12th December 2019
On Tuesday 3rd December, both Luciana Berger and Maajid Nawaz were welcomed into Brampton College to discuss the pressing issues of growing anti-Semitism and racism as well as discussions on the outcome of the forthcoming general election.
Luciana Berger is amongst some of the main candidates running in the Golders Green/Finchley constituency and was formerly a Shadow Minister for Mental Health. She recently left the Labour party after facing anti-Semitism within the party. She was interviewed by the well-known Maajid Nawaz renowned for his show on LBC as well as being one of the founding chairman of Quilliam, which aims to stop extremism and promote the idea of pluralism and democracy.
Many topics were discussed during the evening including the horrific display of violence on London Bridge. Luciana believed this incident highlighted the government’s ineffectiveness to combat radicalisation from the earlier stages, segueing into why she joined the political arena, with the response of her family previously being politically involved.
She described her journey into politics as a way of seeking to amend any injustices, explaining the anti-Semitism she faced as a student at university and how this impassioned her to initially join the Labour party, as their core idea was created on the basis of being “for the many, not the few”. She further stated how Labour currently “betray the very values” that encouraged her to join, and believes that unless centrists and moderates join the Labour party it cannot be saved from the direction it’s moving to.
In response to this, Maajid made a strong point about how anti-Semitism manages to come not only from the far left but the far right as well and that there seems to be this hierarchy or racism. Luciana agreed with this and explained how many living in Jewish communities are heavily aggrieved by this fact.
Leading away from this, questions became more focused on the flaws of both Labour and the Conservatives with Luciana Berger stating that both parties are not able to deliver on many of their economic policy promises and are using it to overshadow the main issue which is Brexit. This is partially why she has chosen to stand with the Liberal Democrats, knowing she can trust their strong stance and transparency as a party. She further explained that the reason for running in the Golders Green/Finchley constituency was because that specific constituency is a very ‘remain’ constituency. She hopes to represent the constituents wishes well, and further endorsed the Liberal Democrats as the right choice for this specific constituency due to their strong ‘remain’ stance. Luciana continued on to further express her reasons for disliking Brexit – the main reason being the detrimental effects it will cause to the UK economy. She stated that the Liberal Democrats (if backed into a corner) would not be a part of a coalition government – especially after the scars left behind by the 2010 coalition with the Conservatives.
Maajid’s last question was on whether the Brexit debate, which was the initial premise for calling a general election, has now been overshadowed by a multitude of economic promises, purposely. Luciana corroborated this by saying both parties are indeed trying to blind the public from the current issues we are facing as a country. She explained there is a ploy to squeeze the Liberal Democrats out of the public eye and that it has been very successful in doing so by offering flashy promises.
During the last half of the talk, the audience was invited to ask questions. Many contemporary issues were touched upon such as the increasing environmental problems the world faces, the potential policy for the regulation of cannabis, as well as concerns about Human Rights in the UK. Berger’s answers consisted of how the Liberal Democrats are addressing these issues and the extent they are top priority for the party. Later on, further questions regarding anti-Semitism were raised and Luciana responded by saying how thoroughly disappointed she is that the opposition of Her Majesty’s government are not held accountable for their actions and that they have strayed far from their main aims as a party. After all the questions had been answered, Headmaster Bernard Canetti thanked both Maajid and Luciana for their time and commended their passion for fighting against racism and anti-Semitism.
By Eve Jacob (student)
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