Life & Culture

The Labour Files TV review: A bunch of dull talking heads and no new information

Josh Howie endures a tedious investigation into antisemitism in Corbyn's Labour


The Labour Files
Al Jazeera

Wow, I’ve really taken a bullet for you lot. Before going to print I managed to watch two episodes of Al Jazeera Investigates: The Labour Files, and heroically making it through the desperate narrative from the propaganda wing of a slave state was a tortuous few hours I’m never going to get back.

Mind you, I’m never going to get back the many hours and days I’ve spend fighting antisemitism these last few years, predominantly from Corbynites, and whilst that means I can’t pretend to have any level of impartiality in this matter, it also meant I was actually a bit apprehensive going in.

What if there was some hidden gun? What if they’d uncovered new information that proved that myself and our community had been hoodwinked, that as the antisemitic hashtag proclaims of the hate unleashed under Corbyn’s Labour, #itwasascam?

I’m relieved to report that trepidation quickly turned to boredom, turned to amusement, turned to incredulity, then turned back to boredom.

If this is the best they could come up with after the largest leak of documents in Labour’s history, every second spent keeping Corbyn and his ilk away from power was worth it.

Everything’s a regurgitation. Episode one, appropriately titled The Purge, is dedicated to illustrating how fractured the Labour Party was, duh, and that politics is a somewhat dirty business.

Again, duh. Even in those matters they’re only half successful. Over and over again emails flash up on the screen, sections are highlighted and solemnly narrated with ominous music playing in the background, continually leaving you with the thought, “So what?”

The rest of the time is spent with a bunch of talking-head cranks whose sole purpose seems to be convincing the audience that local politics is the most boring, toxic, petty arena of public life.

The most anti-democratic aspect of this is that it is sure to put people off wanting to enter local politics for fear of having to spend time with people like that. And all the while, apprehensive Apprentice-style music builds in the background, never managing to crescendo with anything resembling an actual point.

Everything here’s designed to muddy the waters, timelines continually shift, innuendo is presented as fact, coherency the enemy.

Not that it matters of course. For this series to merely exist is enough for the antisemites to get themselves into a frenzy over. It doesn’t matter that the EHRC found Labour guilty of breaking the law and discriminating against Jews.

It doesn’t matter that the Forde Report and even the leaked report it was investigating admitted the problem of antisemitism under Corbyn.

Strangely, I actually do wish people would watch this just to see how rubbish it is, particularly the second episode specifically concerning Labour’s antisemitism.

Having seen it all play out in real time and knowing what exactly was omitted, I’d whittle down my pages and pages of counterpoints to one thing to keep in mind: when the documentary eventually reveals that these various useful idiots were either expelled or suspended, why doesn’t it actually show the comments or social media posts or actions they were disciplined for?

The answer would be about as much of a surprise as the number of stars I’m giving this.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive