Having found Ken Livingstone guilty of all charges, the subsequent failure of Labour’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC) panel to expel him last night constituted perhaps the darkest hour of Labour history as a self-described “anti-racist” institution. On the international stage, Labour now stands as an institutionally antisemitic party with no fig leaf to cover its shame.
In a desperate attempt to claw back an ounce of dignity for his party, the man who exercises what is laughably called leadership over this once-great Party has bowed to a growing clamour from 42 decent Labour MPs appalled by events by issuing a statement describing the persistent and obscene Jew-baiting of the Jewish community as merely “hurtful” and “insensitive”.
Against a backdrop of tolerance by Jeremy Corbyn of gross and obvious antisemitism in Labour, which has led to a growing spread of the most extreme neo-Nazi antisemitic belief in the grassroots of the Party, describing what has happened as “hurtful” is an understatement so great that in itself it constitutes further injury.
Ken Livingstone’s case was referred to the National Constitutional Committee by the National Executive Committee. Now that the foul stench of antisemitism permeates every layer of the Party, even Jeremy Corbyn is beginning to have difficulty hiding it. Perhaps that is why he now proposes to have the National Executive Committee re-examine the case on the feeble grounds that Mr Livingstone did not apologise. Mr Livingstone’s lack of apology pales against the severity of his principal offence, and if he cannot be expelled for the principal offence, we hold out no hope that he will be expelled for failing to apologise.
The horse has bolted. Labour’s chance was yesterday, and it blew it. The rot has now corroded the very institutions which are supposed to defend Labour. Ken Livingstone’s case is one of hundreds, we believe. Antisemites are being readmitted to the Party, unnoticed. Our own disciplinary complaint against Mr Corbyn has not even been acknowledged. Labour’s relationship with the Jewish community is in its death throes, and there is no miracle left to save it from its moral failure.