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‘We told you so, you fools’: the Euston Manifesto 10 years on

18 February 2016

12:57 PM

18 February 2016

12:57 PM

The Euston Manifesto appears a noble failure. It was clear in 2006 that the attempt to revive left-wing support for internationalism, democracy and universal human rights did not have a strong chance of success. Looking back a decade on, it seems doomed from the start. The tyrannical habits of mind it condemned were breaking out across the left in 2006. They are everywhere now. They define the Labour Party and most of what passes for intellectual left-wing life in the 21st century.

To take the manifesto’s first statement of principle: the left should be ‘committed to democratic norms, procedures and structures’. An easy statement to agree with, I hear you say. Not so easy when the leader of the opposition, feted by his supporters as the most ‘left-wing’ in Labour’s history, will excuse dictatorial regimes or movements, however reactionary, if and only if, they are anti-West.

The left should believe in ‘freedom of opinion and assembly,’ the manifesto continued. One need only look at the universities to know that the loudest voices in the middle-class left now concentrate so much of their energy on shouting down others, that the poor, exhausted little things have no time left to do anything else.

‘We reject without qualification the anti-Americanism now infecting so much left-liberal (and some conservative) thinking.’ Not much progress there, now that Occidentalism is the guiding principle of leftish thinking on foreign affairs.

I accept that if you insist on ignoring the evidence of your senses you might believe that the manifesto’s hopes for a principled anti-racism have been half-realised. Norman Geras, Alan Johnson and all the other bloggers and academics who produced the manifesto wanted a universal commitment to oppose ‘the anti-immigrant racism of the far Right; racism against people from Muslim countries, and the resurgence of, anti-Semitism.’ Left-wing and Muslim anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and hatreds were hardly novel a decade ago. They are now so commonplace, they shock but no longer surprise me. But you might argue, that a decade on, the left’s commitment to opposing anti-Muslim bigotry remains solid. Don’t believe it. Let a liberal Muslim or ex-Muslim start arguing against Islamist reaction and leftists will turn on him or her. The white left is all for defending Muslims, but only if they are the right sort of Muslim.

At the same time as Norman Geras and his comrades were writing the Euston Manifesto, I was writing What’s Left,  a history of how western left-wingers found themselves excusing movements of the religious and secular far right . I drew careful distinctions, as Norman did. You could not generalise, we said. There were many lefts. We ourselves were leftists, who flattered ourselves that we were upholding the best traditions of the left against the totalitarian sympathisers in our midst.

I cannot say the same now. Of course, many left-wingers reject the politics of Jeremy Corbyn.  But the majority of those who call themselves left-wing do not. You can puff that the clowns who go along with inquisitorial, misogynist, racist and homophobic Islamists are not ‘true leftists’, but the fellow travellers of modern fascism. And you would be correct. But Lyndon Johnson had it right when he said ‘the first lesson of politics is to be able to count’.  Numbers matter. Majorities define a movement. If the majority of people who call themselves left-wing reject the principles of the Euston Manifesto, it is tedious and pointless to argue that those principles are somehow the ideals of ‘the real left’ or the ‘true left’ or whatever else you want to call it. Left-wing politics are what left-wing people do.

What’s left of the manifesto? The vindication of history for a start. When Robert Conquest published his history of Stalin’s crimes in 1968, leftish critics denounced him as a Cold War propagandist. When Conquest republished years later, no one could deny that he was telling the truth, however hard they tried. Conquest’s friend Kingsley Amis suggested he change his title from The Great Terror to I Told you so you F—king Fools.

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The authors and signatories of the Euston Manifesto could say the same. We got much wrong, and were doubtless clumsy and rude on occasion, but we were telling the truth when we warned that dark movements were rising across the left, and not just on the far left where the darkness never lifts.   For we did not confine ourselves to attacking the fringe. We said that the ideas we condemned could be found in the minds of people who regarded themselves as reasonable men and women of moderate temperament. We understood that ideas that begin on the extreme could take over the mainstream. We knew, too, that on other occasions, extremists merely magnified vices that already flourished in respectable society – as fairground mirrors distort the figures in front of them. We only had to look around us to see that those who thought themselves practical liberals and leftists had allowed their defences to moulder away.

To put it as gently as I can, our arguments were not embraced with as euphoric an enthusiasm as we had hoped. The suggestion that the liberal mainstream had problems of its own infuriated the BBC. Most Labour politicians backed away. They had their reasons. The enemies of the Euston Manifesto attacked it as a defence of the Iraq War. It was nothing of the sort. Nevertheless, Labour politicians had justifiably outraged anti-war protesters to deal with, and took the smear seriously. Then they had to think about the conservative Muslim voters they relied on. Then there was an uneasy feeling, more of a suspicion than a fully formed thought, that the Euston project broke left-wing taboos.

Leftists shouldn’t criticise other leftists, they said in effect, even if their targets were endorsing ultra-reactionary movements.

To take one example, I know from my own experience to be typical. David Clark, who had been Robin Cook’s adviser when Cook was foreign secretary, reviewed the manifesto. He agreed with its belief in the intrinsic merit of democracy. How could he not? He supported a humanitarian foreign policy, for he could hardly argue against it either. And yet, and yet, Clark worried about the bad taste of attacking leftists who were the friends of tyrants. Based on no evidence whatsoever, he decided that Geras and the other signatories of the manifesto were not passionate enough about inequality, even though they had written at length about the need to redistribute power and wealth. His throat cleared as he got to the meat of his complaint. Left-wingers, who criticise other left-wingers, must be closet conservatives. The Eustonites were like the early American neoconservatives who condemned the stance of others on the left, he said. They went on ‘a journey that led most of us eventually to abandon the left for good’.

