Most influential people on the left


by Sunny
24th September, 2007 at 1:51 am    

As some readers have pointed out already, Iain Dale and Brian Brivati have compiled a list of the 100 most influential people on the left in Britain for the Telegraph. Erm, Gordon Brown in number 1 and I’m nex-… 72. Doh! Looks like I’m the highest ranked blogger on the list. I’m presuming they did that to get PP off everyone’s blogrolls. I’d been higher if I hadn’t criticised Iain so much lately, damn.

But are my mate Gordon Brown and I really on the left? In the introduction the authors explain their criteria:

To cut through the mess contemporary politics has made of traditional political labels, we have adopted a policy of allowing people to describe themselves. Politics is today mostly about branding. Being on the left is, in essence, a brand which identifies with certain historical trends and against certain others. To be on the left is to be for forms of change to the existing status quo, for reform in a broad sense.

Now, please don’t hate on a brotha. When I was first told about this (yesterday), I assumed I’d be No. 100 as a wild-card like they do on the Media Guardian power list. And I haven’t even launched my next blog yet! These guys are trying to get me killed…
Amusingly, PP is not on the top 100 centre-left blogs, but we are in the top non-aligned.


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  1. Boyo — on 24th September, 2007 at 7:59 am  

    Hope you’re not allergic to ermin Sunny. Me thinks you might be getting a call in the not too distant…

  2. ChrisC — on 24th September, 2007 at 8:42 am  

    Well Gordon Brown isn’t on the “left” as I would have understood it 25 years ago!

    While you describe yourself personally as “left” the attraction of this blog, for me at least, is that it is not (too) partisan, so “non-aligned” sounds right.

    Let’s hope (ermine aside) that it stays that way!!

  3. bananabrain — on 24th September, 2007 at 9:20 am  

    Being on the left is, in essence, a brand which identifies with certain historical trends and against certain others. To be on the left is to be for forms of change to the existing status quo, for reform in a broad sense.

    what absolute arsewash. who *isn’t* for certain forms of change to certain bits of the status quo? and surely there are things that the “left” thinks should Absolutely Never Change Under Any Circumstances?

    this is just typical of the ridiculous vainglory associated with thinking of oneself as “progressive”.

    baaaaaaah. humbug.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  4. Letters From A Tory — on 24th September, 2007 at 9:35 am  

    I’m sure Iain doesn’t really care about criticism, as he gets so much of it for simply airing his views on all kinds of subjects.

    Not sure about Gordon Brown being very far on the Left.

  5. soru — on 24th September, 2007 at 10:21 am  

    vainglory associated with thinking of oneself as “progressive”.

    _Progressive_ does make sense when talking about science and technology, or things stongly influenced by them such as economics. Scientific knowledge does progress, computers do get faster every year, the set of medical treatments available in 2007 is pretty much strictly greater than the set available in 2002. If the economy stands still for 12 months running, that is a rare catastrophe.

    The word progressive is only bollocks:

    1. when it is used with respect to non-economic social issues: society _changes_, it doesn’t progress. New stuff is new, it may or may not be better, and is very unlikely to be strictly better, better in every respect without trade-off or compromise.

    2. when it is used to describe people with a fundamentally reactionary worldview, the belief that the things used to be better in the old days and we urgently need to go back to them. A lot of environmentalists and some civil rights campaigners sadly fall into this trap.

  6. Leon — on 24th September, 2007 at 10:34 am  

    I never know what to think of these lists, what’s the criteria used to judge for instance?

  7. sonia — on 24th September, 2007 at 11:00 am  

    congratulations sunny, your performances clearly haven’t gone unnoticed! i think your political career is beckoning.

    i agree with banabrain in no. 3.

    that understanding of Right/Left is very strange because there are plenty of right-wingers who want all sorts of radical ‘change’. in case most people haven’t looked around, all sorts of politicians are in favour of changes of various different kinds. and as far as i can see, politics is the game of winning the audience who you feel your changes will most appeal to.

  8. justforfun — on 24th September, 2007 at 11:00 am  

    Leon here something to think – Newspaper print is a perishable commodity like , airline tickets and TV scheduling. So the critieria – fill the pages with something before the presses run – the cheaper the better as far as the proprietors are concerned. Same with programming on TV – endless programmes about “lists” – cheap programming and good back scratching.

    If we must be force fed lists – can we make a list of the the lists that we would actually find interesting. I’ll kick it off with.

    List of Tax payers Revenue accounts – I have a hazy recollection one of the Scandinavian countries does this – your tax accounts are made public.

    Justforfun

  9. Leon — on 24th September, 2007 at 11:05 am  

    Maybe it’s time PP did a list or two then…

  10. sonia — on 24th September, 2007 at 11:06 am  

    Watch Gordon Brown privatise the NHS and say he’s being true to Labour principles. It’s all how you frame things anyway. in any case, you can also frame an action as ‘socialist’ if you like – all depends on your argument and how and who you are drawing the circle of ‘social’ around. ‘oh it will benefit the people’ – so of course its “socialist” and boom there you go.

    and anything can be be branded “progressive” – its a relative term since it depends on what you have progressed from. that’s why the term doesn’t have any currency for me, i think its pretty naive and silly thing to go around calling yourself – just asking for trouble really. mind you, it’s a very politician-like thing to do i suppose that’s why it makes me cringe.

  11. sonia — on 24th September, 2007 at 11:07 am  

    *wonders if rainy monday mornings have something to do with her cynicism*..

    all a good laugh of course as long as we don’t take it all so seriously.

  12. Jai — on 24th September, 2007 at 11:18 am  

    You know, folks, the phrase “on the left” actually means something else in Frenchland. Which puts a whole different angle on this list. Innit.

    All very fabulous ;)

  13. Kismet Hardy — on 24th September, 2007 at 11:30 am  

    I dress to the left

  14. Sid — on 24th September, 2007 at 12:07 pm  

    If belonging to the Left means aligning yourself with the Bush government who have eagerly exploited 9/11 to launch a couple of wars (at least one of which they had fantasized about for years) and arrogate to themselves the power of torture, indefinite detention, surveillance etc

    then to call these qualities “progressive” is actually a load of tosh, isn’t it?

  15. Anas — on 24th September, 2007 at 12:24 pm  

    The term “left” when supposedly referring to someone’s political leanings is now void of most if not all of its subtantive meaning. Its purpose now is to evoke some sort of emotion in the listener/reader: either a soft fuzzy warm feeling of altruism and recognition or a sharp hatred for muddled and misguided but well-meaning thinking. The same thing has happened with the term “democracy” or “progressive”. The fact that pro-War, pro-Apartheid, pro-Imperialists can now openly refer to themselves, without irony, as being of the left shows how far we’ve come.

  16. nodn — on 24th September, 2007 at 12:34 pm  

    Your next blog Sunny? I’ve subscribed already!

  17. sonia — on 24th September, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

    good point Anas.

    for me, the whole idea that you can have a linear concept of left to right or right to left which sums up all possible “political” POVs is frankly ridiculous – and we need to get away from it. also: lots of people would agree on specific policies or interventions from many different perspectives, and conversely, lots of people with the same “ideology” ( lets call it that for want of a better term) would differ highly on the implementation of said ideology. its ridiculous to think that such a ‘grouping’ could possibly exist – and when it comes to party policies its all about toeing the line anyway which suggests that people DO think its possible that everyone in one party will have the same ‘line’. Such conformity is not only ridiculous it is very dangerous.

  18. sonia — on 24th September, 2007 at 12:56 pm  

    what is dangerous is that this Left/Right business very very quickly becomes us/them in a way that is usually not constructive – and keeps debate stagnating because people sit and think..ooh is this Left or right, and can i slag it off on that basis? and then people start arguing on that front and forget the real point. Let’s face it, we’ve all seen this happen on blogs – so many people fail to evaluate something on its own merit, because it comes from someone on the @left or someone on the right. it encourages partisanship and tribalness, which is not “progressive” at all, given that’s what humans have been doing since god knows when. and have we learnt anything?

  19. sonia — on 24th September, 2007 at 1:02 pm  

    and even if we’re going down to the ‘ideas’ level its hard to really pin down things when it comes to it. the fact that lots of people have used ‘liberty’ to defend all sorts of implementations/interventions should make that clear, if nothing else. ‘freedom’ is itself very complex – the freedom to do something, the freedom from something, etc. i don’t see how people REALLY think it can be boiled down to a simple binary ‘yes no’ i am for or against “freedom”. perhaps that is a fall-out from religious ‘good evil’ rhetoric we’ve been stuck with for centuries and are now so fond of we don’t want to let go.

  20. justforfun — on 24th September, 2007 at 1:04 pm  

    Keep writing Sonia – no-one will interupt you for the next 3 hours except Sid and Kismet ;-)

    They are out on the pitch.

    Justforfun

  21. sonia — on 24th September, 2007 at 1:04 pm  

    heh jff you make me laugh :-)

  22. sonia — on 24th September, 2007 at 1:05 pm  

    i know im the best multiple comment poster on PP..shame no awards etc. ;-0

  23. justforfun — on 24th September, 2007 at 1:05 pm  

    fuuuwwww

    The wa is with us

    Justforfun

  24. Boyo — on 24th September, 2007 at 1:18 pm  

    It used to be whigs and tories. Right and left only lasted 100 years, it’s SO over.

    Back to whigs (progressives) and Tories (reactionaries?) again?

    On this basis most of Labour and the Conservatives would be Tories. A few Lib Dems might be Whigs, although what is a “progressive” these days exactly?

    Personally I prefer Libertarian v Authoritarian.

    Although I’m probably an Authoritarian Liberterian myself. You can call me Al.

  25. sonia — on 24th September, 2007 at 1:24 pm  

    heh boyo

    well there’s a lot of talk of ‘imposing’ ‘liberty’ isn’t there, in authoritarian ways ( like by force!) i wish they’d be honest about it though! we are authoritarian libertarians. we believe in ‘freeing’ you by force. even if you didn’t want it. cos WE thought so and of course We are right

    :-)

  26. justforfun — on 24th September, 2007 at 1:27 pm  

    Sonia – the “Fuwww” was that Yusuf Pathan was nearly run out first ball – but not quite :-)

    Not a comment on your comments.

    Another for the List of Lists —

    “Best multiple comment poster on PP” ;-)

    Justforfun

  27. bananabrain — on 24th September, 2007 at 1:31 pm  

    rather than “whigs” and “tories” might i suggest “ideologues” vs “pragmatists”?

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  28. Kismet Hardy — on 24th September, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

    I agree with everything Sonia says except the bit about sodomising monkeys in the name of the so-called almighty

  29. ZinZin — on 24th September, 2007 at 2:26 pm  

    “The fact that pro-War, pro-Apartheid, pro-Imperialists can now openly refer to themselves, without irony, as being of the left shows how far we’ve come.”

    Your refering to HP again or the imperialism of fools that is the Pro-war left.

    Anas they are having a pop at Chomsky, unfortunately they are using Oliver Kamm as a stick to beat him with.

  30. fugstar — on 24th September, 2007 at 2:30 pm  

    its an intereting technigqu to attract the attention and define the left, from the right.

    sunny, you beat john pilger!

  31. justforfun — on 24th September, 2007 at 2:40 pm  

    India – 157 for 5 kts @ 20 overs
    Pakistan on soon

    Nevermind India’s run rate – this twenty20 does not suit my whiskey rate. I’m struggling here.

    Justforfun

  32. Sunny — on 24th September, 2007 at 3:03 pm  

    The fact that pro-War, pro-Apartheid, pro-Imperialists can now openly refer to themselves, without irony, as being of the left shows how far we’ve come.

    Any movement comes with fruitcakes. After all, the right used to include people who wanted Nelson Mandela hanged, and the left used to include people who made excuses for Stalin.

  33. soru — on 24th September, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

    that understanding of Right/Left is very strange because there are plenty of right-wingers who want all sorts of radical ‘change’..

    Reactionary/Conservative/Progressive/Revolutionary is an axis independent of anything else, including egalitarian/individualist or liberal/authoritarian. It’s all about attitude to suckiness, whether and how to deal with it.

    Reactionaries think the country sucks, is going to the dogs, and nothing can usefully be done.

    Conservatives think the country is surprisingly good, given the basic suckiness of mankind in general. Consequently, chances are a given change will make things worse, not better, so all changes should be examined with a large dose of scepticism.

    Progressives think the present sucks in comparisom to the future, which will almost certainly be awesome. Consequently, incremental changes are necessary just to stay on track: the real question is which changes are the highest priority.

    Revolutionaries think that in order for the future to be better than today, existing sucky things must be destroyed.

  34. Kismet Hardy — on 24th September, 2007 at 3:20 pm  

    I did a cartoon once for our uni paper. It had the tinman holding trotsky and lenin in each arm skipping down a yellow bricked road with the caption SWP: neither left nor right but somewhere over the rainbow

    Rather proud of that

  35. Nyrone — on 24th September, 2007 at 4:14 pm  

    I echo the other comments about the disturbing fact that Gordon Brown and Tony Blair are number 1 & 2 on this so-called list of ‘leftists’
    This is not the left I recognise.

  36. justforfun — on 24th September, 2007 at 4:17 pm  

    What ever people do – do not get the score untill you have a chance to see the match.

    Justforfun

  37. Matt — on 24th September, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

    I think: “PP is not Lib Dem” got through.

    Matt

  38. Leon — on 24th September, 2007 at 4:58 pm  

    At bloody last…

  39. bananabrain — on 24th September, 2007 at 5:26 pm  

    i’d like to see a list of “the most influential people on the most influential people on the left”, followed by a consolidated statement of influence. in fact, i’d like to see that for the “right” as well, as well as for everyone else, so we can find out if you really can blame everything you don’t like on neo-cons or, if you’re me, on ken livingstone.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  40. ally — on 24th September, 2007 at 5:27 pm  

    Congrats Sunny, but I have to say that’s a VERY strange list.

    Did I miss them, or was there no Toynbee? Hari? Rusbridger? Pilger sneaking in at 100, despite beeing one of the few genuine left-wing journalists able to write & produce his own documentaries? (although unless I’m mistaken he’s not British anyway!)

    Notice our friends in the StWC / SWP (German, Rees, Murray etc) don’t even get a look-in, despite being the major players in Respect (RIP) and the anti-war movement and still wielding significant influence in the unions…

    Oh, and Claire Fox a figure of the left (even with the disclaimer)? – a-hahahahahaha.

    I dunno. Either these people don’t have a clue what the left is any more, or I don’t. Could well be the latter.

  41. Sunny — on 24th September, 2007 at 5:47 pm  

    Did I miss them, or was there no Toynbee? Hari? Rusbridger?

    They’re all there…

    Maybe Murray could get a mention (well, he’s more influential than me) but with Respect’s disintegration, and the fact that most people have seen through the StWC and their politics, I doubt they’ll be around for long.

  42. ally — on 24th September, 2007 at 6:44 pm  

    Apologies – Toynbee & Rusbridger are there although still can’t see wee Johann. Maybe you have to get out of short trousers before you make the cut.

  43. Anas — on 24th September, 2007 at 7:09 pm  

    Any movement comes with fruitcakes. After all, the right used to include people who wanted Nelson Mandela hanged, and the left used to include people who made excuses for Stalin.

    Yeah, but it is funny that all these people, the pro-War left, can stand against all the things that were a hallmark of the left a few decades back. I mean some of those who made excuses for Stalin way back when could, perhaps, claim that at the time his crimes hadn’t been brought to light to the same extent that we are now aware of what’s happening in Palestine, Iraq, etc.

    Anyway it’ll be interesting to see what new low those over at HP have sunk in their vain attempts to defame Chomsky, ZZ. It’s handy PP links to them, saves me typing in the weblink.

  44. Sunny — on 24th September, 2007 at 7:17 pm  

    can stand against all the things that were a hallmark of the left a few decades back.

    You mean like all those Muslims, like Inayat Bunglwala, who praised Osama Bin Laden pre-9/11?

    It’s handy PP links to them, saves me typing in the weblink.

    Given your own hypocrisy over ‘apartheid’ states, I hardly think you’re in any position to influence who I should link to.

  45. Jagdeep — on 24th September, 2007 at 7:28 pm  

    You mean like all those Muslims, like Inayat Bunglwala, who praised Osama Bin Laden pre-9/11?

    Not just pre 9/11, he praised Bin Laden AFTER the Nairobi bombings in which 300 African men and women were slaughtered outside the American embassy. African lives meant nothing to him. That man is the biggest two-faced fork-tongue bigoted creep out there. And the same goes for all his fellow travellers.

  46. Leon — on 24th September, 2007 at 9:11 pm  

    , and the fact that most people have seen through the StWC and their politics, I doubt they’ll be around for long.

    Hahaha! Sunny you joker!

  47. Anas — on 24th September, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

    can stand against all the things that were a hallmark of the left a few decades back.

    You mean like all those Muslims, like Inayat Bunglwala, who praised Osama Bin Laden pre-9/11?

    Hey, no fair, when did I suddenly become the official spokesman for Inayat Bunglawala?

    And if he did praise OBL, how fucked up is that in comparison to the case of someone like Saddam Hussein who wasn’t just praised in the West but actually given military and diplomatic support during the time when he was gassing the Kurds of Halabja? Or all the other regimes the West has been providing arms to to slaughter its own people — or for example as in Uzbekhistan where we’ve been turning a diplomatic blind eye as the regime carries out countless greivous human rights abuses. And given that OBL was a mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 80s, he was being praised by the US and UK governments too pre-911 — and I think they were even given vocal support at some Tory conference of the time. In comparison to the overall shameful record I don’t think Inayat or “all those Muslims” stand out that much.

    Given your own hypocrisy over ‘apartheid’ states, I hardly think you’re in any position to influence who I should link to.

    I explained my reasoning on the other thread I’m not going over it all again.

  48. Sunny — on 24th September, 2007 at 10:31 pm  

    Hey, no fair, when did I suddenly become the official spokesman for Inayat Bunglawala?

    No one said you were. My point is, stupid people existed on all sides.

    but actually given military and diplomatic support during the time when he was gassing the Kurds of Halabja?

    I’ve never defended UK foreign policy. I think msot of the time it’s stupid. But we’re going around in circles. Don’t forget there were plenty of Arab states covertly helping Iraq against Iran in that war… and now are doing nothing about Darfur.

    So I’m still not sure what yardstick you’re using to measure anyone…

  49. Anas — on 24th September, 2007 at 10:39 pm  

    No one said you were. My point is, stupid people existed on all sides.

    I’ve never said there weren’t stupid people on all sides, just that the idea of a pro-War “left” that embraces all those things that the left used to be against, almost by definition, demonstrates how far the concept of the political left has come — and ultimately how meaningless it has become. Why bring up Bunglawala when as I mentioned in my last post, his record doesn’t seem to particularly stand out in the hypocrisy stakes? I still don’t see his relevance unless you were somehow implying that I’m affiliated with him.

  50. Nyrone — on 24th September, 2007 at 10:55 pm  

    Anas, don’t you understand? In political commentary terms, it simply doesn’t matter about the REALITY of events, what matters is that bloggers are able to dig up a skeleton and point to it one billion times in justification of their pre-thought rants that are at the tip of their tongues and are desperate to come bursting out. Isn’t this a grossly political trait? It’s easier for some blogger to find a quote by somebody on the internet and rip into it like some super-scholar and mock it, then it is for them to research and critizize people that are actively, practically involved in destroying this planet?

    Why do progressive bloggers take a smug pride in taking quotes by folks like Inayat Bunglwala out of context and then proceed to collectively laugh at him ad nauseum because they have identified a potential weakness? It’s a nit-picking school-boy tactic that is unnecessary in reaching a mutual goal.

    I’m actually angry about how individuals I respect do this. It’s not once or twice, it’s a dependency drug to shoulder on, and I’ve noticed a pattern of it taking place, with people publicly dismissing giants like John Pilger or Tony Benn with the brush of their hand, as if they are rubbish because you have found a quote that can be intepreted negatively from your subjective experience.

    Why do writers spend so much time slinging mud at each other instead of working with each other?

  51. Sunny — on 24th September, 2007 at 11:12 pm  

    I’ve never said there weren’t stupid people on all sides, just that the idea of a pro-War “left” that embraces all those things that the left used to be against, almost by definition, demonstrates how far the concept of the political left has come

    This is like a broken record. Some pro-war lefties may have become enamoured by the neo-cons because they thought that Islamic terrorism was going to lead to the disintegration of the west. I’d say the vast majority of those on the pro-war left did so because they support liberal interventionism, which is an old leftist tradition, to get rid of dictators like Saddam. There was a marriage of convenience with the neo-cons that went horribly bad. I don’t know what’s so difficult to understand… and I don’t even know why I’m having this silly conversation.

    Why do progressive bloggers take a smug pride in taking quotes by folks like Inayat Bunglwala out of context and then proceed to collectively laugh at him ad nauseum because they have identified a potential weakness?

    Bunglawala’s former support for OBL is important for several reasons. Firstly I wanted to point out that people on the right and the left have changed positions according to changing conditions many times.

    Secondly, OBL is a hateful warmonger who wants nothing but the destruction of the west. I don’t want him around and neither do I like people who fell for his agenda in the past. That not only includes many from the US government but also Arab govts and so-called government advisors from the Muslim community. Anas asked about people who claimed to be on the left and had apparently betrayed their convictions. I’m pointing out that if one wants to point fingers at someone (as Anas keeps pointing fingers at my link to Harry’s Place), then it would be less hypocritical to point fingers at everyone not just your favourite hobby horse. It’s exactly similar to the fact that he is obsessive about the state of Israel but says relatively little about the inherent racism in an ‘Muslim state’.

  52. Nyrone — on 25th September, 2007 at 12:03 am  

    My comment is not directed entirely at you Sunny, and I do recognise that the reason for which you used the quote in projecting your point is reasonable and valid.

    but, in order to demonstrate your point, are you also are not in danger of exaggerating and amplifying the views and statements of a potential ‘opponents’ like Bunglwala to add add weight and credibility to your own argument?

    Isn’t saying that IB supported OBL a bit of a blanket generalization? Where is the context? It’s a huge thing to attach to somebody, that they supported OBL..where is the proof, and what part of what OBL said is IB being accused of supporting? Could he have perhaps have misunderstood during a question posed by someone else? Could he have made an innocent mistake? If you discovered that, would it lessen the impact of a verbal tirade against him?

    If OBL said he believied that peace is important, and IB then agreed with that statement, couldn’t a journalist then infer that IB supported OBL? You know how tricky terminology is, I just don’t like how public individuals who might say 99.9% good things get viciously slammed against the wall by a lot of bloggers and ‘commentators’ for a single quote that is predictably brought up so often and frequently that it leaves the realm of actual reality and enters into a totally new meaning because of how many times it’s been referenced via other people…it still doesn’t make it accurate though.

    All injustice should obviously be condemmned unequivocally by people, but this fanatical obsession with folks trying to get ‘dirt on people through magazines, who disagree with them and then repeating it like a mantra has to stop, if mutual progressive solutions are to be reached by a cross-section of people.

    Why are people like Tariq Ali so savagely and violently attacked when they merely write articles and books, when the people behind the curtains at Primark prolonging grossly exploitative sweatshop labour conditions in India are never heard of and go about their business? Why are we fighting with each other over trivialities when the people we REALLY disagree with are continuing to flourish under the rader? Bloggers have a lot of critical energy, and I can’t help but feel that they spend too much of it bickering with each other for chest-thumping egoistic reasons, rather than to achieve the aims they proclaim to aspire to.

  53. Sunny — on 25th September, 2007 at 12:09 am  

    Isn’t saying that IB supported OBL a bit of a blanket generalization? Where is the context? It’s a huge thing to attach to somebody, that they supported OBL

    See his wikipedia entry, it lists article making those accusations, which Inayat has not legally challenged AFAIK.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inayat_Bunglawala

    Why are people like Tariq Ali so savagely and violently attacked when they merely write articles and books,

    I think Tariq becomes a bit polemical sometimes but I broadly agree with that criticisms of his go OTT too. for the record I love No Logo by Klein, which made the same point.

    Why are we fighting with each other over trivialities when the people we REALLY disagree with are continuing to flourish under the rader?

    I agree… but look who turned up first annoyed and with accusations that the leftist had betrayed its principles… and that they don’t support his own personal vendettas.

  54. douglas clark — on 25th September, 2007 at 12:46 am  

    My current theory, on all of this, is that the real axis is between real human beings – like you Sunny, and you Anas – and the folk that don’t give a stuff about dead folk. Whether they are dead in Fallujah or dead 200 feet underground in London. That division of humanity, between folk that understand that getting your own way by killing people is, err, wrong, and those that think it is A-OK, is fundamental.

    It is the difference between barbarians and the rest of us.

    It is frankly ridiculous to choose a side. Both sides have blood on their hands, and neither is it sensible to argue that my hate figure is worse than your hate figure, so ya sucks! They are both equally bad.

    If the left, or liberals, are going to go anywhere, it has got to be around a radical re-interpretation of what the grouping is. Y’know what is it that we all agree about? Independent of religious, ethnic or political hangups. I would argue it has to be about agreeing that human rights are more important than religion, politics or grievance. What say you?

    Grouping. Now there’s the rub. It is easy to retreat into an Israel bad / Palestinians good mind set. Or, as I tend to do, take the same position on the evil that is George W Bush.

    But, if we are all going to stay cosy on this, then nothing will change, nothing will alter.

    We – folk that comment here regularily – are, I think, on the side of individuals: not religions, not politicians, not even philosophies. If we are not, then what the fuck are we about?

    What I am trying to argue is that folk need to walk outside their ethnicities, religions, politics, even and shake hands with people from the other side, who are perhaps not that much different from you, or me.

  55. douglas clark — on 25th September, 2007 at 1:02 am  

    So, doing a Sonia, I am trying to say that we should reject folk, on whatever we see as our ‘own’ side, that argue for violent solutions, and look instead to those on the other side of the conflict that equally reject their own violent colleagues. This seems to be to be a worthwhile endevour. As, on balance, I think there are more folk for peace than there are for war. Was there not some wee Indian guy that thought a bit like that?

  56. Anas — on 25th September, 2007 at 3:50 pm  

    This is like a broken record. Some pro-war lefties may have become enamoured by the neo-cons because they thought that Islamic terrorism was going to lead to the disintegration of the west. I’d say the vast majority of those on the pro-war left did so because they support liberal interventionism, which is an old leftist tradition, to get rid of dictators like Saddam. There was a marriage of convenience with the neo-cons that went horribly bad. I don’t know what’s so difficult to understand… and I don’t even know why I’m having this silly conversation.

    Oh, silly conversation is it now? Those poor naive little pro-left bunnies, they had good intentions but were misled by those nasty neo-cons, grrrrrrrrrrr. As I said above, I’d be a bit more sympathetic with your argument — and the claim you made in another thread, that people did support the war on *genuinely* humanitarian grounds — if there hadn’t been such overwhelming evidence that the invasion of Iraq was going to be a humanitarian disaster — and that the coalition weren’t going in for humanitarian reasons at all; evidence that was circulated everywhere, all over the internet, in the media at the time.

    And yet even now, even after it’s become obvious to any reasonably sane human being right or left that the Iraq War and Occupation will be recognised as one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of the early 21st century most of the pro-War left still unapologetically persist in their “error” and are even turning their noxious gazes towards Iran. I will reiterate, the fact that these people openly and loudly assert themselves to be part of the left — having betrayed the core principles of the historical left which was anti-Imperialist — along with the idea that you can be so openly for naked capitalist greed like Gordon Brown is and still be a lefty, signals the utter bankruptcy of the term in everyday usage. It doesn’t matter how many times you bring up Inayat Bunglawala.

    Anas asked about people who claimed to be on the left and had apparently betrayed their convictions. I’m pointing out that if one wants to point fingers at someone (as Anas keeps pointing fingers at my link to Harry’s Place), then it would be less hypocritical to point fingers at everyone not just your favourite hobby horse.

    I am pointing fingers on a thread called “Most influential people on the left”, ostensibly about the state of the left today, at people who claim to be on the left. Surely there’s some relevance there, no? Surely, it’s fair enough if I choose to drag out my favourite hobby horse at this particular juncture? A bit more relevant than bringing up Inayat, though I suppose next you’re going to tell me about Asghar Bukhari and David Irving?

    In political commentary terms, it simply doesn’t matter about the REALITY of events, what matters is that bloggers are able to dig up a skeleton and point to it one billion times in justification of their pre-thought rants that are at the tip of their tongues and are desperate to come bursting out. Isn’t this a grossly political trait? It’s easier for some blogger to find a quote by somebody on the internet and rip into it like some super-scholar and mock it, then it is for them to research and critizize people that are actively, practically involved in destroying this planet?

    I noticed this with regards to the level of venom someone like George Galloway gets on a regular basis. And yet if you tot up his biggest crimes which are mostly related to his egoistic publicity seeking and his supposed friendship with Saddam and compare them to those of other MPs/politicians –e.g., taking us to an illegal war, supporting the crushing of Palestine and not speaking out, along with some of the other scummy things politicians get up to — to the people who are in power then they seem meagre. And I’m not that big a fan of the guy or of Bunglawala.

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