Friday, 17 January 2020

Board Games

The Board of Deputies are many things, but they are no fools. Seeing that the Labour Left had put up Rebecca Long-Bailey rather than the fearsome Ian Lavery, they seized their moment to issue 10 outrageous demands in the knowledge that all of the Leadership candidates would immediately fall prostrate and sign up. (Two of the five Deputy Leadership candidates have not do so, however. First preference for Richard Burgon, second preference for Dawn Butler it is, then.)

The Board of Deputies knew that that prostration, especially by Long-Bailey, would cause thousands of left-wingers to leave the Labour Party, or to decide not to join it for the purposes of voting in this election, or to decide not to vote in this election, all on the grounds that they had no candidate to vote for. Again, that has duly come to pass.

And when it comes to what will be the crucial second preferences, then Long-Bailey and Keir Starmer are neck and neck. This disenfranchisement of the Left should be enough to secure the Leadership for Starmer, thereby ending the four and a half years in which Britain had had a debate on economic policy for the first time since 1994, and thereby ending the four and a half years in which Britain had had a debate on foreign policy for the first time since 1941.

Or so they think, the Board of Deputies and others of like mind. For the Board, which has no connection either to the Haredi fifth or to the secular half of British Jews just for a start, recommended a vote for the Conservative Party even in 2015, when the Leader of the Labour Party was Jewish.

Like many a British organisation or institution, you would meet the odd non-Tory in it, but "odd" would be the word. People who tell you that they are "not political" can turn out, 20 to 40 minutes into the conversation, to be serving Conservative Councillors of several decades' standing. The Board of Deputies is firmly in that tradition: "We're not political, we're Tories."

Jeremy Corbyn truly believes in enormous State investment in the old Red Wall, as part of a "Neither Brussels Nor Washington" economic policy integrated with a "Neither Brussels Nor Washington" foreign policy. Boris Johnson believes only that Boris Johnson should be Prime Minister for 10 years and then see how he felt about carrying on. But he knows which seats won him the recent General Election, and he knows what he has to do in order to hold onto those seats.

So he is already pursuing enormous State investment in the old Red Wall, as part of a "Neither Brussels Nor Washington" economic policy integrated with a "Neither Brussels Nor Washington" foreign policy. Out of sheer opportunism, but as long as it gets done. This Government could not possibly do less for us than the last Labour Government did, or than Durham County Council, that jewel crown of the Labour Right, will continue to do until we take it to No Overall Control next May.

I have been as scornful as anyone of Corbyn's claim to have "won the argument", but he may have spoken truer than he knew. And if someone has won an argument, then someone else has lost it. They have been looking in the wrong place, the Board of Deputies and the rest of the "We're not political, we're Tories" brigade, who are in reality the most politicised section of society. They think that they are about to neutralise the Opposition. But they have never stopped to ask themselves, "The Opposition to what?"

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

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