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Why do we still have to explain why Holocaust denial is wrong?

I think of the survivors of the Holocaust and feel shame. 

The Holocaust is one of the most well documented and researched periods in history. There are clear records of the systematic and industrial scale of the Nazi plan to murder the Jews of Europe. Not only from historians but from the Nazis themselves. Most importantly, we have the testimony of the lucky few who managed to survive whilst their families were shot into pits, deported and sent to gas chambers or simply left to starve to death.

You would therefore think that those who seek to deny or to denigrate this history would be given short shrift.

Which is why it has been all the more shocking to see the Holocaust once again called into question, and the root cause of this tragedy - antisemitism - rearing its head at a mainstream political party conference.

You only have to look at one single day with a series of deeply uncomfortable interventions by those who should know better: we had director Ken Loach suggesting that debate about whether the Holocaust happened is OK, saying “history is for all of us to discuss”; Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite Union labelling concerns about antisemitism as “mood music”; and then Ken Livingstone - never one to hold back on his views on this particular topic - stating that making offensive remarks about Jews is not necessarily antisemitic…err, OK Ken.

When you have central figures making these sorts of insulting and ignorant comments, they embolden those who have only one agenda – to undermine the truth of the past and to whip up hatred against Jews today.

I think of the survivors of the Holocaust, some of whom we are fortunate to still have with us, and feel shame. After everything they suffered, they have to witness this. The pain and hurt this must cause.

How many times do we have to defend basic truths that should be considered sacrosanct? How many times do we need to explain that antisemitism is as much a form of racism as any other?

We have all been alarmed by the rise of the far-right around the world in recent months, culminating in the terrible events in Charlottesville in August. And equally we worry about the far-right gains in the German elections for the first time in decades.

Yet, it is all too easy to point the finger at events elsewhere - sometimes we need to look in our own backyards and admit where the problems lie. And there are problems here.

We need our political leaders to take a stand and say when a line has been crossed. We need to be clear that antisemitism will not be tolerated and reflected in concrete action. We need our leaders to be clear that they will not stand by as the truth of the Holocaust is undermined on their watch. 

Karen Pollock MBE is Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust.

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Will the Brexit Cabinet talks end in a “three baskets” approach?

The joy of the three baskets idea is that everyone gets to tell themselves that it will be their basket that ends up the fullest. 

It's decision day in the Brexit talks. Again.

The Brexit inner Cabinet will meet to hammer out not its final position, but the shape of its negotiating position. The expected result: an agreement on an end state in which the United Kingdom agrees it will follow EU regulations as it were still a member, for example on aviation; will agree to follow EU objectives but go about them in its own way, for example on recycling, where the British government wants to do more on plastic and less on glass; and finally, in some areas, it will go its way completely, for instance on financial services. Or as it has come to be known in Whitehall, the "three baskets" approach.

For all the lengthy run-up, this bit isn't expected to be difficult: the joy of the three baskets idea is that everyone gets to tell themselves that it will be their basket that ends up the fullest. There are two difficulties: the first is that the EU27 won't play ball, and the second is that MPs will kick off when it emerges that their preferred basket is essentially empty.

The objections of the EU27 are perhaps somewhat overwritten. The demands of keeping the Irish border open, maintaining Europol and EU-wide defence operations means that in a large number of areas, a very close regulatory and political relationship is in everyone's interests. But everyone knows that in order for the Conservative government to actually sign the thing, there is going to have to be some divergence somewhere.

The bigger problem is what happens here at home when it turns out that the third basket - that is to say, full regulatory autonomy - is confined to fishing and the "industries of the future". The European Research Group may have a few more letters left to send yet.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman and the PSA's Journalist of the Year. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.