David Francis reacts to news that former Labour MP John Mann has resigned from the commons to work as an ‘antisemitism Tsar’ for the government and been made a Lord.

In other news, John Mann. Good riddance, obviously, but I cannot read the phrase ‘Anti-Semitism Tsar’ without letting out an ungodly howl of horror.

Even the most casual student of the history of the Russian Empire would know how particularly inappropriate this title is.

State and church sponsored pogroms, blood libels and murderous conspiracy theories aside, I can’t believe that John Mann never even got around to seeing Fiddler on The Roof.

I realise that the term ‘Tsar’ might have lost some of its historical relevance for a New Labour politician of Mann’s vintage: we all remember how, during the Blair administration’s programme of dismantling democracy and replacing it with Joined-Up Government, the title of ‘Tsar’ was given to any useful fool vain enough to accept the task of solving social issues considered too thorny for elected politicians. Surely this is a Tsar too far.

I don’t suppose he coined the title or that it’s in his actual job description but I would hazard the view that even allowing the press to use the word ‘Tsar’ in the same breath as ‘Anti-Semitism’ in respect of his new role casts grave doubt on his judgement and his ability to carry out this important task.


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