“I DO not believe in personal abuse of any sort. Treat people with respect. Treat people as you wish to be treated yourself.”
Who said this? None other than Jeremy Corbyn in his first conference speech as Labour leader when he set out his desire for a “kinder politics”.
Yet, more than two-and-a-half years later, Mr Corbyn’s words – spoken with great sincerity at the time – sound very hollow.
His party has, under his leadership, failed to address the toxic anti-Semitism that exists within its ranks – and Mr Corbyn’s meeting with Jewish faith leaders last night was a belated attempt to draw a line under this controversy.
Mr Corbyn might have spoken of his “absolutely determination” to tackle this disgraceful abuse, but his record now suggests otherwise. He should have been acting when Jewish MPs, and others, revealed the anguish and distress caused to them.
Then there are the more hard-line Momentum activists who are changing the dynamics of local constituencies. And now the selection of Parliamentary candidates ranging from Pudsey’s Jane Aitchison who has used foul-mouthed language on social media to denigrate everyone from Prince Charles to Waitrose shoppers, to Worcester’s Mandy Richards who has cast doubt on the murder of Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox.
If there’s to be a ‘kinder politics’, Mr Corbyn’s actions need to speak louder than his words – and that means taking a firm stance against those whose vile views bring Labour, and public life, into disrepute.