Neviim Tovim, blogs by Gillian Gould Lazarus

Labour Conference 2021: three days in.

Posted on: September 27, 2021

Jonah was only three days in the whale. He didn’t complain and neither can we. Conference passed the changes required by EHRC; 73% in favour, 27% against. Changes in the rules for nominating and electing the party leader were passed, narrowly.

The political editor of LBC was physically ejected from a JVL fringe meeting by the ursine Mr Tony Greenstein. He was later readmitted and JVL apologized. Jewish blogger and investigative journalist David Collier was ejected from the same meeting but not readmitted.

It is not all doom and gloom for the Corbynist tendency. Conference chose Israel/Palestine as a topic for debate – the only foreign affairs topic I believe – and voted today:

“Conference condemns the ongoing Nakba in Palestine, Israel’s militarised violence attacking the Al Aqsa mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah and the deadly assault on Gaza.”

Numbers in favour of the motion, presented by Young Labour, were about two thirds with about a third voting against.

And yet – a blow to the antisemites, this – Dame Louise Ellman, former MP for Liverpool Riverside, has returned to the Labour Party, expressing confidence that Keir Starmer will make Labour again a safe place for Jewish members.

Her return is much lamented on Corbynist social media but it is a potent endorsement of Starmer for those hesitating over rejoining. Louise Ellman was a Labour MP for twenty-two years. It could not have been easy for her to issue divorce proceedings, so to speak, against the party when she believed that antisemitism had become mainstream under Corbyn’s leadership.

It was easier for sometime members and consistent Labour voters like me to distance ourselves when the toxicity became too much. I am safe in my home in north London, watching the conference on Youtube: the interesting loucheness of Angela Rayner calling Tories scum; the impressive speech by Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves and the moving appearance of Ruth Smeeth at the debate on the EHRC regulations regarding antisemitism.

One of the comrades on a Facebook forum called Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn lamented ‘They’re all back’.

Not really… Dittany, is it? Some are back but some of us, like Mary Poppins, will not come back until the wind changes.

Below are comments from Corbynists on the Conference so far, in approximate order of recency but not, I’m afraid, of decency.

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  • Gillian Gould Lazarus: The Conference has kicked off and the new EHRC rules have been passed, 73% - 27% I think. It's good but one thinks about the 27% who opposed them.
  • keithmarr: Familiar sentiments to me. Saddened I am too. In addition to antisemitism Starmer’s reluctance to make Labour the natural home of the Remainer is fr
  • keithmarr: Thank you once again for perspicacious comment. There is an element of social media, one’s potential anonymity perhaps, that leads to behaviour that
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