In the recent years, the moderate and left branches of the Labour Party have further drifted apart, animosity has re-ignited and we have seen the nasty side inter-party power struggles between the left and the moderates begin again. The inter-party power struggle has recently claimed it’s newest victim: Iain McNicol the outgoing general secretary of the Labour Party, however, that’s not to say McNicol has gone down without a fight. McNicol has in fact caused ripples and handed a shocking parting gift to the party, that being a fresh suspension on Ken Livingstone.
Former London mayor and suspended Labour member Livingstone was a well-respected figure within Labour for quite a while until his remarks brought him and the Labour Party into disrepute. As the first mayor of London Livingstone wrote a legacy and shaped the office of the mayor of London, introducing radical and progressive reforms such as the introduction of congestion charges and oyster cards and enactment civil rights policies. His supporters laud him as an ally to women, LGBT people, and ethnic minorities but is he really an ally to the Jewish citizens of the United Kingdom, I think not.
Livingstone has always been known to be left-wing also referred to as “Red Ken” from the start of his tenure as mayor you could see his objections to the activities of Blair, in specific his foreign policy. However, it was not until recently you could see this man is no ally of ethnic minorities. If he truly is we must question whether an ally would treat one minority different to the other? Show bad praxis towards one and good praxis towards the other? An ally wouldn’t do any of the sorts yet Livingstone has done exactly this. On a BBC London Livingstone made a historically inaccurate remark about Zionism and the Nazis. He claimed Adolf Hitler “was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”. Yes, I can confirm this man is alleged to be an ally of ethnic minorities yet he has made this remark.
As if such a grotesquely remark wasn’t inaccurate enough Livingstone after repeated calls to apologize blatantly he has refused and stuck with his out-dated and inaccurate remarks. Many have speculated where his remarks have come from as one does certainly not come up with something as absurd as this overnight. Some have made a tenuous connection between the Haavara Agreement and Livingstone’s remarks, this was an agreement between a Zionist organization and the Nazis. Under the Agreement Jewish emigrants leaving Germany handed over their goods to a Zionist company, which in turn sell these goods and pay the money to the incoming tide of Jewish immigrants in Palestine. The Agreement earned condemnation from both sides; one thing for sure is that this isn’t potent evidence that Hitler supported Zionism. This simply was damage control, an attempt by an organization of people to save some Jewish people from the claws of Hitler.
In 2016 following his remarks Livingstone was suspended pending an investigation by the NEC, the NEC didn’t expel him in April 2017 but extended his suspension by a year. During this year Livingstone has an appearance on Press TV on Holocaust Memorial Day 2018 to discuss whether the holocaust has been exploited to oppress others. Although he ardently put forward the argument that it hasn’t, it is a fact that he appeared on a channel that has earned condemnation from many due it’s content being anti-Semitic on many occasions, particularly on a day on which we forget politics and commemorate the deaths of innocent women, children, and men. Following this appearance, the Jewish Labour Movement and many Labour MPs expressed disquiet about Livingstone’s suspension ending in April, as a last act and parting gift troubled Labour Gen Sec McNicol suspended him indefinitely pending a full investigation. The full investigation that unfortunately didn’t materialize in 2017.
I applaud McNicol for this action, I honestly do. A full investigation by the NEC must be conducted on Livingstone and his remarks. I do think this year the NEC will thoroughly investigate Livingstone and take better action, especially given the fact newly elected NEC member, Corbyn ally and Momentum founder Jon Lansmen is a staunch opponent of Livingstone who has said that Livingstone should just leave politics altogether. I do hope that Labour takes some action against Livingstone rather than a suspension, precedents must be set to deter people from engaging in activities and a progressive movement must remove those with regressive and outdated views, hence, in my opinion, I believe Livingstone should be expelled for such disgusting remarks and his ignorance to the fact his remark are offensive and are anti-Semitic.