How to be a traitor

8 May 2014

10:51 AM

8 May 2014

10:51 AM

No one is as hated as deeply as the apostate. Ordinary opponents are nothing in comparison. They are unbelievers, who know no better. It is not their fault if the light has not fallen on them. The apostate, by contrast, has known the truth and rejected it. There can be no excuses for his treachery, no defence of ignorance the law. The Devil must have seduced him, or to translate old superstitions into language of a secular age, he must have “sold out”.

For all the apparent differences between left and right, they share a complacent assumption that only corruption can explain why a believer could reject them, when they are so obviously right and good. The Tea Party, Ukip and the Conservative right cannot have a polite argument with leaders who contradict their views. They must be a “Republicans in Name Only” or “Tory Wets”. In return for jobs in the “liberal elite” in London or Washington DC and the flattery of their la-di-da new friends, they renounce the honest opinions of decent people. On the left, the labels change but the sentiment remains the same. The apostate has sold out to big business or the mainstream media. He is only saying these terrible things because he is rich, or a public schoolboy or white. His wealth and background did not matter when he went along with orthodox thinking – few people on his own side will attack a public school socialist as long as he remains a socialist. As soon as he changes his mind, however, they will use faults they previously ignored to damn him.

If you think this is just psychological speculation, consider the fate that awaits the Conservative Party if it wins the next election and holds a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. If you read the Mail, Telegraph and Express newspapers, you will have noticed they cannot print a good word about the EU. It is not just that the balance of opinion is weighed towards one side more than the other. There is no weighing of alternatives. The EU is beyond debate. Its wickedness is a given. In Conservative associations, candidates know they cannot support the EU in any manner if they want to secure a nomination. The same applies in right-wing think tanks (where thought about Europe appears to be impossible).

Yet come the referendum, David Cameron, William Hague and George Osborne will advance arguments for staying in Europe, and these arguments will be THOROUGHLY CONSERVATIVE. Ever since Elizabeth I, the first aim of English and then British foreign policy has been to stop one power dominating the continent and threatening Britain. If we pull out of the EU, the rest of Europe might unite against us, and we will have no allies to help us fight back. Many people in business and the City will agree, but will they make their case vigorously? Conservative supporters will have heard nothing like it from their own side in years. The fear that pervades conservative Britain of speaking out of turn, or stepping away from the crowd, will make centuries-old arguments seem as shocking as the arrival of heresy in a medieval nunnery.

Fury and vilification will follow and I wonder whether the Conservative Party will be able to take the strain.

There can be just enough truth in the accusation of selling out to stop it being wholly false. Undoubtedly if you go to work in a big business or the European Commission your opinion may change – although that may be because you realise that big business or Brussels is not as bad as the critics paint it. And who can deny that money – both an excess of it and a lack of it – changes the way you think? Environment determines consciousness to some extent.

But the example of the Tories and Europe teaches us other truths, which blow away the consoling stories party-liners tell to each other:

· Like old religious heretics, many of today’s traitors revolt against the abuses of their church. Left-wingers break with conventional left wing politics because of the Left they see before them. Right-wingers break with conventional right wing politics because of the Right they see before them, not because Satan in one of his modern forms has corrupted them.

· Often they are dissatisfied because the Left or the Right is not living up to its own principles. In that sense they regard the people around them as the real traitors. Naturally such thoughts do not endear them to their former friends.

It is what they do next that defines them. When faced with abusive attacks, and attributions of the lowest possible motives, the danger is they are so outraged they become what their enemies say they are. The Tory becomes a liberal, as the widely abused Chris Patten did, or the leftist goes right because he can no longer stand the hate-filled condemnations of his former friends.


George Orwell put the case against letting criticism drive you to distraction in 1945, when he published Animal Farm. The mainstream left was overwhelmingly pro-Soviet. The mainstream right was not so different and treated the Soviet Union as our gallant ally in the war against Nazism. T S Eliot, often seen as a model of High Tory rectitude, refused to allow Faber & Faber to publish Animal Farm for the most cowardly of reasons. Attacking Stalin’s terror even in a fairy story was “Trotskyite” he told Orwell. “We have no conviction … that this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time.”

About the only people organising against communism in Britain was a small organisation called the League for European Freedom, run by one Katherine Stewart-Murray, the Duchess of Atholl. She had been nicknamed the “Red Duchess” in the 1930s because of her support for the Republican cause in Spain, but was a dedicated anti-Communist by the 1940s.

