Tom Watson’s play for the leadership of the Labour Party has been obvious for many years now. This week’s bashing of Jeremy Corbyn and his acolytes by Watson is nothing new. Watson correctly declared that “only sunlight can disinfect Labour of anti-Semitism now” and he critiqued Labour’s handling of its spiralling antisemitism crisis. Watson slammed Labour and its General Secretary Jennie Formby, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, following a BBC Panorama investigation which aired on Wednesday, prompting Formby to defend her awfulness and ineffectiveness by whining about being attacked by Watson while “undergoing chemotherapy” – a typical Labour heart-not-head misdirection riposte that the electorate have been seeing through all the time more in recent years.
Yes, the antisemitism problem in Labour is growing and it is unacceptable – it will see the Hard Left getting put back in its box for another generation. The weak will back away from the truth, but worse, they’ll chastise you for speaking it, because it endangers their cowardly existence. But how can anyone take Tom Watson seriously when he exhibits blatant hypocrisy relating to antisemitism emanating from his own constituency?
Publicly, Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and MP for West Bromwich East, has been supportive of other MPs who have suffered from Antisemitism within the party and on social media. He has openly discussed individual cases and he’s been vocal about asking for bans from the Labour Party for anti-Semitic perpetrators.
So, why Watson’s apparent silence on the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rantings of long-standing councillor John Edwards, who is the Labour councillor for Greets Green & Lyng, part of Watson’s West Bromwich East constituency (Edwards is also Chairman of the West Midlands Fire Authority)? Someone Watson knows well and has stood alongside in the area for years.
Edwards posted tweets criticising his party’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Antisemitism. He also dismissed criticism of suspended Labour MP Chris Williamson as an “outrageous smear campaign”. It was Labour Against Antisemitism activist Saul Freeman who flagged up the tweets, which included one from 2014 which he sent to to then-Prime Minister David Cameron after he visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
Mr Edwards wrote: “When you leave Auschwitz @David_Cameron go to Gaza.”
In 2017, Mr Edwards shared an article from pro-Corbyn group Jewish Voice for Labour which claimed an “outrageous smear campaign” had been launched against Derby MP Chris Williamson, who was criticised for saying there were “lies and dirty tricks” around the “Antisemitism smears”. Williamson was suspended by Labour earlier this year after he told activists that his party had been “too apologetic” over its Antisemitism issue, which has seen dozens of allegations made against members.
The Labour Party claims to have started a formal investigation over the comments. Watson’s Parliamentary office has been contacted – only for the Squires to be told by a very young sounding gentleman to email Watson’s Press Officer. Two emails have been sent but to date no response.
The Watson constituency falls under the solid far left Labour Sandwell Council where a number of councillors were up for election again during the recent local elections. Watson did not show up for the count in spite of the presence of the two other Labour MP’s in the council area – Adrian Bailey of West Bromwich West and John Spellar of Warley.
Meanwhile, the Sandwell Council Election Office has been confronted by hundreds of complaints about the presence of Britain First, an extreme right organisation posing and standing as Independents. The literature of their candidate Paul Rudge coming through the letter boxes of Rowley Ward made clear he was a Britain First candidate – something this magazine uncovered and reported to the Electoral Commission. Rudge’s literature was totally offensive to the Muslim community and would be classed as hate literature. The Britain First website has made it crystal clear that Rudge and others were their candidates. As an organisation, Britain First was removed from the list of organisations allowed to stand at elections in November 2017.
At the recent local elections in Sandwell there was clear bias towards the Labour Party by those counting and checking the vote who were witnessed cheering and clapping when the results were announced; votes for other parties being slipped into Labour piles and spotted by scrutinisers. There was frequent use of mobile phones by counters when an announcement at the beginning of the count made it clear they should only be used outside the hall. Despite complaints being made to officials, no action was taken. When one Labour supporter was challenged the response was “We don’t take any notice, f*** off”.
Before commenting on the mess Corbyn is making of the Labour Party Watson would do well to comment on the mess – involving antisemitism and bias – exposed in his own constituency. Then maybe his ambitions to lead his dying party may be taken seriously. Antisemitism is a blight which opportunists have used to cajole ignoramuses for centuries – it must be ended wherever it is found, centrally and locally.