Friday, May 26, 2006


AW roving reporter "Balsamic Babe" sends in this dispatch!

About what you'd expect. It wasn't embarrassingly awful but it was pretty tedious. Lots of handouts with recycled versions of Norm's blog posts on them. Geras is clearly the father figure of this movement and appeared to be enjoying and encouraging his personality cult. Nick Cohen is not as good at public speaking as he thinks he is and seemed to be swallowing half his words. Everyone seemed to be more worried about "cultural relativism" than Islamism. Pretty well attended, very white, young crowd. Looked a lot like a university Labour Club meeting, and probably that's what it was. Alan Johnson [not the minister – bruschettaboy] actually comes over quite well in person. I didn't stay for the drinks afterward.

Thanks very much, Balsamic! I still have one other contributor to chase up, but if you were there and have comments, we'd love to hear 'em!

(btw, I have sworn blood oaths to keep Balsamic Babe's identity secret, so please don't ask as a refusal often offends).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Pretty well attended, very white, young crowd." Male too, by the photos.

"Looked a lot like a university Labour Club meeting". That was my impression too -- a lot more than a press launch.

I'm surprised they chose Nick as the chair. I've heard him on the radio and seen him on TV and I'd expect either Norman Geras or Alan Johnson to do a better job.

5/26/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

It seems an odd selection of panellists. I was expecting them to have signed up a big name, or at least a moderately well-known MP, to sit on the panel and provide gravitas. But it was basically Norman Geras, his guest bloggers, and Nick Cohen. (In fact it was exactly that.)

I mean, no offence to people in the field of Computational Linguistics, but Shalom Lappin is a Professor of Computational Linguistics. What qualifies him to pronounce upon the future of 'the left'? What has he actually done in his career, save for writing a few hyperbolic posts about Ken Livingstone on GerasBlog, that makes him think people ought to listen to his political opinions?

5/26/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

"I mean, no offence to people in the field of Computational Linguistics"

Oh blast! Can't we offend them?

5/26/2006 08:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

come on Matthew, you use words like "computational linguists", but we all know what you're really talkng about. And how dare anyone claim that I said all criticism of computational linguistics is anti-Semitic. That's a gross distortion of my words. What I said was that all criticism of computational linguistics is anti-Semitic.

5/27/2006 08:14:00 AM  

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