Her league would offer Orwell solidarity and some shelter from all the people who denounced him. The Duchess invited him to address a meeting. Orwell replied that although he found much of what the League was saying was more truthful than the “lying propaganda” to be found in most of the press

I cannot associate myself with an essentially Conservative body which claims to defend democracy in Europe but has nothing to say about British imperialism. It seems to me that one can only denounce the crimes now being committed in Poland, Jugoslavia etc. if one is equally insistent on ending Britain’s unwanted rule in India. I belong to the Left and must work inside it, much as I hate Russian totalitarianism and its poisonous influence in this country.

In other words, just because he disagreed with left wing thought on one point did not mean that he would abandon his past and disagree with it on every point.

You might find Orwell’s scruples over-fastidious. Writers, who have no allegiances except to their own consciences, can utter such worthy sentiments. But political campaigners must be more practical. They may have no choice other than to find allies where they can, if they want to see their cause advance. It they are too pure, they will lose.

It’s not that easy. Religious extremism has already done to left wingers what Europe will do to right wingers. The experience shows that ignoring the niceties and finding allies where you can is not the hard-headed option it seems.


The case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a warning of the dangers of hugging whatever friends you can find. She ought to have been a leftwing heroine. Think of it: a black, African feminist, who had suffered female genital mutilation and fled to Holland to escape a forced marriage. Once there, she campaigned against the patriarchal abuse of women, and against religious bigotry, both causes you might have thought left wingers would hold dear. Fanatics threatened to kill her and succeeded in murdering her friend the director Theo van Gogh for making a film showing how the Koran licensed the subjugation of women. Her life has been in danger ever since.

The people, who ought to have been her comrades, treated her shamefully. The Dutch Labour movement did not want to listen. She joined the Dutch liberals, who then proposed removing her bodyguards and leaving her defenceless against assassins. Liberal journals in New York sneered. Only last month Brandeis University played a sick trick on her. It announced it was granting her an honorary degree, which she had never asked for, and then publicly humiliated her by withdrawing the offer because religious and left wing lobbyists had told its administrators that she was an Islamophobe; a tainted woman respectable American academics should have nothing to do with.

By then Ayaan had found sanctuary at the American Enterprise Institute, a Conservative think tank. If you only think about the practicalities of her position, it is hard to blame her for going. When her natural allies deserted her, only the American right was prepared to offer her a home and take her concerns about the abuse of Muslim women seriously.

You can find a similar story in Britain. For years the leftish campaign group One Law for All has campaigned against Sharia courts in British cities. Even though it is run by an Iranian feminist, its left-wing enemies denounced it as Islamophobe and borderline racist. A few months ago its co-spokeswoman Anne Marie Waters walked out. She had had enough of trying to persuade the British left to take the fight against religious reactionaries seriously. “It’s like banging your head against a brick wall,” she told me. She wants nothing more to do with left wing politics, and is setting up a right wing campaign group against Sharia.

All perfectly natural you might think. But however snide the academics were who denounced Ayaan Hirsi Ali, however pitiful their contributions to women’s equality when set against hers, they did have a small point. In one interview they found she had talked about how the West needed to fight a war to defeat Islam, not militant Islam or Salafi Islam but

Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace…I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars.

Granted, her enemies have seized with gratitude on one interview among hundreds. They made no allowance for the fact that men have been trying to kill her in the name of Islam, and she could hardly be expected to indulge them. But still her words show that there’s no middle ground in Western culture wars either. Because she ended up on the American right, she was in a environment where such sentiments are commonplace rather than bizarre, but where atheist critiques, not just of militant Islam but of Christian and Jewish extremism are never made. The charge of double-standards haunts her.

As for Anne-Marie Waters, she has gone so far to the right, she is now standing for Ukip, a party which numerous scandals have shown contains candidates whose attitudes towards women and gays are not so different from the attitudes of the religious fundamentalist she opposes. I understand how she got there, but she is in danger of denouncing one form of oppression rather than all oppression and turning into a modern Duchess of Atholl.

I hope that when all the Conservatives biting their tongues on Europe belatedly find the courage to raise their voices, they will not let the screams of hatred that will fill their ears drive them out their party, and push them to renouncing their beliefs in free markets and low taxes as well.

You should not let your enemies define you, and so threaten and infuriate you they turn you into something you are not. The secret of being a good traitor is never to betray yourself.

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Show comments
  • Lydia Robinson

    The fact that the so called left aligns itself with a conservative religion shows that it has long ago ceased being left and would probably have Marx turning in his grave. As Dostoevsky wrote in a novel: “Not a single nation has ever been founded on principles of science or reason…..Socialism is from its very nature bound to be atheism, seeing that it has from the very first proclaimed that it is an atheistic organisation of society, and that it intends to establish itself exclusively on the elements of science and reason.” That is what I understand of scientific materialism. Obviously, I understand it better than the rabble and the Grauniad scribblers who call themselves “socialists.”

