This article on the Jewish Chronicle is entitled How the unveiling of Labour’s antisemitism report turned into a Corbyn calamity. This is the first paragraph.
It was the political equivalent of running into a burning building with a can of petrol and liberally chucking the fuel over anything you could find.
What Jeremy Corbyn did this morning almost defied belief. Even in these extraordinary times, it was an act of such reckless abandon that veteran political correspondents watched open-mouthed.
Mr Corbyn came to the launch of his party’s report into antisemitism, conducted by Shami Chakrabarti, after the worst week of his decades-long political career.
I’d gone to their web site to get a digest after reading the various tweets after the Jewish MP; Ruth Smeeth was abused.
I’m not Jewish, but I have Jewish genes, so I certainly wouldn’t vote for the Labour Party, even if they were the only non-Fascist candidate.
My father described himself as a left-wing Tory. Today, he would probably have approved of the views of the likes of Michael Hesseltine or Kenneth Clarke.
I’m not sure what he actually did in politics, but I do know that he once worked at the League of Nations in Geneva before the Second World War. During the war, he was for some time a Civil Servant, but apart from one or two clues, I don’t know much. I should have a look at Kew and the web site.
I also know that I never heard him say anything racist and when someone questioned why he actually printed letterheads and wedding stationery for the local black community in Wood Green, he rebuked them by saying that as long as their money had the Queen’s head on it, he’d do business with everyone.
I also know that he was firmly anti-fascist and was at the Battle of Cable Street, where as he said, all the East End stopped Mosley and his Blackshirt thugs, marching through.
Recently, I took a taxi, where the driver had had talks with his Jewish grandfather, who had also been at Cable Street. His grandfather, like my father was adamant that it was not just the communists who stopped Mosley, but a wide alliance of right-thinking people in the East End.
I use the term London Mongrel to describe myself and my father used it himself, in my presence a couple of times, which is where I picked it up. You have to remember that the Nazis referred to people who were part-Jewish as mischling, which roughly means mongrel or half-breed. My father wasn’t Jewish but his great-great-grandfather, who I refer to as the Tailor of Bexley, was probably a Prussian Jew, who had run away from Napoleon.
As the term dates from the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, it would very much have been a term of the time my father was on the fringe of politics, so it is no surprise that he used it.
Incidentally, I’m probably more of a mongrel than my father, as my mother’s father was a Huguenot engraver and her mother was a posh lady born in Dalston Junction from Devonian yeoman stock with the surname of Upcott. Cullompton Museum told me that the family were very much involved in the development of worsted serge and made a fortune from it. This section in the Cullumpton Wikipedia entry, says more about the cloth trade and the Upcotts.
I once asked my father, if he’d ever wanted to stand as an MP and he replied that he’d been asked to put his name forward as a candidate for a by-election, but a young Duncan Sandys was chosen instead, which my father thought was probably the right choice.
Searching Wikipedia says that this was the Norwood By-election of 1935. Wikipedia says this.
The by-election was held due to the resignation of the incumbent Conservative MP, Walter Greaves-Lord. It was won by the Conservative candidate Duncan Sandys.
An Independent Conservative candidate was fielded at the by-election by Randolph Churchill, who sponsored Richard Findlay, a member of the British Union of Fascists to stand. This got no support from the press or from any Members of Parliament, despite Randolph being the son of Winston Churchill. Ironically, in September that year, Duncan Sandys became son-in-law of Winston and brother-in-law of Randolph by marrying Diana, the former’s daughter.
Knowing my father’s strong anti-fascist views, it fits with his version of the tale. The other thing that fits, is that although my father had met and liked Winston Churchill, he had no time for his son, Randolph.
Indirectly, I think I benefited from my father’s political contacts, as after the war, when he rebuilt his printing business in Wood Green, his largest customer was Enfield Rolling Mills, whose Managing Director was John Grimston, the Earl of Veralem, who was eight years younger than my father and had been MP for St. Albans a couple of times.
When in the early sixties I needed a summer job to earn money and I couldn’t have my usual one in his print works, as my father’s business was bad, my father phoned the Earl and asked if he had something that would suit.
The Earl of Veralem said yes and I had a very good job in the Electronics Laboratory for two summers, where I learned an amazing amount about life and making things.
I have no idea of the Earl’s politics except that he was a Conservative MP and very much thought to be a good boss of the company, by those with whom I worked.
One view of my father’s though, was that as he hated the likes of Hitler and Stalin equally, he said several times to me, that the extreme left are no different to the extreme right.
