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The Labour party failed in effectively tackling anti-Semitism, says prospective MP Darren Jones

“People have tended to fall into antisemitic tropes not necessarily realising they were doing it”

Darren Jones, Labour candidate in Bristol North West, told The Bristol Tab that he thinks the Labour party should have responded much more quickly to reports of antisemitism within the Party.

He said, "Anti-Semitism [within the labour party] has been real. There has been a spectrum though, there is a very very small minority of people who are just racist, but I think that is very much just a minority.

"The real problem is that people have tended to fall into anti-Semitic tropes not necessarily realising they were doing it because of an issue around political education."

Darren hopes to claim the votes of any students based in Stoke Bishop on December 12th. The Bristol Tab caught up with him last week to find out more about his views.

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"I never understand the argument that by providing more democracy you’re being undemocratic"

Darren thinks that there should be a second Brexit referendum. "We have elections every few years in this country because people have the right to change their mind once they see for real what politicians are offering.

"I don’t see why that should be different to the Brexit referendum. Is this actually what you voted for? You have the right to change your mind if not."

"It is a big increase compared to Tory spending through the years of austerity, but that is a really low base"

Labour’s manifesto pledges would add £83bn to annual government spending by 2024. The Bristol Tab asked Darren if he thought all of the Party's pledges are realistic.

"At the moment, under the Torys, in terms of developed nations within the OECD, the only country to spend less than the UK on public services is the US and we know what a disaster public service funding is there.

"Under the labour plan, we're only actually in the middle of the range. Places like France and Norway and Sweden are spending more than we would be spending under the labour manifesto anyway. So its really not completely radical in terms of the level of spending."

He said that while he was particularly pleased with the prominence of climate actions and commitment to council house building, he is "less motivated" by renationalising.

"Do I disagree in principle that the state should own that sort of infrastructure, no, but do I think it is a spending priority right now? I would rather put that money into childcare or maintenance grants."

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"The 'Cult of Corbyn' has started to decline"

Darren explains why he thinks that the 'Cult of Corbyn' has declined as the youth vote has become more disillusioned with politics. “In the early days of Corbyn young people saw what he was offering as being something exciting and positive around radical change in the way the country is run.”

Darren explains that as time has gone on, young people realised that “politics is much harder” than they thought, and as Corbyn has “had to make compromises”, this has “reduced some of the enthusiasm which people had when they thought he was this person who could break through things that already exist.”

Another issue that Darren identifies is Brexit, where there has been a disconnect between “young Corbynistas who are significantly open internationalist Remainers, and Jeremy who is essentially a 1970s Bennite Brexit supporter.”

“I’m not somebody who supported overnight abolishing private schools."

Darren told The Bristol Tab that he is not in favour of abolishing private schools, but he thinks that there should be “a tapered taxation on the school side where the most affluent paid more compared to the least affluent. That way, we don’t push higher school fees onto working parents.”

He explains that in Bristol North West there are quite a few private schools. “A lot of the parents that use them are not millionaires, they’re just normal families who are often re-morgaging their homes or not taking family holidays or whatever in order to try and give their kids a better-quality education.

“The labour manifesto would put VAT on private school fees. I also don’t support that. It puts the cost on the parents as opposed to on the schools."

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"In terms of the biggest local issues, transport is really important"

If elected, Darren says that on a more local level, he will focus on improving transport in his constituency. His plans will greatly affect students who live in Stoke Bishop. He would create cycle lanes where cars are not allowed to park and look to improve lighting over the downs to make it a safer place at night.

“We’ve been doing quite a lot of work with the university and the local council on trying to sort out some of these primarily transport issues.”


If you're still in doubt over where you'll be casting your vote, check here to see what constituency you’re in.