I had a few beers with new Guardian columnist Norman Johnson last night and he was very worried and edgy having heard that two of the UK left’s most prominent veteran letter writers had written to the paper. This morning I can see why:
Norman Johnson (Free radical, September 17) is no David Aaronovitch. Aaronovitch supports the war, but he can have a go at trying to explain why. Johnson simply makes cheap shots at George Galloway. Still, there is always hope. Johnson mentions Orwell so he must be in favour of staring reality in the face. And he mentions Muswell Hill, so he must know voters there ejected their MP in May for being pro-war.
I can just imagine the editorial conference: “We have a vacancy for a columnist – what we really need is a pompous middle-aged, middle-class white man from north London!” As far as I’m concerned this is the last straw.
And another disappointed reader:
How sad that you spoil an excellent first week of the new format Guardian with the introduction of Norman Johnson. The war in Iraq was illegal; the reasons given to justify it were lies; the removal of Saddam Hussein was not mentioned; and the aftermath in terms of human suffering is unspeakable. It is a bit odd to talk about socialists and Marxists opposing the war. Does he mean Ken Clarke or Charles Kennedy?
But what’s this all about?
I would like to commend you for introducing Norman Johnson’s new satirical column in the Saturday Guardian – I haven’t guffawed so much in years!