Has the Anti-Semitism Row Stalled Labour's Fightback?

November 29, 2019 | by Field Team

The half-way point of the campaign has been marked by polling results, controversy and media blunders.

It was always going to be a matter of time until Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to effectively tackle anti-Semitism within the Labour party came back to haunt him at this election. The charge against Corbyn is not a new one, ever since he was elected in 2015 we have rarely gone more than a month without accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party making headlines. Eachtime it has happened, Corbyn has had an opportunity to take decisive action and each time he has failed to do so.

It should come as no surprise then, that just as we reach a crucial week in the campaign, the issue has reared its head again. Once more, we have seen a senior figure in the British Jewish community criticise the Labour leadership’s inaction on tackling anti-Semitism and voice the concerns that many in the Jewish community have about a potential Labour Government. And once more we have seen Corbyn make a complete hash of it, only this time on live TV in the biggest car crash of an interview since a certain member of the Royal Family taught us all about the joys of Pizza Express in Woking.

But how much of an impact will this latest flare up have on the outcome of the election? Arguably, not much at all.

Over the past week, we have seen Labour make small but consistent gains in the polls at the expense of the Conservatives. Whilst small enough individually to be dismissed as noise, the release of the much-hyped YouGov MRP poll on Wednesday confirmed that the trends we’re seeing in conventional polls are about as accurate as we can hope for.

However, the real problem for Labour is that their vote isn’t increasing anywhere near as fast as they need it to. Perhaps if they were able to keep focus on their policies for a whole week they’d be in a better position, but they struggle to do so as attention has remained fixed on anti-Semitism claims instead.

So, is this latest episode damaging Labour’s support? Perhaps not noticeably so. But every day Corbyn’s record on anti-Semitism dominates the headlines is another gift to the Conservative Party, and Corbyn only has himself to blame.

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