Thursday, August 13, 2015

Your Bed, Sir



Okay, I'll field this one, if nobody else fancies it.

The following doesn't all hold good for James himself but a lot of it really does, and it'll do fine to illustrate the broad range of Oh-No-Why-Does-The-Left-Say-(x) type pundits throughout the land.

So, why is nobody asking questions about Jeremy Corbyn's worrying connections?

1) Because you can only shout about large lupine predators so many times before people just automatically assume that there is no wolf. 

Many people, myself included, have spent years repeating variations on the following points:

If your reaction to every war or military occupation and so forth is to completely ignore the mounting bodycount and to instead focus on

- Poring over the internet in the hope of tracking down photos of anti-war protesters waving swastikas and the like, because you just know that they're all secret Nazis, and

- Snuffling out whatever seven-degrees-of-separation horseshit you can root out to denounce any and every medium-profile public figure who has the temerity to say that they don't much like wars or military occupations...

...then sooner or later, people are going to assume that you are a hack and that your opinion isn't worth listening to, even when you're right.

This is problematic, because there are occasions when people really should pay attention to you, if you're making an important point.  These occasions might include, say, if it turns out that a popular political figure has previously defended one of the country's more obvious wacky racists.

If you've previously expended most of your credibility by using really shitty and smeary arguments to e.g. defend or distract from a whole string of insanely violent and ridiculous wars however, lots of people are not going to be inclined to listen to you, no matter how important your objection is.

- Similarly, if you've spent many long years barracking respected NGOs for minor offences and non-crimes - especially if you restrict the barracking to organisations that tend to publicly disapprove of your pet causes - then lots of people are, once again, going to ignore you, even if you eventually hit a target or two.

Also,

2) If your mainstream, centrist politics include acceptance or endorsement of any of the following:

- Supporting far nastier policies on asylum and immigration, because it plays well with nastier sections of the electorate;
- Arming Middle Eastern human rights abusers to the damn teeth;
- Being photographed planting sloppy kisses on, say, Colonel Gaddafi or Hosni Mubarak, or the King of Saudi Arabia's corpse;
- Talking out of both sides of your mouth when e.g. the Egyptian military starts shooting protestors and executing its political opponents; 
- Bombing, invading and occasionally occupying other countries for no sane reason, or
- Detaining people without trial in black jails and torturing the piss out of them...

...Amid a very wide variety of similar forms of bullshitty excuse-making for bad behaviour that you'd never let your opponents away with, lots of people are quite likely to dismiss any reasonable points that you make now.  Because you have beshitted your own reputation, see?

Now, saying all this, we should remember that it really is a problem in left wing politics, if something like Jeremy Corbyn's comments on nutty racist propagandists doesn't seem to ring any alarm bells.

That said, it's worth noting that part of the reason why nobody can hear alarm bells ringing now is that quite a lot of less-than-entirely-honest people have spent the last fifteen years or so ringing bells like a crowd of coked-up campanologists on a three-day blowout.

Why, it's almost like actions have consequences, or something.

And to repeat myself, repeating myself - none of what I'm saying here should be news.  Lots of us have spent quite a lot of time issuing long and boring warnings along these lines, to precisely no effect.

Well.  Your bed, sir - you have made it, and now all of us have to lie in it, for good or ill.  

47 comments:

Mr Cholmondley-Warner said...

Is he another "I hate the Guardian, but I will be published by it" Eustonites?

ejh said...

Personally, my reaction - other than not reading past the name under the headline - was "why is nobody doing what all the usual suspects are in fact doing"?

I think what Jimbo actually means is "why is nobody taking any notice of me?". And to make a monstrously unfair point, if I were Jim I wouldn't worry about it, because if Corbyn gets in then Jim's phone ain't going to stop ringing for a very long time to come.

flyingrodent said...

Well, yes. It's quite odd to ask why "nobody" is having a go at Jeremy Corbyn, while linking to articles having several extended goes at Jeremy Corbyn in exactly the way that you want them to, in the most-read newspaper in Britain.

I'm charitably assuming that James means "nobody on the left", and even then, it's worth pointing out that half of the Labour Party has been beating JC like a rodeo clown on exactly these points.

What he really means is "why aren't people who are supporting Jeremy Corbyn worried about this". And the answer is, Because people like you have deployed exactly these types of arguments with far, far less justification in the past, directly at people who are now supporting JC, to the point where all of them just assume that you're talking pish again.

I'd argue that this is James's fault, at least as much as it is anyone else's.

Is he another "I hate the Guardian, but I will be published by it" Eustonites?

The very same. Let's note here that if we were to apply James's logic to his own behaviour, we'd currently be asking why he's happy to have his work published in a paper that once printed a speech by Osama Bin Laden.

Frankly, I think James has questions to answer about his Bin Laden connections. Why is nobody asking questions about James Bloodworth's worrying connections, eh?

Phil said...

Also, this:

While I genuinely believe that Corbyn does not have an antisemitic bone in his body, he does have a proclivity for sharing platforms with individuals who do; and his excuses for doing so do not stand up.

But you've just said you believe - genuinely - that he's not in the slightest bit anti-semitic. So what are you accusing him of? Not taking sufficient care to avoid the company of anti-semites, or to avoid giving the impression that he might possibly be anti-semitic? But why would that matter, if he says he's not anti-semitic (as he does) and you believe it, as you say you (genuinely) do?

I think it's this sneering, hinting not-saying-I'm-just-saying double-talk - combined, weirdly, with all the self-righteous finger-wagging you can eat - that discredits this crowd. I swear if somebody took this tack on something I actually agree with I'd want to change my mind, just to keep my distance from them...

Andy Burnham says he's left-wing and I believe him, of course I do. He says he believes in the NHS and I'm quite sure he's telling the truth. But when you look at some of his actions as Health Secretary, I think we have to recognise that they raise very serious questions, and the excuses he's given just don't stack up.

I'd be on Team Burnham by the foot of the page.

organic cheeseboard said...

When Corbyn was annnounced as the token left-wing candidate I instinctively remembered various Decent shitstorms about him, which were more convincing than most of them - his whole schitck, it would seem, has been 'engaging with' people who seem a bit unsavoury in order to make an overarching (and more or less correct) point about foreign policy. It seemed unwise back then, seems even less wise now really, but as you say, since the brickbats are coming from the same old people i.e. Decent bloggers and the Daily Mail, he's pretty much covered, and this is why almost none of them are sticking. The Tories will probably not spend too much time directly doing the condemnathons in Parliament either since, after the Syria vote debacle, it seems they're trying to avoid foreign affairs as much as possible. For me it demonstrates a lack of judgment on his part but a) I'm not a Labour member or registered supporter so I can't vote, so what do I know eh, and b) I'm sure he never expected, when engaged in all this stuff, to run for leader and c) as has been discussed ad nauseam here, on Aarowatch and Decentpedia, New Labour was perfectly happy to laud really unpleasant people in the past too.

In fact one of the funniest things about Bloodworth's pieces on him are his frequent allusions to a half-remembered JC speech in which he apparently lauded Gadaffi (Bloodworth of course only has his own memory, which seems to be faulty, as evidence here, but hey ho). But in any case, God forbid that a Senior Labour figure would do something like praising Gadaffi eh. Never happened in Tony Blair's day.

What's funniest about Bloodworth though is that his whole 'you-praised-a-dictator-back-in-the-day' rings hollower than anyone else's because of his own past as a proper hardline Trotskyist who frequently took to the internet to defend Castro's Cuba, a place he claims to have visited more than once a year 2000-2010 e.g. in the comments here:

http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/cuba-another-education-is-possible.html

I'm sure he's changed his mind on Cuba since then, as he's changed his mind on almsot everything, e.g. Iraq, but still, his position on this 'you said something ages ago' stuff is the least tenable of all Decent ones. That's before we get onto the 'worrying connections' you mention re Bin Laden etc.

Another seeming issue people have with JC is his refusal to do an interview with the Jewish Chronicle. But given that they hired Oliver 'hatchet job' Kamm specifically to do it, why would he say yes? Politicians veto interviews, and interviewers, all the time surely. Kamm wrote an (incoherent) piece in the JC attacking Ed Miliband for not loving Israel enough ffs. Was Corbyn likely to get a fair hearing?

http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/columnists/134292/eds-out-touch-feeling

gilbert wham said...

The absolute best thing about this whole foofaraw, opinions about Corbyn notwithstanding (though I [i]would[/i] like someone who actually appears to be moderately left-wing for a fucking change) is watching the other desperate, floundering Blairite hopefuls try and come up with policies and ideas that came from an actual sane human being with ideas instead of a Markov chain of Tony & Gordo's speeches with a soupcon of Coalition bullshit spread thinly over the top. Cooper's interview in the Observer on Sunday being a case in point.
By the by, what's your opinion of Sanders? Reckon he's got a chance? If he [i]does[/i] get elected, and no-one immediately shoots him, it could be entertaining to see what that does to our and other's elections a few years later...

Anonymous said...

As previiously pointed out, in a recent article James Bloodworth argues that Corbyn expressed support for Gaddafi. What is his evidence? A speech which he heard that he admits he doesn't even remember the contents of.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/james-bloodworth-left-wing-case-against-comrade-jeremy-corbyn-1513969

Beyond belief. How on earth can this lad call himself a journalist and be editor of a site dedicated to 'evidence based political blogging' with moves like that? There are, of course, many of Corbyn's speeches on Libya from 2011 available online and they are certainly not expressions of support for Gaddafi.

There is so much crap in the recent article it's untrue and I can't be bothered going through all of it, but just to address one claim. He accuses Stop the War supporting “by any means necessary” to the jihadist “resistance”. This was refuted ages ago by Richard Seymour and this was pointed out to Bloodworth in the commenst section of article where he previously peddled this misleading statement.

http://standpointmag.co.uk/counterpoints-july-august-2015-james-bloodworth-we-are-many-iraq-war

@organic cheeseboard
'he's changed his mind on almsot everything'

Indeed, and sometimes very quickly. In 2013, he critcised the Henry Jackson Society for being being illiberal and insisted that Labour cut its links with that think tank. Less that a year later, he's publishing material from HJS members on Left Foot Forward and he's attending HJS events. http://henryjacksonsociety.org/2014/05/14/event-summary-the-rise-of-outsider-parties-assessing-the-european-elections/

organic cheeseboard said...

I've not visited Harry's Place for yonks but there are some excellent examples of howlingly unfunny Decent 'satire' about Corbyn on there at the moment.

Also - almost every article I've seen about him and the Middle East scores highly in Hamas Charter Bingo. Funny how quickly people use that charter as evidence that Hamas should not be spoken to at all, whereas when Israeli politicians say they're totally committed to the non-existence of a Palestinian state, somehow it's fine to have them round for tea.

On Labour candidates more generally - I've seen you saying this on Twitter FR but it's clearly the case that all of the candidates but especially Kendall seem to think that one chief lesson from Blair is 'always be really fucking rude about your own party's members whenever possible'. Pretty sure he saved that til he was leader. Kendall seems to have more ideas than Burnham or Cooper, but starting out the campaign with 'everything we did this year was wrong and you're all idiots for trying to help us win' was even at the time a fucking silly thing to do if she genuinely wanted to win.

organic cheeseboard said...

Also, since I've nowhere else to put this: for all the talk of this being another 1983 (when, btw, I was 2, so it's almost a lifetime ago for me), the analogy surely doesn't really work since then, as in 2015, you had the 'Tory continuity' candidate vs the 'slightly worrying lefty who might not be trusted by right-wingers and business' type.

In 2020, assuming Corbyn stays til then (and I don't think he will), there are a few scenarios:

1) Corbyn vs Cameron, with Dave having gone back on promises to stand down and thus alienating almost every senior member of his party including his key ally, Osborne - likelihood here is a Tory win but an almost immediate descent into chaos.

2) Corbyn vs Osborne - thus one 'dangerous lefty' versus someone hilarously dislikeable, who is not good at public speaking and even worse at sincerity, and whose appeal is reserved to party members. Probably a hung parliament assuming there's not been a recession, which there probably will be.

3) Corbyn vs Johnson - Johnson could possibly win that, but his mates in the media seem to have deserted him so the 'appropriate character' stuff will be out in force.

4) Corbyn vs May - May would probably win that but wouldn't have strong backing in her own party.

And that's before we get onto what the EU referendum, and a reduction in their majority, might do to the current govt. I wouldn't vote for Corbyn, but I really doubt that the Tories will be able to pull off the same trick twice.

Igor Belanov said...

@ Organic Cheeseboard

Are you talking about boxing or something?

I know people make a cult of leadership, but the contest isn't that stark (for one thing you've forgotten the other parties) and part of Corbyn's whole campaign is to spread power and responsibility through the party to reduce personalisation of the issues.

Anonymous said...

"Why aren't people who are supporting Jeremy Corbyn worried about this"

Because Corbyn is the only candidate who has distanced himself from Blair. It would appear that in the Labour Party no-one is allowed to say that British foreign policy has contributed to chaos in the Middle East, but you are allowed to say that Corbyn once shared a platform with someone iffy. And that is part of the reason Corbyn is piling up the votes.

Guano

bernard gibbons said...

Given Tony Blair's current involvement in meeting Hamas leaders to negotiate a truce with Israel all this stuff really is surreal - has Liz Kendall (who doesn't even support recognition of a Palestinian state) been asked to condemn Blair? And if such a truce is achieved, leaving Israel free to concentrate on the West Bank, I suspect we won't hear much more about the Hamas Charter - I am old enough to remember how supporters of Israel would regularly invoke the young Anwar Sadat's professed admiration, expressed in a letter, for Adolf Hitler - strangely we never heard another word about that after 1977.

Mr Cholmondley-Warner said...

From what I gather from Twitter, Bloodworth is like that Rex Banner character from that Simpsons episode about prohibition. A really unfunny and uptightly self-righteous moral warrior trying to poke fun at his opponents without any natural wit. His supporters all seem to be different versions of Dan Hodges, all sneering that Corbyn's support for rail nationalisation makes him some kind of luddite and 80s reactionary who wants to bring back analog and ban TV remotes (like supporters of privatisation want to go back to Victorian workhouses and urban slums?) Also wonder out loud why Corbyn doesn't share platforms with the IDL and Ulster Loyalists which seems a pretty stupid suggestion as both of these groups have the upper hand and don't exactly need help from a British back bench MP to get their voices heard.

flyingrodent said...

But you've just said you believe - genuinely - that he's not in the slightest bit anti-semitic. So what are you accusing him of?

This one's straight out of the old Hitchens drawer, I think. Look, I'm not saying that we must immediately invade and occupy Iran, but it is morally unacceptable that we do nothing. I'm not saying that we should torture the living hell out of these prisoners who may or may not be terrorists, but we can't let them go and it is imperative that we find out what they know about all the terrorism.

I'm unsure why James is so reticent - the letter defending the racist conspiracy theorist vicar is a considerably better justification for attacking Corbyn explicitly as a racist than has been available to attack less high-profile public figures. Why not just go all out?

But there's an important point here. The alleged twin aims of Decency - Being arseholes about people who don't like nasty wars, and also anti-racist campaigning - have been in tension with each other since day one.

In this instance, we have a story that really should ring alarm bells. Let's ignore the Mail and for the sake of argument agree that alarm bells are not ringing as they should.

At this point, you'd imagine that a few of the notable Decents would stop to wonder whether their being arseholes is getting in the way of their anti-racism. I mean, how well is your anti-racism project going guys, if you can't get much traction even when a much-despised political figure is consorting with noted racists?

I would've thought this would prompt at least a few of them back to the drawing board, but apparently not.

flyingrodent said...

OC - one of the funniest things about Bloodworth's pieces on him are his frequent allusions to a half-remembered JC speech in which he apparently lauded Gadaffi (Bloodworth of course only has his own memory, which seems to be faulty, as evidence here, but hey ho). But in any case, God forbid that a Senior Labour figure would do something like praising Gadaffi eh. Never happened in Tony Blair's day.

Yes, every part of that is actively embarrassing stuff. I notice that it didn't make it into his Guardian column, almost certainly because it was caught by an editor who correctly chucked it into the bin.

Gilbert - what's your opinion of Sanders? Reckon he's got a chance?

All I know is what Matt Taibbi has said about him, and he sounds great on that. There's a major difference between being a committed minor politician trying to excise the shittiest lines out of bills and running for president, however. Whether Bernie would make a good president or not, the mere act of standing against Hillary will have the press up his arse with a Maglite, before he so much as suggests a policy.

Mr Anon - there's a bit of a difficulty here in that Stop The War really have spent much of the last fifteen years coming out with absurdities, all of which will now be seen a fair game for flinging at Corbyn. This is unfortunate but it's also, you know, kind of Corbyn's own fault.

Guano - Corbyn is the only candidate who has distanced himself from Blair. It would appear that in the Labour Party no-one is allowed to say that British foreign policy has contributed to chaos in the Middle East, but you are allowed to say that Corbyn once shared a platform with someone iffy. And that is part of the reason Corbyn is piling up the votes.

Pretty much spot on, here.

Given Tony Blair's current involvement in meeting Hamas leaders to negotiate a truce with Israel all this stuff really is surreal - has Liz Kendall (who doesn't even support recognition of a Palestinian state) been asked to condemn Blair?

Has David Cameron been asked much why he wants to shake hands with an Egyptian dictator who's having his political opponents executed? Has Barack Obama been asked why he's helping a Medieval tyranny to blow up an entire city?

There are certain types of violence that don't trouble our James at all, unless he's directly asked to say he doesn't like them. In this kind of rammy, appearing on a godawful TV channel is much, much worse than actually occupying a foreign country and killing lots of people. Plus ca change.

Anonymous said...

'There are certain types of violence that don't trouble our James'

Well, yeah, like Fallujah it seems.

https://twitter.com/j_bloodworth/status/573228605171478531

Ken said...

A response to James Bloodworth from the AWL, the 'small London-based Trotskyist group' he was previously a member of. Evidently he learned a lot from them, but even they think he's got matters way out of proportion. Perhaps he's the James Burnham to their Max Shachtman, so to speak.

organic cheeseboard said...

I hadn't realised that Bloodworth is criticising Corbyn for having been soft on Castro in the past - I thought it was just an interesting instance of his general hypocrisy but blimey, the guy could at least show some humility.

It's cheeky of that 'Workers' Liberty' post to suggest our James criticise the Corbyn campaign 'from the inside' since he'd obviously oppose Corbyn even without the dubious foreign policy guff, because Corbyn is a lefty and Owen Jones likes him (James has a real issue with OJ). But I can't work out who he, or anyone in the Decent Left, actually support - surely not the obvious choice, Liz Kendall, whose own website advertises her voting against military action in Syria and who's stood by that recently.

Oh and:

the contest isn't that stark (for one thing you've forgotten the other parties) and part of Corbyn's whole campaign is to spread power and responsibility through the party to reduce personalisation of the issues.

Corbyn, if he remains as leader til 2020, most definitely will be the figurehead of Labour at the election whether he likes it or not. And Labour and Tory are the two biggest parties. I'm sure part of his idea is to try to win at least some seats back in Scotland - he's had a lot of big rallies up there - and also to win back Greens and lefty Lib Dems who might have made a difference in certain seats. Not sure if it'll work, but the next election will still be largely Tory vs Labour and will be based a fair bit on leaders' personalities - this was, it turns out, a key reason why Miliband didn't do very well. That's largely because, for some reason, people seem to vaguely like Cameron, but his successors won't be nearly as popular.

flyingrodent said...

Also a bit weird to see complaints about a lack of proportion on that WL site, since in my experience they're every bit as keen on the death-by-association politics as JB is. I'd like to think this shows a bit of developing maturity rather than angles being played, but I suspect that it's the latter.

I'm sure part of his idea is to try to win at least some seats back in Scotland - he's had a lot of big rallies up there - and also to win back Greens and lefty Lib Dems who might have made a difference in certain seats.

If the SNP's ludicrous popularity endures at anything like current levels, I'd predict that Corbyn is probably the only one who could even make a dent in it. I doubt the Nats are afraid of him at all, since they seem to be able to brazen out pretty much anything no matter how ridiculous it makes them look, but the other three candidates would just be meat for the grinder. You have to imagine that the SNP are currently riding the peak of their wave, though - it's just starting to dawn on the nation that they're rather better at complaining about non-problems and getting their faces in the paper than they are at managing the Health Service, schools, police and so on.

next election will still be largely Tory vs Labour and will be based a fair bit on leaders' personalities - this was, it turns out, a key reason why Miliband didn't do very well. That's largely because, for some reason, people seem to vaguely like Cameron, but his successors won't be nearly as popular.

True. Cameron might be a bit of a gimp, but he's plainly officer class, and this is still Britain, after all. When the whole election is reduced to questions about who will kick the undeserving poor hardest, you don't have to work hard to see why he won.

I may write about this at some point, but I think the biggest problem JC will face as leader is the fact that half of his party are on record calling him a communist dinosaur, a lunatic or a Hezbollah agent. It's not like the Mail are going to have to dig back into the archives to find things to attack him with, when his own MPs have been beating him like a pinata. Every one of them is going to be grilled about JC's commie terrorism in every interview from now until 2020. That's why I'd still be concerned, even if he was put up against a shambles like Johnson or a steampunk robotic deviant like Osborne.

organic cheeseboard said...

You I do think that the SNP can only really go down from here, even if they don't drop many seats in Edinburgh or even in 2020. But the whole 'NuLab are just the Tories' thing, the 'Labout left us' stuff, won't work all that well if Jezza does end up in charge.

I've genuinely been surprised by the abuse heaped on Corbyn directly by senior party figures for exactly the reasons you outline. That said, getting it all out of the way now might not be such a bad idea, much as this stuff will inevitably end up as 'all-new and exclusive' in the Mail etc near 2020, assuming he lasts that long (and to reiterate, I don't think he will - while he's different from IDS who was much more of an insider, he will probably suffer the same fate in the end of a lack of parliamentary party support and poor press coverage/poll ratings). The press will also seize on that lack of support whenever possible, and who can blame them really. Burnham has to be the worst candidate precisely for getting Corbyn on the ballot, in the same way as David Miliband was previously. At best it's patronising, at worst a lame attempt to shore up their own votes, and it's backfired twice in a row now.

Talking to a family member who doesn't follow politics much today, who typically reads the Mail and who's not really a definite Labour voter, and they said they feel sorry for Corbyn, and might even be persuaded to vote for him, since the others are all berating him so much. I didn't see that coming. Wonder if a Tory leadership campaign in 2019 would look like this - it'd be interesting. Boris would surely learn things from Trump for instance, however the US elections end up.

Been thinking about this a bit more and to me it feels like Corbyn is likely seen as A Good Thing by Boris Johnson - who's been hung out to dry repeatedly by Osborne, Cameron and May since he re-entered the Commons, and who is likely the only Tory candidate who the general public would see as down-to-earth (wrongly, but still) facing off vs tie-less Corbyn, and he'd probably make friends with his media chums again in the run-up to 2020 as well. Whatever else you can throw at Corbyn, and there's a lot, he's clearly not 'weird' in the same manner as Ed Miliband was seen and presented, poor thing. Probably wouldn't be enough to win Jezza an election, but still.

organic cheeseboard said...

Seems like the hysteria is growing over JC's dodgy links. As you said on Twitter he should have found a better way to deal with it all a long time ago (I'd have said the best way to do it would be 'not to hang around with these weirdos and dickheads in the first place' but hey).

However it does seem difficult to go along with some of the responses to JC's own responses. e.g. our old witch-hunting chum Jeremy Duns, who takes issue with every one of Jezza's responses, often as a result of the questions put to him being insufficiently detailed - seems a bit harsh to have a go at him on that basis really, even if the answers aren't ideal. As usual with Decents on a will-you-condemn-a-thon, they actively lose themselves friends as a result of their own obsessive desire to find fault with everything their target says, no matter what. If nothing else, to return to your point in the original post, it gives Jezza and his fans a get-out clause, because it's the same old people doing the same old thing, and simply not accepting what seem pretty fair responses to the questions put.

flyingrodent said...

it feels like Corbyn is likely seen as A Good Thing by Boris Johnson - who's been hung out to dry repeatedly by Osborne, Cameron and May since he re-entered the Commons, and who is likely the only Tory candidate who the general public would see as down-to-earth (wrongly, but still) facing off vs tie-less Corbyn, and he'd probably make friends with his media chums again in the run-up to 2020 as well.

Boris would definitely fancy that, given his recent setbacks and balls-ups. He's going to have to run as a scarily dangerous outsider hated by his party, with a string of comedy pratfalls, so why not do it against somebody who's in the same boat?

As I've said before though, BJ being made Prime Minister wouldn't so much prompt a second referendum as it would barbed wire and machine guns going up at Gretna to keep out the 28 Days Later-style lunacy south of the border.

Seems like the hysteria is growing over JC's dodgy links.

This is really taking on all the characteristics of the standard Decent pile-on, now - the same jokers, the same tactics, the same responses to any engagement at all. If Corbyn doesn't respond, he's a treacherous snake openly spitting in the faces of the Chronicle's readership; If he does respond, then he's angry, sneering and evasive, merely prompting a whole new series of previously unasked questions still to be asked. JC's people aren't daft - he had to answer a lot of questions on this, but they'll know full-well that the questions won't ever stop until he's been driven out of public life entirely, now.

On side-note, I quite enjoyed the shrieks of outrage when Corbyn declined to be interviewed by Oliver Kamm. "Why doesn't he want to answer Oliver's questions, eh, nudge-nudge?", I saw asked quite a few times.

The answer, of course, is that OK is a petulant little twat, with a long and proven record of turning in exactly the same Hezbollah-loving leftist won't even admit what an awful shit he is articles, regardless of what's actually been said to him.

This is utterly obvious to anyone who's seen Kamm at work, and yet it's a mystery to half the hacks I follow, who all seem to be surprised that a winning political candidate would prefer not to speak to journalists that hate them and everything they stand for, and who openly wish to destroy his campaign and eradicate anyone like him from politics generally.

Oh my, it really is a mystery. How very strange and unfathomable.

organic cheeseboard said...

As Mayor, Boris has done pretty much nothing of note, aside from his part in the New Routemaster debacle - it's why he's able to combine the job with being an MP and also having someone write a biography of Shakespeare for him. No doubt he'd be unpopular up in Scotland but he probably wouldn't actually get very much done, harmful or otherwise.

I still think JC's people could have handled this better, and he's following the Livingstone approach to all of this, i.e. rather than fess up and let things move on, he's changed his tune on multiple occasions. It's absolutely perfect for Decents that JC is the 'left-wing candidate' since his various dubious links mean they don't have to engage with his views, most of which they pretend to agree with. It's actually sad to see Nick Cohen, scouge of Blairism all those years ago, now parroting the Blairite line on how to appeal to voters.

Yes, the Kamm thing is funny. Especially since Kammo himself is upset that JC requested the, er, JC interview, then walked away when they said they'd got Kamm to do it - someone who barely ever writes for them and was obviously hired to do one of his famous hatchet jobs. Jezza was never going to get a fair hearing, especially with Stephen 'the left is the enemy' Pollard as editor. Recently Decents have been (in this case rightly) annoyed at a fairly poor Guardian hatchet job on Maajid Nawaz (and it wouldn't be particularly hard to do a proper searching interview with him, but they failed) - this would have been exactly the same. It'd be the same if e.g. Liz Kendall approached the Morning Star and then discovered that Seumas Milne had been hired in to interview her - would she really agree to that? (to the MS's credit they seem to have given her space for a piece in August - did the JC do that for Jezza?).

Funny to see via Twitter that James Bloodworth was on the Today programme discussing this, today - seems to have gone down quite badly, not least for not checking in advance whether Corbyn had ever been paid by Press TV for his appearances thereon, thus perpetuating the level of research he's now renowned for e.g. 'i vaguely remember Corbyn giving a speech and the gist was...'. (Did Oliver Kamm, who was a regular on Press TV back in the day, ever admit to having been paid to go on, btw?)

flyingrodent said...

JC's people could have handled this better, and he's following the Livingstone approach to all of this, i.e. rather than fess up and let things move on, he's changed his tune on multiple occasions.

I doubt whether things would've moved on - witness the absolute glee in "raising questions" that's still on display today. Much like the Amnesty debacle, the ratio of question-raising to flat-out beating is embarrassingly slanted towards just being as shitty as possible about every aspect of it, in the hope of doing as much damage as possible. Because that's the whole point.

The ideal way for Corbyn handle thisof course, would've been to have been a lot more cautious in who he spoke to in the first place, but I think we can agree that Corbyn could've cut out 90% of the things he's being criticised for, and the remaining 10% would be more than enough excuse for exactly the same thing to happen, with just the same levels of intensity.

flyingrodent said...

A thoroughly depressing evening too, after squabbling with that Duns geezer. It's really noticeable how arsey the Get Corbyn crowd are if they meet any disagreement at all. They react like you're trying to take their favourite toy off them, or something... Which, to a degree, I suppose I am.

Organic cheeseboard said...

That Duns bloke is an odd one. I remember Dsquared had an almost identical conversation with him about something completely different a while back - his two debating techniques are 1) incorrect, but repeatedly stated claims that the person he's arguing with hasn't read/watched the item under discussion, which even when proved wrong he will continue to state, and 2) ignoring everything his opponent says and going back to square 1 over and over again.

Makes a change from usual Decent Debating Technique, at least, but shares something with Decency in terms of refusing to admit that a very clearly biased interpretation can possibly be disagreed with in any way - which is where the "but you've not watched it, watch til the end" thing comes from.

Also, while I'm prone to calling people "weird" etc, his summary of that Corbyn vid demonstrates that if someone Duns has decided he dislikes has a point, he will just say that it's "rambling and weird" rather than, er, listening attentively,

I cannot be arsed to sit through that Corbyn speech but if it's the case that a slip of the tongue is getting Decents so irate, then I'd refer them to the performances on broadcast media of most Decent journos, which are invariably dreadful.

Finally, nice to see the will-you-condemn-a-thon and also the "I know you don't actually support ISIS but..." getting such a high profile revival.

flyingrodent said...

