Snap thoughts on Royall Inquiry

Written in a personal capacity, reflecting nobody’s views but my own. My initial thoughts from the Royall Inquiry:

  • Baroness Royall was the correct person to conduct this inquiry. Nothing in her executive summary, or how she has chosen to communicate it leads me to believe otherwise.
  • Nothing in her executive summary should be used to attack her character. Such attacks would be baseless and counterintuitive in dealing with Labour’s antisemitism problem decisively. Anger is understandable from some quarters, but Baroness Royall is not the problem here, and should not be targeted as such.
  • Some of the principles in the executive summary are encouraging and reflect Baroness Royall’s personal endeavour to see a Labour Party free from hate.
  • In particular, her suggested endorsement of the Macpherson principle — which would allow victims to be heard when they feel discriminated against — is a vital step towards resolving the issues at hand, and if they were to arise in the future.
  • However, her judgment that OULC is not “institutionally antisemitic” is effectively a moot point, as it could only be qualified by the context of her full report.
  • Based on what we have available, it is moot for two key reasons.
  • Firstly, the same executive summary says that OULC’s procedures are in need of major reform. How, therefore, can a dysfunctional institution truly be assessed as “institutionally” anything? On what possible criteria can such a conclusion actually be based? It needs to be contextualised and understood with the benefit of detail. The suppression of the full report denies that opportunity.
  • Secondly, Baroness Royall has also stated that there was a “culture” at OULC that “made Jews feel unwelcome”. This is vital. How can anyone seriously take comfort from such a set of circumstances? Are we to believe that the dysfunctional procedures of elections in OULC absolve it, or that a culture of antisemitism has no bearing on whether it is institutionally antisemitic? Surely not.
  • As a former student leader who happens to be Jewish, I only ever experienced antisemitism due to a certain “culture” of “debate”, never because of the “institutions” per se. I am completely confused as to why this widely shared experience hasn’t been understood in the recommendations. This is a point that has been written about publicly, time and time again by Jewish student politicians.
  • Next thought. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry over the sheer inconsistency over compliance and disciplinary proceedings. I might do both.
  • Members are being suspended as soon as half an hour after historic antisemitism is exposed by sites such as Guido Fawkes, yet an inquiry **spanning months** with a published executive summary, is not in a position to say whether such individuals have been dealt with?!
  • If the summary had been allowed to incorporate disciplinary proceedings over the incidents Baroness Royall says have taken place, this would have created greater context. Instead, people will simply focus on the words “not institutionally antisemitic”.
  • A more subjective point I have taken from this exec summary is that there seems to be a reticence to deal with these individuals because of their age.
  • It is a betrayal of the fight against antisemitism to infantilise those responsible, when they are of voting age and above, and not least when they attend one of the finest universities on the planet.
  • Yes, education and changing minds is important, but if anybody in our party is found to be bullying Jews by using antisemitic language, then frankly they should be thrown out on their arse without due regard.
  • I want to end by reiterating that as a Jewish member of the party, I have full confidence in Baroness Royall. I am confident that her full report will provide many of the answers to above gripes, but also that she will do a professional and just job in her role as Vice Chair of the Chakrabarti inquiry.
  • I do, however, reserve serious concern at those who seem to be employing a two-faced strategy in their approach to one minority community that could soon see our Party as beyond repair.

Jay Stoll