labour identity, platform magazine

The Labour political identity crisis

Sharing political ideologies with Corbyn-era Labour has its pitfalls. As you may well have heard, eight MPs have left Labour, with the anti-Semitism debacle which has overshadowed the party for the last couple of years being cited as one of the reasons.

Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker, Ann Coffey and Joan Ryan are the eight who chose to leave the party, forming the ‘The Independent Group’ which they will sit as in parliament.

This new political party has views which are typical of your classic Labour manifesto, with focus on social equality, freedom of the press and environmental protection, according to their website.

Where they differ from Labour, however, is with more defined views on Brexit. Furthermore, there has been condemnation of the alleged anti-Semitism present within the party.

Now, on a side note, I am just going to refer to the issue of anti-Semitism within the Labour party, taking as much care as possible to avoid the issues of Israel and Zionism, which are too complex to merely refer to in passing and require thorough discussion – one which will be left for another day.

Various incidents have occurred over the past two years relating to anti-Semitism in the Labour party. One key example of this would be the vote of no confidence in Jewish MP Luciana Berger, with one of the executives in her local party calling her a “disruptive Zionist”. By the way, the vote of no confidence was thwarted once that information came out.

And what did the party leadership do following this incident? Nothing. It’s this indifference the Labour party has shown regarding these incidents which has resulted in many people finding it more and more difficult to back them.

Being a student, I find myself identifying with and believing in many of the political ideologies of Labour, with their emphasis on aspects such as universal healthcare, workers rights and a more equal society in general being something I find commendable.

But the longer Labour and Jeremy Corbyn neglect and show such a weak response to this genuine anti-Semitism issue, the longer they stray away from the core values of the party itself. The whole ideology of Labour is one of equality and zero tolerance on discrimination, but how can the party claim to represent this if a section of society feel that it is persecuting them based on their identity.

This hypocrisy is why I am struggling to defend the Labour party more and more, and why some voters are feeling ostracised with the constant debate overshadowing the party.

So, whilst some people argue that the MP’s breaking away from Labour to form The Independent Group is a betrayal to the party and the public, I personally think it’s commendable that they are taking a stand against the ongoing anti-Semitism debacle.

But what do you think? Are you a student who is unimpressed with what Labour has done to tackle anti-Semitism? Or do you think I’m talking from my behind and the Independent Group is an awful idea? Leave a comment below.

By Zach Harrison

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