It was very odd. He must've been searching to find that comment too - I certainly didn't message him directly.

It is bizarre though. Like I say, I can see why people might watch the specific comments and conclude JC is saying - let's us and ISIS be mates, if they already thought JC was the kind of guy who would say that.

To be honest though, it didn't even strike me as noteworthy when I watched it, because it seemed clear to me that he was saying exactly what e.g. John Kerry was saying the same day - We can't bomb our way to peace in Iraq, it's going to have to be negotiated between the people that live there, one way or another.

It's not even like you have to grant JC loads of leeway to understand this, but quite a few people seemed flat-out hostile to even considering the idea. Very, very odd.

Also, bonus trolling points to the Corbyn camp for announcing that he'll apologise for Iraq tonight. That's a right kick in the balls, that one.

Anonymous said...

I watched the video, Corbyn definately supports ISIS and plans to invite them to UK to join the Labour Party. He wants to make Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Shadow Home Secetary.

oragnic cheeseboard said...

Like I said, I have neither world enough nor time to watch an old Russia Today video, but it's interesting to draw inferences from what opponents of Corbyn are reading into this.

So JC thinks that there needs to be a 'political solution', where he clearly means a proper reconfiguration of the Iraqi state. Even if he did mean dialogue with ISIS, which he obviously doesn't, it's not like this is unprecedented - Blair is actually talking to Hamas at the moment, the exact thing that Decents have been screaming '= Chamberlain appeasement' for donkeys' years.

JC also, from what I can tell, says that weapons and bombs are not the answer to the problem. If he's so wrong, then clearly his detractors think that the problem of ISIS can be solved by bombings and a Western intervention in Syria and Iraq (and presumably Turkey too?). I mean, we know that some anti-Corbyn types think this e.g. Michael Weiss and his acolytes, and OK, they're entitled to that opinion, but I'd like to see them testing this not only in terms of feasibility (if e.g. Northern Iraq will tolerate ISIS presence, what will that mean for any intervention - that's exactly Jezza's point, no?) but also, let's see how well a pledge to go to war in the Middle East would go down in both a Labour leadership contest and a general election. It's also funny to see e.g. Duns pretending that in the Middle East at the moment there's a simplistic two-sided war going on, with everyone vs ISIS - that's literally something Duns is criticising Corbyn for not understanding. But surely Corbyn is right - if all other sides in this multi-state, multi-party conflict were able to join together, ISIS could be defeated. That'd lead to some odd alliances, but none odder than when this same bunch of gigglers were telling us that bombing Assad would somehow harm the anti-Assad ISIS. At least this time we'd be going after the worst lot, in terms of morality and abuses.

Also, since we're into the intricacies, Corbyn's statement points to surely THE key factor in the rise of ISIS - the UK and US supporting, through cold hard cash and arms as well as political goodwill, an openly sectarian regime in Baghdad. His comparison with US actions in Fallujah is a bit unfortunate, giving enemies rope again, but it is also a pretty accurate summary of how a lot of Iraqis feel - a plague on all their houses.

On another nitpicky point, Corbyn's statement, not prepared in advance - 'Isis are brutal and some of what they have done is quite appalling' - is surely factually correct, no? The issue here is with the use of the word 'some', and I remember other such hysteria from Decents over e.g. the word 'understand'. It's not a brilliant way to make friends and influence people, to fixate on the use of certain words as if they can't possibly be used in any other way.E.g. the dictionary says that 'some' means 'an unspecified amount'. He could have said 'all of what they have done is quite appalling', but isn't that there in 'brutal'?

flyingrodent said...

Yes, the longer this goes on, the more apparent it's becoming that this is just a large-scale version of the old He said (x)reasonable or mildly odd thing, so obviously he meant (y) utterly insane thing game.

The Iraq/ISIS nonsense looks like a straightforward case of JC putting forward an utterly unobjectionable point - "The situation in Iraq requires a negotiated settlement involving all of Iraq", such an extreme viewpoint that the damn US Secretary of Defence made it on the same day - and then pretending that it meant something else entirely, and wailing and screaming in terror like a toddler.

I've just checked out these supposedly terrible comments about Ukraine/Russia too, and what do you know? The statements I found sound unobjectionable again - basically, "NATO has been deliberately expanding its borders closer to Russia because of a dipshit Cold War Russia-the-forever-enemy mentality that still exists in the US political class" - followed by wails and drumming heels about how this is actually saying Vladimir Putin can invade or bomb whatever he likes.

Now, I'm not going to write blank cheques for Corbyn here. For all I know, the geezer could turn around tomorrow and announce that ISIS are awesome and Vladimir Putin is a sex god. In the here and now, however, it looks very much to me like 90% of the hysteria in the press this week is composed of bullshit, noise, screeching and outright fiction.

What lurks beneath it all is a particularly dense and offensive set of assumptions about what may and may not be said - perfectly reasonable propositions followed by utterly retarded ones. along the lines of:

ISIS are horrible. That means we should never, ever be allowed to say that ISIS probably couldn't exist in the strength that they do if the way hadn't been paved by the Americans' stupidity, violence and pride; or,

Putin is a gangster. Ergo, we must pretend now and forever that NATO policy in the east hasn't been driven by fuck-stupid Republican twerps, drunk out of their minds on their grand uni-polar moment.

This has actually made me a bit annoyed that I credited the Sizer stuff, now. I do think the various anti-war groups should be a lot more vigilant in who they're hanging around with than they are; I do think their self-righteous "We are right, so how can we be wrong" responses are generally quite stupid and often make them look terrible, and I think it's fair enough that people like Corbyn are on the hook for questions about it.

On the other hand, this huge avalanche of utter bollocks is bringing me round to the idea that complaints along these lines should always and at all times be regarded with deep suspicion, due to the inevitable shitstorm of nonsense that will inevitably follow.

And I'd prefer not to take that view, if possible.

Igor Belanov said...

The foreign-policy criticisms of the anti-Corbyn camp have been even more foaming-at-the-mouth and counter-productive than their other pronouncements.

