Sunday, July 30, 2006

Non-barking dogs

So what do we get from Nick today? Political advertising, a bizarre speculation that donating to the Liberal Democrats might be a means of money-laundering, and some pro-forma chuntering about "authoritarian multiculturalism". And the biggest issue of the moment, the war in Lebanonon? Nothing. Not a word. Of course there was last week's odd complaint about how humanitarian intervention had been rendered impossible by the left, but on the merits and demerits of wrecking the civilian infrastructure of last year's poster child for Middle East democratization? Nothing.

The good ship Euston just hit an iceberg and is going down with all hands.


Blogger Matthew said...

Of course he hasn't mentioned it. First, there's no agreed Euston line, and I expect a lot of uncertainty about what one might be, particularly given the usual Hitchens-steer has been less clear cut than usual.

Second, for Nick these days international crisises exist only to allow him to attack "liberals". I think it's impossible to find a blame liberals angle that doesn't sound ridiculous even to him.

7/30/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick is clearly in a bind here. He hates Islamists even more than liberals and he no doubt would like nothing better than to write a piece savaging Hezbollah. Problem is of course that I am sure he is also not too keen on what Israel is currently doing. Like Norm he just avoids the issue.

I really think you should post a piece on Nick's interview with Michael Gove. I think its very interesting that he appears to be moving closer to people like Gove who is essentially Mad Mel lite on Islamism. I remember after Israel assassinated Yassin, Gove appeared on the Moral Maze praising the assassination which killed a number of bystanders. He was then asked what Israel should do since Hamas would just select another leader. Gove said that Israel should immediately kill him and kill any future leader that Hamas put forward.

It is perhaps interesting that Nick should make common cause with someone like Gove.

Nick's interview with Gove can be found here:

7/30/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The URL for the Cohen-Gove interview has been sliced off the post. If you want to find it go to Guardian Unlimited and enter Gove Cohen in the search engine

7/30/2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Simon said...

No, it's OK Pete - if you highlight the link and then scroll right, the full link emerges.

Geras has a big post about Lebanon here. I say that, but of course it isn't really about Lebanon at all, it's about what 'the left' think of Lebanon and the fact that Norman Geras definitely has the moral high ground over them, even though until that point he'd said precisely nothing about it other than to post a load of links we could have found by ourselves anyway.

7/30/2006 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

That Geras article is textbook "yes-buttery", isn't it?

7/30/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think the first comment -- by 'OBenson' -- is Ophelia Benson, Euston signatory and Butterflies and Wheels mainspring? (I agree with her on many things; not Euston, clearly.)

7/30/2006 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger redste3001 said...

Mr Geras's article mentions the "Just War" theory. This theory is espoused by people like Michael Waltzer in his book Just and Unjust Wars. This is something which Noam Chomsky talked about when he addressed cadets at West Point Military Accademy in April this year. What Chomsky say's is that basically there is no such thing as "Just War" theory when you try and establish some kind of rules or criteria to apply to different situations. Just a few examples in history that the particular commentator feels that one side is so "Just" to wage the on the other that any further discussion or examination is irrelevant. Chomsky then shows that if you apply the same set of circumstances to situations in the world today there would be a lot of Just wars being waged against the USA. But hey! I'm no Chomsky. I'm no Nick or Dave or Norm for that matter. Check it out for yourself on You can download the mpeg there. Would love to see Nick or Dave in debate with Chomsky.

7/30/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

I like the bit in the Gove interview where Nick congratulates himself on having heard of the Muslim Brotherhood.

It's worth noting while listening to Cohen and Gove's mutual backslapping section that there are people who are much better informed than either of them on Islamist terrorism who nonetheless don't share their analysis of the threat it poses to western civilisation, or the political response that is appropriate to it.

7/30/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Sonic said...

No Hitchens steer as the poor dear does not what to say.

7/31/2006 12:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will do something on the Gove piece this evening. I have got Gove's book "Celsius 7/7" and I have to say that calling Gove "Melanie Philips lite" is cliched, unfair and correct.

The thing about the LibDems and money laundering is, to my layman's eye, a very serious charge to make about a case that is sub judice.

I think I will write to the Observer Reader's Editor and point out that if Nick has no information about the LibDems money laundering then this is clearly an unacceptable thing to say, and if he does, then to print it in the Observer and thus "tip off" the Lib Dems that their secret is out, is a crime under the Money Laundering Act which carries a potential sentence of seven years.

7/31/2006 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger Backword Dave said...

BB, this has been pointed out in the comments, by someone using the alias 'Katheder'. (This may be Marc Mulholland.)

The 'money laundering' angle is desperate. There's a lot on Google News on Michael Brown and the liberal democrats. 'michael brown' launder produces one result today. You can guess what that is. The fraud bit is, as BB says, sub judice (though the media comment fairly freely on the allegations); 'money laundering' is an invention of Nick's. (At the moment, Nick is the only alleger of this; so should the rumour spread and Brown miraculously be exonerated on other charges, he'll know who to sue.)

That piece is almost as weak as the Madonna bit in the Standard (which I nearly just posted entire with a comment along the lines of 'If Nick keeps up this standard of original thought, erudite and shimmering language, and fearless reporting, he will have nothing to fear from bloggers' the whole under the title 'In which I descend to sarcasm'). However, I largely agree with his main piece. And I don't believe that he's in any way obliged to comment on Lebanon. He submits copy on Friday AFAIK, so even intelligent commentary could be a smoking heap of ashes by the time anyone came to read it. (NB this *doesn't* apply to Norm.)

7/31/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Geras has now come out and attacked the Israelis over Qana, in rather more forthright terms that Tony Blair has managed. He also promises that this the preamble to another tedious lecture on how as yet unspecified others have crossed moral thresholds, but as far as it goes, good for him.

7/31/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the follow-up.

7/31/2006 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

The first 75 per cent of that piece in which Geras condemns the Qana atrocity is taken up with a condemnation of Hezbollah. It's only after Geras has danced around for a bit laying as much blame as possible at the door of the evil terrorists that he ventures a short criticism of his favourite military superpower.

It's not much of a condemnation.

7/31/2006 07:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that in general, the Cruft's Dog Show approach to judging condemnations on their size, muscle tone, wet noses and shiny coats is not a very productive one. It's a condemnation, and that's what matters.

8/01/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the way, I have got sidetracked reading "Celsius 7/7" and my opinion is that it is much, much worse than Londonistan.

8/01/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Yes, you're right. as long as geras can bring himself to mumble a few words of criticism 'that is all that matters.'

I'm off to mumble some words of condemnation of lots of other bad things. With luck I'll have the word sorted out by dinner time.

8/02/2006 02:27:00 PM  

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