Tag Archives: Harry’s Place

Whatever happened to the Euston Manifesto?

The authors and signatories of the Euston Manifesto always reminded me of those self-described leftists of the Cold War era. You know the ones. They would describe themselves as “anti-Communist  or Democratic Labour” or some such thing. Their aim was to divert the suspicious gaze of the Right and to claim the moral high ground over the Left, many of whom continued to see the Soviet Union as a beacon of progress.

In many respects, the Eustonites were barely different from their more right-wing cousins in the Henry Jackson Society. In fact, some Eustonites straddle both camps. For example, the Labour MP, Gisela Stuart, is a member of both groups.  In 2006, The Telegraph reported that,

…Miss Stuart claimed that a Kerry victory over President George W. Bush would prompt “victory celebrations among those who want to destroy liberal democracies”.

Stuart herself added

“You know where you stand with George [W. Bush] and, in today’s world, that’s much better than rudderless leaders who drift with the prevailing wind.”

While Stuart is a member of both groups, the Labour MP, Chris Bryant is a signatory of the Henry Jackson Society’s statement of principles along with Tories Michael Gove, Greg Hands and Michael Ancram.

The Euston Manifesto was born in 2006, three years after the disastrous invasion of Iraq and a year after the Henry Jackson Society was formed. It was signed by a number of soi-disant left-wing academics, journalists and politicians. Those who authored the document include Marxist historian, Norman Geras, Observer hack, Nick Cohen and journalist and Marx expert, Francis Wheen. The disgraced Labour MP, Denis MacShane is also a signatory.

The preamble to the manifesto says,

We are democrats and progressives.
We propose here a fresh political alignment. Many of us belong to the Left, but the principles that we set out are not exclusive. We reach out, rather, beyond the socialist Left towards egalitarian liberals and others of unambiguous democratic commitment. Indeed, the reconfiguration of progressive opinion that we aim for involves drawing a line between the forces of the Left that remain true to its authentic values, and currents that have lately shown themselves rather too flexible about these values. It involves making common cause with genuine democrats, whether socialist or not.

The present initiative has its roots in and has found a constituency through the Internet, especially the “blogosphere”. It is our perception, however, that this constituency is under-represented elsewhere — in much of the media and the other forums of contemporary political life.

The broad statement of principles that follows is a declaration of intent. It inaugurates a new Website, which will serve as a resource for the current of opinion it hopes to represent and the several foundation blogs and other sites that are behind this call for a progressive realignment.

From the beginning, the Eustonites attacked the anti-war movement and, in particular, George Galloway, whom they claimed was “anti-Semitic”. Indeed, the Eustonites referred to anyone who criticized Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories and Gaza as “anti-Semitic”. Similarly, any criticism of the United States’s foreign policy objectives was described as “anti-American”. They are indiscriminate.

The Eustonites also have a close link to the notorious Harry’s Place blog, which claims to be left-wing but is, for all intents and purposes,  a rather right-wing blog that attracts all kinds of swivel-eyed Islamophobes and closet Tories. It is often cited by right-leaning hacks like Gilligan.

Perhaps the strangest thing about the Eustonites is the way they tacked on open source software clause at the end of their manifesto. It doesn’t actually fit with the rest of the document. It’s almost an afterthought.  It’s a little like adding “free beer on Wednesdays” at the end of a constitution.

The Euston Manifesto website has been quiet since 2011. The last entry is about the death of Osama Bin Laden.

The purpose of the Euston Manifesto was to attack the Left and suck up to the Right, while claiming to be left-wing. Confused? So am I. Perhaps this is the reason why the Euston Manifesto has been such a failure: its authors and signatories are not in synch with one another and its mission is at odds with the traditional left-wing position of anti-imperialism. If anything the Eustonites are apologists for imperialism. The Euston Manifesto failed to ignite left-wing imaginations and remained in the cultural and ideological ghetto of the blogosphere. In short, its attempt to emulate the Right and the Third Camp of Schachtmanism has ended in failure. And hallelujah for that!


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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 48)

East London Mosque, the site of sustained attacks from Andrew "Bomber" Gilligan. East London Mosque, the site of sustained attacks from Andrew "Bomber" Gilligan.

East London Mosque, the site of sustained attacks from Andrew “Bomber” Gilligan.

