Sunday, September 14, 2008

And He Was Half Right

Good mornings! Gentlepersons of the jury, I'd like the record to show that there is still a group on Facebook called Bring Back Blair and that the email given under contact info is nickDOTcohenATobserverDOTcoDOTuk.

I think Nick makes some good points this morning. The best of these being that on the same day as the News of the World and the Mail on Sunday carried the Ivan Lewis allegations (background), the Observer "carried a fierce attack on David Miliband". At last, a strategy from Gordon Brown - one he's pinched shamelessly from al-Quaeda (multiple attacks on 11 September 2001 preceded by the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud), but the man is learning. And has the Observer deleted the Simpson attack? I've tried to find it, and I've found lots of commentary on it, but not the thing itself.

A few days earlier, I had listened open-mouthed as a Brownite delivered a jeering, contemptuous assault on Alistair Darling for the mistake of speaking incautiously to the Guardian. It wasn't only the tone that riled me, but the knowledge that Darling was not Brown's enemy but a friend who was uncomplainingly cleaning up the mess his master had left at the Treasury. 'Loyalty is what the bosses screw you with,' trade unionists used to say, and Darling's trusting nature made him a soft target for the Brownites.

Nick's observations and deductions seem very sound - he's actually doing what a columnist can do: a sort of meta-analysis of news. He's not breaking new stories as such, but he's pointing out connections others have missed; he's providing context, and dare I say it? narrative. For the first time in a long time, he's being insightful. However, as I hope I made clear above, he also has a dog in this fight, and his column may be part of a campaign which itself is hitting multiple targets at once[1], Nick's role being to smear the smearers.

Notes I can't be bothered to write up: The Observer today in Dissidents aim to use Labour rule book to target Brown suggests that the Labour rebels are being advised by Charlie Falconer no less. I liked the respective denials of the Miliband-Milburn story. I also liked "'A bully is less frightening when he's weak,' as one senior figure explained to me." The senior figure may be anonymous, but I'd like to say thank you anyway. Tory blogger Iain Dale was quick off the mark on Ivan Lewis Health Minister Ivan Lewis Knifed by His Own Side.

[1] Note that the dissenting MPs are coming out one by one. It's a tactic designed to excite rolling news; every few hours a new headline, and it's sure to clog Google news searches for Brown. All these stories and all negative. Brilliant stuff. Poisonous and damaging to party credibility in the medium term (like 2010), but great fun for now.

Update 12:17 Speaking of Iain Dale, on Friday he wrote Brown Camp Smears McDonagh.

Guido [Fawkes, aka Paul Staines or that twat who appeared on Newsnight with his face blanked out like a terrorist] seems to have been spun a line by the Brown camp that this sort of thing is to be expected. Contrary to his story, she didn't sign any nomination papers last year let alone spoil any.

Good for Iain Dale. The reputation of Guido Fawkes can't get any worse. What was the Brown camp thinking of?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Travelling round Europe at mo so been away from watching duties for a few days. Dusseldorf presently, and jolly agreeable it is too.

Nick really reminds me of Peter Oborne in this column. Oborne has been banging on for years about what he claims is a rise in political lying. Oborne criticisms have much merit and he is correct in his analysis of the political perfidy of Nu Lab. The trouble with his analysis is that it is so one-eyed. One would have thought that political lying began with New Lab. However the deceitful tactics that New Lab use were to a large extent pioneered by Bernard Ingham. "Throwing out the bodies", "kite flying", "below the line" as well as copious political lying- think of arms to Iraq- were all used liberally by the Tories.

In a similar vein Nick splutters with outrage over Brownite tactics while supporting Blair whose own record of using the Tory Press to smear his critics in the most vicious manner is well known. Campbell of course compounded his own smearing of Brown by lying that he had ever been the source of the "psychologically flawed" comment, when it is common knowledge amongst Lobby journalists that he was the source.

BTW completely agree with the analysis here last week on behaviour, causality, explanation vs justification and Decency. I think such weird approaches to seeking out the causes of complex social events is the key reason that Decentism has so little intellectual ballast. The ideas are so self evidently daft that no one with any real intellectual reputation would want to put their name to them.

9/14/2008 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Note that Nick appears to have no direct evidence that Lewis's misconduct was exposed by the Brownites. What he says is

"I was as interested in the minority who protested that the case against Brown had not been proven, and wondered if a gossipy civil servant had sold the story instead. Although they defended him, not one said: 'Come off it, Nick, Brown may be rough but he'd never allow his aides to stitch-up a colleague in the Tory tabloids.'"

In other words, whether or not Brown did it, people believe that it is the kind of thing he might do. Not exactly a smoking gun.

Also note that, as a middle-aged man having a mid-life crisis himself, Nick is full of sympathy for Lewis and not for his victim.

9/14/2008 01:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face it. "Politician twists arms of uncooperative colleagues" is hardly news, is it?

9/14/2008 05:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Nick just nicked the story from a blog? Surely not...

9/14/2008 11:19:00 PM  

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