Labour or Society?

In the current Vicki Kirby controversy, it seems to me there is one important aspect that has been overlooked. By way of summary, here’s how Harry’s Place puts the overall position:

Vicki Kirby, then Labour’s candidate for Woking, was suspended from the Labour Party in 2014 following a string of antisemitic tweets. Now it seems that she has not simply been reinstated by Labour, but appointed as Woking’s vice chair.

The story was broken by Guy Fawkes’ blog. That blog also highlighted that Kirby and the Woking Labour Party chairman:

“have been publicly sharing content suggesting ISIS is a CIA conspiracy and joking about their own anti-Semitism.”

The latter behavior occurred after her 2014 suspension.

It’s all very well for the Labour Party to take a long look at itself, and wonder how they managed to reinstate her, and appoint her as a vice chairman. And it is right and proper that questions are asked about the Labour Party’s procedures, principles, and it is given the opportunity to learn from its mistakes. (Again.) But the further question is, why was the story only broken by Guy Fawkes’ blog? Given the public nature of Vicki Kirby’s social media postings, why didn’t other Labour Party members raise the alarm?

One possible explanation is that such behavior is not seen as offensive or objectionable within the Labour Party. (And there is plenty of evidence to suggest this is the case.) Another, much more troubling possible explanation, is that such behavior is not seen as offensive or objectionable within British society as a whole.

So, is it the Labour Party that has a Jewish problem, or is it British society?

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Israel’s other challenges

Other, as in other than security, and peace. This from Globes:

The Finance Ministry’s tax revenues report shows 52.3% of Israelis earning below the monthly income tax threshold of NIS 4,905.

The Ministry of Finance’s latest tax revenues report shows 52.3% of Israelis failing to earn above the income tax threshold of NIS 4,905 per month. In all 54.5% of salaried employees fail to reach NIS 4,905 per month and 33.8% of the self-employed. The report also found that the highest 20% of earners paid 80% of Israel’s direct taxes.

That’s one point of reference. Israel has its issues.

But look at this for shocking statistics about the spread among the cities:

The report also reflected the growing regional inequalities in Israel. Tel Aviv residents are responsible for 27% of all the income tax paid in Israel, Haifa residents 12.2% and Jerusalem with double the number of residents as Tel Aviv is responsible for only 6.8% of income tax paid.

Either Jerusalem has an amazing collection of tax dodgers, or an awful morass of poverty. It’s the latter. Israel has its issues.

And how about this for inequality:

The report also reflects gender inequalities. In 2012, the average gross income of an Israeli man was 63% higher than the average gross income of a woman.

As an aside, I have been told that although there are laws that prevent discrimination, they are routinely breached. For example, at job interviews, women are asked questions (about starting a family, for example) that are illegal. And if the candidate does not answer, or objects, what chance do you think they have of getting the job? Israel has its issues.

As for the importance of petrol, the following might make you believe the government was happy Better Place’s electric car revolution failed:

The report also shows fuel tax revenues tripling between 2000 and 2014 while fuel prices rose just 50%. The report shows that in 2014 alone the Israeli government raked in over NIS 27 billion from tax on gasoline, diesel, cars and vehicle parts.

However strong the economy is, it’s not something that benefits all of society; or at least not sufficiently. Israel has its issues.

We have our challenges, and we need to face them, and tackle them.

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