While the Pundit Establishment queues up to endorse the claim by those MPs leaving the Labour Party that their former political home is beset by anti-Semitism, it is clear that rather too many pundits are getting a free pass on their bigotry - notably from the broadcasters. First it was BBC Politics Live leaving guest Ash Sarkar to call out now allegedly independent MP Angela Smith; now ITV has joined the fray.
This time it was, by definition, not a highbrow politics show. ITV Good Morning Britain, the network’s breakfast offering, was without its usual roster of hosts during the half-term break, so on Monday their team was led by Richard Madeley. Guesting, and discussing recent political events, were Mike Segalov, and Tom Bower, author of the hatchet job on Jeremy Corbyn currently being serialised by the Mail on Sunday.
Aaron Bastani has posted the video clip which shows how Bower made a blatant and crude anti-Semitic outburst. And this morning, the rest of the mainstream media doesn’t seem bothered about it. One wonders if there would have been the sound of crickets if the anti-Semitic remark had come from a Corbyn supporter, rather than his unofficial biographer.
Madeley can be heard saying “Labour MPs didn’t want him as leader”, after which Segalov responds “Sure, but the membership does. There’s one of the largest political parties in Western Europe, 500,000 people, twice they have voted him as Labour leader”. Kate Garraway interjected. “He didn’t deal with the anti-Semitism thing, which is the reason why MPs mat well today resign”. Segalov did not agree with her assertion.
“Well, I’d say that he has. If you look at what’s been done already, the Chakrabarti report has been …”. At this point, Bower woke up: “It was a whitewash”. Segalov continued. “I hope … I take anti-Semitism incredibly seriously, I’m Jewish and …”. Bower then dropped his anti-Semitic remark: “You are a self-hating Jew, to represent Corbyn”. Segalov protested that he is not representing Jezza: “I’m a journalist”.
Bower, now fully awake, continued to smear and rant. “You’re not, you’re a spokesman for Corbyn”. Segalov protested further. “That’s an incredibly offensive thing to say, calling me a self-hating Jew and suggesting I’m in the employ of anyone but newspapers …”. It was. And it had come from the Mail on Sunday’s prize source of the moment.
Tom Bower - already widely regarded as a Murdoch stooge - has now shown the world that he is prepared to indulge openly in crude anti-Semitism. Had that remark come from anyone even distantly linked to the Labour leadership, there would have been hell to pay, and rightly so. Now that the MoS’ star turn has ventured across the anti-Semitism line in no style at all, there should also be hell to pay. But there won’t be.
The MoS will keep on serialising his Corbyn hatchet job. The payments will keep rolling in. And the Pundit Establishment will keep on telling the world that anti-Semitism doesn’t really warrant their attention unless it happens in the Labour Party.
The Mail on Sunday also gives a regular berth to Dan “useful Jewish idiot” Hodges. Anyone might conclude that the paper has a problem. I’ll just leave that one there.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at