Jewish people, the Labour Party, some stories

Friend of ours told us a story about her dad. When he was a little boy his parents put him on a train. He was five, six years old, he didn’t really know what was going on.

When the train pulled into the next station he looked out of the window and his mum and dad were there waving at him from the platform, his mum in a dress with flowers, his dad in a suit and tie.

The next station they were there again – waving and smiling, and the station after, and the one after that. He got up to look out of the window at the sixth station and they weren’t there any more. He never saw them again.

Eventually he ended up at Bristol Temple Meads station in England, Nazi Germany far behind him. His parents were never able to cross the border.

I’m a story-teller, one way or another I’ve always made my living telling people’s stories, as a journalist, a PR person, a novelist.

When my dad was a kid they didn’t have running water in the house where he lived, he had to walk to the top of a hill and get it from a spring in a bucket.

When my grandmother was an elderly lady in an old folks home the local Conservative MP came with a photographer at election time. He put his arm round her and smiled for the picture, she struggled free and shouted ‘Get off me, I’m a Socialist.’

I’m a member of the Labour party here in the UK. That’s because the stories I tell mean something to me.

The old lady speaking truth to power at the weakest point in her life, the boy carrying the bucket down the hill because otherwise there won’t be water, the little boy on a train, waving to his mum and dad for the last time.

To me, being a member of the Labour Party isn’t  just about being on the right side – it means forever being on the weaker side. If someone is a winner in life what do they need me for?

That’s why I support Palestinian people in their battle. It’s also why I support Jewish people in their fight against hated and prejudice. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive, they are the same thing.

There are some people who claim to be supporters of the Labour Party who seem to be getting confused over what that support means.

When I was a kid and a member of the national organisation of Labour students many of the most passionate, eloquent people I heard speak were Jews. The idea that these same people feel excluded from the Labour Party now because of their faith or culture is horrifying to me.

If you believe in the values of the Labour Party you belong in it, if you are a racist, of any kind, you don’t – that’s it.

If you have enjoyed this post and want to find out more about my writing, click here to download a free sample of my award winning novel Song of the Sea God and see if you agree with the rave reviews.

It’s difficult for a short review to convey the quality of writing in this astonishing story … I also found myself considering whether this is one of the cleverest allegories I’ve read.

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4 thoughts on “Jewish people, the Labour Party, some stories”

  1. All those tiny tales are so poignant and I love that old lady shrugging off the MP! I have never been able to decide which party to support, though I always vote and try to make the right decsion at the time; I don’t think my choice has ever got in! I think your explantion for why you are a Labour supporter gets to the heart of the matter. One decision I was sure about was to vote Remain; morally and idealistically it just seemed right.

    1. Thank you Janet – I’m a remainer too, morally and idealistically like you, and also practically too – what a mess it’s looking already.

  2. A powerful post, Chris. I don’t live in the UK anymore, but your stories remind me of my cultural background. I don’t understand prejudice in any form. People who tend to be prejudiced are doing just that: pre-judging without actually knowing. I am currently teaching a group of Syrian refugees and I wish everyone could come and meet them…their prejudice would disappear in an instant. If I lived in the UK, I would vote Labour too because its ethics represent everything I value.

    1. Thanks Val. It’s a curious thing party politics I think, out of the few choices you have to are never going to find something which exactly matches your views, but the Labour Party comes closest in my case.

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