Guest Post: The Guardian seeks to be Rosa Luxemburg with a Twitter FeedPosted on April 4, 2011
I’ve been on holiday this week, hence the lighter posting than usual. From Monday it’ll be back to business as usual.
For now, though, here’s a guest post from “Mr X”, a political journalist who has been considering the moral failures of the Guardian in it’s coverage of last weekend’s riots. For reasons that will become obvious in his piece, he’d rather remain anonymous.
Rosa Luxemburg with a Twitter feed
By Mr X
ONE turns to the Guardian’s comment pages with a mounting sense of dread, disbelief and some queasiness. There were high hopes a few years ago that when Seamus Milne (Winchester and Balliol, father BBC DG, big fan of the Iraqi “resistance”) left his perch as the Guardian’s comment editor that his particular brand of lunacy would disappear from a title that still has an important place in our political life.
The Guardian’s quest to replace The Times as the paper of record would be helped by not having a Stalinist wing-nut overseeing those pages, it was thought. Alas – those hopes were misplaced.
I can just about put up with George Monbiot’s articulate-but mad-as-cheese diatribes against capitalism. One sighs and moves on when a Hamasnik or scion of the dynasty that runs Tunisia’s Muslim Brotherhood franchise is given space to spout off. If The Guardian would rather not take sides in the secularist/obscurantist debate building in the Middle East then that’s an offence against the paper’s great liberal heritage but predictable.
The reality, though, is that just like how the collapse of communism in Milne’s dear old USSR led to the KGB taking over, so Milne’s ideological munchkins have retained control after his own theoretical departure.
Libby Brooks is now the Guardian’s deputy comment editor. Her recent piece on violence and non-violence is not extra-ordinary in its nuttiness. Most of her stuff is like this. But those who do not read the paper every day will be astounded by the sheer loony-leftiness and sloppiness of this particular crock of manure.
Where to start? Well, historical illiteracy is as good a place as any. If one is making the case that “direct action” works, the Chartists are a pretty poor example – given that the 1867 Reform Act contained few of their demands and occurred almost 20 years after their heyday.
Let’s move on to economic illiteracy and the claim that the anarchists engaged in 1990s “Stop The City” riots predicted the global financial crisis. Yes they did. But so did every tinpot Trot and the fact is that the UK is still vastly more wealthy that it was in, say, 2002.
Then there’s her description of the farce at Fortnum’s as “civil disobedience”. That implies disobedience directed at the civil power. But that particular episode of juvenile situationism was targeted at a private enterprise. It represented seizing another person’s property. Libby needs to go back to Locke and see what he says about the fundamental essences of liberty. But Libby doesn’t think too highly of property.
She writes: ‘It’s important to interrogate the description “violent protest”. Certainly, firecrackers, smoke bombs and raucous teenagers with faces obscured make for dramatic footage against the night sky. And they are undeniably threatening. But the vast majority of damage on Saturday was sustained by property, not persons; nor was this vandalism mindless, but targeted at banks and other emblematic high street institutions.’
Well, that’s okay then. I’m sure – using that reasoning – Libby wouldn’t mind me popping round to her flat (I’m guessing it’s in Stoke Newington) and smashing it up as a protest against writing rubbish in The Guardian. It surely wouldn’t be “violence”.
Libby seems to have a bit of thing about violence. She quotes – with implicit approval – Clive Bloom who writes that “violence can be successful, but you need an argument too.”
Maybe it’s the likes of Libby who see themselves as providing those arguments. She will be the theoretician and propagandist of a great revolt. Rosa Luxemburg with a Twitter feed, perhaps. But the very fact that such thinking is going on in the heart of the British left and in the mind of a great newspaper is deeply depressing. For those of who fear that Libby’s readers will start to see themselves as Baby-Meinhofs, it should also be rather worrying.