I didn’t see the BBC’s Sunday Politics interview with Baroness Chakrabarti, but the Guardian report on it, below, is deeply disturbing.
Ken Livingstone was accused of bringing the Labour Party into disrepute after he made a series of accurate comments about the relationship between the German Federation of Zionists and the Nazi government of that country in the 1930s.
It seems certain people did not approve of those facts being aired, so they tried to smear Mr Livingstone as an anti-Semite. They are the villains of this story.
The attack on Mr Livingstone is just part of a wider assault on the Labour Party, based on entirely false claims that anti-Semitism is running rife since Jeremy Corbyn became leader. In fact, there are fewer anti-Semites in the party since he took over.
As a lawyer (she’s the Shadow Attorney-General), Baroness Chakrabarti should know that an accused person is innocent unless they are proven guilty. No such proof has been provided to establish any guilt by Mr Livingstone.
It is true that he has questions to answer, relating to statements he made during and immediately after his disciplinary hearing at the end of March last year.
But Baroness Chakrabarti does not seem to have been referring to that.
Instead, she spoke of “what has happened in the last two years”.
I take that as meaning she thinks it would not be expedient for Mr Livingstone to be allowed to remain a member, because it would attract too much criticism to the party from those who have stirred up what is, basically, a storm in a teacup.
Instead of trying to appease the aggressors, she should be advocating a thorough investigation of them – their methods, their motives, what they stand to gain.
If she would rather take the easy option – if she doesn’t have the guts to do the right thing – then perhaps she should step aside in favour of someone who does.
Shami Chakrabarti has hinted she may quit the Labour frontbench if Ken Livingstone is not expelled from the party at his next disciplinary hearing.
The shadow attorney general, who authored a report on dealing with antisemitism and racism in the party, said she did not believe there were circumstances where the party’s disciplinary panel could decide not to expel Livingstone.
The former mayor of London, who is suspended from the party after comments he made about Adolf Hitler’s support for Zionism, is expected to face his latest disciplinary hearing within three months.
“I’m sorry to say it but I don’t believe that Ken Livingstone can any longer be in the Labour party,” Chakrabarti said when asked about Livingstone’s case on the BBC’s Sunday Politics.
She said she would have to “look at the rationale” before deciding how to respond, when asked if she would step down from the frontbench, but said she found it “very difficult to see that any rational decision-maker in the light of what has happened in the last two years could find a place for Mr Livingstone in our party at this moment”.
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