Column JN issue April 8 2020
Hallo, and welcome to the land of unrealistic expectations.
We have arrived here in the wake of the election of Sir Keir Starmer, former Director of Public Prosecutions, as new leader of the Labour Party.
Sir Keir made a welcome start with a heartfelt speech in which he paid a brief but gracious tribute to his predecessor, the former backbencher, Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn, as all but the dullest among us must know, has almost single-handedly ruined the Labour Party in his four years as Leader, showing a tin ear for every situation, failing to cohere as a functioning opposition in the face of one of the direst Tory governments it is possible to imagine, and generally showing himself useless at every turn.
For a time — having triumphantly lost two elections in a row — Corbyn even appeared to delude himself that he had a future in the next Labour Party by becoming Shadow Foreign Secretary. I think, though my columns have a nasty habit of being overtaken by what Harold Macmillan called “events, dear boy”, I think I can just about guarantee that that is not going to happen.
For the Jewish community, of course, Corbyn’s studied wilfulness in the face of overwhelming evidence of antisemitism within the Party, became the only issue worth discussing. Jewish and non-Jewish MPs under his leadership either were forced out of the party — Joan Ryan, Ian Austin, Luciana Berger, Louise Ellman — or left when they could stomach him no more, and then lost their seats in the December 2019 election.
For some, like uber-Labour politician Ruth Smeeth, losing her seat in Stoke was part of the backlash of revulsion against Corbyn showed by many voters. These were not natural Boris Johnson supporters, but they disliked Corbyn more. The dislike related to revulsion against antisemitism and the climate of lies and hero-worship surrounding the Great Leader, fostered by his inner circle, and headed by such types as Karie Murphy, Seamus Milne and Jennie Formby in the Leader’s Office.
Sir Keir, who is a clever man and who, we learn rather tortuously has a Jewish father-in-law — which presumably means his wife is Jewish, though why he couldn’t just say so, one can only speculate — used his victory speech to say how he intends to do whatever he can to get rid of “the stain of antisemitism” from the Labour Party.
I welcome his intention, though he was woefully quiet in the last four years. Some on social media have called for Sir Keir to expel Corbyn from the Party, which is why I say we are in the land of unrealistic expectations. I have severe doubts that any such expulsion will take place, even if the much anticipated EHRC report finds Corbyn guilty of presiding over an institutionally antisemitic Labour Party.
I am also hopeful that Corbyn will not be “rewarded” for his disastrous time in office by being given a peerage, an action which would besmirch the House of Lords.
What I would dearly love — and I, too, have a toehold on the land of unrealistic expectations — is never to hear the name Jeremy Corbyn again. Never to allow this creature a platform from which to express any opinion. Never to see him on TV, not to hear him on BBC radio.
I want the MP for Islington to return to what he is, a backbench irrelevancy. Him, and all his poisonous, antisemitic, slimy supporters.
Social distancing could have been designed specifically for him.