It has been drawn to my attention (I didn’t listen to it live) that radio 4’s Broadcasting House covered the Mail on Sunday’s piece about the feud between Michael Foster and the Corbynistas in their paper review.
The guest reviewers were: popular Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, anti-Israel campaigner Rachel Shabi and Kenton Allen, TV producer and former sound-effects person on the Archers. (I wonder if the Ambridge character ‘Kenton’ was named after him.)
The topic in question came after the discussion about the Archers and I thought it was almost worth transcribing it, as it neatly encapsulates the contributors’ attitudes. to the topic in question.
Paddy O’C:Rachel Shabi, move the page. The Mail on Sunday - what’s happening?
RS:“Well. It’s a bit um annoying to see the Daily Mail frame the story in this way.The headline ‘Corbyn purges top Jewish donor’ of Mail on Sunday article, and ‘reignites race row.’ Well I think it’s the MoS that brought the race into this row, um, this is about Michael Foster who was barred by Corbyn after he mounted an attack on the Labour Party leader though the MoS, and he likened the Corbyn supporters to stormtroopers. So the, hehe, the violent, intimidating Nazi forces that helped their rise to power in 1930s Germany - um to call - to suggest that this is a purge of somebody who is Jewish, I think is …incredibly dangerous and damaging and unfair and the worst way to frame this subject. Antisemitism is a real and serious issue and the last thing we wanna do is to dilute or detract or in any way weaken people’s perception of what antisemitism looks like, and feels like and sounds like - um - Michael Foster has not been barred because he’s Jewish, he’s been barred because he’s likened Corbyn supporters to stormtroopers, which, at a time when the Labour Party is using, you know, theres’s abusive language all round, it’s the very last thing he should have done and it’s clearly a mistake.”
Paddy O’C:Well he’ll be giving his account of that on TWATO, thanks for bringing it to our attention. Jacob Rees Mogg, where would you start?
JR-M:Well just on that. I thought that was an excellent story by the MoS and it’s worth looking at the dateline that they produce, of serious problems in the Labour Party with antisemitism, and Maureen Lipman with whom I’ve reviewed the papers on your programme in the past, a very sensible intelligent lady, has raised these concerns, so I think just to brush them under the carpet is a mistake, ugh, but I would start with the Sunday Express……
Paddy O’C:Rachel wants you to know she doesn’t want to brush it under the carpet…
RS:Actually the last thing I’m suggesting we do is brush the matter under the carpet and I just think that’s a really erroneous way to frame the debate. It is an issue, let’s make it an issue of antisemitism and not just a way to attack the Labour Party…
KA:Well maybe the way to deal with it is not just to expel the Jewish member who brought it to your attention…RS:The Jewish member who brought it to your attention has been expelled or suspended for…KA:That would be a moronic thing to do…RS:….for calling Corbyn supporters stormtroopers.KA:Prone to hyperbole, he’s a former showbiz agent. I’m sure he’ll apologise for that, but to expel the Jewish member for just raising the issue of antisemitism seems to be a bizarre thing to do.RS:Well I think that antisemitism is really important and I wish we could discuss it in a sensible way, without using it as a stick to either bash or, you know, not bash, the Labour Party.Paddy O’C:Ok, we’ve got the passion here.
Well, at the risk of reigniting the race row yet again, I’ll refrain from using this to bash, you know, not bash, Rachel Shabi.