  • Benjamin O’Donnell

    I think we need a party or a movement, or at least a word, for slightly-left-of-centre liberals who consistently oppose Islamic fundamentalism and are cautiously supportive of the so-called “war on terror”. A label analogous to the “cold war liberals” of the last half of the century, A label to encompass Richard Dawkins and Nick Cohen, Sam Harris and Salman Rushdie, Christopher Hitchens and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (before she went all right-wing after they were the only ones to give her succour).

  • global city

    Still trying to ingratiate your way back into lefty dinner circles hey, Nick?

    You do highlight just how absurd, nay evil, the tropes of the Left are, and yet they have forced themselves onto mainstream society.

  • MC73

    Another rather convoluted article in Cohen’s ongoing attempt to reconcile being a decent guy with his inherited left-wing views, made worse as it takes in his recent efforts to portray UKIP as some sort of dark fascist force.

    Try life on the right, Nick, the clue’s in the name.

  • Warwick

    Nick Cohen,
    this is a well written and well-thought-out piece.
    I am very surprised that you are receiving so much criticism

  • Slidingwave

    Ayaan Harsi Ali is a courageous saint compared to pen pushers and placard carriers – and she has a brain.

  • Dexter

    Mr Cohen are you seriously, I mean seriously trying to compare UKIP to men in the name of their religion, and with scriptural authority kill, mutilate, kidnap, torture and behead people? If not why even mention them in the same article…

  • Dave11121

    Also, from ‘One Law for All’, on Waters: “her resignation followed more recent political disagreements on some key
    issues, including One Law for All’s refusal to collaborate with the
    members of racist and far-Right groups and our insistence on the need to
    distinguish between Muslims/immigrants and Islamists”. Wow. Nick Cohen’s problem here is that he never really listened closely to Waters – because she was telling him what he wanted to hear, that lefties are all Islamist-lovers, and thus he ignored the actual bigotry of her views. She belongs with the ‘anti-Jihad’ nutters in America and their British equivalents in UKIP. Sensible left-wingers had no time for her from the beginning. But Nick Cohen did, and does. She is not a traitor because she was always a reacitonary bigot.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Are you an apologist for Islam, Dave 11121? Or have you some other reason for your bile?

  • CharlesRiverComment

    “But still her words show that there’s no middle ground in Western culture wars either. Because she ended up on the American right, she was in a environment where such sentiments are commonplace rather than bizarre, but where atheist critiques, not just of militant Islam but of Christian and Jewish extremism are never made. The charge of double-standards haunts her.”

    That’s a very uncharitable interpretation of Hirsi Ali’s comments. Aren’t you, Mr. Cohen, “at war” with any number of pernicious doctrines, at least in same the way that Ayaan meant her remarks to be interpreted? If you answer in the affirmative, would this be evidence of your having fallen under the influence of some hateful and backward ideology? And “double-standards”? Are you really suggesting that one cannot criticize Islam unless they pay equal attention to every pissant form of extremism found around the globe? That sounds like the same kind of shameful moral equivalence I generally enjoy reading you rip to shreds.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    ” Only last month Brandeis University played a sick trick on her.”

    ‘Trick’ implies that Brandeis had no intention of awarding the degree in the first place, when it is clear that they caved into pressure from within and/or outside the university. I regret to say that I am not at all surprised; it has happened too often with other institutions. It is when someone stands up to pressure to cancel an event that I sit up and take notice.

  • Dave11121

    That Hirsi Ali quote is hardly a one-off as Nick implies. She’s consistently exhibited rampant anti-Islam bigotry, claiming that minarets = swastikas and that the Swiss ban on them is justified (in a country which, incidentally, hasn’t banned the latter) and she consistently in interviews has claimed that we need to physically go to war ‘with Islam’. The reason ‘the left’ didn’t sign her up as a poster girl is because she’s a hardline bigot, and no matter her experiences, they don’t excuse that. And as for Anne-Marie Waters – UKIP are welcome to that EDL admirer whose former allies in ‘One Law For All’ are now denouncing her as the bigot she is. A shame they couldn’t do that to begin with – most of us lefties saw her for what she is from the start, just another anti-Muslim bigot hose ‘opposition to Sharia’ is cover for her hatred of Muslims per se. Nick Cohen has yet again chosen the wrong people to champion.