Even to me, as someone favourable to but further left than Corbyn, it would seem better to use his connections to certain unsavoury characters to suggest that it demonstrates an essentially oppositional attitude to Corbyn's politics and an over-eagerness to side with any 'underdog', rather than to come out and insist that he wants ISIS to raise their skull and crossbones in Trafalgar Square.

I think that the whole anti-Corbyn campaign has gone to show just how worried sections of the political and media establishment are at even moderately-expressed left-wing opinions, and just how devoid they are of arguments that can defend their own positions.

flyingrodent said...

I think that the whole anti-Corbyn campaign has gone to show just how worried sections of the political and media establishment are at even moderately-expressed left-wing opinions, and just how devoid they are of arguments that can defend their own positions.

Yes, the anti-Corbyn campaign has been spectacularly vaccuous and retarded even by the low, low standards of, say, public debate about the Scottish independence referendum, which was itself insulting stupid.

It's a big thing among the Nats just now to complain about "Project Fear" - the idea that Scots might have voted Yes, if not for a dastardly political/media conspiracy to terrorise the weak-minded and elderly into submission.

There is an element of truth in this - there certainly were a lot of people issuing baleful warnings about the utter destruction of the nation, in the event of a Yes vote - but the difference with the Labour election debate is, the No camp actually did consider the points being put to them on e.g. the future of Scotland's economy, and did respond with counter-arguments about Scotland's economy.

That is, there actually was a lot of debate about the viability of an independent Scotland. Would we retain the pound? Would our oil reserves be sufficient to keep our economy on an even keel? Basically, would be be better or worse off? Day after day, you could open newspapers and find actual experts examining the claims being made and analysing their veracity.

This isn't what's happening with the Get Corbyn campaign. You actually have to search out analysis of Corbyn's policy proposals, in amongst all the shrieks and wails. What's happening is more like this:

Corbyn: We need people's quantitative easing.

Public: Okay, will that work, or is it a bad idea? Journalists, can you tell us?

Journalists: Jeremy Corbyn loves Hezbollah. In fact, he probably wants to put Hamas in charge of the nation's bouncy castles.

Public: No, I didn't ask about that. Is this people's quantitative easing thing a good idea or not?

Journalists: Jeremy Corbyn loves the IRA so much, he wants to hold their hand and kiss them on the lips.

Public: Okay, right. What about the trains, is it a good idea to renationalise the rail network, or is it daft? Politicians, can you explain this?

Politicians: Jeremy Corbyn is a big communist who wants to turn the nation into Greece or Venezuela, like Stalin.


And that's pretty much it - that's all we're getting.

It's making the IndyRef bullshit look like Lincoln vs Douglas, which isn't an easy thing to do. To even vaguely match it, you'd have needed a thousand headlines a week that said nothing more than - Alex Salmond smells of poo and has a Vladimir Putin poster on his wall, the fiend.

Igor Belanov said...

I'm posting this in the absence of a 'like' button for that last comment.

fatbongo said...

I have no stake in the labour leadership contest, but i did 'meet' corbyn once. He turned up during a meeting I was having with the manager of a kurdish community centre on green lanes. I was there to discuss their volunteer engagement strategy, but corbyn had turned up on a courtesy call. Evidently he had a long standing relationship with the people there.

As you walked through the door of the centre there was a massive mural of Abdullah Ocalan holding an Ak47. There are direct links between this community and those who are fighting Isil, and i'd find it hard to believe this doesn't include sending money (and possibly volunteers)

So is corbyn going to get any credit for supporting the freedom fighters of kobane?

fatbongo said...
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fatbongo said...
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jghjhg said...

Harry's Place have really shat the bed with the new masthead!

Anonymous said...

Bloodworths intervention in the decency vs Hari battle was quite amusing, given his friendship (sucking up) with Cohen and Kamm you can guess how it went. Hari should aparently appologise to Cohen and Kamm and then go away and be banned from the media forever because he is dishonest and unreliable - which is funny in itself when talking about the former two, but even better, Hari is middle class and Oxbridge educated and hsi presence is denying a working class kid a job!

Note that Cohen doesnt have a brilliant track record of accurecy and professionalism and Kamm is a banker whose only media qualification was his family connections. Also has a bit of a track record of editing his wiki page and using sockpuppets to name drop himself on the internet.

ejh said...

Re: Duns. He also has a habit of replying to single tweets with a whole barrage of them, which is a bullying habit though I'm quite sure he doesn't realise this.

I had a kind-of-ruck with him in which he did this. He also did the you- haven't-read-my-stuff-properly thing (in that particular instance, not having read far enough down his timeline) over and again in order to obscure the fact that he was making an unjustifiable claim, this being that Simon Jenkins constitutes "a figurehead of the left" (because he writes for the Guardian).

I have a certain amount of time for him because we have a common interest in exposing plagiarism, but like too many other Decents he really does tend to debate in such an over-the-top way that you can't really engage with it.

organic cheeseboard said...

He was having yet another set-to with someone yesterday. Peter Jukes in this instance, who accused him of 'looking to pick fights'. Duns said, repeatedly (of course), 'show me where I've done this, I know you can't' - but surely he could re: your exchange with him, which he instigated. He also got incredibly upset that Jukes could possibly have been looking at Duns's Twitter feed - exactly as Duns had been to you FR. Weird. These exchanges don't really work on Twitter anyway - having to separate sentences into several tweets, as he always seems to, makes the exchanges incredibly hard to follow.

I think Duns genuinely thinks that he's always being reasonable, but as you say EJH his twitter conduct is essentially bullying, especially the frequent repetition of the same accusation which is invariably that you've not read him, or the things he's talking about, properly. The one with Dsquared on this was the most insulting I've seen - Dsquared admitted to not having read the entirety of Duns's book, but then did so - and Duns still had a go at him for not reading it, without ever engaging with Dsquared's reasonable points about it. The issue is, I think, that he's not actually very good at defending his positions on things which is why he so frequently does the 'you didn't read X properly' thing - for him it means he doesn't need to engage, yet of course he does still do so, in an attempt to make people who disagree with him look un-serious/partisan in their moivations.

It's odd because as a creative writer he surely knows that all writing is open to interpretation - then again in his other role as non-fiction writer he seems to tend towards the Aaronovitch 'don't question the ruling classes, cos they know what they are doing' creed which I guess some authors would extend to their own output, i.e. 'i meant this so you can't interpret me any other way'.

