Sunday, April 29, 2007

World of Decency!

Sorry for the light posting around these parts recently ... various members of the AW team have been busy, on holiday, placed in internal exile to Siberia for bourgeois revisionism, etc. I'll try to do a portmanteau "catch-up" post some time this week.

No, I don't know what Nick's pissy little rant about Elizabeth Butler-Shloss is all about either, but it doesn't really seem to have much to do with Decency so I'm gonna let it slide. I would almost be tentatively prepared to advance the theory that Nick's been offered the Mad Mel spot in the Mail[1], but told that he can't have it until he can prove that his heart has been eaten up from the inside by necrotising fasciitis and replace with a tarry black ball of pure hate.

I think the interesting thing in the Observer is Denis MacShane's column in which he explains that the left-wing position on the French elections is, of course, support for the right-wing candidate. He really doesn't seem to have thought it through - it looks like he's started from the initial point that support for Sarko has to be the right thing to do since the Left are against it, and tried to come up with a grab bag of snarks about Royal to try and make an article out of it. MacShane isn't being hypocritical of course - he's maintaining his loyalty to the one political movement he's ever supported, namely Atlanticism. But it is rather annoying that he pretends that this has anything to do with any sort of left-wing or progressive values; he is simply a patriot of the United States of America.

Luckily good old Bill Keegan is there, completely slicing and dicing both the analytical vacancy and the pretentiousness of Decent Denis' column - it is a real shame Keegan gets so little prominence these days. I get the feeling that the Observer is rather embarrassed by him, which is entirely the opposite way to how it ought to be.

[1]Who has, I see, completely lost it, with her latest article in the Speccie which posits an international conspiracy of basically everyone in the world except her and John Bolton to cover up the Iraqi WMDs.


Blogger ejh said...

I did say before that I thought Decency was very much like old Labour Right Atlanticism.

The Observer is dreadful these days: I stopped buying a Sunday paper about two years before I emigrated because it was all "our brilliant new columnist" and hundreds of pages of lifestyle stuff for people almost half my age with three times the salary. However, I did buy it in on one Sunday last year, in January, because my (English) girlfriend was over from Spain and wanted to read an English paper again. The Observer had just had a revamp and was boasting about how great it was. My girlfriend however, who wasn't looking to be critical, flicked through it a few times and then asked why it was that it didn't seem to have any foreign coverage at all.

4/29/2007 05:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Cian said...

Its not just the lack of foreign coverage, it also seems to employ some remarkably credulous journalists who will print any MI5/Met scare story that comes their way. The business section however is pretty good (its where Bill Keegan's column appears).

4/29/2007 10:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Dr Zen said...

It and the Guardian have become horrible: a parade of neocons and some of the most witless commentators ever to disgrace a newspaper. I defy anyone to find something Timothy Garton Ash has written that wasn't entirely bollocks. There are still a few bright lights but they are being swamped in a sea of thought-poor bilge.

4/29/2007 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Garton Ash has declined too, in my opinion: there was a time when I found him a fine comentator on Eastern Europe, not because I agreed with him necessarily but because of his honesty in writing. But he's one of those people (and you could include practically the whole Blair-admiring set in this) who under the pressure of the war being such a disaster have become very defensive and very hostile to critics of Blair (and the Left in general). And I mean "hostile" as opposed to "disagreeing with them". No fair hearings for Blair's critics to the left: that seems to be the guideline. It's not of course a guideline restricted to that set.

I could swerve a fair bit off-topic, seeing as the US Election bore-a-thon has started, and say how depressing it is that the BBC's US coverage has been presented for years by aggressive Atlanticists with little interest in the world outside Republican and Washington Democrat. Gavin Esler, Justin Webb and their ilk. It makes you weep for the days of the great Charles Wheeler.

I mention this in connection with what I said about the Observer. Where would someone like James Cameron fit into that paper now, do you think? In the Guardian, yeah (I think Dr Zen is pretty wrong in comparing the two papers all that closely) but not in its mediocre Sunday sister.

4/30/2007 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger George Shaw said...

The Business Observer, with William Keegan, Simon Caulkin and John Naughton, is the only reason why I buy the paper these days. It seems to have lapsed into Mail-lite, a mixture of Blairite rubbish and celebrity rubbish. This was typified yesterday by a transparent attempt to trash Yates-of-the-Yard before the Cash-for-Peerages result is out, and a whole page on Keira's mum writing her scripts!?!

