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Antisemitism, the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn and A New Kind of Politics
Sadly, after being a very engaged member since the early days, I have left the Facebook group which Pete Lawrence set up, A New Kind of Politics. I know many people here are also members of that group, or have been in the past.
I decided to leave because I found that it often, due to a small minority of members, there wasn't a very new kind of politics there at all. There was a lot of aggressive, macho argument and a lack of willingness to tolerate different views.
The issue that led to me leaving was this week's stories about antisemitism. Despite my repeated statements that I do believe that some people, in the Conservative Party and in the Labour Party and elsewhere, are trying to smear Jeremy Corbyn and Labour, I have been shouted down and accused of joining in the smears. It seems that this new kind of politics cannot tolerate dissent of any kind. I'm still getting notifications of comments with slurs this morning, despite leaving the group.
The debate is, understandably, heated. But the loudest voices seem only to see things in terms of 'Whose side are you on?' They allow no room for a critical friend to Jeremy Corbyn or Labour. Ultimately they make life harder for Labour and for for Jeremy who, to his eternal credit, has made an earnest apology for mistakes and set out a plan to take things forward. If only more of his steadfast followers (I am one and I have been all my adult life) would follow his lead we could both defuse the attacks AND tackle the genuine problem we have in the UK - everywhere, not just in the Labour Party - with antisemitism.
I completely support Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues and their amazing project to change politics and change our country. I only wish that all of his supporters would embrace political life and human interaction in the manner which Corbyn himself always adopts.
Interesting call for unity from blogger Chelley Ryan "We all need to start being kinder to each other, more empathic on both sides of the fence." Slowly we are all learning how to listen to each other without being overly defensive, in order to not be split and to ensure that voices aren't closed down. It will be a tortuous path but this will be a steep learning curve for many.