Kennite was forced to announce on his Telegraph blog that he was about to be hired as Bozza’s cycling “tsar”. For this role, he will be paid £38,000 for 2 days work. A nice little earner. On that blog, he told us the following,

It’s part-time; I’ll continue in my day job, covering national and international news for the Telegraph, though I will no longer be called London Editor or cover any matter related to City Hall or Boris Johnson.

He will no longer be called “London Editor”. These are weasel words. He will still comment on London matters, particularly those that relate to Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman and Ken Livingstone. In a second blog about his new appointment, he said,

There was inevitably a second group of reactions. A small number of people who could fairly be described as partisan, such as Labour’s Len Duvall and the Ken Livingstone blogger Sunny Hundal, have damned itas “cronyist.” But as Mayorwatch’s Martin Hoscik – another man who could never be described as a patsy for the mayor – points out, all mayors are entitled to appoint political supporters to political jobs, and do so routinely without controversy. Nobody would or should call, say, the Labour assembly member Val Shawcross a crony because Boris’s predecessor appointed her as chair of the fire authority.

Such dishonesty. But notice how he gets in another dig at his favourite bogeyman, Ken Livingstone. He just can’t help himself.

In yesterday’s blog, Kennite attacked East London Mosque, which he has described, in the past, as a hotbed of extremism (or words to that effect).

I was offered the “Muslim patrol” story in Tower Hamlets, where self-proclaimed “Muslim vigilantes” filmed themselves verbally abusing and intimidating a gay man. Perhaps wrongly, I didn’t use it because I wasn’t sure whether a few kids on YouTube had national importance. I am glad, however, that the local police appear to be taking it seriously for once – in contrast to their lamentable attempts to ignore, downplay and cover up previous acts of “Islamic enforcement” and bigotry in the East End.

Really? The police “covered up”, “ignored” and downplayed “Islamic enforcement in the “East End”? The East End is a big place, by the way. But you know where this is leading, don’t you? Oh yes, it’s another smear job on the East London Mosque.

One Tower Hamlets organisation of undoubted national importance that continues to laugh up its sleeve at us is the East London Mosque, the capital’s largest. The mosque’s PR machine lost no time cranking out a statement condemning the “vigilantes” and claiming that the mosque was “committed to building co-operation and harmony between all communities in this borough. The actions of this tiny minority have no place in our faith.” This claim has been trustingly repeated by various journalists in the coverage this week. But, as the most cursory investigation would show, it is a brazen lie.

The only reason why Kennite doubts the ELM’s statement is because it’s been issued by a mosque, which by definition means they’re also Muslim. There is no other reason.

Then, in the next paragraph, Kennite gets into a bit of a tangle.

There is no evidence that the East London Mosque is directly involved in the latest attacks. But at least one activist in the Islamic Forum of Europe, the Islamic supremacist group that runs the mosque, has previously threatened and intimidated people for violating “Islamic norms,” using the IFE’s name.

Notice how he mentions the Islamic Forum for Europe, whom he accuses of threatening and intimidating behaviour and draws a lazy link between the self-styled vigilantes, the ELM and IFE. I’m only surprised he hasn’t mentioned al-Qaeda.  The English Defence League also have a penchant for intimidation. They also make the same noises about the ELM and the IFE. Coincidence?

He continues his rant,

And as this blog has repeatedly documented, the mosque itself and its annexe, the London Muslim Centre, host a constant stream of viciously homophobic and other hate preachers. In June 2011, after coming under particular pressure on the subject, the mosque promised: “Any speaker who is believed to have said something homophobic will not be allowed to use our premises.”

And certain members of UKIP have made “viciously homophobic” statements. But they’re mostly white and possibly Christian, so they don’t count. Eh, Kennite?

At the end of the blog, we find this,

Hat-tip to Harry’s Place for the adverts and one of the videos.

Ah, Harry’s Place, that fount of tolerance and understanding. Reading the blogs on that site is a little like splashing your eyes with nitric acid.

So, while Kennite has apparently surrendered his role as the Torygraph’s London Editor, he will continue to churn out smear jobs about Rahman, Livingstone and anyone who defends them or challenges his narrative. It’s business as usual.

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Filed under City Hall, Journalism, London, Media, Tory press, Tower Hamlets, Yellow journalism