Wednesday, December 14, 2005

they're snorting at Dave

Oh, lordy, will Dave’s sense of entitlement never end?

The snort says: “What you are arguing is ridiculous and everyone knows it.” So it is a snort on behalf of everyone. And, for a long time now, the snort has been deployed against those who argue that the invasion and occupation of Iraq are anything other than a disaster.

Well, yes, you’re on the minority side of an argument. You’re a poor, lonely oppressed creature, dedicated to lighting a small flame of truth in that hand cranked, occluded beacon of samizdata known as the Times. You’re the poor, lonely, harassed supporter of the policy of a poor, lonely harassed, misunderstood government, itself the junior partner of a poor, lonely, harassed, misunderstood, global superpower. Everyone’s agin’ you and it’s just not fair.

As we’ve seen, Nick’s been ploughing the same furrow recently, which is maybe somewhat excusable in a man who’s basically politically homeless. Dave as the fleshly manifestation of superpower self pity is an ugly sight precisely because he’s such a devotee of conventional wisdom. The government does stuff, he says why it’s a good thing, and we’re cool with that. Such is the natural order. Any reversal of that, and Dave hears the echoes of the tumbrils rolling down Upper Street, London, N1.

There’s a lack of deference on the radio, and the voices multiply in Dave’s head. They issue contemptuous snorts. Apologise, Dave! They say. I don’t know whether there are actual voices in Dave’s head, of course. But he doesn’t provide any concrete indication that they come from anywhere else.

Third para in he turns on Matthew Parris as a physical manifestation of the mysterious snorters, rather in the same way that a concussed drunk will lash out randomly at an A & E nurse in casualty. There may be some significance to this. There’s clearly some kind of cat fight going on in pundit world about whose conventional wisdom is the wisest and most conventional, and this seems to be turning on the Iraq debacle. And here, Dave has some ground to make up. Take this last sentence as an excuse to reprise the line that if WMD don’t turn out to be there I’ll never believe another word this government tells me.”

Sadly, he muffs it:

Compared with what, though? A disaster compared with what, precisely? Not compared with nothing, since there was no nothing in Iraq.

By the same logic, rural Pakistan is poverty stricken and mullah-haunted. Now you say that the recent earthquake was a disaster. A disaster compared with what, precisely? Not compared with nothing, since there was no nothing in Pakistan. Shorter version: two disasters make a right.

But the formal argument is by the by. What’s at stake here is a man’s credibility as a pundit, a credibility threatened by events set in train by a policy he supported. And what’s interesting about that is that he feels the need to make something of an apology after all in order to restore that credibility.

Side note: In the argument in Dave’s head, the left is collectively represented by some obscure, extreme and unnamed fringe group. The right, as a collectivity, is represented by that fine fellow Matthew Parris. Way to marginalize, Dave!

Rioja Kid


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marvellous RK. My colour would be:

look out for the time lord moment ...

First, when Geoffrey Howe was Foreign Secretary and Matthew was a Tory MP, we trained Saddam’s officers at Sandhurst. Then, after Matthew had left the House, and after the gas attack on the Kurds at Halabja and the end of the Iran-Iraq war, Sir Geoffrey drew up a paper pointing out the “major opportunities for British industry” in Iraq. He was, however, worried that the secret decision to increase British arms exports to Iraq might cause a fuss. That’s Howe we got here.

There was of course a bit of a gap ...

And would anyone care to guess precisely which "groupuscule" Aaro is talking about? Clue; it ends with PGB and starts in the 1970s with a notorious appearance on University Challenge.

by the way I am 99% that "the snort" is Aaro trying to repeat "the shallow inverted v of toff earnestness" and further proof that he reads this blog.

12/14/2005 06:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also wonder how it is that he didn't expect that the insurgents would attack civilians. This was not exactly unknown in the Balkans, the Congo, Vietnam, Somalia etc ad nauseam.

12/14/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless "bombing" is defined in Dave's dictionary as "not an attack" when preceded by "ariel" and followed with "by Coalition forces"; this was not exactly unknown in a certain war by a certain side which Big Dave supported.

Oh dear, they're snorting again. Quick Dave, to the rescue of your bosses, like the brave independent journalist you are.

12/15/2005 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Sonic said...

Said left groupscle is not too happy

"The Weekly Worker is something of a conundrum. On the one hand, it is probably the most widely read newspaper on the Marxist left in Britain. Yet, on the other hand, the financial predicament facing our little paper is all too evident (see our appeal, Weekly Worker December 8).

One such reader is David Aaronovitch, the former Euro-Stalinist, turned Blairite groupie. As many readers will be aware, this prolific press and broadcasting hack is not averse to purloining extracts from Weekly Worker to make his turgid articles for the ‘quality press’ slightly more interesting.

This is all too evident in his latest waffle (‘Here’s my apology on the “disaster” of the Iraq war. Now, where’s yours?’ The Times December 13). Although largely aimed at Matthew ‘Tory’ Parris, a rightwing critic of the war, he cannot resist a dig at the CPGB. His method is instructive, so I will quote the sage at some length:

“There is, on parts of the left, a long and ignoble tradition of trashing democracy. This week one ultra-left group was arguing for the slogan, ‘Troops out now! The main enemy is imperialism!’ It is a slogan that seems, psychologically at least, to unite many diverse objectors to the war. But the groupuscule’s argument then went something like this. It understood that the insurgency wanted to oppress Kurds, suppress the shia and ‘physically exterminate’ trade unions and feminist groups. However, communists, it said, ‘recognise that an imperialist defeat would objectively open up possibilities for the working class, and we would therefore welcome it even if it came at the hands of reactionary anti-imperialists’. And sod the Iraqis.”

Not once does he mention either the journalist, the CPGB or the Weekly Worker by name, although he quotes freely from Paul Greenaway (December 8). Why is Aaronovitch so reluctant to mention our organisation explicitly? Has he too caught a bad case of SWP-itis? Surely not.

Of course, one might argue this is not the issue and that one should instead take offence at his criticisms of us. Perhaps. Yet this ex-‘official communist’ travels so light politically, his views are so laughable, one cannot take him too seriously. Although making numerous apologies for the conduct of the war, Aaronovitch remains a warmonger. My favourite bit in his article is his apology to “the parents of children caught in crossfire and everyone else that the planners and executors of the invasion that I supported, and still support, may have let down by neglect or stupidity”. Says it all really.


12/16/2005 01:51:00 AM  

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