I had Labour MPs and intellectuals deliver the same lecture. Stick to your own tribe, they said. Don’t wash dirty linen in public. Pretend that the left did not contain moral and intellectual gulfs that could not be crossed, and more to the point should not be crossed. For all their professed principles, our critics believed that the fight against misogyny, tyranny, homophobia, racism and theocracy was a fight no good leftist or earnest liberal could undertake without the risk of conservative contamination.

When the manifesto invited them to decline ‘to make excuses for, to indulgently “understand”, reactionary regimes and movements for which democracy is a hated enemy — regimes that oppress their own peoples and movements that aspire to do so’ – they declined our invitation instead.

When the manifesto urged them to draw ‘a firm line between ourselves and those left-liberal voices today quick to offer an apologetic explanation for such political force’, they placed themselves on the wrong side of the line, or more disgracefully, pretended no line existed.

Well, look at them now. Look at those unemployable special advisers, those impotent Labour MPs, those ignored guardians of broadsheet and academic opinion, those consensual ladies, those timid gentlemen. When the extremists came for them, they did not have one decent argument to defend themselves with. It is a measure of their dereliction of duty in the decade that followed the manifesto’s publication that a candidate with a record of excusing the imperialism of Vladimir Putin’s gangster state as well as some hideous Islamist movements, could present himself as the moral voice of the left. And get away with it.

I cannot see Mr Clark being an adviser to a future Labour foreign secretary. Sometimes I doubt that there will ever be another Labour foreign secretary. The resistible rise of the far left has guaranteed that Labour will be out of power for as far ahead as anyone can see. Its centre did not hold because it preferred to hold its nose and turn away from Norman Geras, myself and many others, who tried to warn of a coming disaster.  If millions did not need an alternative to conservative rule, it would be funny. Actually, it still is funny.

The manifesto, meanwhile, continues to be read. I take a particular pleasure in seeing liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims reaching for its arguments as they struggle to understand what has gone wrong with a left they naively assumed would encourage and defend them.

As for the left-liberal mainstream, now without a hope of power in Westminster, and led by men who daily shame themselves and all who associate with them, they have a choice they have postponed making for a decade. They could try to find moral arguments that would allow a social democratic movement to flourish in the 21st century. History may be written by the victors but it can be used by the defeated, if the defeated are prepared to see their own faults. If the centre-left understands why it found itself naked before its enemies, if it is prepared to engage in overdue self-criticism, then it may find that the Euston Manifesto is still of some use to it.

But if, those who ignored or condemned the Euston Manifesto refuse to learn from their mistakes…Who cares? Others will take up its causes. Indeed, they already have.

When I was writing What’s Left I learned to appreciate the truth of William Morris’s dialectical thought from The Dream of John Ball.

I pondered all these things, and how men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name

Whatever what’s left of the left decides to do, the fight continues with or without them.

This piece is from a forthcoming anthology of the best writing of the late and much missed Norman Geras.

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Show comments
  • Vuil

    Both Leftism and Islam are mental diseases.

    It explains why they mingle so well. And actually share many characteristics. Intolerance of any counter opinion or viewpoint.

  • Richard_L_Kent

    The entire movement is an abomination to God. And I mean that literally and in deadly earnest. Anathema sit. The lot. There is no saving it: there is only making sure it stays out of power. Forever.

  • Cheradenine

    Yet still you’re unable to acknowledge that the root of the problem is the immigration of non-Europeans to European societies and, more specifically, Muslim immigration. Still you bang on, ridiculously, about the need to oppose “racism”, which is simply a catch-all term for resistance to this colonisation process. You yourself are part of the problem yet unable to see it.

  • Hegelman

    The Right is still backing Islamism to the hilt: its alliance with Saudi Arabia, the real fount of Islamist ideology and money, is the best proof of that. It has also always backed Pakistan against India.

    Could Cohen comment on that? No, he cannot. He is a very biased man who is out for his own piece of journalistic pie, and the balanced truth is the last thing he cares for.

  • Hegelman

    Mass political movements always make big mistakes about whom many of their members tolerate. In the past it was the Stalinist regimes that many on the democratic Left more or less gave a pass to. Eventually this came to an end. Nor was the Left wrong in the past to think the USSR was the only state that could defeat Hitler.

    People make mistakes in their broad political judgements but that does not mean the basic home cause they stand for is wrong. Today many on the Left do not see (as yet) why Islamism has to be fought. Eventually they will. It’s just a matter of time.

    I was not impressed by the Euston Manifesto which seemed to me to take a one-issue stand about everything. Islamism is important but it is not the only important issue.

    To repeat: big political movements make mistakes of emphasis and ignoring but that does not mean they can be discarded. The old Left for all its faults created the welfare system.

    Cohen can go where he pleases.

  • D Cripps

    Great article. Thanks!

  • Farages 16ucked Face

    Maybe instead of calling it The Euston Manifesto, Cohen should have called it the No-Platforming manifesto. Because he no-platformed @UKIPBIACKPOOL rather than debate him

  • Kin62

    Yes, Nick, you were certainly proven right. You advocate intervening in Middle Eastern conflicts in the name of high ideals, and while that might have looked unwise in 2006, you have been completely vindicated now by the happy, peaceful and settled state of the Middle East.

  • https://thetonicperch.wordpress.com George Sandhu

    Excellent piece.
    When the centre-left is overrun by the Far-left, the disgusting tyrannical stone-age ideologies live under the umbrella of such people. Ex-muslims looks for sanctuary, someone to fight for their liberty and safety but the left are nowhere to be found, they wag their finger and shout “how dare you insult Islam, it’s just misunderstood”. They refuse to call a spade a spade. One might think they’re blind, no, they’re just downright apologists, accommodating, enablers and will fight for their stupidity to not be insulted with their holier-than-thou emotions driven philosophy. Not to mention their pride in being anti-West.

