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February 16, 2005



It's the backdrop: we're all familiar with anti-semitism on the far left, but now Blair's playing the anti-semitic card has made everyone rather sensitive to it from Labour.


Had Mr Livingstone been unaware of the reporter being Jewish the 'concentration camp guard' jibe would be barely offensive. However, he was aware he was Jewish - so any reasonable point Livingstone had is nullified. If he apologised over the remark - and it is too late now for it to be meaningful - then the intention behind the remark could have been reiterated. That said it is a dangerous game for Jews to cry 'victim' all-the-time over rather minor incidents. We need to be assured that in a major incident of anti-Semitism, the anti-Semitism card hasnt been used so much that 99pc of the population just have stopped caring/listening to the cries.


Have some sympathy with what Monjo says. The first insult was reasonable enough, but after the guy said he was Jewish and he found it offensive, to have another go was excessive. I don't think it was anti-semitism, but it was a bit grotty and is well outside of the PC norms the likes of Ken want to foist on us all. I do think that if any Right-wing politician had done the same they would've been finished.

More important, I think the problem here is in the narrow sample Ken uses to inform his moral judgements (and I think you're in danger of the same, Chris). Ken regularly resorts to the reductio ad hitlerum as a way of cutting off debate by damning the name of those he disagrees with. This all comes back to Orwell's discussion of the liberty with which the Left began to throw about the word 'fascist'.

At any rate, to see the alleged evils of the Daily Mail as equivalent to concentration camps, Gulags, or the Rwandan genocide is absurd and insulting to the memory of those who suffered and died in those places.

So much for the Left's claim to liberal politics, eh? I don't like the Daily Mail and I don't read it - as Salisbury said, "a paper by office boys, for office boys." But it ain't Der Sturmer, and although often with exaggeration and hyperbole, it often speaks for a position that enjoys the support of perhaps a majority in this country. You might choose to damn that majority as horrid bigots just waiting to put on their brownshirts and start up the gas chambers: perhaps we should end democratic politics altogether in that case.

I don't like the Independent. I think it's a trashy newspaper and many of its journalists pursue agendas that I think reflect an ambivalence bordering on treachery to their own country. Similarly, the Guardian has played host to more than its share of apologists for Stalinism or for other Leftist causes that in hindsight were perhaps less just than they might've appeared. I don't though think that Alan Rusbridger would've presided over Perm Camp 36 if he'd been asked to do so, or that Robert Fisk would've enthusiastically implemented Pol Pot's really interesting ideas on agricultural reform. (Polly Toynbee I might leave in a grey area, though.)

Mark T

small point that arose before the party.......who paid for it? Among his many faults Ken Livingstone is an inveterate spender of other people's money on his pet causes and likes lots of parties (I wouldn't be surprised if the job for the ES was simply a way to get free food and drink when he wasn't able to get to the public purse) This party was to celebrate 20 years of Chris Smith coming out........I'm pretty sure the poor old London ratepayer picked up the bill. It would be nice to see exactly how much we all pay for this king of freeloaders.


Apparently so - I heard £7,000?

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