"But how can you live and have no story to tell?" Fyodor Dostoevsky
"Don’t forget that Corbyn is a product of the liberal metropolitan-elite, who despise the ordinary working man."
For me, there are two fundamental problems with the British Labour Party: Jeremy Corbyn and Diana Abbott. The recent local elections in the UK should have seen Labour sweeping the Conservatives off the map. It didn’t happen, despite the Tories facing crisis after crisis, and deep division in their ranks.
Alastair Campbell, former Labour press secretary, said: “Frankly if we cannot beat this shambles of a Tory party, we don’t deserve to be in the game”.
Labour remains a deeply flawed entity. The Blair years saw it evolve into ‘Tory-lite’ although the Tories also shifted ground towards the centre. They’d each swap and drop policies, although claiming a different founding philosophy.
Labour espouses social justice as its core mantra. A problematic stance when you account for the prejudices that are at the nucleus of the party. I have a particular problem with Jeremy Corbyn, the party leader.
The deep-seated antisemitism is an excellent place to start as it illustrates a point. Labour supports the Palestinians and thus by default is against Israel. Then this morphs into a hatred of the Jews, that in turn gives oxygen to the holocaust deniers. Here we are in 2018, with a progressive social democrat party, with members who question the holocaust. That is disturbing.
The 2016 Chakrabarti inquiry into allegations of antisemitism in Labour produced a whitewash. The whole exercise compromised by the author’s sudden appointment to the House of Lords. Was a deal done? In fairness, Chakrabarti denies it. Unfortunately, at the launch of the report, a Jewish MP was verbally attacked by a Labour member. Corbyn did nothing. Say no more.
It’s worth recalling that Corbyn supported Jawad Botwah and Samar Alami, who carried out the 1994 car bombing of the Israeli Embassy in London. Corbyn raised funds for their appeal, which failed. He addressed the Home Secretary to question their guilt in the face of overwhelming evidence. He said little about the potential harm a car bomb could have wrought on a busy London street.
In a similar vein, Corbyn is silent on the unfolding horrors in Venezuela. Despite the abundance of media reports showing the regime’s brutality, he won't criticise President Maduro. Corbyn ignores the arrest of opposition leaders, and protesters shot in the street.
This approach is part of a broader problem in the Labour Party and the far left. Labour gives a free pass to specific groups and individuals because it designates them 'victims'. There are many examples of this. Volleys of rockets from Palestine into Israeli villages brushed aside, while any response from Israel is a war crime. The life of Jewish children, hiding in bunkers, counts for less in Corbyn's accounting. Facts inverted, truths ignored.
This likewise operates at an individual level. For example, Labour gives considerable leeway to Diana Abbott, the shadow Home Secretary. By any rational measure, she is incompetent. Her press appearances are a disaster as she demonstrates an inability to master her brief. She fails to enunciate coherent policies, becomes flustered, defensive and is intellectually incoherent.
Her truthfulness is also in doubt. She was absent from a crucial vote claiming to be unwell. And yet, she seen in a Westminster pub enjoying herself. She also stands charged of hypocrisy. She seeks to abolish public schools, yet elected to send her son there.
You must understand that in the Labour world Abbott is a victim. She is from a minority group and thus by default the recipient of special treatment. Such includes ignoring questions of competence, sound judgement and the other qualities we seek in leaders. And if you dare to point out these issues, you are by default a racist.
Once that label is unjustly applied, you are next evil and need vilification as an oppressor. The treatment of commentators such as Melanie Phillips, who dares to speak the truth, proves this point.
As things stand, New Labour as brought forth by Blair is dead. The replacement is still confused, conflict-ridden and in desperate need of a coherent strategy. It’s position on Brexit remains unclear, as does its approach to many issues. Estranged from its old working class base across England, Labour is pretty much finished in Scotland.
Don’t forget that Corbyn is a product of the liberal metropolitan-elite, who despise the ordinary working man. Although, they'd never openly say such. He was born into a middle-class family, educated at a grammar school. He’s never held a job outside the political or campaigning domain except for a short spell as a reporter.
Corbyn seeks to play down his support for terrorists. He's proven capable of quite remarkable levels of cynicism and dishonesty. When questioned, he spins the ‘peacemaker' story. Thus it's odd he only met one side during the Northern Ireland troubles. Sean O’Callaghan, an ex-IRA terrorist, comments “Corbyn played no part ever, at any time, in promoting peace in Northern Ireland. Any suggestion he did is cowardly, self-serving lie.”
The public need to know that while the IRA killed innocent British citizens, Corbyn provided political cover. It remains a stain on his character. He’s relying on the public ignorance of these details to maintain an image.
Corbyn will not be the next Prime Minister nor do I ever see him in the role. I believe that middle England doesn’t trust him. His support of terrorists, antisemitism, unclear policies and hypocrisy register with people. His three marriages, plus many affairs suggest an unsettled man. In this regard, he mirrors Trump. In 1979, Corbyn left his first wife to go on a motorcycle tour of East Germany with Abbott.
The Conservatives should be taking a much more significant hit in the local elections. Their Brexit strategy is a national embarrassment. Nonetheless, Prime Minister Theresa May is content to face Corbyn because she looks more credible than him. At the moment, Corbyn is the most significant asset the Conservatives have.
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.