By Kenneth Maxwell
It is summer time in the UK.
The politicians are away from Westminster but political intrigue remains at fever pitch.
The fixation continues to be Brexit.
The deadline for the UK exiting the European Community is fast approaching.
But the Conservatives and the Labour Party are deeply split over Brexit and are embroiled in their own internal and never ending leadership battles.
The former British Foreign Secretary and former London mayor, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, better known as “Boris” has used his revived column in “The Daily Telegraph” to ignite a venemous bruhaha over the use of the burka by Muslim women.
He ostensibly attacked the Danish decision to ban the burka.
But in doing so he attacked Muslim women who “chose to go around looking like letter boxes” and “bank robbers.”
Boris Johnson has made a career of self-promoting offensive comments.
He is notorious for his overweening ambition to become the leader of the Conservative Party. He resigned from the government three days after prime minister, Theresa May, had corralled her cabinet at her official country retreat of Chequers, into an agreed common proposal for the Brexit negotiations in Brussels.
But Boris, who had been the most high profile leader of the Brexit campaign, jumped ship.
As editor of the conservative opinion weekly “The Spectator,” owed at the time by the Canadian born British media mogel, Conrad Black, also known as Baron Black of Crossharbour (who was later convicted on four counts of fraud in the US District Count in Chicago), Boris published the racist and anti-semitic comments of “Taki” Theodoracopulos.
Black had also employed Boris at the “Daily Telegraph” which he owned at the time, after Boris was fired by the “The Times” for falsifying a quotation.
Black later called Boris “ineffably duplicitous.”
Boris said that the Queen enjoyed her tours of the Commonwealth because of the “cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnes.” Tony Blair in the Congo would be met by “watermelon smiles.”
He called Hillary Clinton a “sadistic nurse in a mental hospital.”
It is not surprising that this New York City born British politican, should now be taking pages out of Donald Trump’s “crooked Hillary” political playbook.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, meanwhile, is embroiled in an ugly controvesy over anti-Semitism.
The British right-wing tabloid press, led by the “Daily Mail,” is attacking him for his attendance at a ceremony in Tunisia in 2014 (before he became Labour Party leader) where he laid a wreath at the memorial for Palestinian victims of an Israeli air strike in 1985.
The problem is that he was standing next to Maher al-Taher, the leader in exile of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine at the ceremony in Tunis, which is considered by both the EU and the US to be a terrorist group.
Benjamin Netanyahu weighed in and said that Corbyn deserved “uneqivocal condemnation” for laying a wreath on the grave of a Palestinian terrorist of “Black September” who had killed 11 hostages from the Israeli Olympic team and a West German policeman at the 1972 Munich Games.
The British Jewish community was already deeply alienated from Corbyn.
Jewish Labour members of parliament, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, as well as all the leading British Jewish newspapers which claimed that Corbyn is “an existential threat to Jewish life.”
They were infuriated by the Labour Party’s refusal to align its definition of anti-Semitism with that of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
Len McCluskey, the powerful trade union boss, and a long time Corbyn supporter, said that the Jewish leaders have shown “intransigent hostility” to Mr Corbyn, and that some Labour MP’s were using the row to “provide rocket fuel a split in the party.”
He said the party was descending “into a vortex of McCarthyism” in its row over anti-~Semitism.
The Labour Party has complained to the press regulator over press coverage of the Tunis ceremony.
Perhaps Len McCluskey should have reminded his Labour Party colleagues, that Roy Cohn, who was the chief legal counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy during his notorious “red-scare” anti-communist hearings, went on to be Donald Trump counsel and mentor (while also representing major Mafia bosses like Tony Salerno, Carmine Galante and John Gotti).
With Boris Johnson anti-muslim rhetoric, and Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-semitic reticience, the undertones of bitterness in British politics is getting very ugly indeed.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the credit agency, Fitch, has lowered its expectations of a smooth Brexit transition deal, warning that “an acrimonious and distruptive no-deal Brexit is a material and growing possibility.”
The featured photo shows Boris Johnson visiting a mosque in west London.