    • MC73

      Hirsi Ali’s stance on Islam is justified never mind her ‘experiences’ (which is a pretty weaselly way of describing what was done to her by Islam). Islam is a fascist death cult that has been going intellectually and morally backwards for a thousand years.

    • LucieCabrol

      It’s not bigoted to hate Islam; she has suffered badly under it, including attempted murder, it has hardly distinguished itself as a beacon of enlightenment over the period of her life and standing back from it, I really can’t see what it has to offer the world. Its just an instrument for controlling and exploiting poorly educated people.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    “Ever since Elizabeth I, the first aim of English and then British foreign policy has been to stop one power dominating the continent and threatening Britain”.

    The rise to dominance of the US has changed everything. The important decisions are taken in Washington; the UK’s policy is to follow in the footsteps of the US.

  • ADW

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of the bravest and most intelligent women in public life. She fled brutal treatment by her stone-age family and might have thought she was safe in the Netherlands. She campaigned against violence against women, and was rewarded with death threats. They don’t do irony, these antediluvian thugs, do they?

  • Hippograd

    Mr Cohen complains about yet another problem caused by vibrancy. But how could this happen? How could mass immigration from bastions of liberalism and freethought like Pakistan, Somalia and Bangladesh result in all these problems? But don’t worry: it’s bound to get better as the numbers and influence of Muslims and other vibrant enrichers continues to grow in the UK. Surely. After all, the more of them, the more they’re able to reproduce the liberalism and freethought of their homelands.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Face it, all you do, think and feel are an accident of birth, both place and time. Nationality and thus patriotism, the football club you support, essentially junior league patriotism, religion, attitude towards others, specifically foreigners… all the results of early conditioning and programming that you can`t or won`t purge from your psyche. Had you been born to different parents at a different time in another part of the world you would believe other “stuff” and fight to death to defend those values. Treason implies traitor, implies betrayal, but how can you betray a country that has already betrayed you by deliberately destroying your culture. Hate it and leave it Britisher pals.

    Jack, Japan Alps

    • Kennybhoy

      Apologia pro Jack…?

      Big. Rocks. Crawl. Back. Under.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Not quite in the same league as Jock McNutter, but still a couple of cans short of a six pack.

  • SimonNorwich

    I think this article perfectly demonstrates, though I’m not sure it’s deliberate, the nonsense of classifying politics as “left” or “right” wing. It doesn’t make sense that political views must all sit somewhere along a single axis, and it seems like Nick Cohen has stumbled upon that fact.

    • Picquet

      Very true. The single influence which has changed the way politics is now viewed is (in my opinion) the spin which the New Labour government invented to cover their mishandling of their administration. The use, or abuse, of the words ‘islamophobe’, ‘migrant’ (and all the other population-shifting euphemisms currently in use) ‘multicultural’ etc all now define your position in the spectrum, when thirty years ago the defining issues were nationalisation, defence, education.

  • IfItPleasethThee

    Isn’t that just a defence of bigotry, or at least static thinking, though? For my own part, I tacked to the Right once I realised just how empty my old fashionable liberal views were (although in my defence I had also held them for a good decade before they became fashionable, at some personal cost). Predictably, I have tacked back a bit on sober reflection, but I still find the conservative tradition of literature more persuasive. Why? Because for me it points to a slightly better way of living, and a scepticism of easy answers. For the same reason I find UKIP surprisingly Lefty, in their methods if not their conclusions (and having multiple leaflets from UKIP, the Independence Party of the UK, the Party for the Independence of the UK and the Kingdom Party for the Independent Uniting of Monty Python References doesn’t exactly help on this score!).

  • MikeF

    “Ukip, a party which numerous scandals have shown contains candidates whose attitudes towards women and gays are not so different from the attitudes of the religious fundamentalist she opposes.”
    Sorry Mr Cohen that is utter drivel – where in UKIP can you find support for female genital mutilation or the killing of homosexuals specifically because of their sexual orientation?

  • Mrs.JosephineHyde-Hartley

    great fun test

  • Mrs.JosephineHyde-Hartley

    the missing word is ” turn”.

  • Mrs.JosephineHyde-Hartley

    You should not let the so-called issues defined by your enemies define you, then whatever , or wherever, or whenever you into something, you will nonetheless, still be you.. complete with all integrity and agency..

    ..Of course this would be how to avoid becoming a traitor, which is far better.

  • Kaine

    Excellent piece Mr Cohen. The irony of a man of the Left writing it in the Spectator I’m sure is not lost on anyone!

