Sunday, December 15, 2019

There's Little To Celebrate About the UK Elections Outcome

Had Labour won last week's UK general election, it would have been a stamp of endorsement for the horrifying wave of antisemitism Corbyn and his allies of ushered in.

That would have been a catastrophe, and it was avoided.

But the tragedy of this election is that in averting that catastrophe it ushered in several other catastrophes. An unstoppable Brexit. A historically unpopular Conservative Party nonetheless receiving a giant electoral mandate to bring back brutal austerity politics. The effective legitimation of the Tories own brand of xenophobia, Islamophobia, and racism.

And worst of all, the politicians who tried to be the adults in the room ended up being punished the most.

Each of the former Labour or Conservative MPs who left their parties trying to chart a different path lost their seats. The LibDems, who at one point seemed like they might pose a viable liberal alternative to the populist fever that gripped both Labour and Tory, lost a seat (specifically, party leader Jo Swinson's seat). Most terribly, the Jewish MPs most wounded by Labour antisemitism, and who had risked the most to fight it, lost their seats. Luciana Berger will not be returning to parliament. Neither will Ruth Smeeth, or Mike Gapes. Louise Ellman was bullied out of politics altogether.

And this doesn't even get into the efforts by some on the left to "blame the Jews" -- as opposed to Jeremy Corbyn's almost ludicrously low approval ratings -- for their defeat. Between the ones who think Corbyn's failures were entirely a result of Jewish slanders, and the ones who vaguely admit that the Jews had a legitimate grievance but if they so much as dare breathe a sigh of relief that Corbyn won't be PM they're basically cheering Windrush deportations, the next few months hardly seem likely to be much more pleasant for UK Jews than the last few months.

Meanwhile, once one gets past the fact that Jeremy Corbyn will not occupy the Prime Minister's office, one has to look long and hard to find anything positive in the race-by-race results. Let's see: Margaret Hodge retained her seat.  Chris Williamson lost his in deeply humiliating fashion. Those are nice, I guess.

But beyond that, what's worth celebrating? That Boris Johnson will be Prime Minister? That the nativist right has never felt more emboldened? That the most tangible upshot of the British public's "rejection of antisemitism" was to reject the Jews who had fought hardest against it?

A catastrophe was averted. More catastrophes are coming. There's not much to celebrate here.


LWE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LWE said...

Sure, lefty antisemites on Twitter are very cranky, but it’s unlikely poor old dumb Jezza’s win would result in anything approaching a “catastrophe”. The catastrophism on non-Corbynista Jewish Twitter was frenzied. In fairness, it seems that being a wacko shrieking demagogue is how you get by on political Twitter these days, You could write an article about all the intellectually dishonest methods everyone - left, right, centrist - uses to work their followers and themselves, too.