On Monday lunchtime, as my parting shot on CNNTalk, I said that, in her statement responding to the Salisbury nerve agent attack, Theresa May should ask herself one question: “What would Maggie have done?” And then do it.
If I’m honest, I thought we’d hear a statement full of diplomatic ifs and buts. What we got instead, both on Monday and Wednesday was a full on Iron lady tour de force. It was the Prime Minister at her confident best. She was robust, forthright but grounded on an inner calm, based on the belief that she was doing the right thing. The nervousness and lack of self-confidence that is sometimes apparent was banished – hopefully for good.
There wasn’t a single Conservative MP who wouldn’t have given her their full support. And she got the backing of the more sane Labour MPs too. They lined up on Wednesday to tell her she had done exactly the right thing, and subtly to stick the knife into their own leader. The relative unity in the Parliamentary Labour Party has been well and truly shattered over this issue.
This week, the Corbynistas bared their teeth. They gave us an insight into the mob-like authoritarianism that lurks behind the facade of their ‘kind’ politics. They insisted Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t a spy for the Stalinists while at the same time exposing their Stalinist tendencies. ‘How dare you lump us in with Stalinists?’, they cried, while in the next breath making manic-eyed videos threatening the press and forming online mobs to punish those who criticise their Dear Leader. The irony has been dark.
For the first time, I feel fearful of Corbynism. Until now, I’ve seen the Corbynistas as a somewhat tragic movement, a kind of cosplay for middle-class millennials who doll up their rather staid politics — their love of the nanny state, their fear of Brexit, their preference for identity politics over class politics — in Marxist memes and Red blather. But this week we have seen another side to them. We have seen their intolerance of rowdy political criticism, their instinct for political interference in the press. This looks increasingly like a movement of petit-bourgeois vengeance.
Exhibit A is Corbyn’s positively Trumpite threat to the press that ‘change is coming’. For all the Corbyn camp’s loathing of Trump, they share his brutish disdain for the trouble-making media. In the video, Corbyn’s contorted face takes to task right-wing newspapers that have indulged the Czech spy story over the past week, and warns that when the Corbynistas come to power there will be a shake-up of press ownership and pressure on press oligarchs to pay more taxes.
Jeremy Corbyn’s hypocrisy and double standards have reached a new low.
Jeremy Corbyn met with representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah and even called them “friends”.
Hamas and Hezbollah are Islamic terrorist organizations that call for the destruction of Israel and the killing of all Jews in order to establish “Islamic caliphate” just like ISIS.
Jeremy Corbyn refused to attend the Jewish state’s Balfour Declaration celebration in London, because it was attended by the prime minister of Israel.
If Jeremy Corbyn is so open to different opinions like the killing of all Jews (Hamas) and willing to meet with representatives of Islamic terror organizations then why did he boycott a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, at Balfour centenary dinner?
Maybe because Benjamin Netanyahu is the prime minister of a Jewish state, which is the only democratic state in the entire Middle East.
Maybe the idea that Jews are allowed to own a country is too much for Jeremy Corbin.
Hamas’ calls to kill Jews did not prevent a meeting with Jeremy Corbin, but believing that Jews have the right to own a state (Zionism) is too much for him to handle.
Antisemitism in Britain’s Labour Party is now a major concern. What took everyone so long? Watch me expostulate about this to Avi Abelow of Israel Video Network.
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Good evening. Chancellor Philip Hammond will speak tonight at the Confederation of British Industry. He will press business leaders to show their loyalty to the UK by investing here and hiring British citizens. But he will also attempt to soothe and assure them that he will listen to their fears about Brexit.
This closed speech should be seen in context of Mr Hammond’s longstanding dovishness on this issue. He has alienated many in the cabinet by repeatedly arguing for protecting jobs and the economy over cutting immigration, but the dismal election result has only strengthened his hand. He has similarly been the sticking point in the row over lifting the public sector pay cap, which the Government today ruled out until 2018.
His soft approach is not shared by Theresa May. She is under pressure to set out, at the party conference in October, a timetable for her departure. The expectation is that she will stay until June 2019 to make sure Brussels know they will be dealing with her until the curtain. On Sunday the Telegraph reported that she is plotting to dramatically storm out of Brexit talks over the EU’s “divorce bill” in order to show she is “hard-nosed” and “hard-headed”. Such a set-piece would play well with the British press but less well with Michel Barnier, and its rumour suggests that she believes a Tory leader will always benefit domestically from getting into a fight with Europe. Critics will say she is prioritising domestic headlines over foreign relationships, but given the results of David Cameron’s approach, which tended in the opposite direction, I can understand her thinking.
