Seumas Milne is on his way out at the Guardian.
He is to be replaced by Georgina Henry, who is presently the editor of Comment is Free, and is to be given the editorship of both online and “hard copy” comment.
Seumas Milne’s career as Comment Editor has been characterised by an editorial approach which suggests that he has little understanding of the nature of journalism, but a very strong commitment to promoting the political projects of his cronies. Milne has effectively run the Comments Pages of the Guardian as an updated version of the Communist Party’s “Straight Left” newspaper: an entryist project in the Labour Party in which Milne served as Business Manager.
Accordingly, when Milne has ventured into print himself, it has been to praise the successes of Stalinism. Given that there are not many unrepentant Stalinists about, Milne ended up scraping the barrel in looking for sympathetic writers to commission. Accordingly, the disgraced Soviet “agent of influence” Richard Gott was rehabilitated as a commentator on world events. Milne also commissioned a series of eccentric articles by Ostalgist and Serb apologist, Neil Clark. Milne even published an even stranger paean to Hungarian communism by Neil Clark’s wife.
Milne’s greatest contribution to the Guardian Comment Pages has been to turn it into a soapbox for the RESPECT and Stop the War Coalition projects: a Red-Green-Brown alliance between Stalinists, Trotskyites, and Islamists associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Milne evidently regarded his appointment to Comment Editor as an opportunity to promote the obnoxious politics of this alignment.
It wasn’t so much the repeated commissioning of Andrew Murray and Milne’s other Stalinist chums that discredited the Comments Editor. It wasn’t even the fact that Milne routinely handed over the Comments Pages to the ludicrous George Galloway. There is at least some logic to a left of centre newspaper giving space, occasionally at least, to the most extreme voices on that side of the political spectrum.
The real source of Milne’s disgrace is that he turned his fiefdom into a platform for the far right Islamist politics. Milne – along with the likes of his chums Galloway and Murray – is responsible for making fascism respectable on the Left. During the period of Milne’s tenure, Guardian readers have been treated to a series of articles by Anas Altikriti, Azzam Tamimi, and other members of the hitherto obscure clerical fascist grouping, the Muslim Brotherhood. And who can forget this piece, in which Osama Saeed called for the re-establishing of the Caliphate.
Congratulations to Georgina Henry. Good bye Seamus Milne. And good riddance.