    They devour their own, anyone in their cesspit of leftism, whom dares to critique and shine a light on their inaccuracies and hypocrisy will get called a “Tory with a red tie”. Anyone who doesn’t fall in line, gets put up against the post and blindfolded. They’re economically inept, such that they fulfill the actions of what they would deem ‘the nasty centre-right’ politics. Labour was so incompetent with the economy and keeping the books in balance, they realised they’re useless so they let the markets do the legwork for them. They deregulated the banks, ‘cosyed’ up to the libor ‘rigged to fail’ lending schemes from big banks. When it all fell apart, they sold gold at the lowest price ever.

    I’m amazed by their total and utter failure in everything they try to achieve, although I shouldn’t be because their ideas aren’t worth being written on toilet paper; used toilet paper even.

    They are a truly modern form or fascism.

  • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

    I think it might be a good idea at this moment to remind people of the wonderful Encyclopaedia of Decency which pretty much said it all about the Eustonites and their nonsense:
    http://decentpedia.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Hippograd

    The Euston Manifesto appears a noble failure.

    But at least the noble people who signed it are still here to give us their wisdom.

    It was clear in 2006 that the attempt to revive left-wing support for internationalism, democracy and universal human rights did not have a strong chance of success. Looking back a decade on, it seems doomed from the start.

    But look on the bright side, Nick: Muslim immigration continued unchecked for that decade, as did Muslim births in situ. Alas, all those feminists, free-speech fanatics and LGBT-rights activists from the Muslim world don’t seem to have stumbled across the Noble Manifesto to date. Maybe you should start sending a few emails?

    At the same time as Norman Geras and his comrades were writing the Euston Manifesto…

    Ah, good old Norm and his comrades. With a firm foundation of Marxism, no wonder the Noble Manifesto didn’t appeal to the totalitarian left.

  • Jonny

    One of the neo-conservative cheerleaders for the Iraq War, a folly that destabilised an entire region, caused hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths, attacks the leadership of the Labour Party who, presciently, opposed the war back in 2003 and led protests against it. With astonishing hubris he attempts to claim vindication. As we look to a GOP party whose candidates variously advocate killing family members of suspected terrorists, carpet bombing cities to make the sand glow and reinstating torture the idea of ‘un-qualified’ support for America seems even less wise today then it did when Blair, with enthusiastic support from the IDS-led Tories, led our country into an immoral and illegal war. Cohen’s rhetorical acrobatics cannot pull the wool over our eyes.

    • Phomesy

      Actually the Iraq war was ended with reletaively few casualties. The Counter revolution – urged on by people such as yourself – has led to countless casualties and, as we’ve seen, your policy of non-intervention has just been so wonderfully successful in Syria.
      But no… None of that blood is on your hands is it? Of course not. Never.

  • Gebhard Von Blucher

    “Leftists shouldn’t criticise other leftists, they said in effect, even if their targets were endorsing ultra-reactionary movements”. – This, we couldn’t help noticing.

  • MC73

    As so often when reading articles by Cohen I am struck by the same thoughts I was when reading ‘What’s left’ i.e. – why doesn’t he realise that the ideological left is and has always been wrong, morally and practically? Working class people trying to make things better for themselves and their families, fair enough, but any of the streams of thought that came out of Marxism are and always have been pernicious.

  • Maureen Fisher

    When the left turn on secular feminists like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maryam Namazi you know they are merely useful idiots for extreme Islamists. Before the wall fell, they were useful idiots for Stalinists. The British voter is usually sensible and votes to keep any of these useful idiots from getting into power, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

  • polidorisghost

    Well Nick, having read your repulsive rant in The Guardian the other day I really cannot understand what you’re complaining about – because as far as I can see you’re no better than the rest of the so-called left.

  • Farages 16ucked Face

    Hey guys, I think Nick Cohen should deabte @UKIPBIACKPOOL instead of not platforming him

    • Farages 16ucked Face

      I agree, Nick Cohen is a Stalinist, just like the students he says he hates

      • Farages 16ucked Face

        Nick Cohen would debate @UKIPBIACKPOOL but he hates Free Speech

  • jim

    Once again I have to ask if Cohen & co accept any responsibility for the mess we’re in?. The policies which sank us into this mess have been divisive in every community except his.Apparently the effect of these policies didn’t begin to trouble him until anti-semitism became an issue.Someone should remind Cohen & co that this is(was) the white christian west and the rest of us have been suffering through the anti whiteanti-christiananti-gentilism for a lot longer…but none of that bothered his tribe.It’s not a problem until it starts to affect them.You dug your own grave Nick…and ours too.

    • Mow_the_Grass

      dem dose jooos again
      0,2% of da worlds population – but dey able to ‘control’ so much
      not only da media/banks/hollyvood ie Rupert/HSBC/Sony (not Jews) – but da’se also able to reverse the flow of the ocean currents/start-stop global warning – and might even be able to someday train pigeons to carry messages.
      Tell ya what moron – when all else fails just trot out the usual ‘i’m a failure/loser’ line of argument.
      ps – seems to work best on those neon#si/fascist blogs – where the rest of the braindead reside.

      • jim

        Your citation for “Righteous Gentile A*se licker Of The Day” is on the way and richly deserved. I’m still waiting for someone to show me the split within the j*wish community on topics such as immigration which have so divided the rest of us.. Examples please. I repeat: the wisdom of pump priming mass immigration into the west has only recently begun to be questioned by western j*wry. This development is a brand new phenomenon and has been discussed as such right here on the pages of The Spectator…Cohen & co are trying to absolve themselves of any responsibility for our woes..which is par for the course. Always the victim.Nothing is ever their fault. .Time for Speccies to grow up.

