Keir Starmer has bungled a trip to a mosque - at first glance, this issue is absolutely hilarious, but then the more you think about it, the more depressing it gets.
So Captain Hindsight rocks up at a mosque in South Wales with his own paparazzi to stage some kind of Islamic love-in and demonstrate that he isn’t entirely on the side of Israel in this war.
He’s obviously expecting to be greeted with open arms, to get a load of smiley shots and to help hoover up the three and a bit million votes that the Muslim population of Britain has to offer.
What happened was a lesson in how cack-handed virtue signalling can go catastrophically wrong.
WATCH NOW: Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer discuss events in Israel
The imam didn’t speak English and didn’t know who he was. I’ll return to that in a moment.
Other people at the South Wales Islamic centre didn’t want to be used for a cheap PR stunt and berated Starmer.
Then Sir Keir’s not-so-slick PR machine out out this Tweet, saying the Labour leader echoed calls for hostages to be released, for humanitarian aid to get to Gaza and for Israel to keep electricity and water flowing into the area as well as his push for a two state solution.
But this was greeted with fury by elements of the Islamic community.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
This prompted the Imam to receive loads of angry phone calls, he then literally broke down in tears and started bawling his eyes out, and the Muslim Council of Wales felt the need to issue this statement slamming Starmer, claiming they were dismayed by him, that he had essentially misled an imam and misrepresented their conversation…
And now Sir Keir is urgently meeting with a load of Labour Muslim MPs because loads and loads of councillors are resigning right across the UK and the party is being ripped apart.
That stuff, I find hilarious. A completely self-inflicted crisis that has blown up way bigger than anyone could have expected.
But scratch the surface on this and, actually, it exposes some massive problems in society.
Patrick ChristysGB News
Here we have an imam practicing in one of the oldest and best established Muslim communities in Wales who doesn’t speak English, can’t read English and has in no way bothered to engage with British politics. He has no idea who the leader of the opposition, who quite possibly the next Prime Minister, is. That speaks volumes.
But here’s the other big issue: I’m not known for giving Keir Starmer an easy ride but he has actually been pretty neutral on Israel/Gaza. He’s condemned Hamas, a terror organisation, he’s called for restraint from Israel, he’s called for humanitarian aid to continue to go to Gaza and he’s called for Israel to keep providing electricity and water. He has been very reasonable. He has walked the line on this. The one thing he hasn’t done is call for an immediate ceasefire, and that’s absolutely fair enough.
And yet that’s not enough for, clearly, huge elements of the Islamic Community in Wales. Do you think maybe that there might be a little problem there?
The final big issue is what happens now? We have seen police forces, workplaces, schools bend over backwards to accommodate the sensitivities of hardline elements of Britain’s Islamic community. The Labour leader now finds himself confronted by backlash from councillors, MPs, parts of the extreme left of his party and, possibly, millions of people within a certain religious community. Does he continue to say what he’s been saying so far when it comes to Israel and Gaza, or does he cave in and fold to their demands? How long is it before the Labour leader is running press releases past the South Wales Islamic Centre?