The JC Leader: All is changed

The Jewish Chronicle Leader column, June 16 2017

June 15, 2017 12:27

It is not so much a week that is a long time in politics but a minute. At 9.59pm last Thursday, Theresa May’s future seemed guaranteed and Jeremy Corbyn’s uncertain. With the exit poll at 10pm, that was reversed. Since his election as Labour leader in 2015, this newspaper has highlighted Mr Corbyn’s history of alliances with some of the most unsavoury political figures around. We have exposed antisemitism within the Labour Party. And we have reflected the Jewish community’s concerns. But two things are now clear. First, although these concerns clearly prevented Labour candidates from winning in those constituencies where Jews have a sizeable share of the vote, across the country they had zero impact. For whatever reason, the vast majority of voters could not have cared less. The second conclusion flows from this, as well as the forty per cent share of the vote which Mr Corbyn secured. He is, plainly, here to stay — and there is every chance that he could be Prime Minister, either in the current Parliament or after another election.

Just as politics changed last Thursday, so our community must respond to that change. Mr Corbyn’s past associations have not gone away, nor has Labour’s problem with antisemitism. But we have to recognise that for many voters, they are not a significant issue. That presents a challenge for our communal representatives — but it is critical that they meet it. The strength of the Jewish Labour Movement may help. So, too, the large numbers of friends of the community within the PLP. Instead of simply attacking Mr Corbyn and his allies, we have to accept him at his own and his party’s estimation and see if he can be persuaded to act in a way that can restore confidence, not least in the party’s determination to root out racism — of all kinds.

June 15, 2017 12:27

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