We may be only weeks away from a General Election. So it is entirely legitimate for an interviewer to ask a Labour MP the obvious question - would a Government headed by Jeremy Corbyn be A Good Thing? Thus Liverpool Wavertree’s representative Luciana Berger can have had no complaints when Eddie Mair put the question to her on his LBC show yesterday. Here’s the exchange in all its toe-curling embarrassment.
Eddie Mair: I want to ask you, would a Jeremy Corbyn Government be brilliant news for this country?
Luciana Berger: [hesitates] In the sense of?
EM: Do you need it qualified? Would a Jeremy Corbyn Government be brilliant news for Britain?
LB: Well, in terms of, it’s not the question for the country … for what they want …
EM: Well, you’re a Labour MP. I’m asking you whether a Jeremy Corbyn Government would be brilliant news for Britain.
LB: Well, at the moment, [it’s] very clear that we have a country that’s divided, and we need …
EM: Isn’t the answer “Yes”?
LB: Well, what’s most important at this moment in time is that we resolve the Brexit question.
EM: Why can’t you say “Yes”?
LB: Because … [laughs]
EM: Because you don’t believe it.
LB: My answer is, is that the issue that we’re first and foremost contending with, the crisis we find ourselves in, is around Brexit, and that is the issue we need to deal with.
EM: Forgive me for pressing you, but I would have thought a Labour MP would have said that a Jeremy Corbyn Government would be brilliant news for Britain.
LB: Well, you know there’s many different views at the moment in the Labour Party, we have many different issues that we have to content with.
EM: You don’t think it would be brilliant news for Britain?
LB: I think that we need to deal first and foremost with the Brexit issue.
EM: You’ve made that point. But if you’re asking, if you’re going to the polls at some point in the next few weeks, and saying “Vote for me”, you’re also saying “Vote for Jeremy Corbyn”. You can’t bring yourself to say that a Jeremy Corbyn Government would be brilliant news for Britain.
LB: I think we need to resolve the Brexit issue first. I don’t think it’s right that we should be going to the country, having a General Election, when we haven’t resolved the Brexit issue.
EM: When the election comes, would a Jeremy Corbyn Government be brilliant news for Britain?
LB: Well, I think a Labour Government would be better than a Conservative Government, yes.
EM: Not a Jeremy Corbyn-led Government?
LB: Well, I think, you know, I’m a Labour MP so [mumbles] I’d want a Labour Government over a Conservative Government.
EM: Even a Jeremy Corbyn-led Government?
LB: I want a Labour Government.
EM: Thank you for taking the time, good to talk to you.
Listening to the interview gave the immediate impression that it looked bad. Reading it back just now, it looked worse. Even Ms Berger’s supporters can be excused for sitting there and shaking their heads. This was as close to a car crash as makes no difference.
As Zelo Street regulars will know, this blog has defended Luciana Berger against the unpleasantness of the far right, and unwarranted drivel invented by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, but on this occasion she has come up short. Corbyn has pointedly given her the freedom to speak out, even when that might reflect badly on his leadership of the party. This is a pretty poor way to say thanks.
Eddie Mair is not just about skewering Tories. Let that sink in, as they say.
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The most "brilliant news" for Liverpool Wavertree would be that parachuted-in red tory Berger has been parachuted-out.
This is the woman who claimed she was "Afraid to walk the streets" of her constituency, thus, as usual, implying rampant anti semitism. It's bullshit of course but sadly typical of her kind of unwanted right wing politics. It was a disgusting insult to her constituents. The only worse spectacle is John Mann's twitching hate-filled face at the mention of Corbyn's name.
All of which makes right wing Jews as reprehensible as right wing Protestants, Catholics and Muslims. Which doubtless someone like Berger would twist into "anti-semitism". Which in turn means the Labour Party and Liverpool Wavertree would be infinitely better off without her.
Berger is a disgrace to her Wavertree constituency and to the Labour party itself. When she walked through Liverpool with a police constable she wasn't signalling she was afraid of A/S in the Labour Party, she was signalling that she viewed the city in the most negative terms possible. It's that, not A/S among Liverpool residents, that has made her unwelcome in the city and she needs to go. She won't of course, because - unlike Berger herself - Liverpudlians know that a Corbyn led govt would be 'brilliant news'; as a result, they'll go to the polls and vote for her regardless. The only way Berger will go is if deselection comes in - and it needs to.
There's no widespread demand for a general election, and a load of Corbyn supporters saying they want one doesn't make it true. And anyway, Labour for now has a joke unicorn policy on the biggest issue.
Please don't start on Luciana again ffs. For one thing, it just ends up shooting yourselves in the foot if she starts getting harassment / abuse on Twitter, it will be highlighted to show how "terrible" corbyn supporters are.
Berger and her political views are as open to criticism as any other politician's.
This is called "democracy".
In my view Berger bertrays Labour Party policies every time she implies "anti-semitism" is a dominant feature. The radio interview shows her to be little more than a right winger with no political party loyalty where it matters.
And let's be clear about this: Corbyn has always openly criticised the government of Israel for its expansionist policies, land theft and mass murder and suppression of the Palestinian people. So has the United Nations in resolution after resolution. Such policies continue to this day - disgusting breaches of international law and basic human decency. The ghettoising of Gaza is one of the most sordid post-war examples of state violence; it shames us all, not just Israel.
If Berger wants to defend such violence and thievery that too is her democratic right. But so far as I know nobody has accused her of anti-Islamism because of it.
Berger is a dishonest politician hiding behind her religion. Which is why she should have no place in a Labour Party trying to reconstruct itself after disgusting New Labour corruption of the right wing Blair/Brown years. Either she should resign or she should make clear her position on the murderous thieving behaviour of the Israeli government - as have so many other dissident members of her religion around the world. Until she does, her hypocritical opportunism will be seen as nothing more than the behaviour of yet another tenth rate politician.
Mr Anonymnous (the other one), you sound like a nice chap. Gordon Brown as "disgusting rightwing corruption". Whatever its failures, I've never heard anybody seriously suggest that government did worse economically than one run on Corbyn's preferred anti-EU Bennery for 40 years.
Great bit of "she needs to condemn Israel" now there too. I'm sure you're similarly forthright with every example. When Corbyn comes out with "all sides need to get round the table" rhubarb about Putin, Assad or Maduro, I bet you're incandescent. It isn't "whataboutery" when one of the examples is bang next door to Israel.
The other other Anonymous at 17:27.
Are you serious about the Blair/Brown failures? Such as Brown's "We have abolished boom and bust" just before the economy collapsed in the worst bust since 1929? Or any of Blair's illegal mass murder wars - with disastrous global consequences to this day? If so, you've swallowed too much red tory rhubarb...with the usual follow through.
Even that fanatical old racist capitalist Churchill came to understand that jaw-jaw is better than war-war. Something Berger (and you) seem to have forgotten. So does the Israeli government.
Meanwhile, Berger will stay in Liverpool Wavertree just as long as the constituents allow it. One way or the other she will always be a party liability. Opportunists and chancers always are.
She's been on the news again today, standing outside Westminster with Chuka and a few pro-EU Tories demanding a second referendum and slagging Corbyn off. Tiresome woman
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