  • sarahsmith232

    Great article Cohen, def’ at your best when unleashed by the Right, rather than contained by the lunatic, Guardian Left, if you ask me.
    I can see where you’re coming from, I’ll bet i’d find an ideological soul mate in this Anne-Marie Waters but she’s prob’ doing the right thing though. She wants to make a change, she sees an ill in society and has moved to whatever party best placed to bring that to an end. Just cause she’s standing for Ukip doesn’t mean she’s become convinced of all of their arguments. One million people voted BNP in 2009, you can bet your life there would prob’ only be no more than about 20 to 30 thousand of them that were convinced of Nick Griffin’s arguments though.
    I’m going to go with it all coming down to class, the Metro set middle-classes caring far more about protecting their turf than accepting that the Right has been right all along. Multiculturalism was a bad idea, the open-door didn’t create their new English, new world, so very diverse modernity, welfare destroyed working-class communities. If your whole self-identity is based on defining yourself against the idea that it’s only the hideous, grotesque Right-wing white that believes all of this then it becomes impossible to accept that you were wrong or that those ‘unbelievers’ are anything other than a grotesque. Throw in the Left’s out of control saviour need and the whole thing becomes sick.
    Good stuff Cohen.

  • sadmaninagame

    I’m thinking Cohen is writing more about himself than Ali here to be honest.

    I don’t understand why old fighters “of the left”, like Cohen (ok, not so old), the late Christopher Hitchens and so on continue to identify with the left despite all of the evidence showing it’s of no relevance to them any more. It’s economic theories have been shown to be false and it offers no comfort to the very people it exists to defend, as described here and elsewhere (Cohen’s own books for example). So in what sense are you still “of the left”?

    The moderate right (neo-liberalism) has done more for the poor and downtrodden the world over than the left ever did by raising so many of them out of poverty. Look at the socialist alternative, practised right now in places like Venezuela. What a mess.

    I would think the right a very natural place for Hirst-Ali to find herself given her self-reliance and independence of mind and I’m surprised Cohen is surprised.

    • Kaine

      Hitchens, though he no longer considered himself a socialist at the end, still proclaimed himself a Marxist. He always said the rabbis in the audience would understand.

      And ‘neo-liberalism’ isn’t a conservative ideology. As the great man said, it has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy waters of egotistical calculation.

      Not exactly the conservative creed of God, Flag and Family is it?

      • sadmaninagame

        No, but as with a lot of discussions like this it’s about the meaning of words. A classical liberal isn’t the kind of liberal you’ll find in the US or here in Britain today. The conservatives here are the ones that seem to have broadly classical liberal values. The conservatives, God, Flag and Family as you put it, are the Tea Party and Ukip respectively.

        With respect to neo-liberalism, that is the centre ground in economics today. As Hitchens pointed out, the left no longer has a viable economic theory.

    • K BB

      We of the old Left still hold to the need for common decency, collective provision, care for the vulnerable, a strong rein on the City and the good society. The Devil must not be allowed to take the hindmost. The CiF commentariat are not the true Left in the Labour wards and union branches – just a noisy rabble of Trots with a digital platform and nowt else.

      • LucieCabrol

        That position has been taken by the conservative party ….I’m afraid you are either going to have to change your views or vote blue.

  • zanzamander

    Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace…I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars.

    If anyone with an ounce of unbiased mind looks around the world today, studies Islam’s history, its practices, its intolerance or, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, felt the wrath of this religion firsthand, will, should, come to the same conclusion irrespective of whether they’re left, right, white or black.

    This idea that once someone, a person who has otherwise never displayed any “racist” streak or intolerant tendencies, speaks ill of Islam then suddenly that person is beyond the pale, untouchable, barmy, racist/bigot etc. is, were it not so serious for the individual involved, ridiculous.

    Once again Nick is conflating various disparate strands of his essay into something that looks like a camel instead of a horse and a giraffe that he perhaps originally had in mind.

    • Kennybhoy

      “However, once again Nick is conflating various disparate strands of his essay into something that looks like a camel instead of a horse and a giraffe that he perhaps originally had in mind.”

      Yup. The incoherence crept in after “It’s not that easy…”.

      • dmitri the impostor

        Incoherence is right, Kenny. It’s like listening to a teenager. The Right is, like, nasty? By definition? But the people who oppose the Right are, like, sometimes nasty too? So they, like, can’t be Left? Only the Left still, like, support them? Even though they are basically, like, nice? So Left and Right are no longer useful explanatory terms? Only, like, they are? Cos I still use them?

