Aaronovitch on the left

aaronovitch

“There is a leftwing case for supporting the overthrow of a fascist regime, even if it is done by a rightwing American government. And there most certainly is a leftwing case for funding the expansion of higher education through fees that are repayable on graduation into the qualified middle classes, especially when linked to a substantial package for supporting students from poorer backgrounds.

None of that seems to matter. Since I decided, in January 2003, that if Iraq was invaded I would not oppose it, I have had the almost astral experience of finding myself excommunicated from the movement, sometimes by fellow journalists who I know do not possess a political bone in their entire bodies.

All of a sudden I began to experience the left from the outside. And the first thing that struck me was its capacity for smug certainty and uniformity of response. Look at the cartoonists, whose work trumps debate. You may have Blair the poodle, Blair with blood-stained hands, Blair the liar, Bush the absurd chimp, but never, ever, Galloway the consort of tyrants or Kennedy the comforter of “insurgents”. Look at the millionaire publisher Felix Dennis, who read out a poem on the Today programme in the middle of the election (a poem, incidentally, written more than a year earlier). “Why do they do it? Why do they do it? Why do they stand on their hind legs, Lying and lying and lying and lying?” This was, he explained, aimed mostly at Blair for having lied. He wasn’t challenged.

It was beyond argument. Dennis, I’d guess, had never been challenged. Not by the researcher, the producer, the editor, his pals, not by anyone. Like a lot of middle-class anti-Blairites, I don’t think he had ever heard the contrary case put.”

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