The antisemitic muppetry of Naz Shah and connected silliness.
With Shah, they finally hit paydirt. Back in 2014 she shared one of those wonderful image memes that tend to be prevalent there, suggesting a "solution" to the Israel-Palestine conflict was to relocate the country to America. Transporting the population to the States would also only cost the equivalent of 3 years' worth of US aid to the country, so everyone would be a winner. Shah was so taken with the idea she suggested she would send it on to both David Cameron and Barack Obama, not apparently in the least bit troubled by the history of the transporting of Jews, to focus on merely one of its objectionable aspects.
It would have been slightly less embarrassing, albeit only slightly, if Shah hadn't also recently denounced a local Tory councillor for his alleged racism, demanding that he be suspended from the party. That it took Labour the best part of today to do the same with Shah despite knowing about the post yesterday, with Shah resigning as John McDonnell's PPS, also doesn't look great. Shah has at least made an unequivocal apology, and did so in the House of Commons, saying that her views have changed greatly over the past 2 years.
Whether that turns out to be that, and the claims that Shah has associations with others with exceptionally dodgy views on Israel stay only that, with Shah regaining the whip at some point in the future remains to be seen. So long as other unacceptable posts are not forthcoming, I'd like to see Shah given the benefit of the doubt and for her to be judged by her deeds rather than past words.
We have though been going through another of those periods where accusations of racism and extremism have been chucked around liberally by all sides, all in the belief that there is some political advantage to be gained. If it seems a bit rum for a prime minister involved in the smearing of Sadiq Khan as being a pal of Islamists to then comment on Labour's alleged problems with antisemitism, that's because it is. It also ignores how all of us will have at some point come out with some misjudged, overwrought or plain wrong commentary; social media has only made it easier to discover and make an issue of at a later date.
Nor is this necessarily of much interest to the wider public, whom if anything would prefer politicians to sound more like they do. When you have people texting into phone-ins declaring themselves relieved that unaccompanied refugee children in Europe won't be coming to this country, describing them as "vermin" and "leeches", as I heard on the local BBC station earlier in the week, it's worth reflecting for the most part our representatives resist the temptation to use inflammatory language.
The same cannot be said for our allies. When you consider how former Iranian president Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial and remarks on how Israel would "disappear from the page of history" were brought up every time he made the news, it's somewhat odd we don't hear much about the views of Azerbaijan's president Ilham Aliyev. This is even more surprising when you consider he makes them in English, on Twitter, and to over 200,000 followers. His most objectionable by a considerable margin was a tweet from a couple of years back when he declared that his country and Turkey were working together to counter the "myth" of the Armenian genocide, but he regularly insults neighbour Armenia, whether or not the on-going Nagorno-Karabakh conflict over the disputed territory is blowing hot or cold. Such remarks from the head of state didn't stop Tony Blair from "advising" on the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, despite Azerbaijan's turn-around on human rights in general being described as outpacing even Russia's, of which we've heard much more about.
Far be it from me to suggest we should care far more about genocide denying leaders of men than Labour MPs sharing viral images on Facebook, completely unacceptable as it was, but well, you know.