sad about this sideshow being the main event again. I will explain:
What is very interesting is the sheer amount of people (not just Labour supporters) that are absolutely adamant both Naz Shah and Kens remarks have been blown out of context and are disingenuously being used as a tool to paint the whole Labour party as some kind of modern day Nazi party in disguise. Which Ironically is what Ken was trying to do before he had to hide in the bog.
You know what? To some degree they have a very strong point. If I am truly honest, do I think either Naz or Ken are committed Anti-Semites?
No. No I don’t. Neither do their political opponents, they are using it as political leverage, to enormously great affect. I do however think that both, either through the fervency of the cause she was championing in the case of Naz, or just because he has all the eloquence and tact as a fart on the head, in the case of Ken, said/wrote things that can be viewed as Anti-Semitic.
Ken was doing OK in the offending interview, but for reasons only known to him, decided to claim that “before” Hitler lost his mind he was a Zionist as he only wanted to repatriate all Jews from his country rather than kill them, as if this was somehow OK. This is more an indication of how hopelessly thick Ken is than anything else.
Is it hugely offensive and stupid? Yeah you bet. But being offensive and stupid isn’t a crime yet and its not really proof that he is an Anti-Semite in and of itself.
“Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel
He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews. “- Ken Clark, 5 minutes before hiding in a toilet
Nazs remarks again fall very similar tones….although hers slightly darker. I genuinely believe she is truly sorry for the offence caused by those remarks given her heartfelt apology, which I personally believe shows that she didn’t think properly before evaluating what her words meant, and is appalled by how her behaviour will be felt by the Jewish community. That’s not the behaviour of an Anti-Semite.
But in both cases, which ever side you are on, there is an argument that the comments both are, and are not, Anti-Semitic – if you look hard enough on either side.
And here is the rub. We now, thanks mainly to Labour, live in a land where the slightest things can, unintentionally by the party saying them, be viewed as racist. We have watch what we say or be burned at the politically correct stake by the racism witch hunters that look ever so hard for racist remarks in absolutely everything. All the things are racist, racist are all the things.
Labour not only nurtured and championed the culture of political correctness, they have been more than happy to use it to brand other parties (UKIP mainly, but the Tories too) as racists to suit their own end and garner votes.
During the general election, on any given day I could hardly get through my morning kale juice (reading the Guardian does this to a person), without a Labour representative, popping up to point out what some lowly UKIP member had been caught saying on their personal, non-UKIP affiliated Twitter account with 4 followers.
The last PMQs resulted in a massive debate over Cameron’s supposed racism because he dared to point out Sidique Khan had been hanging around with a know terrorist sympathiser a tad too much. There was absolutely nothing racist in that observation, but as quick as a flash labour whipped that card out. Actually I think its racist for Labour to pretend that any criticism against Khan is automatically Islamophobic, purely because he is a Muslim, so there, Labour you bunch of racists….see how this goes?
Just two small examples, but the point is they forged this sword, and have accidentally cut their own arm off with it. For the party and their supporters to now turn around and cry foul is far too rich for my taste.
Believe me, I would much rather we live in a world where we can discuss religious views on women and homosexuality without somehow being guilty of being racist, where we could talk openly about immigration numbers without being branded Xenophobic and about Israeli foreign policy, without being an Anti-Semite. We might actually be able to get somewhere on these subjects. But we can’t because these are the rules Labour helped draw up.
It’s a world where a party being branded a racist is more damaging than it lying about the economy, going to war illegally, targeting the poor, breaking election rules, broken election pledges, swindling expenses or anything else.
Almost always, without exception, It’s a deflection, a political mind trick to cast your eye away from other matters. As Labour are about to find out, its immensely effective, and that is what is both funny, but mainly sad about the whole thing.