antisemitism,  Labour Party

John McDonnell and Mark Serwotka

Platform sharing has long been a key test for many British left wingers.

Take Labour’s John McDonnell, for example. During the EU referendum campaign in 2016, he considered Tory Remainers beyond the pale:

Sharing a platform with them discredits us. It demotivates the very people we are trying to mobilise.

Mr McDonnell also claims to be concerned about antisemitism in his party. Here he is this summer:

“None of us fail to appreciate the… way this has upset people including ourselves. It’s really shaken us to the core really. But we’ll resolve it, we’ve got to.

“Members of the Jewish community are really suffering out there,” McDonnell added. “We’ve got to resolve the issue within our party, and then get out there to assist the Jewish community in campaigning against antisemitism within our society overall.”

Ah, so what’s this, then? Why, it’s John McDonnell sharing a platform with Jeremy Corbyn’s “friend” Mark Serwotka at the upcoming Momentum rally in Liverpool.

Serwotka is of course the astute spotter of evil Israeli plots:

The leader of one of Britain’s main trade unions has suggested that Israel created the antisemitism row that has engulfed Labour over the summer.

Mark Serwotka, who leads the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and is a staunch supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, told a fringe event at the Trades Union Congress conference that the Jewish state could have “created a story that does not exist” in order to distract attention from “atrocities” he said it has committed.

Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, said: “Mr Serwotka’s comments are despicable. There is a problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party because of antisemites and Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to deal with them, not because of Israel.

“For a general secretary of a major trade union to allude to conspiracy theories and blame Jews for their own persecution shows the extent of the problem we now see on the left.”

Mr McDonnell’s words on platform piety and Jewish sufffering couldn’t possibly be no more than empty posturing, could they?

A scene from the TUC conference where Mr Serwotka made his remarks. Trade unionist and Corbyn supporter Len McCluskey is in the centre.