By Cathy Cole
Luciana Berger has been subjected to vile anti-semitic abuse online, apparently – and unforgivably – including by some members of the Labour Party. If a Jewish woman can’t express political views without facing hate-filled racist, misogynistic attacks we are in a dark place indeed. We can acknowledge this without qualification. At the same time, no MP can be immune from legitimate political criticism. MPs regardless of their sex or race must expect to be held to account for their behaviour and their political ideas.
Berger’s appearance on an LBC radio show yesterday (on a channel, let us not forget which has chosen to give platforms to hate-filled xenophobes, islamophobes and racists such as Katie Hopkins or Nigel Farage), was car-crash listening. Repeatedly challenged to greet the idea of a Corbyn-led Labour government as brilliant news for the British people, she squirmed and equivocated time after time.
Of course, for any of Berger’s Merseyside constituents listening who depend on the NHS, have children in under-funded schools, are being moved onto Universal Credit, or have given up all hope of ever getting onto the housing ladder, a General Election which returns Corybn to Number 10 would be a fantastic thing indeed. Labour members who spend their hard-earned cash on campaigning to get MPs in Westminster could expect them to show at least a modicum of enthusiasm about the prospect of taking power.
However, it’s clear that – for Berger and an isolated rump of embittered Blairite MPs – nothing would signal their abject political failure more than a successful socialist Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn. They pressed for an early vote of no confidence in Teresa May, precisely because they knew it would fail. Entirely contrary to the democratically agreed composite passed at party Conference, they clearly prefer a 2nd referendum under a Tory government to an immediate General Election.
Labour party members deserve better from their MPs. Surely party members in Liverpool Wavertree, like every other constituency, deserve a candidate who would welcome a chance – at the earliest opportunity – for Labour to kick out the Tories and govern in the interests of the many and not the few?