DOREEN WACHMANN COLUMN
If he had any decency he’d go – but he won’t

TO stay or not to stay, that is the question which all right-thinking Labour MPs must ask themselves.

The question will come to a head on Rosh Hashana, days after the Parliamentary Labour Party plans to hold a vote on adopting the full international definition of antisemitism.

If they win that vote, which seems likely, will that be the end of the matter? Definitely not. Two years ago, MPs voted 172-40 on a no-confidence motion in their leader. What happened?

Nothing. He refused to go.

The current Labour leadership is slowly but surely eroding the power of the MPs who are allowing Jeremy Corbyn to gain the prominence he now has as Leader of the Opposition.

Democracy review proposals for Labour’s September conference will erode even further the power of MPs to have a say in policy.

I understand why veteran Jewish MPs like Louise Ellman, Ivan Lewis and Luciana Berger choose to remain in the party to which they have devoted their lives.

They have done a tremendous job in fighting the good fight and alerting our community, their decent-minded fellow MPs, the media and the general Jewish public to the current antisemitic excesses of a party, supposedly dedicated to anti-racism.

But we have now come to an impasse. Nothing more can be done, although we have gained the media moral high ground.

Nothing Corbyn says or does will ever satisfy the Jewish community. The Corbyn brand has been irreparably tarnished, except in the eyes of his rabid supporters.

If he had any decency he would step down. But that is not going to happen.

The Labour antisemitism crisis is the tip of the iceberg in a much bigger malaise within the party — a slow but sure erosion of parliamentary democracy in which Trotskyite bully boys are taking control over the National Executive Committee and local constituency parties and using any means whatsoever to stifle free speech within the party.

Is that what long-standing Labour MPs really want . . . to rubber-stamp a communist-style dictatorship here in Britain?

The situation would not be so dire if Theresa May’s government was stable and could ride out the Labour antisemitism storm.

But with the complete shambles of Brexit negotiations, she is holding on to power by a knife edge and a general election could, God forbid, be called at any time.

Anyway, why should people who have voted Labour all their lives because they believed in its principle of compassion and welfare be forced to vote for a Conservative government with whom they are not ideologically aligned?

All decent Labour MPs have a duty to their electorate to stand up and be counted before they become deselected by their constituency organisations, overtaken by Corbynite radicals.

Corbyn-critic John Woodcock MP, who claimed the sexual allegations made against him were politically motivated, did the right thing when he stood down from Labour to become an Independent.

Ivan Lewis, who is in a similar position, should do the same.

If he left the party of his own accord rather than being forced out, voters in Bury South — which has the second highest proportion of Jewish voters in the country — would not be faced with the impossible dilemma of having to choose between a Jewish MP who has given sterling service to the Jewish and general community and supporting Corbyn.

Ivan could only win by going Independent.

But what of his fellow decent-minded Labour MPs, from Ellman and Berger to veteran supporter of the Jewish community John Mann and deputy leader Tom Watson, who has distanced himself from his leader’s stand on antisemitism? What should they do?

I suggest they form a new party, or rather revive an old one. This one should not be New Labour but True Labour, which would uphold all the principles of decency and compassion which characterised the party for decades.

Only in this way will not only the future of British Jewry become more secure but also the future of British democracy.

With Brexit in shambles, I was beginning to regret having voted for it. My original reason was worry over a possible EU far-right takeover when the law against implicating Poles in complicity in the Holocaust was first proposed by the Polish parliament two years ago. But now we have enough antisemitism to worry about on our own doorstep without worrying about it in Europe.

Yet my fears were not unfounded. Hungarian right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban has declared that next year’s European elections will be a battle against liberal democracy.

Although he’s Bibi Netanyahu’s friend, I don’t trust Orban and his growing band of right-wing leaders across Europe to safeguard Jewish freedom of expression.

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