When Michael Dugher was relieved of his shadow cabinet brief by Jeremy Corbyn in early 2016 - he was supposed to be shadowing the Culture, Media and Sport portfolio, but wasn’t - some in our free and fearless press were up in arms. This was proof, they held, that Labour was no longer the party of the working classes, those whom the media class talk about ad infinitum, and indeed ad nauseam, but very rarely meet.
And it was total bunk: Dugher was sacked because he was useless. Worse, as I told at the time, he was thought to be too close to the Murdoch mafiosi. This may have benefited the goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, but their interests and those of the Labour Party very rarely converge, and thus the problem.
Indeed, Peter Jukes of Byline Media observed back then “I thought he was almost invisible at DCMS given importance of Leveson, BBC Review and Channel 4 privatisation”. By complete coincidence, you understand, it was most helpful to the Murdochs that he did nothing to counter their attack on Leveson Part 2, or anything to do with the hated BBC, and certainly not Channel 4 - another Sun hate target - being flogged off.
So it was no surprise to see Dugher The Useless announce his departure from the Labour Party in the Murdoch press today. The Sun on Sunday had his exclusive comments, which show, more or less, that the reason for his departure is the claim that Labour is doing nothing to tackle allegations of anti-Semitism. This is also bunk.
Under new General Secretary Jennie Formby, the party actually is tackling allegations of anti-Semitism, which in the glory days Dugher cites, it did not. He claims “Labour’s bosses and party HQ have had repeated opportunities to fix the problem they undoubtedly have with anti-Semitism - and they’ve repeatedly failed to do so. Words are not enough. We need action”. Except they are taking action. Dugher is being wilfully dishonest.
That is not the only whopper he pitches, as witness “Today, under his leadership, anti-Semites in the Labour Party are repeatedly let off with a rap on the knuckles, rather than being booted out for good … Time after time, allegations are brought to the party’s attention. But too often the Jew-haters are given a free pass”. No citation.
He also claims “I can no longer justify paying subs to a party which I now regard as institutionally anti-Semitic. For too many people, it is no longer seen as the ‘Labour Party’ but is seen instead as the ‘Anti-Semitic Party’”. I have never heard the Labour Party thus described. But if the Murdochs pay you enough, who knows, eh Mikey?
And he just keeps on trowelling it on. “Labour simply hasn’t done enough to root out the anti-Semites from its ranks, many of whom claim to be among Jeremy Corbyn’s most fanatical supporters”. Many of who? Go on, name one. But then, that would open the door for one of those inconvenient things called lawsuits. We won’t be going there.
The reality is that Labour is tackling a problem it had not tackled as comprehensively before. But Michael Dugher is still smarting for being kicked out of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet for being too close to the Murdoch press. He has proved that today by giving them an exclusive. He is the best ex-Labour MP money can buy. Murdoch has bought him.
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