Who is slurring whom in this grotesque playing-out of cynical party-politics? With so many far more important issues to be debated I hang my head in shame that the headlines in the news today are the sound-bites of trumped-up, game-playing, party-politics to do with antisemitism. I see no genuine concern for truth or justice in all this. No serious concern for human rights. I see nothing but PR stunts. The politicians are merely playing party-political games with the electorate.
Rachel Shabi, an Israeli journalist and author, believes that right-wing elements in the Labour Party are using this debacle within the party, to undermine the party leadership. She reminds us that Boris Johnson made what might easily be interpreted as racist comments against the American President, and that the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London makes frequent use of Islamophobic, dog-whistle tactics to attempt to a discredit the labour candidate. On the Daily Politics programme this morning she states, “I trust Corbyn’s track record on anti-racism”. Surely that is enough said on the issue.
We must begin to see through the cynical tactics of the establishment. Have we already forgotten the revelations of collusion in corruption in the Hillsborough case, repeated lies involving the press, the police and many members of the government, right up to the PM over many decades. This is the full arsenal of weapons that may be marshalled against ordinary people, restricting their access to truth and justice.
This government persists in restricting access to legal aid. Meanwhile Lord Ingham, who publicly slandered the Hillsborough football fans, retains the knighthood bestowed on him by Mrs Thatcher for his time as press secretary. So does Sir Philip Green, the man who pocketed many millions, stripping bare BHS, denuding the pension fund, leaving many workers without wages and jobs. If we care about justice these are the issues that need to be addressed.
The coming election should be a vote on decades of asset stripping, profiteering, secrecy and corruption, tax-dodging money for the top 1%, alongside declining public services and a growing dissatisfaction with neoliberal economics. It seems more than likely that Naz Shah’s comments were conveniently brought to the attention of the media and others by disgruntled local rivals hoping to stir up trouble. Ken Livingstone is merely , perhaps unhelpfully, quoting history, trying to shed some factual light on an otherwise un-illuminating debate about ‘he said, she said’. The timing of the furor is clearly orchestrated to cause maximum damage to the Labour Party. The electorate needs to learn to see beyond dirty tactics. In all this there is a stink, not of racism, but of muck-smearing.