Thursday, February 04, 2010

Bright Ideas

As regular commenter Organic Cheeseboard pointed out, Nick Cohen has said on his Standpoint blog (6th comment) that he "will vote Labour - but only because of Iraq". His friend, Martin Bright, will vote Labour too. (He's said so a few times on his Spectator blog.) Presumably, then, they want Labour to win the election. They should write 'DIVIDE AND CONQUER' in the largest font they have on a sheet of A4 and stick it on the walls facing their desks. Guys, this is not the way to win.

First Nick has a long post on Sunday Gordon Brown: the Fear and the Filth (same post as the one the comment above is on) which pretty much does what it says in the title, and yet again re-opens the wound of Martin Bright's exit from the New Statesman. NC quotes from Private Eye, naturally anonymous, but very likely by Nick himself. The only reason for believing it's not Nick is this: presumably Nick writes on a PC like everyone else, and he presumably keeps his work (for later reference, books, and so on), so all he'd need to do would be to copy and paste his original article. However, there appears to be a transcription error. The story in the Eye clearly lacks some detail.

Instead of congratulating her, Whelan's face darkened. Geoffrey Robinson, the wealthy Labour MP and one of Brown's oldest friends, bankrolls the Staggers. Next to its office, is the Robinson-funded Smith Institute, a think tank that so blatantly provided jobs and favours for Brown's allies, the Charity Commission investigated it.

Brown's aides expect Robinson and everyone he employs to follow the party line. They hate Bright because in a documentary for Channel 4, he investigated the corruption allegations against Ken Livingstone's cronies, the London Mayor's use of public money for political purposes and his alliances with ultra-reactionary Islamists. He then compounded the offence, by writing articles for the Statesman that were insufficiently adulatory about the Great Helmsman.

Immediately after the Livingstone documentary, Neal Lawson the Brownite lobbyist was telling anyone who would listen that Bright had to be punished.

Whelan followed up by giving Thorpe and listening hacks a rambling monologue in which he asked her to agree that her husband and father of her two children should be fired.

What did Whelan follow up? A sentence seems to be missing after 'darkened'. I can only assume that this is because Nick hates typing up someone else's prose as much as I do. I'm no fan of Charlie Whelan, whose only purpose in life, as far as I can tell, is to make Alastair Campbell look like a reasonable human being. But I do think Whelan had a point. The New Statesman is supposed to be a Labour magazine. It seems unusual for it to employ an editor who attacks Labour candidates and writes polemics against them. Bright puts his side very well in Gordon Brown, Charlie Whelan and Me in the Spectator. I accept that Geoffrey Robinson doesn't like Bright, but I still don't see any evidence that Gordon Brown was behind his firing. Editor deviates from owner's political line. Editor gets fired. Also, dogs bite people, the Pope is not a secular humanist, and bears defecate among trees.

Finally, Nick updated his blog with a quote from Harry's Place attacking the new editor of the Staggers, and one from Guido Fawkes, the "I'm a libertarian not a Tory" Tory.

...Gordon Brown is a malevolent, deeply damaged and unpleasant human being. ...

Does the Guinness Book of Records have an entry on suicide note length?

PS Nick also cites Andrew Rawnsley. I think there's a difference between NC and Rawnsley (but you may disagree, so I'll articulate my position as best I can). NC seems to me to be a partisan in the Blair-Brown struggle, and he's one-sidedly reporting dirt on Gordon Brown. Rawnsley, I think, is a journalist who found a good story, and is reporting it because he believes it to be true. Both show Brown in a bad light, but one is writing journalism, the other not.


Anonymous Simon K said...

I'm not sure I would characterise Neal Lawson as a 'Brownite lobbyist' given what his Compass outfit have been saying about the Labour leadership of late.

Maybe Aaro should have a word with Nick about his fondness for conspiracy theories? This ranks alongside the chapter of "What's Left" where he alleged that liberals had turned towards reaction under the influence of postmodern academics.

2/05/2010 12:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Der Bruno Stroszek said...

The "because of Iraq" thing is baffling because in saying only Labour can be trusted with the Iraq war, he implies he believes the Tories are opposed to it, and maybe wouldn't have taken us into it in the first place. If he really believes that, he is among a very small minority.

2/05/2010 07:08:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

The Tories carried the Iraq vote, too.

The problem here is that for Cohen and Bright, being against Brown is entirely personal. There's no way that Labour would do any better under anyone else and Nick's latest bright idea - that Labour should remove Brown and run on an anti-Brown campaign - is so laughable it's hard to know where to start.

As for the Private Eye piece, the first time they ran the story they assured their readers that Bright's job was SAFER because of this - and he kept the job for a year which backs that idea up. Something changed after that - Bright did lose his job - but his sixth point is the telling one, he libelled someone later on, on his NS blog, and, it seems, refused to issue a retraction of his claims, which cost the mag a lot of money.