        It’s really very simple. My enemy is going to hold incontovertible views on some things, even if it’s just the law of gravity. Therefore, if I define myself in total opposition to my enemy, I am going to end up holding at least one stupid view. Well, whoopty-flaming-do. Mr Cohen has built an entire career failing to see this truism for what it is. He is the one-trick commentariat counterpart of Freddy ‘Parrot Face’ Davies.

    • alRassooli

      PERFECTLY correct
      No human being on Earth can find a SINGLE operative verse in Muhammad’s Quran that shown ANY Compassion & Mercy to Infidels/Kuffar/Unbelievers/Kafiroon! Currently Kuffar represent 80% of humanity ALL those who are NOT Muslims
      £100,000 says such a verse cannot be found
      Any takers?
      Ayaan is totally right! There can be NO negotiations with Fundamentalist Muslims whose publicly and repeatedly declared intentions – for the last 1400 years – is to ISLAMIZE the whole of humanity by any and all measns possible
      IQ al Rassooli
      Kafir & Proud!

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      “If anyone with an ounce of unbiased mind …”


  • Mr Grumpy

    A morality circumscribed by political tribalism is no morality at all. End of.

    • Kaine

      I believe it’s called the art of the possible.

      • LucieCabrol

        Yes…two into one does go

  • JoeDM

    “…. Ukip, a party which numerous scandals have shown contains candidates
    whose attitudes towards women and gays are not so different from the
    attitudes of the religious fundamentalist she opposes.”

    Absolutely not !!!

    Ukip members have a good old fashioned approach, based on respect, to most things including women. And as for homosexuals, they are of course part of life’s rich tapestry, but we really don’t need to talk about it too much, and please not in front of the children. Accept it, don’t make a fuss, and move on quickly like nice normal people always have done.

    Most other Ukip supporters I know are just normal conservative folk who want a normal conservative Britian !!!

    • Raw England

      Cohen, disgusting, puts everyday British people in the same box as foreign, murderous Islamists.

      He’s desperate to sustain this grotesque comparison, and does so regularly.

    • Kaine

      Not in front of the children? So when they ask why Danny at school has two mums you’ll say what exactly?

      • Fergus Pickering

        Thy won’t ask. They will know already. Nor will they ask why Sammy and Annie and Fanny have no dads either. .

  • JoeDM

    The Guardianista’s support for islamofascism is a truely wierd version of ‘our enemy’s enemy must be our friend’ stupidity.

    • Donafugata

      That’s very plausible but it is a bit odd that Guardian gay marriage lovies can’t compute that once their islamo-fascist pals whom they are now aiding and abetting get control, there will be much gay blood being spilt.

  • Donafugata

    “No-one is as hated as deeply as the apostate”

    Correction, no-one is as hated as deeply as the Muslim apostate whose lives are in danger.

  • Donafugata

    Can anyone explain why the Guardianistas should have chosen to pal-up with Islam? I’m certain the feeling isn’t mutual, the left are the useful idiots, apologists for Islamic barbarity.

    In the aftermath of Lee Rigby’s slaughter, the Guardian’s main concern was to fear a Muslim backlash rather than focus on the victim and his family.

    I am sincerely bewildered as to this strange alliance.

    • edlancey

      Muslims are the new proletariat, even if they never asked to be.

    • Kennybhoy

      I hesitate to write this because I am only too aware of the foul use made of this particular explanation by evil regimes during the C20th…but I am forced to the conclusion that some things are only explicable in psychological rather than philosophical or political terms…

      Maister Cohen has himself written in the past about the wound that was inflicted upon the left-liberal psyche by the West’s victory in the Cold War. Consequently they have collapsed into nihilism and pathological self-hatred.

      Why do they embrace Islamic extremism? Because they see in the Jihadis a hatred of western values to match their own …

      Hate calls to hate…

  • rtj1211

    The most obvious reason to change your mind about something is that the solutions which life shows work for you are those of the other side, whereas the views of the true believers drive you to depression, impotence and dark thoughts.

    Just ask yourself this: if one side blags soundbites but when you ask them questions which are important to your understanding, your chance of achievement, they have no answer. Do you respect them as a leader, being incapable of even saying: ‘I don’t know, perhaps you could have a chat with XXXX to find out?’ Or do you think ‘this person is a bullshitting self-serving self-absorbed pile of vain nonsense?’ Probably you give them many chances before making your decision, as no-one is perfect and no-one is comfortable or knowledgeable in all arenas.

    Now let’s suppose that life’s path brings you into contact with others who are extremely competent, DO answer your questions not with sneering, bullying or thuggery but with answers that further your life. They don’t act like your servant, they don’t spoon feed you, but they guide you in ways which work for you. Are you going to say that they are worse than the bullshitter or better?? For you, if not for others…

    So then you come to the crux of it all: are you prepared to sacrifice your whole life chances to appease a bullshitter who can’t or won’t help you when you DO want to engage with them but will trash you if you find others who fill the void which they created??

