The best laid plans of mice and Labour leadership contenders...
Rebecca Long-Bailey didn't get to debate the BBC with Andrew Marr after all, which was a shame.
I don't want to be rude, but Becky is useless at interviews. She's like an ineptly-programmed robot. Even Andrew Marr managed to tie her in knots and run rings round her, especially over the trans issue and antisemitism.
On the latter, just like her ideological progenitor Papa Corbyn, she somehow 'couldn't recall' that she'd been at a widely-reported meeting where JC (to a storm of controversy afterwards) said something she herself has stated is antisemitic:
AM: Alright, let’s talk about another big issue. You have stood up to antisemitism in the party, you said, yes?RLB: Yes.AM: Do you recognise this sentence? ‘It should not be regarded as antisemitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances surrounding its foundation as racist.’RLB: I think under the International Holocaust Movement’s definition it would be antisemitic to regard Israel as a racist endeavour.AM: So you regard that sentence as antisemitic? You’ve said that?RLB: I don’t think it’s racist to stand up for the right – or antisemitic, should I say, or racist, either/or to stand up for the right of Israel to exist. And that’s something that I very much support. But I also support a two-state solution and don’t condone the actions of the Israeli government in terms of illegal settlements etc, etc. And that’s why it’s so important...AM: That sentence – you in the past have said was antisemitic. There was a National Executive Committee meeting in October 2018 where Jeremy Corbyn arrived and read out that statement as a proposed addition to the Labour Party policy. You must have been horrified when that happened.RLB: I think under the IHRA definitions it’s very important to make it clear that supporting the right of Israel to exist and not kind of examining in any great detail the history is not – it’s incompatible with the definition of antisemitism, quite frankly. And we need to be very careful on that. But that doesn’t discriminate against...AM: Sorry to interrupt, but when you heard that statement made by Jeremy Corbyn, which you have described as antisemitic, did you speak out against it at the time?RLB: I don’t remember the incident itself. It was mentioned to me at a meeting the other night and I don’t recall it.AM: You were at that meeting.RLB: Well, I don’t recall that statement being made. But I’m very clear on us not questioning the right of Israel to exist, and certainly not saying that in any way it’s a racist endeavour. I’m clear on that, Andrew.AM: This happens at the moment when the antisemitism row is at its height in the Labour Party. You’re at an NEC meeting, your leader arrives and reads out a statement which you regard as antisemitic, and you can’t remember that?RLB: And why I’m being clear on what my view on this is, Andrew, I do not think that it’s right to call Israel or the creation of Israel a racist endeavour. I think that that’s antisemitic. And we’ve got to recognise where we are on antisemitism within the party. We have not taken enough action. It’s not been robust enough. And as Labour leader I would adopt any recommendations made by the EHRC, I would atop the ten pledges made by the Board of Deputies, and I would restore trust with the Jewish community.AM: Rebecca Long-Bailey, thanks very much indeed for talking to us today.
Andrew seemed much more taken with Angela Rayner. He's previously called her "charismatic" and was 'bigging' her up again today. She'd have his vote any day, I suspect.
Grant Shapps was perky, and skated through his interview.
The programme ended with Benjamin Grosvenor playing the piano - a brilliant bonbon by Moritz Moszkowski, performed beautifully.
Here is a somewhat younger Benjamin performing something more substantial: