19 February 2019

Chuka Ummuna’s 7 Dwarfs Represent a Cancer That Must be Cut Out

Luciana Berger’s Resignation Proves that Wavertree CLP Was Right – Tom Watson Must Go For His Attack on Ordinary Members

We should welcome the fact that Seven Political Pygmies have resigned from the Labour Party.  They will not be missed and hopefully they will not be the last. Their concern about anti-Semitism was demonstrated to be the hypocritical cant it is by the performance of one particularly obnoxious member of the group – pro-privatisation Angela Smith – who spoke about Black people having a ‘funny tinge’.
No one should be surprised. I have been criticised by a few people for calling Chuka Ummuna an Uncle Tom. Some people have even suggested that it is racist.  The dictionary definition is ‘A black person who is overeager to win the approval of whites (as by obsequious behavior or uncritical acceptance of white values and goals) or ‘a person who is overly subservient to or cooperative with authority.’

It is difficult to think of a more apt description of the lugubrious Chuka. Far from being racist, it is a term used by Black anti-racists for collaborators within their own ranks. Chuka Ummuna’s concern about ‘anti-Semitism’ is in marked contrast to his attitude to racism against Black people.  In the Independent last year he wrote:
We can’t attack the racism that may lie behind the Tories’ mistreatment of the Windrush generation when we don’t get our own house in order on hate (my emphasis)
Windrush and ‘hostile environment’ was the quintessential example of British racism – the deportation of Black British citizens happened because and only because they were Black but to Chuka the Tories may be guilty of racism. Chuka and the rest of the 7 abstained (i.e. supported) Theresa May’s 2014 Immigration Act which led directly to the Windrush scandal. The idea that this gaggle of misfits are anti-racist is for the birds.
But we should also be clear that this resignation is, if handled correctly, likely to fizzle out. For one thing the 7 individuals are nonentities without exception. Bill Rodgers, one of the remaining members of the SDP Gang of 4 may have come out in support of the 7 political midgets but that is where the resemblance ends. The resignation of the Gang of 4 in 1981 represented a significant section of the Labour Party.  David Owen was a former Foreign Secretary, Roy Jenkins was a former Deputy Leader and Home Secretary, Shirley Williams was a former Education Minister.  The current crop represent nothing.  They entirely lack any gravitas or base.  
Their most prominent member, Chuka Ummuna was caught out in 2013 on an elite social networking club ASmallWorld complaining that
Most of the West End haunts seem to be full of trash and C-list wannabes, while other places that should know better opt for the cheesy vibe. The millionaire former lawyer then called for recommendations for "a trash-free, decent night".
This antisemitic cartoon attacking George Soros was created by Yair Netanyahu
Trash is an apt description, not only for Chuka Ummuna but the whole group. They represent the interests of capital within Labour. It can do nothing but good that these vipers have voluntarily quit. However for every snake that left, there are plenty that remain – Joan Ryan, Ian Austin, Wes Streeting, Margaret Hodge, Ruth Smeeth, Peter Kyle, Gareth Snell, John Mann, Keith Starmer, Hilary Benn – the list is almost endless.
We should consider the 7 Dwarfs as merely a down payment. There are plenty more who will do their utmost to sabotage Labour’s chances at the General Election unless they are removed now.
However Corbyn and his advisers, Seamus Milne in particular, bear a lot of the blame. They have allowed the anti-Semitism smear campaign and the nonsense that the Labour Party is an institutionally anti-Semitic party to take hold.
Their continued silence as these attacks mount is demoralising and counter-productive.  The campaign won’t go away.  Those who thought by adopting the IHRA that they had bought peace were, as we said, mistaken. The purpose of the anti-Semitism smears is the removal of Corbyn and it is only his own sullen stupidity that fails to recognise what it is really about.
It isn’t too late, even now, to take this bull by the horns and say loud and clear that the Labour Party is not overrun by anti-Semitism and that the idea that Labour is institutionally anti-Semitic is an utter nonsense, nothing more than a crude attempt by racists to acts as parasites on the recommendations of the MacPherson Inquiry. It is about Israel, opposition to Zionism as the insistence by Zionist groups on the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism proves.
Anti-Semitism in Britain is not institutionalised.  There is no Jewish equivalent to Windrush, young Jews are not languishing in gaols, Jews are not the victims of police violence, stop and search or threats of deportation.  Jews are not economically discriminated against. Anti-Semitism in Britain is a marginal prejudice and the most prejudiced are Tory papers who featured Ed Miliband, the Jewish leader of the Labour Party’s inability to eat a bacon sandwich or who indulge in anti-Semitic attacks on George Soros.