Meanwhile, Labour is experiencing its own political strife. Chuka Umunna’s rebellion last Thursday over membership of the Single Market has left Corbynites furious, and now party chairman Ian Lavery has hinted at purging moderate MPs. The rebels, many of them from Remain-voting constituencies, believe that Labour must rally behind the Single Market to keep its coalition together.
On the surface, this makes sense. The parties’ fortunes in the recent general election are strongly correlated with the vote for Brexit. Labour captured 54 per cent of Remainers to the Conservatives’ 24 per cent, while the Tories won 65 per cent of Leavers to Labour’s 24 per cent. The Conservatives did best in areas where both the 2015 Labour vote and the 2016 Leave vote were high, suggesting Labour’s new coalition is intensely Remain-y. A full 43 per cent of Labour voters said they would like to stop Brexit happening if possible.
But those numbers are deceptive. For Conservatives, believing that Theresa May could “do a better job of negotiating the UK’s exit” was the single biggest reason to vote for their party (according to surveys by Lord Ashcroft). Yet for Labour – and indeed for the country as a whole – it didn’t even make the top three. And while 48 per cent of Tory voters brought up Brexit without being prompted as a reason for their decision, only 8 per cent of Labour voters did the same – behind spending cuts (11 per cent) and the NHS (33 per cent) and only barely beating poverty (7 per cent). What really motivated Labour voters was that they “trusted [its] motives”, “preferred [its] promises”, and believed it would run the economy better.
That suggests Labour’s voters are not actually fanatical Remainers, and are not going to be crestfallen when they discover that Jeremy Corbyn is a Brexiteer at heart (if indeed he is). Rather, they backed him because they believed in his values (though a cynic or a victim of IRA terror might suggest they cannot have known much about them) and agreed with his policies on welfare, public services, and other domestic issues. Their apparent enthusiasm for Remain is merely a proxy for their liberal, Leftist values.
If so, Labour moderates grandstanding over the Single Market are on a hiding to nothing. To Labour voters buoyed by Corbyn’s surprising success it is they and not he who will look like the wreckers. But perhaps the strife within the party is not really about Brexit. Perhaps it is, like the vote for Labour itself, about domestic politics and values. As Tom Harris writes, it is only the latest part of a very long battle between two sides who cannot coexist.
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According to the official narrative, U.S. President Donald Trump was hosting in Washington the leader of a long-friendly country and historic ally. In typical diplomatic niceties, Trump mentioned Turkey’s role as a pillar in the Cold War against Soviet expansion, and Turkey’s legendary courage in fighting alongside American soldiers in the Korean War in the 1950s. Trump also said, speaking of the present, that he looks forward to “working together with President Erdogan on achieving peace and security in the Middle East, on confronting the shared threats, and on working toward a future of dignity and safety for all of our people.” Facts on the ground, however, are frequently less pleasant than Kodak-moment niceties.
On June 8, the United Kingdom will hold its general election. Today, the London Jewish Chronicle released its polling on the Jewish vote in the upcoming contest, and the numbers are stark. 77 percent of British Jews say they will vote for Theresa May’s Conservatives, with just 13 percent voting for the opposition Labour party. For comparison, the 2016 exit poll by the Council on American-Islamic Relations showed that Donald Trump received 13 percent of the Muslim vote.
What has driven British Jews to flee Labour like minorities who fled the Republican party under Trump? As in the United States, this exodus is significantly attributable to the party’s radical leader, in this case, Jeremy Corbyn. In fact, a whopping 54 percent of Jews surveyed said they would be more likely to vote for Labour if Corbyn were not in charge. Who then is Corbyn, and why are British Jews so repelled by him?
To begin with, Corbyn has a long history of unsavory associations with anti-Semites. Among other exploits, he has:
— Donated to the organization of Paul Eisen, a Holocaust denier, and appeared at his events. He later claimed he was unaware of Eisen’s unsavory views, despite 15 years of association.
— Praised preacher Raed Salah and invited him to parliament. Salah claims that Jews make their Passover matzoh with gentile blood, that Jews had foreknowledge of 9/11, and that homosexuality is “a great crime.” He has been banned from the U.K. for anti-Semitic incitement.
— Invited activist Dyab Abou Jahjah to parliament and spoke alongside him. Abou Jahjah had called the 9/11 attacks “sweet revenge,” said Europe made “the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshiping its alternative religion,” and called gays “Aids-spreading faggots.” He is now banned in the U.K.
— Campaigned for the release of Jawad Botmeh and Samar Alami, who were convicted in Britain in 1996 for bombing the Israeli Embassy in London and one of the country’s largest Jewish charities.
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