DOREEN WACHMANN COLUMN
Letís hope any political surprises are good ones

DEMOCRACY is breaking down all over the world. After two general elections this year, Israel is still struggling to form a government, while its would-be and has-been prime minister faces criminal charges.

Spain held its fourth general election in four years this week. The President of America is threatened with impeachment.

Northern Irelandís devolved assembly Stormont has not sat for nearly three years. Yet that did not stop Northern Irelandís DUP interfering in British affairs and putting a stop to Theresa Mayís Brexit deal.

The SNP want another Scottish referendum, wishing to cut their ties with Britain. But that did not stop them doing a wrecking job in the British Parliament.

Here in the UK in the past year it has been so painful to watch the break-down of our much vaunted parliamentary democracy.

Despite the massive risks of a general election, it was a relief to see the opposition parties finally agree to the election after weeks of wrecking motions.

For the Jewish community, the principal issue seems to be to keep Corbyn out.

Donít get me wrong, I canít bear to watch the man ranting on the campaign trail. I would never vote for a Labour government while he is in office and I am continually sickened every time I hear yet another allegation of Labour antisemitism.

Yet I feel that demonising the man who is, after all, a very frail human being with many blind spots, is far too simplistic an assessment of the situation.

Rachel Sylvester recently got it right in The Times. She reported that a senior MP said that Corbyn had told him: ďIím the stupid one in the family, thatís why I went into politics.Ē

The MP explained: ďCorbyn has an intellectual insecurity and he is attracted to factional politics because when someone else is giving you the line you donít have to think with great clarity or depth. Where he is challenged most is when the faction cannot agree.Ē

Corbyn is an old-fashioned Marxist who has long ago been programmed to be anti-Israel.

As we know, particularly in this day and age of extremely anti-social media, this can very easily spill over into antisemitism. But Corbyn, who has not been trained to think for himself, does not get it.

I donít want to see him in power, not because I believe that he will immediately ban Jewish rituals like shechita and kashrut but because I believe he will not really be in power and I am extremely wary of those who would really be in power, pulling the strings behind Corbyn.

Most of the moderates have now left the Labour Party, as indeed have moderate Conservatives left their party.

Luciana Berger, Dame Louise Ellman, Ivan Lewis, Ian Austin, Frank Field, John Woodcock, John Mann and Tom Watson were all right to go and not support a Labour government.

But it has left the Labour Party devoid of moderates.

Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have low approval ratings. As I wrote in my last column, Boris seems to have improved considerably since Rosh Hashana and who am I to say that a baal teshuva does not stand higher than a tzaddik?

But his initial ranting and raving about ďdying in a ditchĒ if he did not leave the EU by Halloween has been left to haunt him.

New Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson seems a breath of fresh air compared to the two older jaded male politicians, particularly as she has ruled out putting Corbyn into office.

But I donít like her extreme policy of revoking Brexit and, in our present electoral system, how much clout can she have if she will not be a kingmaker and back Johnson or Corbyn?

Recent political history has shown us that it is impossible to make predictions. UK politics may no longer be a traditional, binary fight between Conservative and Labour.

Swinson may appeal to sensible moderates who are sick of the extremist policies of the two major political parties.

The Greens could benefit from the Extinction Rebellion revolution and, of course, Scottish, Northern Irish and even Welsh politics come into the mix, with the Brexit Party wreaking havoc on the sidelines.

Personally, I would like to leave the EU with a deal and I donít want to see as prime minister Corbyn or anyone else soft on antisemitism or any other form of racism.

But with our recent political history, I rather suspect that there will be more surprises in store. I only hope they will be good ones.

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