The current Jewish Chronicle has an odd piece of analysis by editor Martin Bright.
"Ken needs to show a profound change" presents the hardly startling argument that Ken Livingstone needs to greatly up his game, dropping his alliance with Islamism, to win back voters who abandoned him in the last Mayoral election.
More curious though, is Bright's analysis of Ken's chum, Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets. Discussing Ken's appearence at the Mela in Tower Hamlets, Bright states:
"...he appeared alongside the highly divisive Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, who left the Labour Party for Respect, a body which brings together the socialist hard left and the Islamic far right.
Ken has calculated that backing Mr Rahman's brand of Islamism-lite will win him enough support to justify sacrificing the votes of Jewish, gay or more moderate Muslim Londoners."
I don't have any problem with the second sentence - I suspect that is exactly how Ken Livingstone's mind works. But Martin Bright greatly weakens his case by getting into a terrible muddle over Mayor Lutfur. Rahman certainly left the Labour party, but with the block vote of East London Mosque behind him, actually stood as an independent. There was no need for him to join Respect - the section of the mosque vote that had previously gone to Respect rather than Labour would follow him, and the leftists who made up the minority in Respect would follow as soon as they were told Labour's opposition to Rahman was based on Islamophobia. He remains an 'independent' to this day.
As for Bright's description of Respect bringing together the 'socialist hard left and Islamic far right', it is a neat soundbite. Placing some of the actors involved in this process however is slightly harder. Islamist politics in Tower Hamlets may well find individuals on the left on economic issues and the right on social issues (perhaps mirroring Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party more than the very far right)
As for those 'socialists' in Respect, the likes of Carole Swords and Kevin Ovenden long since shelved notions of class to cheerlead Islamist actors full time - be it Hamas and the Palestinian 'resistance' internationally, or East London Mosque locally.
Placing such individuals on the left/right scale is tricky - perhaps the best historical analogy is the old West European Communist parties during the Cold War. If you were a member of the French Communist Party in the 1970s, your job, by and large, was to support the Soviet Union. The role of a non-Muslim member of Respect is to 'support' the Muslim community locally and the ummah internationally.
Is that too nuanced for Martin Bright to understand?