Friday, September 18, 2015

A principled socialist gives up on the left

Nick Cohen is someone I always described as an intelligent and consistent left-winger.

Unlike too many people on all points of the political spectrum, and far too many socialists, Nick tries very hard to avoid hypocritical double standards. That has made him increasingly uncomfortable with those you would expect to share his worldview,

In this superb article in The Spectator, Nick explains why he has given up on the left.



A couple of extracts from his article:

"In the past, people would head to the exits saying, ‘Better the centre right than the far left.’ Now they can say ‘better the centre right than the far right’. The shift of left-wing thought towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic has been building for years. I come from a left-wing family, marched against Margaret Thatcher and was one of the first journalists to denounce New Labour’s embrace of corporate capitalism — and I don’t regret any of it. But slowly, too slowly I am ashamed to say, I began to notice that left-wing politics had turned rancid."

"I never imagined that left-wing politics would get as bad as they have become. I assumed that when the criminally irresponsible Blair flew off in his Learjet, the better angels of the left’s nature would re-assert themselves.

What a fool I was."

"And yes, thank you, I know all about the feebleness of Corbyn’s opponents. But the fact remains that the Labour party has just endorsed an apologist for Putin’s imperial aggression; a man who did not just appear on the propaganda channel of Russia, which invades its neighbours and persecutes gays, but also of Iran, whose hangmen actually execute gays. Labour’s new leader sees a moral equivalence between 9/11 and the assassination of bin Laden, and associates with every variety of women-hating, queer-bashing, Jew-baiting jihadi, holocaust denier and 9/11 truther. His supporters know it, but they don’t care."

"By electing Corbyn, Labour has chosen a man who fits every cliché the right has used to mobilise working-class conservatism. In the 1790s, George Canning described the typical English supporter of the French Revolution ‘as a friend of every country but his own’. Today’s Tories can, with justice, say the same about Corbyn."

"I have argued that the likes of Corbyn do not represent the true left; that there are other worthier traditions opposed to oppression whether the oppressors are pro-western or anti-western. I can’t be bothered any more. Cries of ‘I’m the real left!’, ‘No I’m the real left!’ are always silly. And in any case, there is no doubt which ‘real left’ has won."

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