  • Kevin T

    All right, everyone agrees the current left is mental, particularly the youth. But what’s creating them? Primarily it’s the education system, which is run by people of like mind. We have a school system that is far more interested in indoctrinating kids with the correct beliefs than teaching them. The result is not only these no-platforming, safe-space-seeking fruitcakes but, worse, a lot of poor kids whose parents can’t afford to go private or get a tutor coming out of school illiterate and with no prospects in life. We need to go through the education system with a scythe, from the civil servants setting the syllabus to the teachers. Are you on board?

  • evad666

    Labour supports Muslim rapists of non Muslim children.
    Labour supports Open Borders to let more Muslim rapists in.
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/u
    Labour responsible for 5180 rapes of Sikh and white kids.
    Labour were aware of this issue:-
    http://order-order.com/2014/10

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-
    and Labour tried to cover it up for Political advantage:-
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/ent

  • Gareth

    The origins of the Left lie in the peasant’s hatred of the feudal system. It has always been an ideology of rage and violence and “redistribution” by robbery. No wonder the Left loves the islamists

  • http://cafe.themarker.com/user/235356/ Shahar Luft

    The Eustonites had got it all wrong back then. They’re the all-too-clever boys who don’t get at 14 that everybody else have switched from superheros to girls. They went on talking about democracy and free speech like those geeks talk about Star Wars and Superman in high school, not understanding why everybody is turning away.Their great sin is being uncool, out of synch, nerdy, dorky, or, to put it in prog talk, ‘on the wrong side of history’. Everybody has a keffyiah and birkenstoks, while you have a Batman t-shirt and a couple of lousy snickers. ‘Freedom of speech’, yeah right.

    The left never once was what you thought it was. It was always a front for an elite whose basic instinct is that of a church and whose basic beliefs are clerical. Actually, when reading What’s left, one gets the painful sensation that Cohen actually sees all the dots but refuses to connect: the shameful Lansbury-Hitler episodes, the cult-like mini-groups of the 1970s, the limpness and dampness of mainstream liberals. What connected the Redgraves, Tony Benn and Monbiot? Socialism? The working class? Coal and wages and Hunger Marches? You’re kidding. What connected them all was a sense of entitlement: we’re better than you. We use words that you don’t. And we use them to keep you out, like medieval Latin. We act strange and listen to horrible music and associate with terrible people – guru-rapists and colourful dictators – to piss you off. Our keffiyahs and goaties and hipster hats are like cassocks and chalices. They make us awesome because you don’t like them.

    It was always like this. If you look at what nice, sane, mainstream leftists wrote for the past century you always end up facing elitism, snobbery, condescension, and endless self-adoration. This was true for the Webbs as it was true for Bernard Shaw and for MacDonald and Lasky, as it was later for Corbyn. The couple of Orwells and Crossmans in between stand out and don’t really catch on. They wear white snickers and Batman shirts.

  • Muttley

    The “moderate” Labour MPs (that’s like saying a “moderate Syrian rebel”) are as disgraceful, cowardly and complicit as the Tory Eurosceptic ministers. Both lots are too career-obsessed to stick their heads above the parapet on what are crucial issues for their parties and for Britain.

  • newname

    Nick, I think you’ve got the wrong audience here – most of the posters on this site would hate the left whatever it did, they aren’t interested in its internal struggles.

    • Jingleballix

      I generally do hate the left………but I have very high regard for Nick Cohen.

      Want to know why?

      He’s honest and has strong integrity.

  • Nobby

    It’s heart rending eh!

  • sarahsmith232

    Spot on Cohen. Loved the part about the BBC/academics/writers preferring to use their position in society to smear rather than allow for dissent. The 30yr long history of the smearing, sacking and silencing of dissent wasn’t good enough, people were refusing to remain silent, Labour sorted it out though, society has now criminalised all forms of dissent. This is what’s created the small minded, book burning, university student cretin social type. They’re so really very certain of their pathetically small understanding of what describes morality because they’ve all grown up in a society where any example of anti-Metropolitan ‘liberal’ thinking is screeched down as gross, sub-human, ‘highly offensive’ racism and fascism that must always be ‘fought’ against by the unquestionably morally and ethically superior Metropolitan middle-classes. They’ve spent decades preferring to use their position in society to associate dissent with the sub-human, so now the muslims, the newly arrived, the half-wit Stepford students, have all been really very successfully brainwashed by it.
    Cohen’s a type of a dissenting voice that they find really very difficult to smear, but still, most are still having a really good go at it. Like he writes, now they’ve nothing to fall back on having led to society to associate the extremist Left with all that’s of an unquestionable ethical superiority. They shouldn’t be surprised that the pathetically brainwashed teens can’t understand that there are alternative points of views and that it’s really quite idiot to honestly believe that that is evidence that they are all Nazi’s/Fascists/racists/closet Tories/or whatever else passes for their brainwashed association with political dissent.

  • threecorneredvoid

    The Euston Manifesto wasn’t about universal ideals, it was about mobilising useful idiots behind a gross imperial war.

    That war destroyed Iraq, killed hundreds of thousands and led quite directly to the murderous chaos the same empire is now trying to replace with a sectarian carve-up of the region between Iraq and Syria.

    If the signatories to the Euston Manifesto are the “internationalists” the world needs all the help it can get.

    • sarahsmith232

      Oh dear, there speaks an e.g of your stereotypical studenty brainwashed sort.
      A ‘gross imperial war’? What? That, really, I mean, really, that really is an extremely silly statement, i’m going to guess you’re prob’ not still a teen, if you’re only 17 then ok, just about excusable, anything older and dearie, really, you’re just showing the effects of your brainwashing.
      Iraq had zero to do with the current Syria situation. The Arab Spring, a movement led by the educated and decidedly un-Jihadist Syrian middle-classes, inspired by events in Tunisia, NOT IRAQ, ‘led quite directly’ to the current situation in Syria. If anything, Iraq’s recent history would have given the Syrians reason to pause, not to proceed with their demands for a dictator to vacate power and create a vacuum. (BTW – along with Gaza’s history of electing Hamas to power, perfectly democratically).
      You’re making a following on behind sheep statement, this ill thought out, and absolutely illogical ‘you’re to blame for this’ statement is popular on the BBC, is never challenged and so, for the kiddies and those non-too impressive in the thinking stakes, it’s become established fact. It’s claptrap, you should be questioning it, not just blindly, unthinkingly, following on behind.