    That is the challenge I have faced in the tribe I was born into and the result has been that my life has been sacrificed because whatever decision I took I was going to fail. Once you have found your own truth, you can’t compete hardball for years using arguments you know to be false. You learn by the age of 25 that political dogma is of more importance to others than your life. You learn that you cannot simply leave because those that refused to help you or couldn’t help you or both come running like KGB officers because the thought that you succeeded by rejecting everything they imposed on you would be intolerable beyond bearing.

    Would you allow a man to arrange you a marriage after 35 years of lies, making you out to be useless, patronising you and bullying you? By a man who was fornicating in his 60s whilst maintaining the mirage of his second marriage? By a man who expects you to mentor him in his affair but humiliates you in front of lover girl in a way so emotionally obscene as to be pure evil?? Well would you???? Or would you have made the judgement that, if advice on marriage you need, it might be better coming from those who actually were wise enough to pick a wife with whom love and friendship grew with the passing decades, for whom one marriage was enough?? WELL????

    There comes a point when a fork in the road comes and if they cannot respect it, then you must leave them behind, not with respect but with sadness. Sadness that they could not understand is better for your own health than hatred. Hatred comes before you understand that leaving is your only option and no matter what they say, no matter what threats they make, you are going to leave and leave forever.

    This can be from families, from political parties, from companies and from associations.

    I agreed with the Liberal Democrats about war in Iraq, about their beliefs in localism, but I was implacably opposed to their views on climate change and increasingly dissenting on their views on the EU. It also became clear to me that all the wimmin issues of the Labour Party were emerging there too and as a middle class white who had less opportunities in life than his middle class sister, I really wasn’t going to see that argument as relevant to my situation and my kind. So I left. I appreciate much of what the Liberal Democrats did from 1995 to 2005 and have contempt for haters in other parties who are too immature to understand what Coalition means.

    I believed in paying for my own education until I realised that the HEIs are fronts for the security services, monitoring all their graduates for years afterwards. I don’t believe in paying prison warders to spy on me. Not ever. So I have reverted to believing in the State paying for education, because it is not an arms-length transaction, rather a life-time sentence.

    I used to believe in similar things to do with business, but the same is true there. Business Directors bug employees in their own homes and see their entire world as theirs to pillage. Of course I didn’t grow up believing that, but when I learned the hard way what the truth was, I no longer believed in the mechanisms of economic activity, since they were the organs of organised crime.

    This is not a child speaking, it is an adult saying that it is unacceptable to run entire nations as brainwashing, spying automatons. We are human beings, not machines. We are free people, not slaves. We are adults, not mentally subnormal special-needs kids.

    When the Press hack into your computer, you know you are a threat to society. When the NHS and business target you, you know you are a threat to society.

    But when simply asking for what any normal person would ask for makes you a threat to society, what does that tell you about the society in which you live, eh??

    • LucieCabrol

      I get a lot of sound bites when i contribute to the guardian discussion pages….further, loved the life story but I think you generalise about many things which are certainly in general occurance.
      Directors across the thousands of private and public could not bug their employees at home , and process the data , and do their day job…sorry .fails the test.
      Private education…results way better…state paying for education, makes absolute sense….how the labour party went about it…total fail.
      Your marriage issues…get a new girl friend and have a bit more sex…and don’t worry they probably aren’t bugging you, they are too busy getting on with their day job.

  • MrsGarnet

    Very interesting article. I have often seen criticism lead to a more right wing view. I think in general there needs to be a case of the left practicing what they preach and becoming more tolerant and defenders of pluralism. Currently there is a large deal of internalized judgement.

  • The Blue Baron

    “”the first aim of English and then British foreign policy has been to stop one power dominating the continent and threatening Britain. If we pull out of the EU, the rest of Europe might unite against us””

    The EU is an attempt by one power to dominate Europe. The history of British foreign policy is an argument against membership.

    Otherwise, a very good article.

    • andagain

      The EU is an attempt by one power to dominate Europe.

      Then we are probably better off staying inside it to try and screw it up. It is always easier for an insider to wreck things than an outsider.

      • Andy

        Actually by leaving we might just wreck it.

        • andagain

          If you want to make an assertion like that, it helps to provide some evidence or logical argument to support your case.

