I’m not that interested in the Tory leadership race in itself. Two wealthy, over-privileged, servants of the ruling class, both educated well beyond their intelligence, battling each other over who can offer more tax breaks to their friends.
Though, until yesterday, I would have said that Jeremy Hunt would be hard pushed to make a statement as cynical, as inhuman, and as abusive of the experiences of ethnic minorities as anything Boris Johnson has managed.
Obviously I underestimated him. This is what Hunt told the Jewish News in an interview:
“When I went to Auschwitz I rather complacently said to myself, ‘thank goodness we don’t have to worry about that kind of thing happening in the UK’ and now I find myself faced with the leader of the Labour Party who has opened the door to antisemitism in a way that is truly frightening.”
What kind of a person could requisition and abuse the memory of the million + women, men and children gassed to death then reduced to ash in furnaces in Auschwitz Birkenau to score the very cheapest and grubbiest of political points?
I suppose one answer might be: a representative of a government that is allied with some of the most antisemitic, Islamophobic, homophobic and anti-refugee governments in the world; a government that created its own scandalous hostile environment, complete with “Go-Home” vans, that had such a devastating impact, especially on the Caribbean community in Britain, and continues to blight the lives of migrants.
I happen to know that Jeremy Corbyn visited Auschwitz before he became Labour leader (and has visited Theresienstadt since becoming leader).
He did so to bear witness, to learn, to absorb its lessons for humanity; lessons that he has used in his continuing, decades-long, campaigns against all racism and injustice. What a contrast.