Once again, a member of the Pundit Establishment fails to heed the warning made with no lack of good humour all those years ago in the British film comedy Only Two Can Play: filing your copy a little too early can miss that part of events that renders it a worthless embarrassment. This time, the hapless pundit is the Mail on Sunday’s not even slightly celebrated blues artiste Whinging Dan Hodges, once again ranting about Labour.
He's desperate, Dan
Desperate Dan’s latest effort for the MoS has been rather imaginatively titled “If you're still a member of Labour tomorrow YOU ARE RACIST”. Hang on a minute, didn’t he rejoin the party recently? So either he’s one of those racists, or he flounced out again and nobody noticed. But back to the column, which centres around the disciplinary hearing of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone - not yet a closed matter.
But do go on. “Soon after Ken Livingstone emerged - smug and gloating - from the hearing that had just ruled taunting Jews with the spectre of Adolf Hitler is perfectly compatible with Labour Party membership, I was contacted by a Labour MP … What do you want us to do?’ he asked. ‘They don’t give a damn about what we say or do. Front-bench resignation and no confidence motions didn’t work. What’s left? Leave the party and they win. My constituents lose’”. But Ken’s case ain’t finished yet.
Livingstone - has not been let off
Dan, seemingly, has not noticed, and so on he rambles: “Some have said Labour is now a racist party. And they’re right. But it’s not just a racist party; it’s an apartheid one. Jews are tolerated, but only as second-class citizens … Institutional racism is now so embedded within Labour that if it weren’t so disgusting it would be comical”.
So what is his solution to this problem (which is mostly in his own imagination)? “When you say ‘not in my name’, mean it. If you’re in the Shadow Cabinet, stop acting like a 1980s pop star headlining Sun City, and leave. If you’re a Labour MP, resign the whip. If you’re a Labour member, cancel your membership. Then pledge clearly and unequivocally you will not return until Ken Livingstone has been expelled”.
But there is a problem here, quite apart from his smearing Labour with “shrugging off” racism: Livingstone is highly likely to be expelled, and because, whisper it quietly, of those who have no intention of taking Hodges’ hot-headed rantings on board, instead choosing to exert pressure from within the Labour Party. That is part of the demonstration that Hodges’ claim - that Labour is institutionally racist - is a crock of crap.
If only Hodges had defended him so vociferously, eh?
Jeremy Corbyn - whom Hodges so often pillories for not taking the action he decrees should be taken - announced four days ago that the Livingstone case would be revisited. The party’s general secretary Ian McNicol confirmed this two days ago. So either Hodges has filed his column too early - or he knows all about this, but is more interested in throwing a mardy strop in order to score a little more personal attention.
Pity he wasn’t so hot on anti-Semitism when it was Ed Miliband on the receiving end (which he most certainly was - see HERE, HERE and HERE). Well, Dan?
Either way, it’s lamentably bad journalism, and it’s not good enough. Which is more or less what we’ve come to expect from Desperate Dan over the years.