I have a question for supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. It’s quite a simple one, but there will be harder follow-up questions. Let’s start with the simple one…
Is Nigel Farage a racist?
I believe you’d struggle to find him saying something that’s overtly and unequivocally racist and, indeed, you’d find many example of him denying being a racist. There is, however, a certain amount of circumstantial evidence that he’s racist. Let’s just run through some of it and, just for fun, I’m going to slip on my devil’s advocate hat and argue that it proves nothing.
Farage sang Hitler-youth songs at school – This is a baseless smear, without a shred of evidence to support it.
He supported Tommy ‘Founder of the EDL’ Robinson – Nigel is a life-long supporter of free-speech and defended Mr Robinson on those grounds. It doesn’t mean he agrees with everything he says.
And he supports Donald Trump – So? The Queen’s met Donald Trump, does that mean she’s a racist as well?
He spoke at a rally for a far-right political group in Germany – Nigel is a politician who believes in speaking to people right across the political spectrum, and he is saddened that narrow-minded people, interested only in speaking to their own echo-chamber, would use his willingness to engage others in debate against him.
How about the time he posed in front of that poster with all the migrants on – Nige only glanced at the poster before the shoot, and utterly condemns any racist connotations it might have (although the artist who created it said it’s not racist, so that’s OK)
We could do this all day, but are you convinced? Do you still think Farage is a racist? Yes? OK, it’s time for the difficult questions.
First of all, if you can spot this is all bluff when it’s applied to Nigel Farage, why the hell can’t you spot the same when it’s applied to Jeremy Corbyn? Why this huge gap in your political senses?
How about a hypothetical question; if you were black or a Muslim, living in Britain, and Farage was leading a political party polling within a few points either way of the government, and was pushing for a snap general election then how would you feel? Safe? Comfortable?
And suppose further that if you cast any doubt on those deflections that I just pulled out of my arse – perhaps said that Farage was well aware of what the poster said, and fully supported it, or that he spoke to a far-right rally because he’s fully aligned with their interests, or that he supports Trump because Trump represents the pinnacle of his aspiration – that if you voiced any of that on-line then hundreds of people would pile on you, throw racial stereotypes at you, insult you, accuse you of disloyalty to your country, tell you that if you didn’t support Farage it was because you wanted more Tory government, accused you of playing the race card…and if it was all approvingly shared by senior figures in Farage’s party, then how would you feel?
You know how you’d feel. You know how the people affected would feel. That’s why you’d do everything to stop Farage ever being in that position.
And yet, when it’s Corbyn, you time after time accept the weak deflections. You believe that case after case of being on the side of Antisemites can each be explained away on their own, and refuse to see them as part of a larger picture. You give Corbyn extraordinary leeway, that you’d (rightly) never afford Farage. Which means that the last question, for you to ask yourself, is the hardest one of all.