I initially, and instinctively, supported Change UK because I wanted to stand with those who were prepared to challenge the hard-left ideology and culture that had captured the Labour Party. Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Joan Ryan and the other former Labour MPs had the courage to say – and mean – ‘enough is enough’. For the last few years, the plea has been heard again and again, “something has to change! Someone has to do something!” The Change UK MPs did something, and despite their relentless traducing over the last few weeks, I am proud to have stood with the people who refused to hide in the shadows waiting for others to act.
As the Labour Party deteriorated into a place of profound discomfort for Jewish people who felt any empathy for, or connection with, Israel, these few MPs stood up and said they were not prepared to be a part it this anymore. As Labour became a place where a hatred of Israel became the norm, these few MPs refused to help put these painful, dangerous and historically ignorant politics into power. For this alone, I, without caveat, stand shoulder to shoulder with them.
The Labour Party leader and members of the NEC repeatedly celebrated the ‘glorious Iranian revolution’, despite the grotesque oppression of the Iranian people which has followed and continues to this day. The Labour Party Shadow Foreign Secretary said it was impossible to tell who wore the ‘white hats’ in the fight between Iranian women removing their headscarves, and the regime arresting them, lashing them, and sentencing them to years in prison for doing so. The Labour Party, having been hijacked by the ideology of the Stop the War Coalition, argued that sending military help to fight ISIS, despite the very well documented beheadings, mass murder, mass rape, chopping off of breasts and gauging out of eyes which they had inflicted upon the Yezidis, the Kurds, and anyone else who crossed their paths – was an act of western imperialism. Western imperialism. Just think about that. Sometimes we forget what we’re dealing with. The Labour Party of 2019 is a moral, philosophical and political catastrophe, and it is on the cusp of government. These few MPs were prepared to at least try to stop them. For this too, they have my support.
Every day that went by without a real challenge from within the Labour movement legitimised it, all of it. There are lessons to be learnt by Change UK, no doubt about that, about fighting a national election having only been formed a few weeks before, and about trying to maintain a complex set of ideas about political pluralism, respecting different political traditions and embracing collaborative policy formation, in an election being fought on a single issue. But none of this detracts from the fundamental point, that a Labour Party dominated by Corbyn, Milne, the SWP, the Stop the War Coalition and the BDS Movement must be stopped from getting into power in Britain. Every Labour MP who left on principle, whether they joined Change UK or not, has been courageous and self sacrificing. They threw caution, and their own careers, to the wind, and took a stand. They recognised that you cannot stop the hard-left by campaigning to put it into power. They took a deep breath, and did what was absolutely necessary, and right. I am proud to have stood with them.