The Loneliest Jukebox

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Left Behind

Last week Media Guardian (log-in required) ran a piece, by Peter Wilby if memory serves, complaining that former colleague Nick Cohen has sold out and was shifting to the right. Yesterday's Observer ran a grumpy reply from Mr. Cohen, eclipsing other issues of importance from his coverage. "The liberals who say I have deserted the left should ask themselves where they stand on Islamism" rages his strapline.

This blog is no fan of Cohen, but talk about a storm in a teacup. This coverage is a good example of the closed world of the London media and London liberal left. The chances are that 'most liberals' have never heard of Cohen or his antagonists in print, so therefore have yet to notice his alleged rightward shift. When Karl Kautsky jumped ship from the progressive movement, it was a blow: who cares about these pundits, who represent little more than their own prejudices? As the press chases its own tail, or eats its own entrails, depending on your choice of analogy, no wonder more and more readers buy the hype about blogging replacing professional journalism.

What's striking is how much both sides have in common: Cohen's 'liberals' think that London suicide bombers are reacting against the war in Iraq, while Cohen backed the Iraq war so he treats 'Islamists' as the common enemy. In fact, the 7/7 bombers are no more representative of the Iraqi people than I would be if I shot up my local supermarket on their behalf. I never thought I'd find myself using a phrase like 'giving succour to terrorism', but this is what both sides of this parochial dispute do.


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