MacShane is a notorious neo-con. What is anybody in Labour doing in the Henry Jackson Society?

4/30/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And why hasn't Nick C come to the aid of poor old Wolfowitz ? For ages Nick has been telling us Wolfie is super feminist democracy man, especially after Wolfowitz invited Nick to meet him at Annabelle's disco. Now those nasty World Bank staff are accusing Wolfowitz of forcing a big salary on his girlfriend, appointing loony right World Bank directors who scrubbed out all references to contraception etc, and Nick C is nowhere to be seen. At least Mad Mel is loyal -she wrote a "don't knock Wolfie" piece. Nick just drops his new hero figures as soon as they are in trouble. It is a bit like how he never mentions Chalabi anymore, even after comapring him to Mandela before Iraq went sour.

4/30/2007 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a difference between the Observer and the Guardian. The Observer has been taken over by a Blairite - Decentist alliance. At the Guardian there was an attempted coup, and there is now an uneasy truce among various factions. I note that Nick gave The Observer as his address in a letter to a magazine complaining about someone who hadn't understood what he was saying in his book: this would seem to indicate that Nick has more influence at the Observer than you might think.

4/30/2007 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous redpesto said...

I'm not sure about the Decents, but the new Labour old guard do seem to want Sarkozy to win, judging from this article in the Guardian:

Mr Sarkozy has a reputation for protectionism and hostility to the European commission, and has attacked the European central bank and indulged in electioneering euro-bashing. Nonetheless, Tony Blair, Germany's Angela Merkel and José Manuel Barroso, the European commission president, all view him as the best hope for striking a new pact on how to run Europe.

And this is the clincher:

The divisive, robust Gaullist outlook of Nicolas Sarkozy may appear to have little in common with New Labour, but his campaign is believed to have sought and had campaign advice from the Blair camp. Peter Mandelson, New Labour architect and EU trade commissioner, has met Mr Sarkozy three times this year. He has not met Ségolène Royal.

Of course New Labour has everything in common with Sarkozy, starting with as dislike of the left. I wonder who the Decents are rooting for?

4/30/2007 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

The newspaper Blairites (Kettle and so on) were certainly very supportive of Angela Merkel during the last German election.

4/30/2007 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous redpesto said...

ejh - I know about Kettle's endorsement of Merkel (he also implied that cabinet members were also in favour of her). In fact, it's what made me realise what a turncoat he'd become, and I've never trusted his columns since. (He's yet another example of the ex-hard leftie turned uber-Blairite) He's currently trying on Hugo Young's patrician clothes for size - and they don't fit at all. I'm expecting him to come out for Sarkozy now, and then for Cameron before the next election.

4/30/2007 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of you are behind the times! Here is Kettle enthusing about Sarkozy.,,2067599,00.html

Kettle was brought up in a CP household. He maintains the same CP-like dogmatic approach to politics but now applies it to advocate for the Blairite centre-right party line.

I wonder why anyone still tries to pretend that NuLab has anything to do with the centre-left. Blair has been in cahoots with the centre-right in Spain, Italy, Germany and France (not to mention the US of course).

4/30/2007 05:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

"I wonder who the Decents are rooting for?"

There is a point-counterpoint in the most recent issue of Decentiya, with Andre Glucksmann backing Sarkozy and Philip Spencer criticising him for it. (Btw, is it the done thing in quasi-academic journals to allow a response article in the same issue as the original piece? It seems a bit rude to the original author to me. Mind you, in this instance the first article is something cribbed from a newspaper.)

4/30/2007 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

It's the great Sunday newspaper conundrum - the Sindy is a comic with the exceptions of Patrick Cockburn, Alan Watkins, and maybe Hamish McRae, but the Obscurer is Pravda for Decents, with added sleb flummery.

That leaves the Sunderer, which is basically six pounds of Murdochian guff and Mick Smith, the Hell on Sunday which is what it says on the tin, the Nationalist Observer...sorry...Express, the other tabs and the Slumbering Toryarse, which though it's the Mail for people who aren't pathologically anti-fun isn't much fun itself.

And you can just read Mick Smith's blog instead.

(Comment regarding the Obscurer's biz section seconded.)

5/08/2007 01:17:00 PM  

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