Let’s face it, this has been far from Labour’s finest hour. The remarks made by Ken Livingstone were crass, offensive and above all historically inaccurate. Hitler never supported Zionism. The current controversy has also revealed a problem with anti-Semitism in the Muslim community that it needs to address urgently.
Yet in the midst of the steady drumbeat of constant revelations that has taken hold meant to deliberately create the impression that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has unleashed a culture of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, it worth bearing in mind that the Naz Shah social media post that sparked all this turmoil was made while the Jewish Ed Miliband was leader. In fact all the anti-Semitic comments that led to a series of suspensions were made before Jeremy Corbyn became leader.
The source behind this endless churning out of old social media postings is one Paul Staines, aka the right wing blogger Guido Fawkes who has made it his mission in life to expose anti Semitism within Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Staines is a former member of the infamous Federation of Conservative Students perhaps best known for their “Hang Nelson Mandela” T-Shirts and according to Private Eye once had a night out in Aberystwyth to celebrate Hitler’s rise to power. As a student leader, Staines attempted to form a pact with the far right BNP to disrupt left wing student meetings. His childhood friend was Gideon Sherman, son of the racist Alfred Sherman who is on record as claiming that the SS were as much victims of Hitler as the Jews.
His career highlights include defending the murderous former dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet.
Joining Staines’ crusade were right wing columnists Rod Liddle and Richard Littlejohn, both with a long history of racism allegations behind them. The outcry over Labour’s anti Semitism scandal continued online, as righteous indignation replaced the usual disdain for immigrants, refugees and Muslims in the comments section in The Guardian, Spectator, Independent and particularly Staines’ own website order-order.com. Some took pleasure at Labour’s plight, others seemed to genuinely lack any sort of self awareness.
David Cameron, who once went on an all expenses paid trip to apartheid South Africa and earlier this year at the height of the migrant crisis described refugees in Calais as a “swarm” was predictably outraged. The fact his government has sided with Islamic extremists in Libya and Syria and poured weapons into the despotic fundamentalist regime of Saudi Arabia’s illegal war in Yemen passed virtually everyone by, regardless of anti-Semitism being rife in Islamic extremist ideology.
The idea of institutional ‘left wing privilege’ in light of this rings even more hollow. Considering the record of the current government and the UK’s decades of alliances with the world’s worst dictators, human rights abusers and terrorist groups it makes the reaction of the political class and media establishment to Labour’s troubles curious in the extreme. It is as if there is a unique sickness at the heart of Labour. Perhaps we’re just conditioned to accept such hypocrisy while not recognising it as such, conditioned to ally with religious fanatics to overthrow the secular governments in Libya and Syria and put fascists into power in Ukraine and not think anything of it. Conditioned to accept dog whistle politics in the immigration debate, desensitised to the demonisation of foreigners in attacks on the Human Rights Act.
Cyclical attacks on immigrants is after all part and parcel of each election campaign. Conservative MP Peter Griffiths proved the success of such politics with his election in 1964 and the political class has utilised a more subtle variation of it ever since. Enoch Powell is undoubtedly held in high regard by some of the same people pouring vitriol at Labour.
Each Islamic terrorist attack immediately leads to a laser like focus on the Muslim community by politicians’ statements and media commentary. The Muslim community is expected to condemn these attacks lest they be seen as condoning them. Each terrorist attack allows anti Muslim voices the oxygen of publicity and the appearance of respectability, while across the Western world inspired by the far right PEGIDA movement in Germany anti Muslim groups are gaining support and streamlining their views for mainstream acceptance.
Bigotry is at the heart of everyday politics, but an acceptable form of bigotry, one we’ve been conditioned to accept by a compliant war apologist media establishment and corrupt, amoral political class.
In George Orwell’s seminal Nineteen Eighty Four, the term Doublethink was coined. Doublethink was defined as ” the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” Perhaps this explains those who claim it is racist to oppose the political ideology of Zionism while at the same time arguing it impossible to be racist to Muslims because Islam isn’t a race.