I’m bewildered. I do wish one of the BBC’s terrier-like inquisitors were also bewildered enough to question the appropriate individuals on my behalf. Simplified to the point of banality, as follows:
Of the original magnificent seven Labour Party defectors, only Berger and Gapes cited the Corbers’ / McDonnell leadership’s antisemitism as a ‘red line’; the straw that broke the camel's back. What all seven seemed to have in common was their opposition to Brexit.
Of the eight Labour Party defectors (the original seven, plus Joan Ryan) only Luciana Berger and Joan Ryan turned up for the HoC debate on antisemitism.
To me, the ‘defection’ itself implicitly shines a light on the majority - let’s call them the ‘stay-and-fighters’. By the same token, the paucity of attendees at this timely HoC debate surely says something about the ‘stay-away-ers’.
Notable Labour attendees were Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips. Notable absentees were…. ….anyone from the shadow front bench bar Barry Gardiner (more of whom later)
Where was Tom Watson?
I don’t know the parliamentary convention regarding one’s presence at a debate in which one doesn’t intend to speak. Do many people attend such debates as onlookers, either to show solidarity or at any rate to show an interest?
Could it be that all the nominally supportive absentees would have been there but for other, more pressing commitments? I don’t know, but the vast acres of empty green leather painted a picture.
Barry Gardiner became quite tearful and emotional. But his words rang hollow. He avoided criticising his party’s leadership, and I’m afraid any number of stifled sobs are no substitute for the specificity that the occasion demanded. Theresa Villiers was very specific.
Other notable and unexpected performances were given by Guto Bebb, Ivan Lewis and Maria Caulfield who listed a set of parallels between what is happening now and the rise of Adolf Hitler.
Lastly, a curate’s egg of a speech by Clive Lewis. It was one of those ‘racism in all its forms’ contributions, which I for one could do without in a debate that was supposed to be about antisemitism.
No-one, but no-one mentioned Islam. Most of the loudest voices were quick to identify ‘the far right’. All this shilly-shallying around - could it be an indication that the Labour party is conspicuously avoiding its own responsibility for the Blair Government’s deliberate open-door policy, which was to import Labour voters from third world countries to ensure their position in perpetuity?