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February 21, 2007



I must admit Chris that I don't have any clue what anyone means now when they talk about "the left", "the decent left" or "the illiberal left".

Marcin Tustin


Mark Wadsworth

What's all this about "promoting positive arguments", New Labour have been in power for ten years, surely they have had time to DO something?


"such scum": how do you categorise the ex-communists in the Blair cabinets? Surely something worse than scum? And how about The Great Warmonger himself?

Matthew Sinclair

Firstly, I'm not sure the FCS was racist so much as ridiculously partisan for the 'right-wing' side. Most of their time was spent being particularly libertarian. Just as some of them translated this into going off on foreign trips to meet the Contras some others translated it into seeing Mandela as a partisan for communism rather than black suffrage; that is a failure of perspective rather than racism. Both the Contra and Mandela episodes can be explained by excessive, lunatic, youthful partisanship but the contra episode can't be explained by racism.


Dearieme - I'm not sure Chris was making any defence of ex-communists in the Blair cabinets was he? Are you arguing with the assessment of some of the FCS? If so, perhaps you should just say so.


If the left keeps ignoring the bits it doesn't like just what will be left of the left?


"Are you arguing with the assessment of some of the FCS?" No. I know nothing about them. But I am guessing that the total damage that they did mankind might be discernibly smaller than that of, for instance, The Great Warmonger. I am also influenced by a leftist friend who refers carefully to "The Terrorist Nelson Mandela", but then my chum is probably the only truly peacable lefty I've ever met.


I'm sorry to display such ignorance, but I'm afraid I don't know who you are referring to when you say "The Great Warmonger". Quite frankly, if you are talking about communists there are quite a few to choose from.

But back to the point, Chris wasn't really talking about "total damage" of either the left or the right, he was talking about political tactics for keeping a bit quiet about your embarrassing fringes (now there's something I never thought I'd be talking about). Relative damage didn't come into it.

Nick Cohen

But Chris my book is just about the fringe it is also about the dark side of the liberal mainstream in the rich world and its inability to support those who share its values.

Larry Teabag

those who share its values

I assume you have George Bush particularly in mind here.


By The Great Warmonger I meant our very own Toni.


[the dark side of the liberal mainstream in the rich world and its inability to support those who share its values.]

However all your specific detail is about fringe groups, and your claims about the liberal mainstream are never supported by anything stronger than a) tendentious thought experiments about hypothetical dinner parties and b) the fact that you yourself are much less popular than you used to be, mainly because of saying a lot of really stupid things about the war in Iraq and the War On Terror.

Chris Williams

Cohen's always a riot on comments boxes, isn't he? He drives by, makes a trenchant observation, and is (or at least, appears to be) out of the room when someone points out exactly why it was end-to-end bollocks.

I think that back in the day, when we thought of NC as a left-wing journalist, we paid too much attention to the 'left-wing' bit. The man's a journalist - he sells copy for a living to whoever will pay for it. And he never hears any snappy comebacks, because by then he's already made his excuses and left.

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