John Harris

Journalist & Author

Labour can effect positive change, but not while its internal politics are so toxic | John Harris

The party urgently needs to dispense with fringe views and face a post-Brexit reality dominated by the right

After a long tumble into disgrace and confusion that dates back well over a year, the story playing out at the top of the Labour party increasingly seems to be so dreadful that it defies belief. Jeremy Corbyn is doing a very good impression of someone who would rather be anywhere else. The party’s supposed leap forward on Brexit policy seems to have resulted in a stance not quite as bamboozling as the one it replaced, but it is still surrounded by unanswered questions; the leadership’s dearth of collective energy as the agenda of a Boris Johnson government takes shape is miserable to behold. Obviously, the people at the top have other things on their minds. Woven into everything is the ever-widening story about antisemitism, which now includes signifiers for almost every aspect of the party’s malaise – from the presence in the party of hateful attitudes towards Jewish people, through allegations of the awful treatment of young party staffers by powerful people at the top, to the sense of any sensitivity and seriousness now being drowned out by the familiar sound of belligerence and faction-fighting.

All too often, anti-imperialists seem to keep the company of very rum people indeed

Related: End the antisemitism soap opera, Emily Thornberry tells Labour

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