Sunday, February 04, 2007

'This is rage without a programme'

Today's Sunday Times (London) has a great interview with Nick Cohen, author of What's Left: How Liberals Lost Their Way. Times writer Martin Ivens describes Cohen as a "journalist with impeccable left-wing credentials", and indeed, Cohen writes the most leftist of left-wing rags, al-Guardian.

The whole thing is a great read, but some of the best quotes are found on page 2:
“There is a delegation of Iraqi trade unionists coming to my launch party. They (their families and friends) have been slaughtered by fascists. The idea that liberals would want Iraq to fail to give Bush and Blair bloody noses appals me. They just don’t care about the consequences for the people.”

Cohen’s diagnosis of the left-wing pathology is brutal. “This is rage without a programme. Also, don’t forget the element of fear — one response when confronted by psychopaths is that you hope they can be appeased.” Aha, now for the link to Munich and Chamberlain’s sell-out of Czechoslovakia to Hitler in 1938. He chides the “parochialism” of the liberal left. “It is difficult to defend your country against foreign threats if you are a critic of the status quo. What that led people to say is that ‘Britain is as bad as fascist Germany’ or ‘Al-Qaeda is bad, but look at the Christian right in America’.”

And how is he getting the message across? “I went to the George Orwell society in Eton, where he was a King’s scholar. They looked at me as if I was spouting ancient Greek when I talked about helping the Iraqi people. Orwell would have said ‘little brutes’.” I rather hope Cohen did too.
I think I know what book to read next.

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