Reading this article on the BBC entitled Livingstone Stands By Hitler Comments, I can only conclude that the Labour Party has proved my father to be right.
The Tour de France is creating a problem for the Jewish community in Leeds, as the synagogue is on one side of the route and the congregation general live on the other. So crossing the road twice is going to be difficult on the Sabbath.
Radio 5 have just had an interview with the local rabbi and it was amazing as he told how he dealt with all the problems and decided to have services on both sides of the route, in a synagogue and a school. He’s also timed everything to fit in with the race, so his congregation can also see the race, if they want to.
This interview should be played to all of those religious fanatics around the world, as a practical example of how to celebrate your religion, without imposing any limits on others.
Warsaw has a sorry history in the last hundred years. I took the tram to slightly outside the city centre to visit these four.
Sadly the Museum of the History of Polish Jews was closed as it was Tuesday.
The links to the appropriate Wikipedia pages follow.
I generally note the blue plaques I pass, as I walk around. This morning, I was on the way to pick something up in the area and passed two.
Hannah Billig seems to have been a remarkable doctor. But then she was awarded a George Medal for courage and bravery in the Blitz and she was called the Angel of Cable Street.
This plaque to Jack Kid Berg was a hundred metres or so further on. He seemed to have had an good and long life.
I also seem to remember that along with Ted Kid Lewis he was one of my father’s sporting heroes.
The title of this post comes from the documentary about the story, made by Pierre Sauvage, who was born and sheltered in Le Chambon.
It would appear that bees are not doing well. Over the years, I’ve known a few people who kept bees and we even had a Primary School teacher called Adams, who was a bee enthusiast and sometime keeper. My physio at the Angel, was even given a jar of Stamford Hill honey from an Orthodox Jewish client. Read why honey is kosher here.
I like my honey and I would miss it, if it disappeared, so I’m watching the arguments on whether neonicotinoids should be banned. Many of the arguments are outlined is this article from the BBC in Scotland, about whether if a ban is brought in, Scotland should delay implementation.
It is the classic argument, where commercial interests, which in this case are farmers and pesticide manufacturers are arguing against the emotions of various lobby groups.
We seem to be getting a lot of arguments like this these days, with fracking, nuclear power, waste incinerators and HS2 producing similar stands-off.
With the bees and neonicotinoids, there is a solution and that is research, performed scientifically over a period of years. But I suspect both sides of the argument, would probably not want to wait for any conclusions and then if it was against their views, they wouldn’t accept it anyway.
Janice Turner in the Times last week, published an article entitled, Hectoring won’t persuade the MMR-deniers. The title alone says it all, about those who are against MMR.
So this argument about bees and neonicotinoids, will buzz on for years.
Most stories to come out of Israel are not about how well Orthodox Jews and Muslims get on, but this one from The Australian is. Here’s the introduction.
IT was meant to be a battle for supremacy in the kitchen and, perhaps, for the right to claim ownership of the cuisine.
But Israel’s most popular cooking contest has achieved what decades of peace talks have failed to do after turning an orthodox Jew and a Muslim Palestinian into firm friends.
As Jackie Azoulay and Salma Fiyumi completed their dishes in the Masterchef final on Wednesday, they cheerfully embraced on national television.
It’s just a pity that the leaders of both sides can’t sit down with these two women and have a really good meal.
My next door neighbour years ago, had been a Colonel in the British Army. At one time, he had been enforcing the British mandate in Palestine, so he knew the area well.
He said that the only way to tell if the various people in the area, were Jew or Arab, was from their surname. It would appear, these two women have performed that wonderful feat of turning the clock back constructively.
Now I’m not Jewish, although I’m suspicious that my coeliac disease comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish line from my great-great-great-grandfather who came over to work in the fur-trade at the start of the nineteenth century.
I do like to have eggs for breakfast and if I cook them at home, I will generally have them with beans and bacon. Today, though, I was on the way to IKEA via the Angel, so I popped into Carluccio’s. Usually, in such a situation, I have eggs florentine with a portion of pancetta. The pancetta is a great way to mop up the sauce and the yolk from the poached eggs.
I suppose if you are Jewish, you could accept the offer of Scottish gluten-free oatcakes. The oatcakes are fine, but they are a bit hearty for breakfast.
Hull’s part in the emigration of Jews from Eastern Europe in the nineteenth centuries is told in this plaque at the station now called Hull Paragon Interchange.
The emigrants actually used special platforms to the south of the main station, as the authorities were worried about infectious diseases. My coeliac disease probably came from Askenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, but I suspect they came by a shorter route more directly to London, where my German-speaking ancestors worked in the fur trade.