Finally, Nick updated his blog with a quote from Harry's Place attacking the new editor of the Staggers, and one from Guido Fawkes, the "I'm a libertarian not a Tory" Tory.

You can see from Twitter that Nick fed 'Guido' the story himself, as no fucker other than us reads his standpoint blog. And the HP Sauce piece is just woeful - they're still clinging to the mud they slung, in on of their most unpleasant ad hominem attacks, at Mehdi Hasan, whose crime was to read the Koran out loud (well that and to point out Brett Lock's idiocy). If Nick agrees with both 'lucy lips' (who seems to dislike Livingstone primarily because he stood against Labour, an act Nick agreed with at the time) and 'guido fawkes' (who dislikes Brown because he's a member of the labour party), the mind boggles really. Not least because both of those online personae are so intensely dislikeable.

Overall though the 'because of Iraq' thing can't just be a windup as argued on the other thread. Cohen has spent the last 12 years arguing against almost every New Labour policy going, with the exception of Iraq. It must honestly mean that much to him - but that's truly embarrassing for someone who's meant to be a serious political commentator. It was 7 years ago ffs.

And as you say, if they want Labour to win they're going an odd way about it, ie decrying every policy of the party going, and launching personal attacks against senior figures and previous party policy (eg Cohen now pretending that the economic crash was entirely Brown's fault). Then again this is exactly how the World of Decency acted in the run-up to Boris getting elected. it's no surprise really.

2/05/2010 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Aren't we due a new Alan 'ntm' Johnson project soon?

2/05/2010 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

By the way I assume we all spotted this

he following correction was printed in the Observer's For the record column, Sunday January 31 2010

This Comment piece said: "In his Cairo speech to Muslim countries [Obama]... did not mention the oppression of women." In fact, he dedicated several paragraphs of his speech to women's rights, condemning those who would deny women equality through education and offering US aid to support expanded literacy for girls in any Muslim-majority country

2/05/2010 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick's making the mistake that he can put a single-issue 'rider' on his ballot slip (see Polly Toynbee's repeated insistence that it's all about Sure Start).


PS: Textbook example from CiF for Malky:

Facing up to the reality of antisemitism

Mark Gardner: Anti-Jewish hate crime in Britain is a growing problem that the liberal left must condemn as readily as any other form of racism

2/05/2010 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, we've, ah, withdrawn from Iraq. We are no longer involved. For us, the war is over. It doesn't matter a fuck to Iraq what happens in the next British election.

2/05/2010 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Anti-Jewish hate crime in Britain is a growing problem that the liberal left must condemn as readily as any other form of racism

Members of the liberal left who throw stones at Jewish schoolchildren and attempt to set fire to synagogues, I CONDEMN THEE!!!

Very weird. The author is quite clear on the reason why 2009 was a bad year for anti-Semitic violence - it was a year in which a number of Muslims started attacking local Jewish targets in 'revenge' for Operation Cast Lead. What the fuck's that got to do with the liberal left? Why are we in the headline?

2/05/2010 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous thabet said...

Sorry for this diversion, but I noticed Martin Bright had this to say about Tony Blair's Chilcot performance:
"There has been a general consensus that Tony Blair was a class act in front of the Chilcot Inquiry."

I searched to see who had described Blair as a 'class act'...

2/06/2010 07:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, in the comments

Nick says, 'Windter, I'm not sure that's your business, particularly when you are such a coward you dare not use your real name.'

You see, that proves that Nick can't be Private Eye's 'Ratbiter' because the remark above would make him a fraud and a hypocrite.

And he wouldn't be either would he?

2/06/2010 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Not least because the three sources he uses in his article are... an anonymous Private Eye article, comeone who calls himself 'Guido Fawkes' and someone who calls himself 'Lucy Lips'. Cowards the lot of them?

Also on the CST - I am a bit uncomfortable at their adoption of the definition of antisemitism which contains the following:

Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation

that's totally in the eye of the beholder isn't it?

2/06/2010 07:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi folks

this is totally off-topic - but too funny not to post

'The internationally celebrated historian and TV presenter Niall Ferguson has broken up with his wife of 16 years after a string of adulterous affairs.

The 45-year-old Harvard professor has left former newspaper editor Susan Douglas, with whom he has three children, for his mistress, the Somalian-born feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali.'

2/07/2010 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Oh dear,
Broken hearts in Islington I fear.
Niall Ferguson's eloped with Ayaan Hirsi Ali,
The pulchritudinous Somali.

E J Thribb

2/07/2010 10:21:00 AM  

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