      • threecorneredvoid

        If you think the “rebels” in Syria consisted of middle-class Twitter users from the Arab Spring after the first couple of months, you’re quite wrong. The two leading forces opposing Assad’s regime are JAN and IS itself, both Salafi jihadist, both augmented by materiel that continues to be provided to “moderates” by the CIA, which has worked hard to amplify the Syrian civil war at every turn.

        IS controls territory straddling the Syrian border with Iraq, where it’s able to recruit in significant part because of the history of the previous al-Maliki government, installed by the US, and the Shia death squads it sponsored. Much of IS’s original leadership were ex-Ba’athist military men exiled from an income by the first post-destruction puppet government.

        Everywhere you turn in the region, there are the marks of US empire and of the pernicious influence of the Gulf monarchies, allies of the west and the largest sponsors of the terrorism used to make the case for war.

        Make no mistake, the idiots who signed the Euston manifesto, and the repellent neoconservatives to whom they were selling themselves, were among the enablers of a geographical catastrophe, the current endgame of which is to “stabilise” the region by subdividing both Iraq and Syria.

        I hope this has been educational. Try opening a book. I’d recommend The Rise of Islamic State by Cockburn as a starting point.

  • http://my.telegraph.co.uk/voteregime/ The Prez

    There’s certainly a lot of truth to the arguments made here, particularly in the way the liberal left have allowed the loony left’s perculiar prejudices to seem into the mainstream. My own feeling is that this is because the moderate left secretly agrees with so many of them. Whereas the continuum of the right is quite complicated in that the far-right is more of a perversion of the moderate right, I’ve always seen the continuum of the left as more linear. The far-left simply have a more extreme interpretation of the same belief system whereas I, as a moderate right-winger can find little in common with the far-right, who often have more in common with the far-left than they do with the moderate right.

    If that makes sense.

    Anyway, it seems to me that the left is going to have to undergo the kind of painful renewal that it did in the 80s after Militant practically took over. After the Corbyn Götterdämmerung, they’ll have an opportunity to kick the loonies back to the edge of the map and restore some sanity. If they miss it, and retreat back into their comfort zone of virtue signalling impotence, as they did in 2015, then… well… all hail Prime Minister for life Cameron.

    • MC

      One should not see the right / left as a straight line but as a circle. Move far left enough and you merge with far right.
      Corbyn clearly has a Far Right mentality: anti-Semitic, misogynistic tendencies. He certainly has a hatred for White Working Classes – why else would he promote the anti-WWC Thornberry? He was born into elitism and went to private school, but wasn’t bright enough to get to Oxbridge / Russell Group.

      He is everything a normal liberal despises.

      • Rhoda Klapp

        What exactly do you think is right-wing? There’s no circle, it doesn’t join up, and racism has a place everywhere as it is not a political distinction per se but a natural instinct we ought to be able to suppress within our civilised selves.

        • MC

          I’m far from the first to suggest the political spectrum circle theory.

          Whilst xenophobia may be instinctive, and from that comes racism, it is perhaps more accurate to describe prejudice as being without political distinction. Racism is linked to extreme left and right. Anti-white racism is a hallmark of current Islington mentality politics, name calling anyone with a hint of divergent thinking, or describing someone criticising muslim grooming or islamic terrorism as islamaphobic, for example.

          • Kingbingo

            ‘I’m far from the first to suggest the political spectrum circle theory.’

            It was wrong all those other times as well.

        • MC
      • Kingbingo

        Nonsense, sorry, but nonsense.

        How many people are ‘so fat, they actually become thin’ or 101 other daft examples.

        The whole circle concept was invented to explain why what the BBC and teachers call ‘far right’ is actually made up of extreme left wingers. Hitler was a Socialist and a bad guy, so of course the left have always sought to cast him as a ‘right winger’ despite him being one of their own.

      • red2black

        Scratch a Liberal and find a Fascist underneath?

    • Nobby

      “particularly in the way the liberal left have allowed the loony left’s
      perculiar prejudices to seep into the mainstream. My own feeling is
      that this is because the moderate left secretly agrees with so many of
      them.”

      Indeed. They only differ on what means are used to achieve the same ends. The “liberal” left think that deception and utilisation of insidious and unseen methods whilst cloaking themselves in faux populism and reasonableness are better ways to achieve their utopia whilst the crazies are more open about what they want to do do but usually not honest as to why they want to do it.

  • Farages 16ucked Face

    I think we should all be talking about why Nick Cohen hates free speech and won’t debate @UKIPBIACKPOOL

    • MC

      go away

      • Farages 16ucked Face

        much as the Stalinist students tell those who wish to have a free debate “go away! We hate free speech and won’t debate you!”

        • MC

          you have nothing to say except nc blah blah

          • Farages 16ucked Face

            So you can no-platform someone and then shout to the masses “he had nothing to say, to the gulag with him”? So much for the nicer, kinder politics Nick Cohen/Uncle Stalin promised us

            • Bark Kantatas

              I am a Grand Bacon Lettuce & Tomato and you are invading my safe space.

    • stedman_dantes

      I think we should all be talking about how a mad howling lunatic like you can possibly manage even the most basic functions of everyday life. Do you accost strangers in supermarkets and rant and froth at them like this?

  • James Chilton

    The Euston Manifesto is a tedious document. So many familiar “isms” are condemned; so many earnest declarations of “principle”; so many pious words and phrases that stupefy the reader; “gender equality”; ”reactionary regimes”: “diverse sexual orientations”; “global democratization”; “the international community”; etc., etc.

