Newsnight of the long knives

21 March 2014

2:19 PM

21 March 2014

2:19 PM

The controversy over the appointment of TUC economist Duncan Weldon as Newsnight’s economics correspondent has taken a surreal twist. The former Labour Party adviser appears to have used his blog to deaden the impact of a Sunday paper exposé about his connections with the extreme right. Weldon admits to a ‘brief and misguided flirtation with the ideas of the far right,’ yet denied that he had joined any organisation. However, when he was a student he wrote an anonymous piece about this ‘flirtation’ for a student newspaper, under the headline ‘I was a fascist’.

All water under the bridge, he now says:

‘None of this should be read as a plea for sympathy. This chapter of my teenage life was witless and intensely embarrassing and I compounded the idiocy with a boastful and ill-judged piece of student journalism a few years later. I don’t believe anyone who has known me as an adult would recognise the adolescent prat I have been describing here, but I’m sure many of us know of teenagers who have done worse too. Reflecting on the last week it’s hard to escape the irony that I have been accused of being a dangerous leftie and also a fascist within 48 hours. I hope I’m neither.’


Inevitably, Tories who were already furious with the appointment, smell blood. One tells Mr S:

‘Newsnight were clearly so enamoured with Duncan’s politics that they turned a blind eye to the proper processes. Let’s hope they’ll distance themselves from his biased claims and scaremongering about the government’s economic policy as well as his fascist past.’

Miaow. Saucer of milk to that source.

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Show comments
  • Cornelius Bonkers

    Yes indeed. And why ironic? Liberal/socialist fascism is no oxymoron.

  • balance_and_reason

    Fascism and communism meet at six…conservatism is at 12, socialism from 3 to 5…kippers all over the shop

  • Blazenka Hudson-trograncic

    Is Weldon the one on the left of the photo, (joking)wasn’t he big on radio? (and got hanged for it),

  • Algernon the Sceptic

    Ah yes, the old left-winger Oswald Mosley.

    Mosley joined the Independent Labour Party, and in 1926 he was elected to represent Smethwick in the General Election. In the following year he was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party.

    • Jean de Valette

      I disagreed with you on another post, but here I must agree.

      Mosley was the epitome, it seems, of a ‘Liberal Fascist’.

      I remember reading Diana Mosley’s autobiography and nearly dropping that book when she described their later years as spent, it seems, actively campaigning for the establishment of the European Union.

      The ‘Bad’ Mitford girl practically crowed about the fact that not only had the EU been established, but that then Britain had joined it voluntarily.

      She seemed to strongly imply that Britain joining the EU vindicated not only herself and Mosley, but all for which they were imprisoned in the first place.

      What does that tell you?

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Proof (as if were needed) that the BBC is indeed balanced. It employs ex student commies and fascists (as long as the fascists recant – not required for the rest natch).

  • HJ777

    Fascism and Socialism are both coercive creeds – so it’s not altogether surprising that they attract essentially the same type of person (and sometimes the same person at different times).

    • HookesLaw

      Sometimes in the case of kippers lauding Putin they attract the same people at the same time.

  • Peter L

    I’ve never understood why, in metropolitan circles, a
    youthful flirtation with the far-right is considered career death, whereas a
    similar adolescent interest in the far-left is almost compulsory.

    Remind me, who killed more people: Stalin, Mao or Hitler?

    • therealguyfaux

      “…[A] similar adolescent interest in the far-left is almost compulsory.”

      Which is why there’s an adolescent on TV shilling for it all the time (*cough* “OJ Simpleton” *cough*)

      • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

        Owen’s 29.

        • therealguyfaux

          Going on 19, by the look of him.

        • David davis

          I notice you peppering these threads liberally. You clearly have all the time in the world: go and get a job or something.

          • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

            Shouldn’t you be off triggering a pointless by-election?

    • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

      It depends how you assign the figures. Most of the deaths assigned to Mao are a result of incompetence in the face of famine, an event which may very well have happened under the spectacularly incompetent Kuomintang, rather than any deliberate policy. It also depends on whether you assign the 25 million Russians who died in WW2 to Hitler.

      • therealguyfaux

        Oh well, what’s a few million peasants amongst friends, I ask you?

        • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

          Relevant to the question asked.

      • balance_and_reason

        Lets not forget the wonders of Pol Pot….surely the flag bearer for the left; gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette after all.

        • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

          Pol Pot was tolerated by the international community, particularly the Kissinger state department. He was overthrown by the Communist government of Vietnam, in one of the few true examples of humanitarian intervention.

          • balance_and_reason

            Irrelevant answers to the point…he was trained by the French left…went back to create a communist utopia…..and as usual it was a bit more complicated, as all socialists find out. Toleration by the international community is no benchmark of quality; and the toleration didn’t last long.

            • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

              Not irrelevant at all. You can’t say Pol Pot is an exemplar of a creed if the ardent followers of that creed overthrew him.

          • balance_and_reason

            Yes surely, that would be in the same camp as in Putin’s humanitarian intervention in Crimea.

            • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

              You can’t think much of the crimes of the Khymer Rouge if you think whatever is going on in Ukraine is comparable.

              • balance_and_reason

                That answer sums up new labour’s media record….spin, dissembling evasions, distortion.

                • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

                  So your contention is that Ukraine is comparable to 1970s Cambodia? If not, in what way are the actions of Vietnam and Russia in the “same camp”?

                • balance_and_reason

                  Actually it was your point , erroneously made as it happens, (vietnam did not invade on humanitarian grounds but because it had been repeatedly attacked itself)…My obvious point about Putin is that it was a bogus pretext to annexe Crimea….surely you can’t be that dense?….

                • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

                  Despite what 5 minutes on Wikipedia told you, humanitarian intervention was a key component of the justification for intervention. For more on the specifics I refer you to “Saving Strangers” by Peter Wheeler (no relation).

                  So when you said Putin was in the same camp as the Vietnamese, what you meant was the exact opposite? It is common on the interwebz to mark such statements. Given the outlandish nature of many of your other statements, one would need to be clairvoyant to separate the sarcastic from the merely bizarre.

                • balance_and_reason

                  Its on wiki because largely thats what happened…try ‘Morris’ on the subject, it should put it to bed.

                • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

                  This would be Stephen Morris who argues that the conflict cannot be understood in terms of simple power politics, and therefore would directly contradict your assumption that Vietnam acted out of simple self defence?

                  Did you at least read the wiki long enough to see that the USA and UK were for restoring the murderous Cambodian regime to power and the Soviet Union was opposed? I know it hurts your paradigm of goodies and baddies but life is rather more complicated than that darling.

      • balance_and_reason

        Think it was not just in the war my friend and, rather contemporaneously relevant….what about all those Tartar deported to Siberia from Crimea, most died. Not to mention one two others who also ended up there…gulags, ring a bell?

        • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

          Stalin killed lots of people. That wasn’t the question asked. The question asked was who, of three leaders, was responsible for the most deaths, and that depends upon how you assign them.

          Considering conservatives in the echo chamber constantly say that Hitler was somehow of the left, they don’t half spend a lot of time attempting to diminish his crimes by comparison.

          • balance_and_reason

            As dictator of the USSR Stalin was responsible for the results of his deportations, purges, death camps, etc etc…..I cannot believe that an educated individual in this day and age can debate that point. I realise that socialism’s only escape is to obfuscate its record, lie about its plans and generally work the usual levers of envy, class hatred etc to get power but I think you take a step too far here.

            • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

              Except you can’t simultaneously blame Stalin as an individual and blame an entire ideology with roots back to the start of human history. You’re the one excusing Stalin by saying his actions are understandable in an ideological context. I’m excusing no-one.

              And you still haven’t answered the original question.

              • balance_and_reason

                All ideology’s, idea’s, science, arts, have roots going back; that is how mankind proceeds. The centralist, big government communism of Stalin (of which Gordon Brown was a fair way down the path towards) attracts a certain human type…a sort of controlling psychopath, these messiahs believe they have the path, the creed for the future, they need to control all facets of the economy, dictate what is good thinking, what you can earn, how and where you spend it etc etc etc….as we have found repeatedly through recent history , it doesn’t end well. Stalin, as a flawed individual was drawn strongly to socialism and the weakness of socialism meant the combination was particularly vicious in outcome. Ditto Pol Pot, ditto several African communist experiments, ditto several South American experiments, ditto china under Mao, the gang of four etc etc etc. Yes I can blame Stalin, yes I can reject Socialism; it does not hold the patent on benevolent and positive government, it is a soft trap drawing in with promises of civilised communities, fairness, equality and opportunity yet it never has delivered these on a sustainable basis, nor will it do so. A flawed ideology, a wrong turn, a dead end.

                • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

                  The Scandinavians seem to be doing rather well, what with the highest levels of happiness and some of the best productivity rates on earth.

                  I await the inevitable explanation of why they ‘don’t count’ because they show your rantings to be nonsense.

                • balance_and_reason

                  It depends on how you mean doing well. Of course , like Tony’s early years when he was hosing cash all over the place…maxing the debt and PFI and beginning the transition from 32% to nearly 45% government spend relative to GDP….everything was only getting better whilst spending loads of cash. A situation Sweden was in until the late 90’s when it nearly went bust and had a banking crisis and reality ville made the voters push back hard on the lefties. After the country moved to the right, sorted out the banks, restructured education and taxation, yes, they have done rather well. Norway is one of the richest countries in the world per capita…..thus their lifestyle is paid for…..they weren’t socialist enough to join the EC however. Denmark’s population would fit twice into London, is 95% white christian origin and yes, as a small unit it has operated successfully with communities happy to pay very high taxes, to fund high benefits. This works where communities have a high degree of racial homogeniety, same with Singapore and Japan, where people seem happy to put up with considerably more government direction and taxation in the short term for the good of the ‘ nation’.This homogeneous racial (and or religious) situation is not the case in most modern countries, certainly not the UK.

                • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

                  As predicted, the ‘No True Scotsman’ fallacy at its best. Amongst the irrelevancies however two particular points jump out:

                  Singapore does not have a high degree of racial or religious homogeneity, it’s actually far more diverse than Britain.

                  I’m also bemused at the assertion that the EU is socialist, when most of the more ardent socialists in Britain, from the TUSC to the Morning Star, favour withdrawal, seeing the project as a capitalist club.

                  Again, this conservative tendency to lump everything they dislike into one box and brand it ‘the Left’ leads to a bizarre, conspiratorial world view.

                • balance_and_reason

                  Nonsense on Singapore; LKY a ‘benevolent chinese dictator’ who, plus his descendants controlled and control the country completely. The substantial majority chinese, sourced from the region (and now china), who pay their affiliation only to their ancestry not to their recent temporary geographical refuges. There are Malay and Indian and European settlers there too, no political power or influence whatsoever.

                  Apologies, i wasn’t clear on Europe. I think merely that the large scale federalist project smacks of hideous big government bureaucracy and all the monstrous waste, inefficiency, grey anodyne failure of the soviet project.

                • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

                  The Chinese proportion of the population is 74% according to the Singaporean Department of Statistics. The ‘White British’ proportion of England&Wales according to the last census is 84%, rising to 90% if we include the four native national identities. Singapore is by definition less racially homogenous.

                • MikeF

                  Singapore is a fully democratic one-party state in which the Chinese majority vote more or less en-bloc for the ruling party to ensure it has a permanent majority. However they are scared stiff of their large Muslim minority providing an excuse for any neighbouring Islamic countries to interfere in their affairs and so do everything they can to keep them happy. The much smaller Tamil Indian minority pose no threat and are treated accordingly. The western ex-pats enjoy the sunshine, the nightlife and the money they make but play absolutely no role in the country’s political life.

          • balance_and_reason

            No one is diminishing the crimes of that National Socialist.

            • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

              Why don’t you have the courage of your convictions, wander down to a Combat 18 meeting, and call the men there a bunch of lefties.

              Somehow I imagine the response will be more vigorous than the patient explanations you receive when calling socialists Nazis.

              • balance_and_reason

                No one is calling socialists Nazi’s….notice who is being patient here….and who is giving explanations to evasions, dissembling and partially relevant responses….it is just that socialism is on the dial that moves smoothly on to National socialism, it was quite visible in the language of New labour as they grew frustrated with the world not working according to their big plan.

                • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

                  Except the backers of National Socialism; in Germany, Spain, Italy, Latin America were always those cultural and economic forces most associated with conservatism and most opposed to socialism, namely the Church, the armed forces and large business interests.

                  Reality simply does not confirm your model.

      • balance_and_reason

        Kuomintang…..the great leap forward was Mao telling everyone to melt metal….enforced by local heavies…people ate grass and died…no wildlife was left….your blithe airbrush is disgusting.

        • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

          What airbrush? The point is whether people dying as a side effect of policies is to be counted the same as a policy of deliberate extermination. That’s essential to answering the original question.

