True – Jeremy Corbyn dances the leadership ballet as though wearing moon-boots. Barely grounded by political gravity and apparently one-quarter of a million miles from the home planet. Still, they are the policies he stands for that make voting Labour imperative. People are asked at a general election to vote for a Party’s policies, in spite of all the media interest in persuading us to vote for leaders. We do not have a presidential system of government.
And here lies the real travesty of the insatiable complaining of Margaret Hodge, Luciana Berger, Tom Watson and the other plaintiffs in the Labour/antisemitism row. Okay – they all have an animus against Corbyn – that’s understandable. But which of his policies do they not agree with? Moving on from austerity? Ending tuition fees? Scrapping the bedroom tax? Renationalising rail? A National Education Service? Ending the privatisation of health? Reviewing worker’s rights and the 4-day week?
It’s important to know, because the continuing furore over antisemitism has the potential for frustrating these policies at a future general election. Put bluntly, is squeezing the last ounce of leverage on antisemitism a higher priority than seeing these centre-left policies have their best chance of winning through?
There are a number of simple rules in our adversarial political system – here’s one: that which the opposing Party relishes is to be challenged or avoided. The Conservative party relishes Labour’s antisemitism woes.
Anyway, such rational arguments will not persuade Margaret Hodge or Tom Watson to ease up. So what is a good practical solution to ending this now and concentrating on policies? Here’s one.
Labour is committed to appointing an independent reviewer to oversee its handling of antisemitism complaints. Lord Falconer has been nominated – much to the displeasure of Margaret Hodge. Fair enough. Why doesn’t Corbyn make Margaret Hodge the Party’s antisemitism ‘tsar’.
Lyndon John son’s famous dictum applies: better than having your enemies outside the tent peeing in, is to have them inside the tent peeing out.