Ken sorts out Labour’s Jewish Problem
“I thought student politics just existed in its own little vacuum?”
“Then why are we discussing this?”
“Because one day, some prominent members of Oxford Labour club will probably be in the cabinet.”
“Enough with your pessimism!”
An emergency meeting had been called owing to what was going down in Oxford Labour Club. You know what was going down dear diary because you know all things, so I shall not explain.
Fletch had stormed into the office that morning agitated that Seumas had failed to show up on time again.
“If I find out he’s done another stint on Sputnik TV or another Momentum meeting in Hampstead or Witney…” He seethed.
I chose not to break it to him that he was attending an Oxford BDS rally with Ken. I’d tell him later over a cognac I convinced myself.
“Can we really control what some Labour club does?” Greg asked clearly frustrated with being dragged into the office for 11.30 on a Wednesday. “What is our line on Israelis anyway?”
“Can’t we just no platform them?”
“We’re not NUS.”
“Can’t we just refuse to share a platform with them?”
“We’re not Galloway either.”
Seumas had arrived at long last, escorted by McDonnell who he must have bumped into in the corridor. They seem to be getting on better these days — McD had his hand affectionately gripped around Seumas’ neck.
“We need some clarity over our policy on Israel.” Seumas began as he sat down, elegantly prizing himself from McD’s claws, and not so elegantly placing his new novel, 1980s Liverpool: Vanguard of the Revolution in front of a bemused Fletch.
“We’re not talking about Israel Seumas…” Jessica seemed increasingly exasperated these days throughout our morning meetings.
Ignoring her completely, Seumas continued. “Can the politburo… sorry I mean the NEC.. Can the NEC not update our policy on Israel?”
“Let’s hold more NEC meetings that should do the trick.” Jessica drawled.
“More meetings equals more democracy comrade! Go to a CLP meeting for once, then you’ll see democracy in action.”
“MPs are elected by the entire country. They are not and should not be treated as delegates of their CLP….”
“Oh do one.” Snapped Seumas.
“Seumas!” Fletch barked. This was never going to do.
“Sorry. I mean do one… Comrade.”
Our meetings had become far more informal of late since young Seb Corbyn had thrown his toys out of the pram, denouncing our meetings as undemocratic because we had a Chair, an agenda and voted rather than used consensus waving hands.
There were pros and cons to the “Bumblebees and Butterflies Open Space” format that Corbyn junior had implemented. (Sometimes we referred to the young padawan as CorJu but then everyone kept thinking he was Jewish so we stopped.)
These days our “meetings” consisted of a number of conversations existing in parallel. My favourites used to be those between two ushanka wearing comrades I often found myself sitting next to. They were on top form today.
“I mean it’s not racism is it?”
“Well, they’re not saying anything bad about Jews…”
“Well like it’s congratulating them. Ever since they were enslaved in Egypt they’ve always been very… driven, successful, rich even. Anti-Semitism is another term for Nicely played, Jew. Nicely played.”
“Good point. Labour Students keep pretending they’re offended about being accused of being part of the conspiracy. I wish I was part of it! Imagine the networking! And you get Saturdays off! Maybe I could even start self-identifying as black….”
“This smear campaign against the Oxford Labour Club has Mossad written all over it.”
“Agreed. I’m surprised the JSoc are making such a fuss about it all. I wasn’t even aware that Oxford admitted Jews!”
“I’m so sick of it. The lobby tried to stop me handing out the Elders of Zion at my last CLP meeting. I did a facebook status to show my disgust.”
“Well done comrade. You show ‘em.”
Some new guy who seemed in close proximity to Fletch was becoming increasingly irate as he tried in vain to get back control of the meeting.
“Well as much as I wish we could just ignore this, we can’t. It’s all over the media.”
“And who controls the media….” Whispered one of the ushankas.
Fletch’s right-hand (hopefully left?) man continued. “But I do believe we need to stop worrying about some trotty anti-Semites in Oxford— there followed a 20 minute long outcry in the room and cries of “for shame”, “you’re a bully you dickhead” and “this is why I left the Labour Party the first 36 times”. The comradely raucous was only shutdown by myself asking McD how his “socialism with an ipad” was going, an issue he never fails to get excited about.
When Fletch’s man was eventually allowed to continue, he did. “The members need to formally complain to the party, blah blah blah — you know how it goes — we can then begin the chop. Besides, some purging of posh Oxbridge anti-Semites might be fun — will show people we mean business in the new, kinder politics.”
“Sounds like a lot of effort. We could always just do a review?”
“Even better. Let’s get Ken to chair it.” Seumas commanded brightly.
“Right comrades. Can we move on please?” Said Fletch, slouching authoritatively in his chair. “This legislation to outlaw boycotts is really very worrying. Can we move to discuss our strategy…”
I continued to zone in on the far more interesting conversation that was continuing between the ushankas.
“It sounds to me like this is all a right-wing attempt to stop the party adopting the anti-Zio policies Jez was elected on….”
“…The Government is drawing up legislation to ban all boycotts — that means Nestle, Coke….” Continued Fletch’s right (left?) hand man.
“Ooh I could murder a kit kat….” Greg mumbled, smirking.
“Can you Bolshes pipe down for a minute?” Jess snapped. “This legislation will hurt civil society!”
“Jessica, calm down.” Cut in Seumas with his customary lazy drawl. “Look. We’re revolutionaries, we don’t do bourgeois boycotts. Only the overthrow of capitalism can bring about what you liberals call ethical consumerism.” (He did the hand-quotes, sure.)
One of the ushankas suddenly stopped talking and spun his head round to face the rest of us. Turns out it was Andrew “Class War” Fisher.
“Hang on.” Fisher said, agitated. “What you saying Jess? They want to ban all boycotts? Even boycotts of Israeli academics?”
“Well yes but what does that matter?”
“Get Saif Gaddaffi on the blower. No Gerry Adams, he’ll know what to do. No no no — Galloway, get Galloway on the phone, stat!”
“Chill comrade, I have them all on speed dial.”
Thank Marx for Seumas.