21 January 2007

Nick Cohen.

Nick Cohen in today's Observer asks;

"Why is Palestine a cause for the liberal left, but not China, Sudan, Zimbabwe, the Congo or North Korea?"

The left give prominence to Palestine because there are idiots like Nick Cohen etc defending the US and Israel's fascism but thankfully no-one is defending the fascism of China, Sudan, Zimbabwe etc. Both right and left can slag those places off whereas only the left take a stand against Israel and the US's unjust actions. Remember also that the US actions are made more frightening because they are the most powerful nation on Earth.

Nick Cohen tries to lump the majority of the left in with George Galloway and Socialist Worker loons just because they both opposed the war. There is a world of difference between them. Yes the left could have been more vocal in denouncing Saddam, yes some on the left are anti-American and shamelessly defend Islamism, and yes the removal of Saddam is a good thing but the price paid has been enormous. The left were correct to predict that the Middle East is in a far worse place than it would have been. The left were correct that terrorism would be boosted and that Iraq was no threat to us. And yes the left were correct that the war was about oil. Why else has the real threat from North Korea been ignored by the neocons but Iraq invaded?

But what about Nick's other claims about the left?

"Why after 7/7.. did leftish newspapers..[excuse].. suicide bombers?"

Firstly they didn't 'excuse' anyone, they just tried to understand what had motivated the bombers. Which is an entirely legitimate exercise. If we are to stop it happening again, we have to understand what motivates these actions. To try to suppress the debate by calling people unpatriotic is the tactics of Reagan, Thatcher and the worst elements of the right wing. It is one step away from a fascist suppression of free speech.

"Why were.. the left denying.. Serb concentration camps?"

Were they? I must have missed that. Anyone that did that was wrong. Once again Nick is picking on the worst elements of the left (Galloway, SWP etc.) and claiming them as the majority, they are not.

"Why were you as likely to read that a sinister conspiracy of Jews controlled American or British foreign policy in a superior literary journal as in a neo-Nazi hate sheet?"

Oh! Come on! 'As likely'? I think there is some wild exageration going on here. Lets hear the examples of these articles? I imagine they are few and far between.

I have a feeling that like Stephen Pollard and Oliver Kamm before him, who claimed to be on the left, Nick may soon be voting Tory.

I have a theory as to why so many from a communist background end up as Tories.

Those raised in such a cocooned privileged environment unaffected by the reality of the outside world are purely interested in the beauty of such a black and white ideology and in comparison social democracy seems disappointing because it gives no clear simple answers. Whereas those like Ken Livingstone and myself with working class Tories as parents realise what a difference social democracy (or a lack of it) can make to people's lives, because we have witnessed it first hand.

12 comments:

  1. The left give prominence to Palestine because there are idiots like Nick Cohen etc defending the US and Israel's fascism but thankfully no-one is defending the fascism of China, Sudan, Zimbabwe etc.

    You're actually proving Nick's point here, namely that there are people whose opposition to fascism is motivated more by a perceived American (or Israeli) involvement, rather than by the fascism itself.

    He doesn't say that these people are the majority of the anti-war movement, just that they get vastly more publicity (and fewer smacks in the mouth) than they ought to, given their lousy set of priorities. It is the fact that Galloway et al have had *such* an easy ride that is telling, and is what motivates Nick's piece.

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. ..just removed some spam..

    B4L: "that there are people whose opposition to fascism is motivated more by a perceived American (or Israeli) involvement, rather than by the fascism itself."

    That is not the case. My point is that Nick is defending the indefensible. If the left focus on Israeli and US atrocities that is because there are people like Nick defending these Israeli and US attrocities. Nobody in the west is defending Chinese, Sudanese etc. attrocities which are anyway given high profiles by both the right and left.

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  4. The fact that Nick Cohen (or "people like him") supports something surely isn't a good enough reason to oppose it! I mean, in the great scheme of things even he'd say he was irrelevant. If only we kept it simple and said, "look, we oppose fascism, without fear or favour, wherever it occurs, whoever apologises for it, and will try to combat it with everything we have at our disposal" then there's no problem. Surely that's the simplest solution.

    Problem is, of course, that that's "boring". People who calmly and quietly stick to their principles don't get radio shows, newspaper articles, publicity on blogs, or the chance to set up their own political party.

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  5. "look, we oppose fascism, without fear or favour, wherever it occurs, whoever apologises for it, and will try to combat it with everything we have at our disposal"

    But who defines what we have at our disposal? After all, we have nuclear weapons and torture at our disposal, so would you advocate using them?

    And if you had a chip pan fire but only a bottle of scotch at your disposal with which to douse the flames, would you use it?

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  6. That's a bit picky. If you've made the effort to set out some principles, I'm assuming you won't breach your own declared liberal values - or dramatically escalate a dispute - then turn around and act all innocent. It would make the practice wrong (possibly also the motives), but not the principles, and it certainly doesn't make anyone else right.

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  7. What about the communist suppression of free speech?

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  8. B4L: The point is Nick Cohen is suggesting the majority of the left are apologists for anti-US fascism and anti-semitism but ignoring the fact he himself defends US and Israeli attrocities.

    B4L, snafu: I think the majority of people on the left condemn all fascism (including the lack of democracy in Cuba, the attrocities committed under Communism and fanatical Islamism). It is the fact they also condemn the US and Israeli attrocities that gets Nick's ire.

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  9. PS this post outlines a few more reasons why Nick Cohen is talking out of his proverbial.

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  10. Returning to the substantive point, Neil, what happened you making your big splash at the Brighton Bloggers do, tonight? Tut! :-)

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  11. Blast, I forgot! I'm going to have get my wall calender up again.

    Defo gonna be at the London meet-up tomorrow.

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  12. Chris Baldwin6/2/07 9:06 pm

    Nick Cohen claims liberals have lost their way, even though he's smart enough to know that Galloway and the SWP aren't liberals. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure Nick Cohen in his pomp wouldn't have considered himself a liberal either. So what's going on?

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