Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Decency Deserved

I see that Professor Normblog Geras is having another try at pretending that the label "Decent" is in some way a childish slur cast on him:

But, speaking for myself, I have never laid claim to the 'decent left' label, and I don't think it is one that should be claimed. It should be left to the sneerers.

Well maybe you didn't Norm, but your mate Alan Johnson[1] did, on your weblog. This was not a nickname forced on your group by outsiders. It was a piece of self-identification, and a perfectly sensible one, based on Michael Walzer's essay "Can There Be A Decent Left?". It is the common English word "decent" which has been dragged into the mud by association with you, not vice versa.

PS: The Euston Manifesto has been stuck on 2851 signatures for what seems like the longest time. Given the publicity surrounding Nick Cohen's book, I can't believe this reflects underlying reality, so I'm guessing that there is some sort of IT problem. But didn't the Unite Against Terror petition also stall at the same level? Is 2851 the Decent equivalent of Y2K or something? Does the number have some sort of special significance?

[1]Not the minister


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Decency is a state of mind as much as a formal label. So, while it's true that Geras has never personally used the 'Decent' label to refer to himself and his crowd, his mentality - and his attitude to his opponents on the left - is uber-Decent.

2/21/2007 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger splinteredsunrise said...

2851 would make Decency of a similar magnitude to the SWP, perhaps slightly bigger but then that has to be weighed against the SWP's willingness to do spadework, and the fact that half the Euston signatories are on another continent.

Which might be worth considering next time Nick, Francis, Dave, Norm et al claim the mainstream media underrepresent them. Unless the Graun and Indie are full of op-ed pieces from Chris Harman and Alex Callinicos that I just haven't noticed...

2/21/2007 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

It's one of the odd things about Norman Geras is that he doens't seem to communicate with his Decent mates. I wonder if he even knows Nick opposed the Afghan war?

The most glaring example of this was his opening speech to the Euston Manifesto launch, in which he said he couldn't understand some of the left-wing reaction to 9/11. Yet all he had to do was turn around and ask Nick Cohen!

2/22/2007 07:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stormin' Norman is clearly alluding to the Maestro: "The one thing I know is I am not a Decent."

2/27/2007 01:00:00 PM  

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