    Why does anyone sign this sort of thing? Is it just a collective advertisement of virtuous sentiments, or do they really believe they can change anything with a torrent of platitudes?

    • MC

      Ask 7-16 year olds what they would do if the were given a million pounds, most would talk about giving it away to charity – mostly do gooder stuff.
      As one matures you should have a more suspicious mind about do gooder mentalities (most major charities are run by dubious do-gooders on 100-500K salaries.
      Islington mentality is stuck in childhood, partly because none of them took the Tolstoy route and got their hands dirty.

      • ReefKnot

        Not only “run by dubious do-Golders on 100-150K salaries” but also frequently funded by you, the Taxpayer, whether you like it or not.

        • https://thetonicperch.wordpress.com George Sandhu

          And looked upon by the goverment (whom also must show the world their do-gooder qualities) as more important than their own people. Many British homeless, and the powers that be wheel in more muslims to be housed, fed and warmed by our money. In a few years, they’ll forget our kindness and turn this country into a sh*thole from whence they came.

  • MIchael Richards

    So basically, Nick Cohen of the People’s Front of Judea attacks Corbyn’s Judean People’s Front. Or to put it another way, two bald blokes arguing over a comb.
    The Euston Manifesto was a pile of tosh then and it’s even more so now. And yes, it was an attempt by a bunch of Lefties who cheerleaded the Iraq war to justify their stupidity and moral cowardice. I like Cohen’s stuff when he’s writing about free speech, but it’s important to never forget that he was one of the most prominent of the useful idiots who dragged us into the Iraq War. Who still has the temerity to portray anybody who disagrees as somehow on the side of Islamists and other assorted fascists.
    He’s yet another deluded man of the Left with a moral superiority complex who can’t quite make the break from the rigid belief system of his youth. But perhaps there’s hope. Cracks seem to be appearing…

    • sarahsmith232

      Give over man, Corbyn, and HELLO, I take it you have actually seen that mentally f***ing challenged f***ing idiot Livingstone’s ‘they gave their lives for’ statements? Being anti the Iraq war is really very separate from associating terrorism with the kind of noble endeavours a statement like ‘they gave their lives for’ is understood as. Livingstone, Corbyn and all the rest of their ilk ARE people that side with Islamists and terrorists, they ARE apologists for. How a person can be even so much as slightly politically aware and not know that is bizarre.

    • Hippograd

      When he admits he was wrong to support mass immigration from the Third World we should accept that he’s seen the light. Of course, it was hard to foresee that Muslims, for example, would oppose free speech once they got here, but the fact remains: they did and have been for a long, long time.

  • misomiso

    To be really Left now Nick you have to be against the EU.

    That is where the true Heroism lies.

  • Blazeaway

    Good try Nick.

    Yes, the left should support these liberal democratic values.

    But it is plain that too many of them just don’t. They’d rather support fascists who throw gays off buildings and cut the heads off…just about anyone.

    And they like to Twitter-mob anyone who DOES uphold liberal values.

    You see it all the time. The role of the Twitter mob is an attempt to put beyond the pale anyone who criticises their fascist values.

    And if they can get them sacked from their jobs and ruin their livelihoods then…well, so much the better.

    You’ll find far better upholders of liberalism among UKIP than among the left.

    Admit it Nick

    • Atlas

      The left has always been authoritarian and fond of the swift application of force against those who do not fall into line. It has now allied with Islam to create a particularly vicious ideology meaning that its focus has returned to outright hatred of Jews.

      • Hippograd

        Ach, and it’s worser still when you think of how the poor Jewish community warned us about mass immigration by Muslims. “Don’t allow it!” they cried, decade after decade. “Follow Israel’s wise example and keep your borders sealed against people who hate democracy and freedom!”

        Alas, alas! with little political power and even less influence in the media, the Jewish community has seen its words of wisdom ignored throughout the West. But even now, with typical benevolence, they continue to warn us and do their best to save liberal democracy from the rising tide of totalitarianism. There is still time to follow Israel’s wise example:

        Israel needs to erect a fence around the entire country to protect itself from “beasts” in the neighborhood, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday on a tour near Eilat of a segment of fence being erected along the Jordanian border.

        “We are preparing a multiyear project to encircle Israel with a security fence, to defend ourselves in the Middle East as it is now, and as it is expected to be,” he said. “They will say to me, what do you want to do, protect the mansion? And the answer is, ‘Yes.’ What, we will encircle the whole country with a fence and obstacles? The answer is an unequivocal, ‘Yes,’” he said.

        “In the neighborhood in which we live we need to protect ourselves against beasts,” Netanyahu added.

        http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Netanyahu-Israel-needs-fences-on-all-borders-to-keep-out-beasts-in-region-444358

        • E.I.Cronin

          You just reminded me of a Jewish academics’ visit back in the late 90’s. ”Keep your Muzzie population as small as possible!” and as Old Fox says the howler monkeys on the left screeched the forest canopy down. Did we listen? To the tune of 20k a year. From memory he said critical mass is 10%. We reached critical mass at 2.5%!

          • Hippograd

            If only he’d had some way of getting those views into the media. Again, we can only lament the lack of Jewish voices on TV, radio and t’internet. And in the papers.

      • https://thetonicperch.wordpress.com George Sandhu

        Jess Phillips went onto Question Time and when asked about what her reaction to the epidemic of rape and sexual assault cases on Cologne on New Year’s eve was, she totally and utterly side-stepped the question. Instead she likened the attacks, to walking down the street during a night out in Birmingham, accusing Western men of being cut from the same cloth as those Islamic animals.

        I swear, day by day I am convinced more and more, that Leftism is an actual mental illness.

        • http://www.wwwbarkingspider.com/ Barking Spider

          It’s actually deliberately evil.

