Deselecting MPs is a perfectly honourable part of British parliamentary politics. Or at least it was, until the hardline leftist mob currently running the Labour Party gained power. Now deselection smacks of bullying tactics, falling into Leninist line, and committing wholeheartedly to the Dear Leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Stray from the party line and Corbyn’s henchmen from the ‘grassroots’ Labour movement Momentum will be paying you a visit.
In the case of MP Luciana Berger, currently facing deselection in her constituency of Liverpool Wavertree, the dynamics at work demonstrate the extent of the Labour party’s sinister new normal, in which tones of anti-Semitism are ubiquitous. In the past year prominent Labour party members have denigrated Jewish prominence in Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations (Jackie Walker) and said Hitler supported Zionism (Ken Livingstone). Other incidents include the heckling of Jewish MP at – of all places – the launch of the party’s report into anti-semitism; accusations from Labour activists that moderate MPs critical of Corbyn, such as Jess Phillips, were “bought out by Zionist money” and, of course, the anti-Semitism report itself, widely considered a whitewash.
Of course, Ms Berger knows a thing or two about anti-Semitism in public life. Earlier this year, a man was jailed for two years after a campaign of vicious anti-Jewish Twitter abuse against her. This perpetrator was a sad and pathetic lone wolf who spent too much time at home on the internet. More concerning, perhaps, is the culture that has been incubating for years on the Left, visible everywhere from the “liberal” elite London Review of Books, which runs bewilderingly regular and vicious articles on the evils of Israel, to student politics groups. In 2005, Ms Berger wrote about her resignation from the National Executive Committee “because of continued apathy within the National Union of Students to Jewish student suffering” and anti-Semitism.