Tuesday, October 31, 2006

oh yes, David Aaronovitch, didn't we used to Watch him in the old days?

Yes, welcome to "Nick Cohen Watch", featuring the occasional word about David Aaronovitch. Aaro is putting in his hard yards at the pundit coal-face on the subject of global warning[1], and having much fun with Nick Stern's surname.

Can this be the same guy who wrote this bit about a month ago? Back then, this global warming malarkey was all a bit Neil from the Young Ones, like pour me another cup of organic tofu maaaaan. All very worthy, and probably even factually correct but come on, that's not what politics is about.

But now it has the imprimateur of someone who is both an economist and a Lord, and it's izzy whizzy let's get busy! Suddenly global warming is the political issue of the day and one that everyone must pay attention to! Not only that, but having been generally hazy about the subject a month ago, Aaro is now seized with certainty about the facts of the matter, and indeed in a position to judge the credibility of everyone else's policy proposals (it will surprise nobody to learn that the LibDems come off worst).

I think that Aaro is currently playing the "gatekeeper" role with respect to the conventional wisdom, similar to how you used to have to beat Trevor Berbick to be taken seriously as a contender for the heavyweight title. Global warming has clearly now passed the threshold. It's interesting to see how far things have come since Rioja Kid wrote Aaros in the mist> back in November of last year – our Dave certainly appears to be finding his feet in Timesland now. Good for him, although it makes him slightly less interesting to Watch, and gives added impetus to "At Play In The Fields Of Decency", our project to expand the remit to all facets of the Greatest Intellectual Struggle Of Our Time.

Meanwhile, watchie watchie watch. Cameron is "astute and far sighted", the love affair continues. "Market mechanisms" are no longer a panacea – good to see Aaro is taking a slightly more healthy scepticism here. And Aaro does identify, in the penultimate para, a genuine flaw in the George Osborne "tax back" proposal. But we end up back at the Beethoven's Ninth of managerialism.

"And this is the message we must absorb from Stern — that the only option that should be ruled out is doing nothing"


[1]If you're short of a pun next week, Aaro, have this one on me, and perhaps chuck in a quick "suffice to say" as a shout-out?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the context of Stern, anti-nuclear power groups — including the Liberal Democrats — are going to have to tell us how their nuke-free plans to replace fossil fuel power production can possibly work in order to achieve the necessary reductions.

I don't know, Aaro, why not read a fucking paper or two rather than just concluding that because New Labour haven't seriously considered "nuke-free plans" that no-one else has either? You could start with SERA, who are even affiliated to the Labour party, albeit not the what-Tony-says-goes-and-no-independent-thinking-please faction you inhabit.

11/01/2006 12:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could have a Martin Kettle Watch. It could be run by someone called James Watt, and there could be a running joke about watched kettles never boiling.

Seriously folks ........ I agree with what one of you said back in February: there is a lot of "decency" out there. By that I mean that there are a lot of advocates (in the media, in Parliament) of illegal military interventions. Of course they don't acknowledge that this is what they are advocating, nor do they acknowledge that the legal grounds for invading Iraq were to remove illegal weapons. But there are a lot of the "decent" stock phrases being bandied about and a lot of sound and fury about morality.

You would have thought that the Iraq misadventure would have led them to keep their gobs shut (which seems to be what Nick and Dave have decided), but apparently not. Martin Kettle was sounding off recently on "Comment is Free" about how we shouldn't lose sight of the principle of humanitarian intervention because of the half a million dead in Iraq since 2003. This seems to indicate that there are still some powerful lobbies out there trying to get us to accept the abandonment of international law. So why not widen your field to "decency" in general, its risks and its illogicalities?

11/02/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shorter Kettle: "Tony Blair is always right"

He'd be very boring to Watch - at least with NC and Aaro there's a trajectory going on.

11/02/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous no 1. here. I agree with the other Anonymous that a Kettle Watch would be quite boring. "The lessons of 1956 are that we on the Left have got to keep moving to the Right etc etc". I was actually agreeing with the suggestion to monitor "decency" in general, and critique it: Kettle's column just happens to have contained a recent manifestation.

11/02/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I've ever got through a Martin Kettle column, to be honest. He's a bit of a holding midfielder in the Guardian line-up, useful to have around but fundamentally unexciting.

11/02/2006 01:39:00 PM  

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