Sunday, April 03, 2005

Straw Men Have Feelings Too

In a column piece that has drawn no small measure of applause from others in blogland, David Aaronovitch exorcises a lot of inner demons over, well pretty much everything:

"Besides, after Libya, Lebanon and the Iraqi and Palestinian elections themselves, isn't there at least an argument to be had about the spread of democracy? Why aren't the liberal classes up in arms about Zimbabwe and Darfur? Why do they squeal over the non-existent threat to Rowan Atkinson from laws to stop incitement to religious hatred, and fall totally silent about young women being executed for adultery in Iran? Couldn't the task of any decent centre left be to take Bush et al up on their words about liberty in the world? To take Blair up on Africa and climate change?"

That's a lot of questions. I'm not denying that he has a point on some things, but shouldn't he just set up a blog for this sort of invective?

The piece that appears to have got him rattled in the first place, John Lanchester's LRB review of Stephen Pollard's Blunkett biography, is here, if you want to read it. What astonished me when I read that first time round was this section:

"The Labour Party of semi-fond memory was a broadish church but it had some consistent currents within it. It was left of centre, socially liberal, anti-authoritarian, anti-American, pacifistic, anti-big-business, keen on benefits for the poor, and in favour of nationalisation."

I must have dreamt Chuter Ede's tenure as Home Secretary, Ernest Bevin and the creation of NATO, the Callaghan government and the trade union old right's longstanding role as a praetorian guard fond of small-c conservative social policies, then.


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