A new campaign aimed at combating extremism in public life launches today, at the start of the Labour Party conference in Brighton.
The campaign is headed by former Labour Minister Ian Austin, who quit the party in February over Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to tackle antisemitism.
The cross-party organisation, called Mainstream: the Campaign Against Extremism, today publishes an exclusive poll of Labour Party members that lays bare the extent of extremism in the Labour Party.
The survey of more than 1,100 Labour members carried out by YouGov reveals more Labour members blame the British government for the Northern Ireland “Troubles” than blame groups like the IRA.
There are also now huge majorities among members for getting rid of the royal family, ditching Britain’s nuclear weapons, and using strikes to bring down a Tory government.
A majority of Labour members also believe the antisemitism crisis that has ripped the party apart is mostly the fault of the media or Corbyn’s opponents.
Mr Austin said: “I grew up listening to my father, who was a refugee from the Holocaust, warning of the dangers of prejudice and hatred. I joined the Labour Party as a teenager and campaigned for it all my adult life.
“But the party of today is not the one I grew up in – under Jeremy Corbyn, it has been poisoned by a culture of extremism and intolerance.
“It is the responsibility of everyone who opposes extremism in all its forms to stand up against this destructive force in public life.”
Mainstream will focus on combating all forms of extremism in public life, including antisemitism.
It will highlight how public debate has been poisoned by increasingly hard-line views out of touch with mainstream public opinion.
Mr Austin, MP for Dudley North, added: “Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour has become a safe haven for antisemites. Those who have taken a stand against this corrosive evil within have been intimidated and even driven from the Party but we will not be silenced.
“Mainstream is a cross-party campaign group that will shine a spotlight on those who peddle extremist views and those who fail to tackle this growing scourge in our society.
“Now, more than ever, we need the British values of tolerance and respect to be restored to political debate and for extremism to be driven from public life – that is what we will campaign for.”
- Just 15 per cent polled by YouGov say they are “proud” of Britain’s history over the past 300 years, with 43 per cent saying they are “ashamed”.
- Only 29 per cent believe in retaining the monarchy while 62 per cent say that Britain should become a republic.
- Only 20 per cent say they would be “happy” or “proud” to sing the national anthem while 50 per cent say they would be bored, embarrassed or angry.
- More Labour members – 32 per cent – blame the British government for the atrocities of the Troubles, such as the Warrington and Birmingham bombings, than blame Republican terrorists like the IRA – 27 per cent.
- Just 29 per cent think groups like Al Qaeda are the most to blame for Islamist terrorist attacks in the UK in recent years. 68 per cent think that either the UK and our allies are most to blame (28 per cent), or think both sides are equally to blame (40 per cent).
- Only 23 per cent of Labour members are willing to accept the fact that Labour has a serious problem with antisemitism within its membership.
- And despite huge evidence that the leadership has connived with, or covered up, antisemitism in the party, a majority of party members – 54 per cent – say that the media or Jeremy Corbyn’s political opponents are to blame for the accusations.
- Meanwhile 69 per cent of members support using strikes to overthrow a Conservative government, and 70 per cent agree with getting rid of Britain’s nuclear weapons.
- Almost half – 48 per cent – want to abolish our country’s borders
- Party members also approve of controls on the freedom of the press. A total of 79 per cent support new laws limiting who can own national newspapers, while 51 per cent say a Labour government should take greater control of broadcasting media.
For more information, please see www.mainstreamuk.org, or call 07932 780416.
Notes to eds: YouGov polled 1,185 Labour Party members. Fieldwork was carried out between 17th and 20th September 2019.