Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Hey readers, want to see a curious spectacle?

Here's the curious spectacle of Martin Bright, trying to play ethnic politics with an ethnic group of which he is not a member and about which he seemingly knows little and cares not much more.

Fun fact: in the JC roundup of what happened to the Jewish vote, a grand total of 11 MPs are mentioned (and two deposed former MPs, both Labour). Only one is Conservative. Is this really representative of the political views of the Jewish community in the UK? Are they really more interested in the fact that Khalid Mahmood (I am not kidding) won Birmingham Perry Bar for Labour than the result in, say, Hampstead and Kilburn? Even given that Brighty's contacts and history are all on the Labour side (although this is going to be a bit of a liability going forward), was there really no space to mention Sir Gerald Kaufman or Fabian Hamilton? It really is a "will this do" piece which underlines the fact that MB's main qualification for the job is bashing Ken Livingstone for being soft on Islamists, which he more or less admits himself. How long can this go on? As long as Stephen Pollard remains as editor, I suppose. How long can that go on?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very odd. I would have thought JC readers would have been interested in Gerald Kaufman, or Susan Kramer, or Evan Harris for that matter rather than a random selection of Martin's mates.

Don't get me wrong, there are people out there who rate Denis MacShane or Khalid Mahmood or Jim Murphy. (Not personally a great admirer of Murphy. It's an NUS thing.) But it seems to me like Martin's just listing a bunch of MPs he likes and saying their successes are Good For The Jews. Really, Martin?

It reminds me a bit of what you sometimes find in the Belfast Newsletter, when middle-class Toryboy journalists write what they think mad loyalists want to read. If the paper was actually written by mad loyalists, I think I'd prefer it.

5/11/2010 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ignoring Kramer is also rather puzzling becuse she appears to have been on the end of some actual existing anti-semitic smears last time round:
Is it becoz they was Tories?
Chris Williams

5/12/2010 02:20:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Jewish voters in Harrow East will have had a hand in unseating Tony McNulty, but not because of any perceived hostility towards the community from the former Home Office minister.

what was the point of his writing that sentence?

And the MPAC thing seems really weird. Is an organisation handing out 2000 flyers really a news story? Did anyone - even MPAC - seriously think it would have any effect?

also - from his other piece

Martin Law-Riding, the Tory candidate in Jack Straw's Blackburn constituency, issued a leaflet claiming Labour had "allowed the Israeli government to create havoc in Lebanon and Gaza in Palestine"

is that transcribed right? In any case, how exactly is it untrue?

Straw has to take some responsibility for the sectarian atmosphere in his constituency and beyond. His encouragement of the Muslim Council of Britain as the "one-stop-shop" for British Muslim opinion was driven by a desire to carve out a pro-Labour Islamic block - a catastrophic error that alienated vast numbers of Muslims who did not subscribe to the MCB "line".

hmm. Presumably a different Straw from the one who railed in a very obviously stagemanaged way against the veil? And I'd say the alienation was more of people like Martin than of yer actual Muslims - the Muslims I know certainly view Israel/Palestine as a very serious and pressing issue - and (semi-paradoxically) they all voted Labour.

By the way, on his blog Bright claims to have voted labour. as a comemnter rightly pointed out, Bright was (at least at first) anti-Blair; he was also anti-Livingstone and most certainly anti-Brown.

So what exactly was he voting for?

5/12/2010 08:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Hugh said...

It makes sense in Martin Bright's terms: it's not whether an MP's Jewish or not, but their support for Israel. Hence he's name checking LFI favourites like Jim Murphy, Dismore and Macshane. There's nothing new in what Bright's doing here in viewing philosemitism as determined by attitudes to Israel.

5/12/2010 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Andy Bartlett said...

Aaro spot:

From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8622933.stm

"Every time somebody does something from Eton, we talk about this person being an "Old-Etonian".

"We don't prefix Nick Clegg with being an 'Old-Westminsterian'.

"There's a degree of class-deference about it."

I hope that that arrangement of quotes is misleading. Is he suggesting that being an Old-Westminsterian is to be of the lower classes?

5/12/2010 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Weeden said...

Phil Woolas was 'targetted' if that's the word, because he gave the impression that he'd confused 'Minister for Immigration' with 'Minister for Crime': he seemed to believe that all right-thinking people were against it. Ooh, here's the Torygraph on Phil Woolas' campaign.

One of the articles in the newspaper [paid for by Woolas] is headlined “Watkins accused of wooing extremist vote”. It added: “Voters of Oldham East are asking the question ‘why are the extremists urging a vote for Watkins’.
“In face of Woolas’ tough stance and a Conservative candidate who is against their views, the extremists are backing the Liberal Democrats.["]

Not very nice. Where I live Muslims seemed to back Plaid or Labour. The extremist position was Muslims don't vote. Not a very legible photo at that size.

Another MP missing is Diane Abbot, whose constituency, if I'm not mistaken, includes Stamford Hill, which was pretty Jewish when I had a girlfriend who lived there (half the local Safeway seemed to be kosher). And indeed here she is - in the JC.

Recognised as a critic of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, the sitting MP nevertheless has told voters she wants Britain to remain “a good friend” of the Jewish state.

I bet that's hard for Martin to digest. Is she an enemy or not?

