Liverpool’s Labour politics – What’s going on?

If I spoke to some of those I know in the Labour Party who follow the Corbyn/Momentum creed I guess they would say that Louise Ellman, Luciana Burger and Jane Kennedy are bloody Tories who they are well rid of, or words to similar effect.

But Liverpool has now had 2 of it’s Labour MP’s resign from the party plus the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner and all in the last few months. Are we just seeing the further realignment of Labour into it becoming a pure socialist party and in the process shedding it’s social democrats and other more moderate factions/sects or is there something else going on too? Sadly, there can be little doubt that antisemitism is at play in this heady brew but people holding anti-Semitic views should surely not be a part of any political faction which looks upon itself as being progressive. Yet both the resigning Labour MP’s have clearly pointed to antisemitism as a big reason for their break with Labour.

I’ve spent the last 39 years involved in progressive politics and the trade union movement on Merseyside and in all that time I have never failed to wonder how Labour held itself together with so many widely divergent views within one tent. That it can no longer hold itself together is on one level no surprise yet all the same one of the big underlying issues for this schism are allegations of racism and not just another round of left V right push me – pull you.

Actually, it gives me little pleasure to see Labour struggling with issues which should really be entangling the right of politics not the left, but thereby hangs the dilemma. Very early in my political life I came across a young man, via my trade union, who as a Labour activist openly told me there were more racists in the Labour Party than in the Tory Party. I’ll never forget that view but then over time I slowly began to understand why. Labour has some supporters/voters who are tribal, they are almost literally born into the Party. The Tories are their enemy, as is anyone who is not Labour, yet some of them are far from being progressives and they can hold strikingly right wing views. It led me to coin the phrase – many Labour members/supporters are too right wing for me.

Wherever Labour is going politically they need to see off their racists and those who make excuses for them.

Oh and another thing that stands out; all 3 of the high profile Merseyside resigners are female. That’s also a huge concern, indeed it begs the question about how welcome women feel about being active in a major political party.

All political parties can attract people who are joining them for the wrong reasons; the trick is to remove them when they start to display inappropriate behaviours. Sadly, the problems can often be ignored rather than them being challenged. I fear Labour is now paying the price for ignoring inappropriate behaviour and that has the effect of normalising such behaviour.

Racism – It has no place in our society, end of

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-43328566

The BBC has the article about racist chanting at Nottingham Trent University on its web site – see link above

As a Nottinghamshire lad this saddens and angers me. People are not born racists they are conditioned to be like that by what they learn from those around them; that this is still an issue in 2018 is utterly appalling to me.

I think we all now realise that one of the consequences of the EU Referendum has been that to some it has made intolerance towards those who are non-white and perceived to be non-British something that is socially acceptable again. Well it’s not and those who peddle racism are a threat to us all.

Over the past weeks I have been looking into what I consider to be some dark and frankly racist views that have been held by previous generations of my own family. This seems a sadly appropriate time to publish what I had written as a stand alone but yet to be published blog posting. My point being that my family are from Nottinghamshire:-

Why was my otherwise kindly Grandmother anti-Semitic?

This may seem a odd question to ask but sadly it’s an aspect of my otherwise kindly grandmother, on my father’s side of my family, that has always troubled me.

She lived in the small Nottinghamshire mining community of Kirkby-In-Ashfield, ran/worked in a corner shop, lived in a council house and was I suppose a typical grandmother of her generation. She died when I was a young man in the early 1980’s. But the thing about her that has always troubled me as I have got older is hearing her make anti-Semitic remarks. Sadly, my Dad seemed to hold similar prejudices. Politically I would say she was a working class Conservative.

So what was the source of this anti-Semitism? A check of the census returns for Kirkby-In-Ashfield shows virtually no Jewish people live there now or indeed have done so the past 100 years, so contact with Jewish folk seems highly unlikely as she lived in that town most of her adult life.

She was a religious person, a regular C of E church attender and if memory serves she also refused to go into Catholic Churches. On that basis she must surely have been anti-Catholic too.

Was this anti-Jewish and Catholic thing simply a consequence of tribal religious beliefs handed down from generation to generation?

From a wider perspective I found this Wikipedia article informative:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_United_Kingdom

Interestingly in discussion with my friend Andrew he pointed to the exodus of Jews from Russia in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries (covered in the Wikipedia article above) as being a possible contemporary event that could have influenced my grandmother’s views significantly.

Sadly, I have the feeling that the views of my grandmother, whilst troubling to me, were not unusual for her generation.

My unpublished blog posting (in italics above) about my Grandmother and the BBC article are obvious coincidental. I have no reason what so ever to think racism is a bigger problem in my former home town and indeed in Nottinghamshire generally than it is elsewhere in the UK but what it does show is that racism needs to be challenged wherever it raises its head as it’s been with us for a long time and it needs to become socially unacceptable again.