As the row over alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party begins to subside following the NEC meeting which decided to adopt the whole of the IHRA definition, along with all the examples, there has been a marked reluctance in one corner of the right-leaning media to let the story go. To no surprise at all, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have decided to try and keep it going a little longer.
This has resulted in yesterday’s claim “Two In Five Jews Would ‘Seriously Consider’ Emigrating If Corbyn Became PM”, authored by new Fawkes apprentice sandwich monitor Tom Harwood, who for some reason has been nicknamed “Mini-Milo” by the good people at Private Eye magazine. So what’s behind the headline?
“A Survation poll for the Jewish Chronicle has found that 38.5% of Jews living in Britain would ‘seriously consider’ emigrating if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister … The Jewish population of the UK stands at almost 300,000, meaning that if the UK were to elect a Labour government, 115,000 British Jews would seriously consider starting a fresh life outside of Britain … This is truly unprecedented in modern British history”.
And, to no surprise, no it isn’t unprecedented. In January 2015 (that’s well before Jezza became Labour leader), a YouGov poll for the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism “carried out its own separate survey of British Jews, which found that 54% feared they had no future in the UK and that a quarter had considered leaving the country in the last two years”. More than half “feared they had no future in the UK”.
Wrong again, Tom
Moreover, although the 25% who “had considered leaving the country” is fewer than the 38.5% who would “seriously consider” emigrating, that is not a like with like comparison. And as to the idea that 115,000 people seriously considering leaving the UK is “unprecedented in modern British history”, well, two things here.
One, The Great Guido has no comparator for the 38.5% figure, and so cannot stand up the claim (minor point, eh, Fawkes folks?). And Two, the size of that potential emigration is not unprecedented, especially when put alongside the figures for EU nationals.
In KPMG’s survey “The Brexit effect on EU nationals … A survey on what European workers will do now”, we find in the Executive Summary “45% said they planned to stay and only 8% are currently planning to leave. However, a large number (35%) are considering leaving. That group, together with those planning to leave, equates to some 1 million EU citizens in the UK”. Or almost nine times the 115,000 figure.
Whichever way you look at it, the Fawkes claim is at the very least highly dubious, and at worst complete bunk. Before Jeremy Corbyn was even a name on the ballot for the Labour leadership, more than half Britain’s Jews “feared they had no future in the UK”. Anti-Semitism did not arrive when Jezza became Labour leader. It has, sadly, never really gone away, as with so many forms of irrational prejudice.
When will Tom Harwood finally get something right? Another fine mess, once again.
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