    • sarahsmith232

      Spot on with the Ukip thing. The Metro’ mid’ classes confuse their own world view with liberalism, i’m sure you know yourself, it’s usually a mile away. Gay marriage being the best e.g, zero genuinely liberal about forcing Christian churches to perform gay weddings. Zero genuinely liberal about forcing Christian bakers to produce cakes that they find morally offensive, etc. We’ve a hair pulling out frustrating illiberal society, we are regressing, constantly and dramatically, why is there no one willing to do anything? I’m afraid i’m giving up on Ukip, i’ll be long since in my grave by the time they ever start to become a society changing political force. My own personal take is that what society needs is a real feminist party, but a real one, not some Metro’ feminist party, the Eastern European kind of feminists, angry, spitting, raging feminists unbowed by and uninterested in political correctness, although ideally, not of the topless variety. anyway.

      • Sapporo

        Are you giving up on UKIP because they cannot make inroads into our political system? The establishment – these days a mixture of socialists & corporatists – control the message & the money, making it nigh on impossible to break the system. Self-education, social media & the internet offer the only hope.

        • sarahsmith232

          Yeah, you’re not wrong, reckon the internet is prob’ our only out route. Any good at doing spitting and raging? Do a bit of that on YouTube, you never know, maybe the odd occasional 3,000/4,000 people might watch. Oh I don’t know, how to get round it all ay? But something needs to be done, I know that much.

          • Mary Ann

            Problem with youtube is anyone can put any sort of rubbish on there and that is just what a lot of it is.

    • NickG

      The bulk of the left has never been classically liberal. It’s centre of gravity has always been intolerant and authoritarian. The genuinely classically liberal left has always been a fringe group within the cohort of command economy advocates.

      I read the book when it was published a decade back and that struck me as the main problem with Nick’s thesis. That still holds.

  • WFC

    You’re nearly there.

    Now all you have to do is recognise that the reason why the left is imploding is because it’s “principles”, including most of those in your Euston manifesto, are so vague, subjective and woolly that they can mean anything to anyone.

  • anyfool

    The left is the font of all evil, It has since the ascent of man, been used to excuse evil, we meant well, Robespierre, Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler, variants of left wing excuses for inhuman behaviour, is what allowed these pieces of human excrement to flourish, all of these started as cuddly Corbyn type left wingers, they just became what it really needs to be to flourish.
    You can never be moderate left and survive, you need to be more and more extreme to be heard. self delusion, does not excuse what you cause to happen.

    • MC

      I agreed with you up to ‘Cuddly Corbyn’. I look at him and only see a spiteful under performer with a chip on his shoulder.

      • anyfool

        That is what they are trying to project, to make him palatable to the electorate at large, it is not my opinion of the vile little sh*t.

      • rtj1211

        You’ll be telling us all next that the right don’t engage in industrial scale computer hacking to complement their ignorance by stealing the fruits of others’ labours…..

        You can tell us all, but you would be lying through your teeth.

        The right are as corrupt as the left, always have been, always will be.

        • MC

          Are you replying to the correct post? You seem to be lost.

        • McRobbie

          So that’s a vote for the left ?…..they’re no better than the others !!!! There is a difference..the left cover up their intentions to drive us all to equality of poverty. There is however a chance of grabbing wealth from the right, look at the number of people who have risen from bus drivers and shop keepers…only mediocrity and poverty is where the left takes us.

        • GUBU

          Indeed.

          Give those on the right their due, however – they have tended to be much more effective in their corruption than those on the left.

          They get into bed with hedge funds, oil companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

          The best Harold Wilson managed was a raincoat manufacturer.

          • Whitestones

            Tony Blair
            Bernie Eccleston
            One Million Pounds
            Tobacco advertising

            Ring any bells?

            • GUBU

              Indeed it does…

              As does Lord Mandelson’s mortgage application, and the quality time he spent on some Russian gazillionaire’s yacht.

              Not to mention Cherie’s infamous Supermarket Sweep style forays into luxury shopping – that trolley was steered with the handling skills of a world class rally driver.

              My point was that the left used to be bad at this sort of thing – and probably will be again. I can’t see Comrade Corbyn’s property portfolio expanding any time soon, can you? He can’t even tidy the garden in the one house he has.

              • Mary Ann

                You can’t blame the left for Tony, the best Tory prime minister this country ever had. As a tory he would have been unremarkable middle of the road.

                • Wessex Man

                  Was he a member of the BNP then?

                • GUBU

                  How wrong you are.

                  Mr Blair believed passionately in the redistribution of wealth.

                  How else can one explain that substantial property portfolio he and his family have managed to acquire?

              • David

                ……he can’t even tidy his tie

        • Wessex Man

          Power to the People comrade rtj1211!

        • Tom M

          You’re right of course except that there is the right sort of corruption and the wrong sort to paraphrase the article.
          The right sort of corruption follows the right wing ideals of improving your circumstances by your own efforts but doesn’t achieve this in an acceptable manner. These people I think are criminals and should be treated as such.
          The wrong sort of corruption is the left wing corruption which flies in the face of staunchly held left wing ideals. These are people I detest.
          They’re usually left wing politicians who prattle on about their common roots whilst fiddling their expenses and quietly complaining a £65,000 a year salary isn’t enough.

      • PeteCW

        I don’t think he’s actually got the imagination to be spiteful.

        • Wessex Man

          Never under-estimate the capacity of the left wing nut-jobs to carry out vindictiveness against real people’s lives and achievements

          He learnt his hatred of average people whilst being a complete failure at Adams Grammar School and never being chosen for any team sport.

          • Jingleballix

            ………..whilst his mother taught at Stafford Girls’ High School – the Corbyn’s lived in a nice country rectory-type house in the beautiful countryside between Stafford and Market Drayton.

