In Margaret Hodge - Part 3 we surmised that actually Hodge didn't want Labour to drop the action against her because she wanted the antisemitism story to stay in the limelight all Summer.
What happened on Friday 17th August, appears to back up this assertion. Hodge gave an interview to Sky's Beth Rigby, where she said this:
On the day that I heard that they were going to discipline me, and possibly suspend me, it felt almost like, I kept thinking, "What did it feel like to be a Jew in Germany in the thirties?" because if felt almost as if they were coming for me and it's rather difficult to define but there's that fear and it reminded me of what my dad used to say. He always said to me as a child, "You've got to keep a packed suitcase at the door Margaret, in case you ever have to leave in a hurry." And when I heard about the disciplinary, my emotional response resonated with that feeling of fear that clearly was at the heart of what my father felt when he came to Britain."
This was the first part of the interview that caused, arguably, the most uproar and rightly so. Hodge was likening what was effectively a disciplinary letter from her boss to the Nazis coming for Jews in the 1930s. A comparison that shocked many people in it's belittlement of the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany which led to the holocaust. It spawned the hashtag #HodgeComparisons which, you can see if you click through, divided Twitter as to whether it was a justifiable mocking of such a comparison or a bullying, nasty form of political discourse.
Labour's response to her interview was as follows:
"Jeremy is determined to tackle antisemitism in the Labour Party, so Jewish people feel it is a warm and welcoming home.
The next thing that caused offence was Hodge's reply to Rigby's question about what her relationship with Jeremy Corbyn was now like.
It's a very fine line between being pro Palestinian, the Palestinian cause which he's always believed in and being antisemitic and I think he's gone the wrong side of that line."
No. No there is not a fine line. It is perfectly possible to support the Palestinian cause, to defend and advocate for the human rights of all Palestinians, to support the Palestinians in their Great March of Return, to speak out against Israel's oppression against them and to advocate a two state solution without being at all antisemitic.
However, this is the tone of discourse that Hodge was determined to set and so she did, unchallenged.
Then there was this:
And I think it's a bit scary as well? We've got this, sort of, growth of populism, whether it's Trump, whether it's Boris Johnson, and now whether it's the cult of Corbynism, which allows these sort of attitudes to emerge and that's what scares me."
"The cult of Corbynism" - another planned narrative, a seed to plant into the minds of Sky viewers.
When asked if Labour should adopt the full IHRA definition of antisemitism, which of course is what this was all about, Hodge had this to say:
I think.. he's digging himself deeper and deeper into a pit, where the Jews just feel uncomfortable.. and I have to say to you that it isn't just the Jews Beth that feel uncomfortable with this, when I look at all the letters I've had, the emails, the ones that have been supportive, and there are thousands of them. It comes from what I would class / call "Middle England"? So people who just think, probably like I do, "Was it like this in the thirties? Isn't this a bridge too far? Shouldn't we step back from that?" So of course he's got to accept the definition, of course he's got to accept that definition. But even if he does that tomorrow, that will only be the start of a very, very, very long journey in rebuilding trust with the Jewish community.
Again, comparing Labour to Nazis basically and letting everyone know that even if Corbyn (actually the National Executive Committee as she full well knows) does accept the full IHRA definition that she and her allies will not let the matter drop and will keep antisemitism in Labour in the news for as long as they can, to cause as much damage as they can. Rigby didn't even challenge her on the fact that it is not a matter for Corbyn to decide on the definition but a matter for the NEC. This isn't about accuracy for Hodge however, it is about demonising and toppling Corbyn.
Rigby then questioned Hodge on Len McCluskey's recent HuffPost blog post where he compares what is happening in the party to McCarthyism. (His actual quote, for those of you interested, is, "While rooting out the anti-Semites, we cannot descend into a vortex of McCarthyism, however much Labour’s opponents might enjoy the spectacle")
That just shows what a terrible situation we are because I would put it to Len McCluskey that my receiving a letter saying they're starting disciplinary proceedings 11 hours after I had a perfectly legitimate conversation with the leader of the Labour Party in the lobby of the House of Commons, smelt to me of McCarthyism against people who oppose Corbyn and a purge against those people and I have to say, it felt to me like, OMG are they doing this to me because I'm Jewish? So it felt McCarthyist, McCarthyite against me and I don't see it the other way round at all. But doesn't that demonstrate the fact that Len McCluskey feels that he can say that, demonstrates the rift over the issue within the Labour Party, which as leader of the party, he has got to start healing that rift. That's his job, that's his responsibility. That's what he's leader of the Labour Party for."
Funnily, Hodge has just conferred leadership of the Labour Party onto Len McCluskey! Seriously though, no they did not do that to you because you're Jewish. You did not have a legitimate conversation with the leader of the Labour Party and the reason they did it was that you reportedly shouted at Corbyn:
You're a fucking anti-Semite and a racist. You don't want people like me in the party."
which would be an actionable offence in any place of work. Perhaps they also did it because you're not, in fact, a nice person (see Margaret Hodge, Margaret Hodge: Notice of Investigation, Margaret Hodge - Part 3) but it was in no way because you are Jewish.
In conclusion, this wasn't an interview it was a platform. You can watch it here. It was a platform where Hodge, as many times as possible referenced the Labour Party in terms of the antisemitism of Nazi Germany; where she deliberately conflated support for Palestine as antisemitism and stressed Corbynism as a cult with McCarthyite tendencies. She did this unchallenged by Rigby - an example of appalling journalism.
However, because of that first comparison, Hodge has shot herself in the foot. All that she will be remembered for in that interview is that she compared a disciplinary letter to Jews being persecuted in Nazi Germany. In a story that could have run and run - and it's clear that was her intention - it has suddenly gone silent with regards to Hodge. Let's hope that, from her at least, it's: