Some of the American bloggers have got very excited about the articles from Burchill and Aaronovitch on Iraq (see below), seeing them as some sign that the British left is being won over to the case for military action. If only they knew!
Sorry to dampen the optimism of Stateside readers but Burchill and Aaronovitch are far from typical of the UK left – in fact they have become two of their favourite hate figures, although I have to say both seem to enjoy being cast in that role.
They are disliked almost as much as US lefties hate Christopher Hitchens these days, with one big difference — the US left used to adore Hitchens, whereas no-one on the left ever liked Burchill and Aaronovitch – two people who were brought up as communists and left behind most of their ideological baggage with one exception – a healthy dislike of Trotskyists.
A more Hitchens-like experience came after this piece from the left’s favoured columnist Nick Cohen, daring to criticise the anti-war left with statements such as:“For all its apparent self-confidence, the Left, reinforced by a small army of bishops, mullahs and retired generals, lacks the nerve to state that the consequence of peace is the ruin of the hopes of Iraqi democrats.”
But unlike Hitchens, Cohen, sadly, hasn’t followed this up with a series of sustained attack on his former admirers – nonetheless he still came in for plenty of abuse for daring to be a heretic.
I had a little taste of that reaction myself this weekend when I was asked to cease posting mails to a Labour left mailing list where I had been involved in a surprisingly calm, intelligent and relevant discussion about Iraq with a former Guardian journalist.
My views in favour of the liberation of Iraq were apparently against “the basic principles of the list”, according to one list correspondent who asked for me to be removed from the debate – she obviously likes her conversations to be strictly limited to mutterings of agreement – rather like the dictator she fails to see that she is assisting.