      • David

        … both shoulders actually

    • Christopher Horne

      Your forgot Mao…

    • TheJustCity

      As you can never be a liberal or secular Muslim and survive.

      If Marxist analysis very cogently described the systemic inequalities prevalent in society at the time, its prescription for resolving these was, evidently, maleficent and destructive. I’d posit that, like a faulty chromosome, there is a component to Marxism which has ensured the consistent provision of human misery. It is probably something to do with its resolute agenda of revolution and radicalism. And revolution (over evolution) and ideology is what left politics is about. Political systems which inculcate antipathy, anger and conformism will always be, ultimately, antithetical to freedom equality and progress. Ironic that.

      And referencing Kingsley Amis, I rather like the take he had in his essay ‘Why lucky Jim
      turned Right’. His reaction and outrage at the violent routs by the
      Soviets of freedom movements of 50s iron-curtain states and the
      tendency of leftists to either excuse or cognitively excise these, ensuring facts and truths would – a feature unique to the leftist mindset –
      ‘encysted’, brought the realisation that ideology, with a capital ‘I’ is
      unfailingly deleterious, and that society should only apply such
      improvement ‘as it can take’.

      • https://thetonicperch.wordpress.com George Sandhu

        “revolution (over evolution) and ideology is what left politics is about.”

        Absolutely, leftism portrays itself and cuddly, soft, freedom fighting politics, in fact it actually promotes an underdeveloped emotional contradictory philosophy. When it falls flat, their inadequacies show in dealing with clearing the mess up they have created.

        The prat Russell Brand springs to mind, he did just that, “revolution maaaan” went on Question Time, had nothing, NOTHING new to offer, just outrage and shallow-minded fixes to all our problems. No evolutionary thoughts or policies, just a pseudo intellectual prancing about the stage.

        Sad thing is, the young and dumb students all love him. Says something about our Universities.

      • Hegelman

        People make mistakes in their broad political judgements but that
        does not mean the basic home cause they stand for is wrong. Today many
        on the Left do not see (as yet) why Islamism has to be fought.
        Eventually they will. It’s just a matter of time.I was not
        impressed by the Euston Manifesto which seemed to me to take a one-issue
        stand about everything. Islamism is important but it is not the only
        important issue

    • mickey667

      Hitler?

      Not to mention Franco, Pinochet, Indonesian Junta, Japan’s imperialists, Catholic inquisition and genocide of South America, Genocide of the whole americas in fact, and Australia, and, while the regressive Left aligns themselves with reactionaries, conservative and theocratic religious faiths of the far right flourish in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, friends the future king of England, is the worst regime on the planet currently.

      Careful you don;t pat your right hand on your own back too much old son.

      • Nick Riggs

        I’m not clear on how more democracy, free markets and smaller governments would lead to any of those people or situations.

        • mickey667

          You are talking of liberal democracy which can be left or right. He was smearing the whole Left with the nutters of history, so i repaid the compliment and listed his genocidal forebears on the right

      • vieuxceps2

        Not to mention Stalin,Pol Pot,Castro,Ceaucescu,Wilson, Hungary,Poland,Prague, Berlin Wall,Russia in Finland etc. Oh,and Wilson the spy of course ,the Labour councillors of Rochdale and Rotherham and Glasgow Council and 55 MPs kicked out in Scotland and the Militant Tendency in Liverpool and derekHatton and and and…

        • mickey667

          You got from Hitler to Derek Hatton????

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

          • vieuxceps2

            Yes,i was rather harsh on Mr. Hitler.Sorry.

  • Farages 16ucked Face

    why is Nick Cohen no-platforming @UKIPBIACKPOOL?

    • Farages 16ucked Face

      Nick Cohen continues to no-platform people he doesn’t agree with like some sort of Stalinist Trot

    • MC

      An individual who muted someone else on twitter isn’t No Platforming. Only if Nick got you kicked off from twitter would it be no platforming.

      • Farages 16ucked Face

        Like Stalin muted his critics?

        • MC

          Has Nick murdered you and you are now writing from the other side?

          reality: nonentity get’s ignored. Move on.

          • Farages 16ucked Face

            The only “murder” that has happened is the murder of Free Speech by Nick Cohen as he viciously silences his opponents. Much like his idol, Pol Pot.

            • MC

              Yawn. Whilst you act like a 14 year old, I suspect you’re a 40+ uni drop out in a dead end job.

              • Farages 16ucked Face

                Yawn? Will you be yawning when ISIS invade us when they see Nick Cohen is inviting them with his similar hatred of Free Speech?

            • stedman_dantes

              This is absolute lunacy. It doesn’t even qualify as trolling; it’s just a howl of madness.

  • http://t.co/rXjomKpfUv JP Janson De Couet

    Another day, another Bitterite stuck in the distant past. It’s sad and rather risible to try and smear Corbyn by pretending he’s some sort of Poundshop Stalin.

    • MC

      He’s no pound shop Stalin, but would fit with the cheaper Stelios 20p shop. Intellectually bankrupt Islington fascists make Stalin look sensible.

    • Malcolm Stevas

      I like “Poundshop Stalin”, succinct and apt. Maybe Aldi Ulbricht? Corbyn resembles him a bit more closely…

      • DavidL

        Lidl Hitler?

        • Malcolm Stevas

          Hah!

  • rationality

    I was interested in the Euston Manifesto 10 years ago but it was 2006 and before the financial crisis. At that time when the money tree was growing and we couldnt conceive that immigration would never stop politics wasnt quite so interesting as they were the good times. It just came a little bit too soon.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    More scales dropping from eyes I see…

    • Fraser Bailey

      Just imagine reaching Nick’s age before the scales drop! Pathetic, really.

    • Malcolm Knott

      To summarise: there are now some very shallow and unpleasant people who are very active in the Labour party. Yes, Nick, we know. And we have known it for a very long time.

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