What a lot of fuss about nothing.
When Kerry-Anne Mendoza announced that she had recorded an hour-long video interview with Jeremy Corbyn and it would be published by The Canary under its new Frontline strand, the usual suspects piped up immediately with their usual nonsense.
“All anti-Semites together!” they carped. There was some speculation about the content of the conversation, with a heavy accent on anti-Jewish racism.
Well, they were disappointed because there wasn’t a single word of that kind spoken.
It seems the detractors of Ms Mendoza and Mr Corbyn are far more interested in anti-Semitism than they. They seem to be living examples of the maxim that some people protest too much.
The conversation was a pleasant chat between two reasonable people about Corbyn’s origins – political and personal – his philosophy, and his hopes for the future.
And that’s all very well, but…
This was a missed opportunity.
There was a chance here to ask Corbyn about the challenges he faced during his leadership of the Labour Party, and the reasons it failed.
Many of us believe that he was stabbed in the back by right-wing “factionalists” (if you adopt the wording of a certain leaked report) who undermined his campaign in the 2017 election and may have done the same in 2019.
Does Corbyn believe this to be true? Was he unaware of it at the time? If so, to what did he ascribe the problems that beset his leadership?
And there were certainly questions to be asked about the anti-Semitism controversy. Perhaps Corbyn wanted to avoid them, although I see no evidence of him requesting that the issue not be addressed.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission recently found that Labour’s complaints investigation team discriminated against people accused of anti-Semitism in 60 per cent of cases*. This was deliberate; it was a policy adopted by the party’s governance and legal unit.
I was among those who suffered as a result of it. I had to take Labour to court to show that the party ignored its own regulations in order to trump up charges and falsify evidence against me, prior to using that false evidence to bring a verdict against me and expel me from the organisation.
This happened while Jeremy Corbyn was the party leader – while he himself was suffering similar false accusations. And he allowed it to go on. Why?
Did he think nothing was amiss? Or was he hoping that the right result would magic itself up out of nowhere, despite the fact that the malcontents in the party machinery had all the power and the rank-and-file members suffered all the abuse?
Did he hope to be able to resolve the issue, and think that a bitter injustice against a few dozen – maybe a few hundred by now – members was a reasonable price to pay? It wasn’t; and Labour will continue to pay the price for its abuse of process – and of justice – for some time to come, until all those who suffered wrongly during this dark period receive the compensation that is their due.
Perhaps it was too much to ask Corbyn for a word of explanation or apology for the suffering that happened under his leadership.
It’s still a good interview – don’t get me wrong. Mendoza gives Corbyn the time that so many so-called “mainstream” interviewers wouldn’t – although there are moments where a little more direction from her would have been welcome. I’m sure she’ll get the hang of it with practice.
*The only way I can understand that figure is if the other 40 per cent were genuine cases of anti-Semitism that did not require falsification of evidence. This is entirely possible as – remember – nobody says there isn’t any anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and expects to be taken seriously. Racism – like all the uglier sides of humanity – are present in Labour as in all large organisations, as This Writer has stated since the issue first arose.
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