          • fubar_saunders

            Oh right. So the law of unintended consequences of a policy is not the same as deliberate act?

            So the fact that ATOS and the Bedroom Tax are equally reviled by the left, allegedly causing the deaths of those who fall foul of them, yet have at their roots a plausible reason for the polcies in the first place is neither here nor there, by the same logic???

            • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

              What logic? I’m asking a question. And if people dying as a result of policies you could have changed is indeed the same as if you’d sent them to the gas chambers, then the Totalitarians of the mid 20th Century start falling behind the imperialists of the long nineteenth. The British concentration camps for the Boers are the same as Dachau, the Irish famine is the same as the Holomodor, the slaughters of Indian rebels are the same as the Cultural Revolution and on, and on.

              I don’t actually have the answer to that, I’m not sure a definitive ‘answer’ exists.

      • Cornelius Bonkers

        Does any of this matter? Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Owen Jones? Ideology kills…

  • MikeF

    Would any such attention be paid to an early or even extended ‘flirtation’ with an openly Marxist socialist party – I doubt it? Yet the two are pretty much the same.
    In any case Oswald Mosley progressed to fascism from the Conservative Party via first the Labour Party and then his own New Party – in other words a constant tracking to the ‘left’ that was driven by an impatience with conventional economics and not pseudo-scientific ‘racism’. His later anti-semitism – though highly unpleasant – was tacked on to dovetail with that of the National Socialist Party in Germany to which he became sympathetic.
    The real scandal here is the BBC’s blithe continuation after its recent hiccups of its ingrained ‘left-liberal’ bias. The new DG Mr Hall seems to be making no difference to that at all. The whole thing needs to be taken apart.

    • disqus_KdiRmsUO4U

      (this was a separate post ’till I saw what you had posted)

      .I think Mosley’s reputation is deliberately distorted.
      At the time of his rise the UK was in the economic doldrums while Hitler had revitalised Germany.

      Mosleywas a member of the Labour party and I believe submitted policy docs advocating massive increases in public expenditure on infrastructure
      etc. in order to improve the economic position.and especially to alleviate unemployment.
      Is that so bad ?

      Only when being rejected did he change tack and swing towards Hitler’s mixture of fascism and socialism.

      Whether he was a dyed in the wool anti semite I do not know.

      It is a fact that Jewish owned banks helped finance Hitler.
      Is pointing that out aniti semitic ? Probably !

      Likewise to criticise Jewish settlements on the west bank today.

      Whateveryou may think of subsequent horrendous events , including the major blunder of declaring war on Germany , that’s my take on the situation.

      • mdj

        In the memoirs of both Kenneth Clark and Israel Sieff there are almost identical anecdotes; Mosley, while their dinner guest in each case, said that, while he did not subscribe to anti-semitism himself, intended to use it as a political tool to advance his career and programme.
        They both threw him out.

      • HookesLaw

        Hmmm which banks financed ‘Hitler’ as opposed say to the german govt? You could argue that the banking system created the crisis that ruined Germany and made Hitler plausible but it could be argued that the banking system boycotted Germany when he came to power.

        My understanding is that the Rothchilds for instance were not jewish.

        As for it being ‘only’ when he was refected that turned Mosley into a fascist … well if ‘only’ we could all use excuses like that.

  • realfish

    Meanwhile, in other news, BBC’s Newsnight will continue to expose the youthful Bullingdon exploits of Prime Minister Cameron and Mayor Johnson

  • Colin

    So, he’s been a left winger all his life, then.

  • Dan Tubb

    “Reflecting on the last week it’s hard to escape the irony that I have been accused of being a dangerous leftie and also a fascist within 48 hours. I hope I’m neither.”

    They are the same thing!

  • Dan Tubb

    Please would everybody stop calling National SOCIALISTS ‘far right’.

    They are precisely the opposite, and hearing those on the right repeating this con trick are just playing into the hand of the left, that are desperate to point the blame the other way.

    • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

      National socialism is not the same as fascism, but regardless, I don’t set any store by what the Nazis chose to call themselves. I mean, most of them called themselves Christians too, Gott Mit Uns and all that.

      • MikeF

        “Gott Mit Uns” was the motto emblazoned on the belt buckles of the Imperial German Army in the First World War – it was nothing to do with the Nazis, most of whom fairly emphatically disociated themselves from Christianity.