After so much of the right-leaning media talked up the idea that the Labour Party was some kind of hotbed of anti-Semitism - it isn’t - it is not surprising that some people have begun to believe the propaganda, the scare stories, the inflation of what a very small minority is saying into an organised movement. A few party members may have made anti-Semitic comments. But they are a few. And the party is dealing with them.
That has not stopped the latest bizarre collaboration between the disaffected of the Labour Party and the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker, with the truly jaw-dropping headline “'Why I despise Jeremy Corbyn and his Nazi stormtroopers', by Jewish Labour donor MICHAEL FOSTER”. Where do we start? Maybe with the need for the MoS to use quote marks in that headline, because Foster did not actually say that.
He did, though, say this, and I quote the passage in full: “I, as a lifelong Labour supporter, funder and former parliamentary candidate, last month took Jeremy Corbyn to court to have the law decide whether the leader of the party could self-nominate for leader … To me, respect for the rule of law is fundamental to a democracy. Once political parties believe they are above the law it ends with all opposition silenced, whether it is my grandparents in Dachau, or the Left in Erdogan’s Turkey rounded up and held uncharged in prison … The courts decided that the rules as they stand allowed it. This decision advantaged Corbyn and his Sturm Abteilung (stormtroopers), but on Friday afternoon the Appeal Court handed down a big decision for British democracy”.
Now, Corbyn’s more enthusiastic followers may be over-idealistic, insensitive, immune to persuasion, rather too ready to see base motives in their critics, prepared to shrug off their leader’s misdeeds, and politically naive, but they are not, repeat not, repeat NOT the reincarnation of a Nazi paramilitary movement.
Those devoted Corbyn followers are not behaving like the authorities in modern-day Turkey - very revealing that Foster calls Erdogan’s backers “the left”, which they are not - and they most certainly are not ransacking businesses, killing their opponents, or setting up and running death camps for ethnic and religious minorities.
Moreover, if Foster, or anyone else, believes that the Labour leadership has put itself above the law, they should do something about it, rather than whinge in the pages of a paper that is so averse to individual liberty that it forbids Trades Unions from organising at its offices. Foster might also reconsider some of his targets.
He tells “Britain is not a land of extremist politics … It is why sensible Labour members will vote now for a strong opposition, and for [Owen] Smith in order to preserve constitutional democracy in this country and consign to a footnote in history the socialist revolution led by the good burghers of Islington, The Guardian and other extreme political recidivists”.
When you actually believe that the Guardian is an extremist publication - or, indeed, that it gives Jeremy Corbyn its unequivocal backing, which it does not - you have truly lost the plot. To then ally with the paper whose daily stablemate published a borderline anti-Semitic smear to get at Ed Miliband - well, there are no more words.
Michael Foster is not only wrong, he is desperately so. Sad, really.