Thursday, April 13, 2006

a warm halo effect of arsiness

First, I’d like to thank Captain Cabernet for shifting that misfire of mine off the top of the page just now.

Now what of the progress of the Crumpsall Tram Station Communique? I see Tim Worstall’s miffed on the grounds that the 86 Bus Stop Outside Manchester Business School Screed seems to claim a certain exclusivity:

The arrogance with which all of those virtues are claimed for "the left". The pure bloody pomposity of it, that a disagreement about how to achieve them is taken as a sign that the goals themselves are not desired.

Well, yes. And that was always a problem further leftward, too. It’s interesting to see that the halo effect of arsiness that the decents and their pronouncements give off has reached new territory. But not especially good news for the people concerned, I don’t think.

Early on, the introduction to the Timperley Layby Declaration states:

We talked of how the prevailing consensus had ample representation in the liberal press, on the BBC and Channel 4, whereas the viewpoint of our own segment of the left was significantly under- represented in the mainstream media. We had, however, found a place on the internet and in the blogosphere, which had helped to connect people who might otherwise have felt isolated and had given expression to the voices and debates of a left other than the one heard loudly everywhere…

This isn’t true. Given the actual size of the constituency they represent, the Decents get a pretty fair crack in the major media. Of course, if you start out with a MESSAGE then anything short of absolute dominance is going to seem like under-representation. But where they’re really wrong is in their seeming belief that they somehow represent an insurgent trend on what I believe is known as the internet. Here we’re talking about a small number of websites which push traffic to each other and get a hell of a lot of linkage and traffic from the other side of the aisle because they supported the war in Iraq and can be relied on to provide confirmation of general right wing prejudice about “lefties” . This is a very poor base from which to inflate a movement claiming to invent a faction of the left and attribute to it everything that’s good and pure and true. Giving it a name like a bad prog rock band doesn’t help either.

This is really why the various decent internet-based-initiatives have fallen on their arses. There’s just no real demand, and they’re not capable of arguing without alienating potential friends and neutrals. Now if they’ve started actually offending the people who’ve done the most to give them what prominence they actually have, at least online…

…then welcome to the We Screwed the Pooch Manifesto.

Because we at Aaronovitch Watch unequivocally reject anti-Americanism.

But now to the real mystery. What was the pub Where It All Began? Did anyone see a pub levitating above Somers Town by the sheer force of the moral grandeur of those inside?

Rioja Kid


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matthew reckons it was the Head of Steam, which is the only decent pub near the Station. I would put a small bet on the Sols Arms though, because there appear to be a lot of computer types on the signatories list and the Sols is the local for CMGLogica who have their main offices nearby.

There is an outside chance that they really do mean the nearest licensed premises to Euston; the "Secrets" lapdancing bar.

4/13/2006 04:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They seem much less upset by Guantanamo than by slightly hyperbolic criticism of Guantanamo, too. They couldn't even get to the end of the perfunctory yesbuttery condemnation before congratulating the United States of America on the way in which it has otherwise spread Freedom and Enlightenment Values throughout the world.

4/13/2006 06:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has an upstairs and no decent (hem, hem) beer.

4/14/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front."

4/16/2006 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

The pub of the moment in Euston is the Somers Town Coffee Shop, but I don't think it was like that back in June 05. The Sols Arms seems too terrible even for the Decents; the Head of Steam possibly too busy, the other decent choice is the Crown and Anchor. I still think Head of Steam, as presumably they were meeting someone like NG off the train.

4/17/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger StuartA said...

I've read a lot of interesting commentary on the Euston Manifesto, but one point I haven't yet come across is the strangeness of pretending that the Euston group encompasses in any serious way anti-war leftists.

Even though the defining issue for decentists as a group was this war, they step back from suggesting that supporting it is crucial. This appears to be an attempt, like so many others, to suggest that their pro-war fervour derives from some deep-seated liberal creed rather than an ever-changing collection of debating points.

But if this is so, if you can oppose “the justification for the [Iraq War]” and still be a decentist, what is the point of the whole thing? Do all these highfalutin principles funnel into nothing more than loud support for Iranian bus drivers? Here the manifesto descends into incoherence, because Eustonites believe Saddam's overthrow was “a liberation of the Iraqi people”, and you have to be in favour of liberation if you sign up. (In practice, the aim seems to be to foreclose fundamental criticism in favour of Andrew Sullivan-style, “sack Rumsfeld” fault-finding, but the language is too vague to be sure.)

So what do they stand for? Well as far as we know, they're self-described leftists who rank Linux and combating the scourge of “anti-Americanism” alongside “equality” as founding principles – surely a minority group.

(I'm afraid this is hacked up from my blog, but I am interested to hear what people think about this tack of theirs, and I'm far too lazy to write it all out again.)

4/18/2006 04:38:00 PM  

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