Euan McColm: Just when you thought it couldn’t be worse, the rot spreads

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It’s been another great week for the bastards, don’t you think? Maybe their best yet. For bigots and liars and moral cowards, these are the salad days, when any outrage seems possible. This is their time and, boy, are they making the most of it.

Just when it seems our polity could not become more broken and corrupt, the participants rise to the challenge and sink to new lows. At a time when we need leaders who might unite, we are at the mercy of ideologues for whom division is an objective.

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of presiding over an institutionally racist party. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of presiding over an institutionally racist party. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The rot is spreading everywhere.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party was described last week by one of its own MPs – Chuka Ummuna – as “institutionally racist” and it was difficult to disagree with him.

If Corbyn had taken seriously the problem of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, he would have done something about it months ago. He would have made sure any member found to have made anti-Semitic remarks was hung drawn and quartered. I should point out that I don’t mean that literally. It’s just that, in these bleak days, one must be careful about using figures of speech.

When Ummuna added that centre-left MPs faced being driven out of the party by hard-line factions and urged Corbyn to “call off the dogs”, the response from the cult members keeping the leader afloat was laughable.

What an outrage it was to describe decent, committed Labour Party members as “dogs”, went the line.

Court columnists and shadow cabinet members alike united in a beautifully orchestrated display of wilful misunderstanding.

This is where Labour is, now. A MP from the black, Asian and minority ethnic community raises the issue of racism in the party and the response is to attack him for his deployment of a metaphor. Let’s not talk about racism when the important thing is that Chuka Ummuna says you’re all like dogs! With fleas! He’s basically saying you sniff each others arses! It was nauseating to watch.

More jaw-droppingly awful behaviour from members of the cult of Corbyn was to follow when someone left a handwritten message for the MP Joan Ryan at her office in Westminster.

This note – which referred to the “deselection express” and was accompanied by a Thomas the Tank Engine toy – was just a joke, according to the macho brocialist wing of the Corbyn project.

But it wasn’t funny, was it? It was creepy, It was intended to intimidate and – as is so often the case in the Labour Party, these days – the victim was a woman.

The note left for Ryan made reference to an upcoming visit to Cyprus, information the MP says could only have been obtained from the diary in her office.

The joke continues to elude me. If you were watching a film starring Jodie Foster and an anonymous man left a taunting note and a toy train at her character’s office, you would think “psychopath”.

A distraction from this appalling bit of in-the-service-of-Corbyn bullying was to come when another high-profile ally of the Labour leader decided to pronounce upon the matter of anti-Semitism.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union – always one of the fizzier left-wing organisations – suggested that the anti-Semitism row might have been “created” by Israel in order to distract attention from its activities.

So a shadowy cabal of Jews (at this point, the anti-Semitism detector is already screaming) have manufactured a story about anti-Semitism. The lack of self-awareness is grimly fascinating.

Perhaps jealous of the attention Labour anti-Semites have been enjoying, the Conservative Party decided to get itself a slice of that sweet Jew-hating action.

The majority of Tory members of the European Parliament voted on Wednesday against a motion of censure against the authoritarian right-wing Hungarian government of Viktor Orban. Orban, a racist who had cracked down on press freedom. The Board of Deputies of British Jews said it was “very concerning” that the Tories had chosen to support Hungary’s record, which included “vivid anti-Semitism”. Anything Labour can do…

While the Conservatives’ MEPs were making a proud stand on behalf of intolerance and hate, the wingnut Eurosceptics who now dominate the party and, by extension, hold the fate of the nation in their hands, were continuing to peddle a mix of lies and fantasy to justify their obsession.

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group of Brexiteer backbenchers lent its backing to a report by the Economists for Free Trade Group that claimed a No Deal Brexit would boost the UK economy by £1.1 trillion over the next decade-and- a-half.

It seems like only yesterday that Rees-Mogg was telling us it would be 50 years before the real benefits of Brexit would be felt; now he’s being bolder. That the claims made in the report were comprehensively taken apart and disposed of by experts is neither here nor there in this post-expert era. Rees-Mogg’s fantasy is good enough for the true believers who would die on a hill for a blue passport.

And just as the dangerous reactionaries who follow Rees-Mogg have nothing credible to say on the matter of the economy, nor do they have anything reassuring to say about the matter of the Irish border, post Brexit. The European Research Group’s pathetic – I mean truly they-should-all-hang-their-heads pathetic – suggestion to avoid the need for a hard border is for customs checks to be held “elsewhere”. Effectively the ERG suggests a hard border that’s – cunningly – not at the actual border.

Those at the heart of the Corbyn and Eurosceptic projects are thoroughly enjoying themselves, right now. Comforted by the certainty that they are always right and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong or – more probably – dishonest, they stride on smashing conventions of decency in discourse.

The liars, racists and opportunists who now dominate our politics have had another vintage week. I dread to think what new low they will next reach.