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'Liberals' sharing a platform with an apologist for mass murder

Not very liberal is it? But that is what will be happening in January, under the aegis of Livingstone's new plaything, Progressive London.

It all sounds quite rainbow coalition initially:

"Speakers at the 24 January Progressive London conference at the Trades Union Congress include Jon Cruddas MP; Bonnie Greer; John Harris; Dawn Butler MP; Green Assembly members Jenny Jones AM and Darren Johnson AM; Labour Leader on the Assembly Len Duvall AM; Leader of the London Assembly Liberal Democrats Mike Tuffrey AM; Karen Buck MP; former Deputy Mayor of London Nicky Gavron AM; Professor Eric Hobsbawm; Professor Doreen Massey; Kate Hudson, Chair of CND; Claude Moraes MEP; Neal Lawson of Compass; trade unionists including Steve Hart of Unite, Regional Secretary of UNISON Linda Perks, and the General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union Billy Hayes".

That Socialists will happily make common ground with the extreme left does not come as a huge surprise. They used to call these things popular fronts. However, this is what Tuffrey has said about himself on the GLA LD website: 'In his personal life, Mike supports several community, civil liberties and environmental causes and lives in Clapham'. I would have credited Cruddas with a shred more decency too, for what that's worth.

For those not altogether au fait with Hobsbawm's oeuvre, here are some choice quotes about the decrepit historian:

From Johann Hari (yes, really): "He would gladly have spied for Stalin, he explained recently and without regret, if only he had been asked. In his autobiography, he explains that he "treats the memory and tradition of the USSR with an indulgence and tenderness. He is the David Irvine (sic) of the left. Why do so many decent people associate themselves with him? I can only conclude that we have not seriously thought about the victims of the tyranny he defends".

Olive Kamm in The Times: "According to the historian Robert Conquest, Hobsbawm was asked by Michael Ignatieff in a BBC interview in 1994: “What (your view) comes down to is saying that had the radiant tomorrow actually been created, the loss of 15, 20 million people might have been justified?” He replied: “Yes.”...Moving to more recent panegyric, Hobsbawm remarks in On History (1997): “Fragile as the communist systems turned out to be, only a limited, even nominal, use of armed coercion was necessary to maintain them from 1957 until 1989.

Kamm tailed his piece with this "Prospect’s “five intellectuals” are to be accorded dinner with a Cabinet minister and a newspaper editor, with the conversation recorded for the magazine. If Hobsbawm’s interlocutors have any gumption, they will refuse to sit with him".

He's right, isn't he?

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Blogger Jonny Mac said... 9:54 am

Does hari really call David Irving David Irvine?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 10:00 am

He does, yes. I'll insert a (sic) in the text.  

Blogger Letters From A Tory said... 10:01 am

Point taken, but you must understand that the far-right are the fountain of all evil and the far-left 'represent the people'.

Hope that clears it up.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 10:04 am

LfaT - speaking of which, The Irish Times today quotes an Irish Socialist dubbing the saintly and altogether splendid Prsident Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic 'extreme right'.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 10:49 am

I'm always fascinated by peacenicks and supposed full-fig pacifists who supported the SU. Such as George Lansbury, Christian pacifist. Presumably the "Great October" didn't count as violence. Nor was the Red Army an army in the bourgeois sense. Fascinating.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 11:02 am

Just discovered from German Wikipedia that this strange name comes from Obstbaum. (Fruit tree).
After decades of wondering! Gaudeamus igitur!  

Blogger Croydonian said... 11:11 am

Well x3.

I wouldn't say that I have a blind spot for Lansbury, but tend to keep an eye out for his past works as he is alumnus of my school. Thrilling eh?  

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