As you say EJH he does decent work in exposing plagiarism; his political nitpicking is nowhere near as convincing. I tried to look at his Twitter feed again today, it's just impossible. (Especially because it involves also reading stuff by that guy who runs the 'Gerasites' website).

Phil said...

I followed Duns for a while on Twitter, but gave up after I disagreed with his approach on something and he responded by lecturing me on having the temerity to do so after choosing to follow him. Basically, not only was I wrong, I was so wrong it wasn't worth his while to explain how - I was only wasting my own time. Aaro does this schoolmasterly turn as well, and I've seen it done on Engage - perhaps Norm originated it. Clever stuff in its way, as it simultaneously puts the opponent on the back foot and presents their own position as proven, without having to put any argumentative work in.

Anyway, Duns is a very bright guy and did some excellent work re Hari, but I'm afraid he's also a bit of an arse, or at least plays one on the Internet.

flyingrodent said...

He is an odd geezer - I certainly didn't prompt him, but I got an absolute deluge of messages, all repeating the same points. After a while you lose the will to continue which may, I suspect, be the idea in the first place.

(Note here - I can't really get on at anyone for acting weird on Twitter, since I have been known to take the odd mad half-hour here and there on the odd Friday night).

Anonymous said...

"'don't question the ruling classes, cos they know what they are doing' creed"

Yeah, that's pretty true of Duns, though it seems to be more of a trust Western rulers in general approach exemplified by his defence of the NSA and his persistent attacks on Snowden.

One thing that's noticable about Duns is that he has his little obsessions with people. He'll go after someone, normally a left wing writer , he doesn't like pretty persistently, searching their work for the slightest little error.

But, of course, the same stndards are never applied to his chums.

organic cheeseboard said...

Ah yeah I'd forgotten that, e.g. his vendetta against Owen Jones. He says, to justify that:

None of this is going to change the universe. Ebola's on the loose. Putin is persecuting minorities and invading places. Islamist extremists are beheading aid workers. Why do I care? Well, I care about more than one thing, and care about them in different ways. If you want to throw out whataboutery or thatmuchology, do, but it's not a great counter-argument to the points I'm discussing.

I'm not sure it's such an awful counter-argument really, and I'm certain that Duns will use it himself on occasion, not least about Israel/Palestine.

But a decent counter-argument is - why focus so much on Jones, or Snowden/Greenwald? Why not on, I dunno, Niall Ferguson, or Nick Cohen? That question is surely worth answering.

His vendetta against Edward Snowden is even more revealing I think, especially when he resorts to this kind of thing (here i'm basing this on a Breitbart article he wrote which is, apparently, a synthesis of his book on Snowden):

Snowden supporters pour scorn on the ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’ argument, but it’s more that in such a vast ocean of information the likelihood of my petty secrets being of interest to anyone seems vanishingly small.

That's really it - he actually seems to support mass surveillance on the grounds that spooks are probably normal people, probably a bit incompetent, and thus the government keeping everything we do online is somehow ok.

A lot of his other arguments about Snowden are based, apparently, on his ability to 'accurately read sources', and thus correct 'misleading reporting. But he counters the claims in reports that innocuous-looking smartphone apps can gather lots of personal data by 'looking closely' and discovering in para 17 of the guardian report:

The documents do not make it clear how much of the information that can be taken from apps is routinely collected, stored or searched, nor how many users may be affected. The NSA says it does not target Americans and its capabilities are deployed only against “valid foreign intelligence targets”.

His conclusion from this is literally: "there’s no evidence of wrongdoing, then – and the public interest defence in the story collapses as a result". But that's surely NOT the implication of the above at all - his take on Snowden is not based on a desire to rectify misleading reporting, it's based on a desire to see the reporting presented in a different way that is still not objective.

This is why i'm always a bit suspicious of his 'exposure of plagiarism' per se - his targets are not idly chosen, and often his 'exposures' are to do with a desire to see a different line being taken, based on his own interpretations. That goes for his Twittering too - all that 'read the source' is code for 'I am right, just admit it' - even when he obviously isn't, or at the very least, even when his views re clearly subjective.

Anonymous said...

Well, Duns has now left Twitter.

Phil said...

Indeed. I referred to the episode that precipitated this on another thread; it really belongs here, so I'll move it over here.

On Twitter, the usual suspects have been monstering Peter Jukes of Byline. He pointed out to Jeremy Duns that a Jewish pro-Palestinian activist had grown up in Israel & hence might know a bit more about that country than oh say e.g. for example Jeremy Duns; since the activist in question was on the "anti-Zionists who absolutely totally are anti-semitic take our word for it" list, wackiness ensued. (Because, after all, who would take the word of an anti-semite over that of a Committed Fighter Against Anti-Semitism? Who would do such a thing, unless they themselves... you see where this ends up.) It's all getting a bit Father Ted - "I hear you're an anti-semite now, Father?" Jukes isn't happy.

In other news, I got taken to task by Tom Owolade of the Gerasites blog for suggesting that Corbyn, in bigging up a pro-Palestinian activist* despite this person being a homophobe, might be nothing more than 'compartmentalising' - particularly given that nobody's even suggested that Corbyn's unsound on gay rights. Tom didn't like 'compartmentalising' at all - “‘Compartmentalising’ is a pretentious way of saying ‘hypocrisy’.” (Which had seven RTs within the next five minutes.) I thought this was daft - ridiculously unworldly. Who is this Owolade person anyway? I wondered, and googled...

"Tom Owolade, a south London 18-year-old on his gap year"

(From a piece on first-time voters in Spiked, of all places.)

Hmmm.

*Gosh, it's them again. Those pro-Palestinian activists always seem to be up to something, don't they?

organic cheeseboard said...

Yup I saw that he'd quit twitter. The fact that Louise fucking Mensch felt compelled to tweet her disappointment speaks volumes* I think.

Twitter really didn't suit Duns - I'm not surprised he quit. But I bet he comes back.

*i.e. that Duns had been pointlessly harassing Peter Jukes, who has called out her bullshit on a consistent basis