Yes, it’s Decent Wrestlemania! A muscle orgy of no-holds-barred head-butting, elbow-smashing and body-slamming!

One of the beneficial side-effects of the American election is the developing smackdown on the Decent Left. Which shouldn’t really be surprising, as the Decent Left, after all, is little more than an attempt to recreate American neoconservatism in a British setting. I mean, in terms of actual British politics, the Decents qua Decents have very little to say except to boo and hiss various people (George Galloway, Seumas Milne, the SWP) who have incurred their wrath over Iraq or Israel. It figures that, were they to fall out, it would be over American politics.

So, the current lineup is this. Oliver Kamm has pleasantly surprised me. I was fully expecting Ollie to maintain his unbroken record of endorsing the furthest right candidate in every foreign election he’s ever blogged about by backing McCain. And he did show distinct signs of leaning in that direction. But, say what you like about Ollie, he does have his lines in the sand, and militant secularism (allied to an almost Füredite belief in scientific progress) is one of them. Therefore Ollie has now denounced McCain, on the grounds that offering the VP slot to the creationist Sarah Palin showed McCain to be totally Unserious. Good work, Ollie. By the way, how was it that for the last eight years you didn’t notice the presence of multifarious religious wingnuts in the Bush administration?

Now we turn to the Decent Left’s resident Mr Angry, Marko Attila Hoare. Little Marko has firmly nailed his colours to the McCain mast for months now, with a logic that roughly runs, “Americans might be better off with O’Bama, but I don’t live there, so fuck the American people, I’m going to make my call on Balkan tribal grounds.” And so he has done, proffering in support the Manchurian candidate argument. This will be familiar from those wilder sections of the American right where it’s commonly argued that O’Bama is a closet Muslim. Marko, by contrast, offers up a scenario whereby O’Bama is a puppet of a foreign axis of evil – that is, the Greeks, the Serbs and the Armenians – and therefore can’t be relied on to follow as robustly Turkophile a foreign policy as Marko would like. You might think that Marko’s argument would be damaged by O’Bama’s VP pick, Joe Biden, the favourite senator of howling Croat nationalists everywhere. But I am confident Marko will overcome this little difficulty. As I see it, he has three options. He could change his mind, but his Trotsko-sectarian training means he tends to see that as a sign of weakness. He could decide that Decency cannot abide a howling Croat nationalism gap, and amp up his own rhetoric accordingly. Or, the most likely scenario, he could come out with an enormous dollop of verbal flatulence, where in thousands of words of tendentious bluster he says that what Biden seems to be saying is of no real significance, and he, Marko, is correct now as he always has been. If we’re really lucky, he might doodle us one of his legendary diagrams.

Nick Cohen has written some really weird stuff. Most recently, he seems to be suggesting that you’re a snob if you don’t approve of Palin. (Has Julie Burchill commandeered Nick’s PC?) I predict Nick’s approach will be to do what he did in the London mayoral election. He spent months ranting and raving about what a bastard Ken was, but was most indignant at charges that he was going to vote Boris. No, just before the election he constructed some fantasy scenario whereby Brian Paddick could win the mayoralty. One suspects, though, that the cumulative effect of his columns was to Boris’ benefit. So the equivalent would be to publish a raft of stuff on what a bastard O’Bama is, and then, about two weeks before the election, to endorse Ralph Nader or somebody. But you never really know with Nick, do you?

All this ought to be of little significance. After all, the traditional approach of Labour Atlanticism (apart from taking cheques from the CIA) has been to support whomever occupied the White House – there might be a little bias to the Democrats, but not such as to disrupt business as usual. (This, I believe, is Aaro’s position.) It remains to be seen whether the Decents as a milieu cleave to their Labourite or sectarian origins. However, given their propensity for calling you an enemy of the people if you deviate even slightly from their agenda…

Ah, fuck this, there’s only one thing for it. The L Ron Hubbard of the Decent Left must speak out. Yes, Norm, I’m talking to you. Where do you get off not saying where you stand? And by the way, not that I’m a great fan of O’Bama, but doesn’t the Decents’ willingness to even consider endorsing McCain kinda undermine their claim to be any kind of a left?

16 Comments

  1. WorldbyStorm said,

    September 4, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    They’re not, are they though? What a bunch. Nick Cohen has veered so sharply to the dark side that it’s almost impossible to take him seriously any longer. No, wait, it is impossible to take him seriously. I’m half with at least part of Kamm’s case, but with him making it… sheesh. And as for the others… wow, the tide of history is going out and leaving them looking pretty desperate.

  2. September 5, 2008 at 1:38 am

    Splintered Sunrise: Reading the Decent Left, so you don’t have to.

  3. September 5, 2008 at 9:01 am

    the relationship between neo- and paleo-cons was always characterized by (cultural, political, etc.) conflicts … and probably Palin & co. are too much “paleo” for some “neos” … but probably, they will soon find an enemy which will reunite them

  4. splinteredsunrise said,

    September 5, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Since Palin previously endorsed Buchanan, it might be interesting to see what the American Conservative has to say on the matter.

  5. Hugh said,

    September 5, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Scott McConnell of the American Conservative said, “Watching McCain camp followers react to the choice is a bit like seeing the middle aged heirs of a very rich man feign pleasure when they learn Daddy has decided, very late in life, to marry a woman he just recently met, who happens to be forty years his junior.”

  6. Andy newman said,

    September 5, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Actually, havinifg read whay NIck Cohen says about Sarah palin, I largely agree with him (does that make me Julie Birchill?)

    I think her selection was finely calibrated to bring out condescention from the metropolitan rich and intellectuals that will play very very badly in Mandrake Falls, Vermont.

  7. ejh said,

    September 5, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Or alternatively, to encourage a certain amount of grandstanding on the subject of class.

  8. Harpymarx said,

    September 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Can I just say Splintered (off topic)I just lurve the pics you use to advertise your excellent posts (the Putin one is still my fave…)

  9. johng said,

    September 5, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    i thought, in terms of more serious and critical kinds of decency martin shaws piece on Georgia was reflective and perhaps points to the splintering of the better people under the impact of events:

    http://www.democratiya.com/review.asp?reviews_id=19

  10. Liam said,

    September 5, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Does what any of these pontificators think matter?

  11. Lobby Ludd said,

    September 5, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    Liam said:

    “Does what any of these pontificators think matter?”

    Not really, but since they think they matter, then it is always a small pleasure to see that ‘Decents’ don’t actually represent anything at all.

  12. ejh said,

    September 6, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Does what any of these pontificators think matter?

    Compared to who?

  13. splinteredsunrise said,

    September 6, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Yes, good old Martin Shaw. Almost never agree with the guy, but he does have his moments. Particularly liked the way he took Hirsh apart.

  14. johng said,

    September 6, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Hirsh didn’t.

  15. BenSix said,

    September 7, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Most recently, he seems to be suggesting that you’re a snob if you don’t approve of Palin. (Has Julie Burchill commandeered Nick’s PC?)

    This is my favourite bit:

    “For once, the postmodern theories so many of them were taught at university are a help to the rest of us.”

    Nick, of course, slummed his way through a PPE course at Oxford.

  16. November 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    […] eile: As I chronicled a little while back, there has been quite a bit of fancy footwork from the Decent Left, whose […]


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