Bright: Luciana Berger stormed home in Liverpool Wavertree despite... JC on election night: Despite upsetting some voters who believed she had been “parachuted” into the safe seat... Is winning a safe seat really 'storming home'? (She won "more than half of all votes polled" with a "five per cent swing from the Liberal Democrats to Labour.")

5/12/2010 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Equality opportunity ragging

5/12/2010 04:58:00 PM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

I was going to post to the effect that fagging was actually abolished forty or fifty years ago -- turn out I was wrong, so Dave from PR was probably at Eton when it vanished.

(This is more the professional deformation of the paid fact-checker and pedant than anything politically or poetically contentful. And to be honest I can't work out of the anti-public school gags are more or less effective for being out-of-date cartoons... )

(haha I've also found a google books copy of the Edinburgh Review claiming fagging at Westminster is "greatly alleviated" -- in 1831!)

5/12/2010 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Luciana Berger was one candidate I fervently hoped would lose, less for being a decent than for the fact that she managed to get herself selected for a Liverpool seat whilst knowing *nothing* about the city - as the Liverpool Echo demonstrated to excruciating effect. She didn't know who Bill Shankly was FFS!

Diana Abbot does have a big jewish population in her constituency, but many of those are Hasidim in Stamford Hill, and either indifferent to or hostile to the state of Israel. I canvassed for here in the constituency years ago and have two enduring memories of that experience. One is of a terraced house with a neon sign (I'm not kidding) in the bay window which said "We are against Israel because we are Jews". The other is of being invited in to a Hasidic house and then being told that they wouldn't be voting for her because she is "a lesbian" (not the case afaik). The big ethnic Jewish issue then (and I guess now) was nothing to do with Israel, but was about a sense of grievance at the lack state support for Hasidic schools which refused to teach the national curriculum (because they want to teach creationism).

5/13/2010 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

a terraced house with a neon sign (I'm not kidding) in the bay window which said "We are against Israel because we are Jews".

yes, Harry's Place often try to suggest that it this view is fringey and only held by the Neturei Karta but AFAIAA it's actually quite common at the Orthodox end of things

5/13/2010 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

I owned a flat on the edge of Stamford Hill for about five years (the bit where the Carribean community bleed into the Jewish area stoke newington borders, in case anybody knows it. A few roads down from where the neon sign was, or one of them anyways). They're a weird bunch, but my impression was that it was only a minority who were opposed to the state of Israel. There were definitely a minority who supported it quite strongly, and another bunch who seemed ambivalent, or indifferent. They're a very fractured community. Hasidim are like Plymouth Breathren - they keep splitting over minor doctrinal differences. Used to see lots of people crossing the street to avoid identically dressed men with big furry hats and C19th Russian clothes.

Local politics is pretty bizarre up there. A mixture of Hackney politics (corruption and all) with ethnic/religious/tribal politics. Though interestingly they got on pretty well with the Orthodox Muslim community. Common interests and values I guess.

The local safeway used to have an aisle dedicated to Kosher/Jewish food, with another for the Carribean community. Then Morrisons took over, and having decided to impose uniformity on all their stores. This meant that the Stamford Hill store no longer carried Kosher, or Carribean, food; thus emptying the store of the majority of its customers...

5/13/2010 08:33:00 AM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

That Morrisons has gone back to carrying Kosher and Caribbean, I think.

The boundary line is triply interesting now, as just a teeny bit down Clapton Road, the Vietnamese community begins (Tory votes mainly, if the posters in the windows are a guide). And Clarence Road used to be very Ghanaian: less so I think since I moved in. Add a stripe of Turkish Cypriots sweeping all the way up from Lower Clapton to upper Green Lanes, and plus the recent influx of Poles Rumanians, Albanians, Russians -- I love Hackney. Polyglotistan.

5/13/2010 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

BLT, it's people like you what lost the C2 vote for Labour according to Jack Straw. FWIW, the position Straw thinks the Party should have taken on immigration and welfare (as I understand it) is neither humane nor practical -- and not fair, and for all that I claim to like democracy, there's no point in listening to the will of the people when it's misinformed and misguided.

Cian, well, views on Israel come in various shades of course. No doubt there are Jews who oppose the State of Israel existing at all, and they are likely to be in a minority. It's not like they can do anything about it. Then there are Jews (as there are in Israel, of course) who oppose expansionism and many of the policies (and religious fundamentalism) of the Israeli right. That's quite a sensible position for a Labour MP to adopt - why support the right abroad if you claim to be left-wing here? I see this as the Guardian default position too, and never really understand why people (like Norman Geras) get so wound up by it. And then there are just plain nuts like Mad Mel who believe Israel is right, whatever.

5/13/2010 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

I don't think the Stamford Hill Hassidics are representative of anyone other than themselves. They're certainly pretty irrelivant to the wider Jewish community, best I can tell. The Christian equivalent would be something like the Exclusive Plymouth Breathren. A lot of them speak English as a second language and with difficulty. Which given they moved here in the C19th... I wonder what Melanie Phillips has to say about their shocking refusal to integrate into British society. They're also really, really, weird - and pretty unpleasant to outsiders.

BLT: Most ethnically diverse area of Europe apparently. Shame you can't breathe the air. I have a theory that sooner or later everyone who lived in Hackney ends up in Brighton/Hove. It feels that way sometimes.

5/13/2010 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

Bah what nonsense, the air is lovely. My asthma always gets worse when I go to the country, all those horrible cows and wheatfields.

5/13/2010 02:41:00 PM  

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