Seumas tells me he’s getting questions about an antisemitic mural which I defended on Facebook a few years ago. Apparently this has come up before – journalists asked about it in 2015 too but we didn’t say anything.
“Why didn’t you deal with the question in 2015?” I ask.
“I just didn’t look at the email properly,” Seumas says.
“Well, that’s fair enough,” I say.
“We do need to make clear that you oppose antisemitism,” says James Schneider.
“And other forms of racism,” I tell him.
Jewish groups are complaining that the statement Seumas issued yesterday about the antisemitic mural is too weak. Seumas shows the statement to me. “It’s true, it is a bit weak,” I say.
“Why did you sign it off?” asks Seumas.
“I just didn’t look at it properly”, I explain.
“We need another new statement to make sure nobody can ever accuse you of supporting antisemitism,” says James.
“And other forms of racism,” I say.
The Board of Deputies has written to me to say that the new statement about the antisemitic mural which Seumas issued to clarify the first statement which was too weak is still too weak.
“And is it still too weak?” I ask Seumas.
“I don’t know,” he says. “I haven’t looked at it properly.”
James Schneider offers to go away and draft another one. “We need to be much stronger. This time I’m going to put in a reference to antisemitism being ‘the socialism of fools’,” he says.
“Careful,” says Seumas.
There’s a demonstration in Parliament Square against antisemitism. “Are you going to go?” asks John McDonnell.
“Is it against other forms of racism too?” I ask.
“Not really,” he says.
“Demonstrations aren’t really my thing,” I tell him.
Apparently there’s a counter-demonstration as well, by people who support me and therefore think it’s important to oppose people protesting against antisemitism. It’s a nice thought, they’re good people.
Owen Jones tweets a statement in support of the counter-demonstration, but then deletes it again because he hadn’t read it properly.
“You see?” I say to John. “These things happen.”
At Shadow Cabinet, Keir Starmer asks if we can discuss antisemitism.
“Yes, and other forms of racism,” I tell him.
Keir asks why antisemitism isn’t on the formal agenda for the meeting.
“I didn’t look at the agenda properly,” I explain.
Shami Chakrabarti is in tears. She complains that her report still hasn’t been implemented.
“I haven’t looked at it properly yet,” I tell her. “But I’m fully committed to reading it, and other reports.”
At the end of the meeting, she’s still crying.
An email from Christine Shawcroft to other members of the NEC disputes panel, defending a councillor who posted Holocaust denial material on his Facebook page, has been leaked. It’s absolutely disgraceful, I’m absolutely furious about the leak.
I call Christine to ask her to step down as chair of the disputes panel. “Why did you defend such disgusting material?” I ask her.
“I didn’t look at it properly,” she says.
It’s a perfectly reasonable explanation, so I tell her she can stay on the disputes panel and the NEC.
*as told to Red Roar