          • Andy

            Well think about it. What England and Britain has usually been in Europe is the balancing power: we have created alliances against the strongest power in Europe, be it Spain, France, Russia or latterly Germany. In the EU it is very often the UK which has asked the questions and said no, standing against the Franco/German axis. I do think that the UK has missed a chance to lead allies against the Franco/German axis, but that is another matter. If the counter weight of the UK goes maybe others will begin to question whats in the EU for them. If you add to this the strains of the Euro crisis, I think there is a better than evens chance that the whole thing might simply implode.

            • andagain

              By that argument, the first thing that will happen if the UK leaves the EU, is that it will be harder for us to ally with any other country in Europe, and the French and Germans will become much more powerful.

              Any other country that left would also find it harder to find allies against the French and Germans.

              So probably European countries would find themselves more in the power of the Franco-German axis than ever.

              • LucieCabrol

                I think you need to look at who is funding europe…not many countries put a positive amount in…two who do are very hard up. If we left that leaves germany, allready the largest contributor by far and not happy about it…

                • andagain

                  That would leave Germany in an even more powerful position than it is already. It’s something of an assumption that the German government would find that position unbearable.

                • LucieCabrol

                  I’m marginally agreeing with you…they are loving this weak euro….loving it.

          • Kennybhoy

            Tu quoque…?

        • Fergus Pickering

          I think we well might. The next to leave might be Holland. And then Italy if they have the balls for it. Europe is just a word for Greater Germany.

    • Kennybhoy

      “Otherwise, it was a very good article…”

      Honest rather than good I would say…?

      Aye oor Maister C is worth any number of fucking Hugo Rifkinds! 🙂

  • Martin Adamson

    I don’t object to pro-European Tories advancing arguments to stay in Europe, it’s just that I see the Europe they are arguing for as a complete figment of their imagination. The European institutions that exist now do not exist to advance free trade, as bulwarks against totalitarianism, as protectors of civil liberties, or as guardians of historic virtues – in short, traditional conservative values. The goal and endpoint of Europe – as announced many, many times by its enthusiasts, propagandists, leaders and prophets – is a vast Hegelian single state, ruled by a self-perpetuating and self-replicating oligarchic elite. The current institutions are merely a stepping stone along that line.

    I don’t think that ALL the pro-European Tories are conscious traitors and sell-outs. Many undoubtedly are. It is naive to think that the Machiavellian arts of bribery, flattery, blackmail, coercion and pandering are weapons that the Eurocrats would scorn. Some are foolish and egotistical. Some may be idealistic Some are merely blinkered. But what they all have in common is that I know that they are taking us down a road I don’t want to travel on.

  • Raw England

    “As for Anne-Marie Waters, she has gone so far to the right, she is now standing for Ukip…”.

    What? Ann-Marie Waters is VERY moderate. And she’s centre-Left, at best. Only to a far-Left Marxist like you could Ann-Marie (or indeed UKIP), be Right-wing, or far-Right.

    And you speak of news sources like the Daily Mail not being balanced, yet write for the extreme-Left, foreign-supremacist Guardian?

    Also, I feel compelled to inform you, Mr Cohen, that George Orwell would literally hate you.

    • Kaiser Of Crisps

      “…the extreme-Left, foreign-supremacist Guardian.” You are clearly such a cretin I am astonished that you have the ability to use a computer. Also, I feel compelled to inform you, Raw England, that anyone other than a complete fuckwit would literally hate you.

      • Raw England

        What a charming man you are.

        • Kaiser Of Crisps

          How amusing that someone who regularly calls Cohen disgusting, hateful etc. can’t take what he dishes out. I may indeed be charming, but you are deeply sad.

          • Keith D

            To quote you.

            “God you’re funny, as funny as dead Thatcher whose withered decaying teats you suckle on, you rightard tool.”

            And you call anyone a cretin. You are such a wit.
            Well half at best.

            • Kaiser Of Crisps

              Wow, that is a special level of sadness – searching through someone’s ancient comments! Such emotional and social inadequacy might provoke sympathy in me, an impulse amplified by your tragic attempt at wit by resurrecting a gag so old and wrinkled it makes me suspect you’re the sort of person who still performs the Dead Parrot sketch to your (sole) friend down the pub, thinking it the acme of cutting edge humour.

              • Keith D

                Please hold your breath while I give a monkeys what your opinion is. Theres a good chap.

                • Praxilites

                  Calm down! I came here from the Guardian to get away from this sort of thing.

    • you_kid

      Far-left Marxist, foreign-supremacist, moderation. You have no idea what that is, Nigella. Semantic illiteracy par excellence.
      Mixing the white floury stuff with hatred, yes – that’s your recipe for disaster.