Expel Luciana Berger

July 31, 2018

by Martin Odoni

Luciana Berger has revealed herself to be quite the most McCarthyite MP in the country at the moment – and that is a title only ever won in the face of fierce competition. In her determination to prove that the ‘anti-Semitism-in-the-Labour-Party’ (oh, how bored I am of typing that phrase…) controversy is something more than a semi-fantasy, she has overstepped an important line.

Berger was interviewed on 31st July – much too gently as usual – by Shelagh Fogarty on LBC Radio about the deafening furore. In particular, Berger was asked about this week’s kerfuffle over Labour NEC member Peter Willsman ‘offensively’ suggesting that some British Jews were disturbingly happy about Donald Trump becoming US President.

Fogarty rightly asked Berger to clarify precisely what was anti-Semitic about Willsman’s words. It was noticeable that Berger did not clarify, beyond waffling in a strident but roundabout way about Willsman’s statements being ‘unacceptable’, which really just put the implication of the question in different words. She also failed to explain why Willsman’s words were even untrue. Which of course they were not; the Board of Jewish Deputies, in particular, were tellingly eager to congratulate Trump on becoming President. Given Trump’s ignorant enthusiasm for Zionism, largely based around trying to please Christian fundamentalists in the USA, that is perhaps to be expected.

Fogarty – again as usual – managed to miss Berger’s evasion completely and moved on. To her credit, she soon asked Berger a question she does not get asked nearly often enough in the mainstream media; what evidence is there that anti-Semitism in the Labour Party really is as widespread as she claims? It was here that Berger overstepped from mere McCarthyite cynicism to a possibly indictable violation.

Berger initially made another roundabout remark about, ‘Just see everything that’s going on’, which again just restated the question’s implication in different words, but she then cited two Labour councillors who had been suspended during this week as supposedly definitive examples of anti-Semitism being out of control.

Berger lies about Willsman

Luciana Berger misportrays Peter Willsman’s words and the position of the Board of Jewish Deputies, then presents two still-to-be-investigated party suspensions as definitely guilty, which may be indictable on grounds of prejudicing the inquiry.

This remark from Berger was outrageous, and may constitute a violation of Labour Party disciplinary procedures. To explain: In one case, a councillor in Bognor Regis claims his social media account was hacked, in the other, the councillor implied Israeli security services might have been driving the anti-Semitism controversy. In both cases, there is reason to question whether there is anti-Semitism at play at all, albeit for different reasons; one may have been framed, the other was criticising Israel and not Jews. Therefore, guilt has not been firmly established as yet in either case, but Berger has gone on national radio and presented the accusations against them as evidence in itself – not only against them but against the Labour left more widely.

In so doing, Berger has risked prejudicing the investigations, while increasing public pressure on the party to find the two councillors guilty, irrespective of the investigations’ findings. She is also guilty of a lazy form of fallacious thinking that is as worrying to observe in a national legislator as is her poisonous maliciousness; by assuming that the accusation is evidence, instead of the accusation requiring evidence, she has lapsed into infantile circular reasoning. “I know they must be guilty because they’ve been accused, because if they’ve been accused they must be guilty.”

No, It does not work like that, it must never work like that. The accusation must be followed by evidence. When the accusation is the evidence, we enter a world in which anyone can be accused of anything, and they are automatically guilty. Chaos and endless injustice lie down that path.

This sort of ‘fast-food’ approach to justice was supposed to have become obsolete in the days of the First Magna Carta, meaning Berger is quite literally guilty of Medievalism.

At the very least, Berger has brought the party into disrepute, by publicly accusing other party members, and by endangering the impartiality of the investigation process. Look what happened to Marc Wadsworth when he was found guilty of bringing the part into disrepute – expulsion. Berger was there in person to cheer on the decision.

Now Berger should face the same fate.

NB: If you wish to report Berger’s appalling behaviour, please e-mail the Labour Party’s complaints office at complaints@labour.org.uk. The more reports the party receive about what Berger has done, the more pressure they will come under to bring her to book.

Luciana betrays her party to the LFI

A message I sent to Berger’s Instagram account during the spring, after she started the contrived furore over the Mear One Mural.