Anti-Semitism has been weaponised internationally.  Those who are observant will have noticed that Trump devoted 17 minutes of his State of the Union address to demonising refugees as criminal and drug dealers and yet, he also condemned anti-Semitism despite being an anti-Semite.  For example Trump’s final campaign ad flashed images of three prominent Jewish financial figures: Lloyd Bankfein, Janet Yellen and George Soros accompanied by allusions to those pulling the levers of financial power.
Why else have the Tories and the Tory press embraced the ‘anti-Semitism’ narrative? If anti-Semitism was really a strong force would the Daily Mail and Sun really oppose it?  Why would papers that employed Katie Hopkins whose views on refugees were that they were vermin suddenly take umbrage about anti-Semitism?
The real disappointment about the resignation of Chuka Ummuna, Luciana Berger et al is that so few have gone. If Corbyn had not been such an idiot and believed that he could appease the majority of the PLP he would have embraced Open Selection at the last Labour Party conference.  As it is flocks of the rats are still in the PLP. Unfortunately Corbyn bottled it and Len McLuskey betrayed his union mandate to oppose Open Selection.
However there is one villain who is still trying to make capital out of what has happened.  Tom Watson it was who wanted Wavertree Labour Party to be suspended because Luciana Berger was the subject of a no-confidence motion. Those who had no confidence in her have been utterly vindicated.  Tom Watson, who has every quality of a dog except loyalty, should be given the boot.  There is a pressing need for Corbyn to have a loyal Deputy and for someone from the Left, like Clive Lewis, Richard Burgon or the excellent Chris Williamson from standing for Deputy Leader at the next Labour Party conference.  Watson pledged loyalty to Corbyn when he was elected. He has demonstrated that he has all the grace of a viper.
Events are proving that Corbyn’s strategy of appeasing the Right is disintegrating.  The Blairite Right were never appeasable because they are loyal to capitalism and the British state’s alliance with the United States. That is what the opposition to ‘anti-Semitism’ means.  It is about Israel and British support for the United States’s rabid guard dog in the Middle East.  It is about support for the world’s only apartheid state and NATO. 
At this very moment Israel is holding a general election.  Over 5 million Palestinians, who have lived under occupation for over half a century will have no vote.  They live under a police state, subject to a different legal regime, military law, from Jewish settlers who occupy the same area.  How can anyone pretend that such a situation is not apartheid? And the situation in Israel pre-1948 is little better for the Palestinians, many of whom have been deprived of the vote.
The idea that this crisis is about ‘anti-Semitism’ is demonstrable nonsense. The Tory Party is in alliance with genuinely anti-Semitic parties, the Swedish Democrats, Poland’s Law and Justice Party and Latvia’s Fatherland and Freedom Party in the European Parliament. Yet we hear not a bleat about this and it is testimony to the uselessness of Seamus Milne and Corbyn’s advisers that they say absolutely nothing about this just as they never sought to challenge the false anti-Semitism campaign.  Instead they allow this nonsense to wash over them and flattered the Zionist leaders of Britain’s Jewish community rather than calling them out for the reactionaries they are.
It also has to be said that Corbyn has not exactly triumphed over Brexit.  It should be clear that Brexit is welcomed, above all, by the far-Right in Europe and the United States.  It is a project of neo-fascists, nationalists and chauvinists including of course Trump and the alt-Right.  Rather than ‘respect’ the referendum Labour should be committed to overturning it with a new referendum.  This would have the added advantage of removing one prop of Chuka and friends. No one voted to make themselves poorer but that will be and already is the result of Brexit.  Instead of Diane Abbott mouthing nonsense about respecting the referendum vote Labour should be talking about reversing the decision to leave the EU.
All in all unless Corbyn rises to the challenge and gives a firm indication that he is capable, in Lord Salisbury’s words, of the ‘smack of firm government’ his time as leader is limited. There is no message coming out from the Leader of the Labour Party. Corbyn needs to go on the offensive and bury the false ‘anti-Semitism’ narrative and put forward now a bold programme on housing, nationalisation and Europe. Otherwise Theresa May will succeed if only because of Corbyn’s lethargy and inactivity.  Above all he should stop apologising for what he hasn’t done.
Meanwhile we should encourage more right-wingers to resign and thus ensure that we get deselection by default.  One good piece of news is that the poisonous Campaigns Officer of the Jewish Labour Movement Adam Langleben has resigned. Clearly every cloud has a silver lining.
Tony Greenstein

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