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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Rough music

Political dissent has a noble literary tradition and after reading Tariq Ali's "Rough Music: Blair, Bombs, Baghdad, London, Terror", there is yet another title for the list. It's a short read - only 100 pages - yet covers much ground.

Written in the wake of the London bombings, Ali lays the blame squarely at the feet of Tony Blair, a compliant media and Western inability to deconstruct political exceptionalism. Ali laces his text with references to the former troubles in Northern Ireland - and finds disturbing similarities to the "war on terror" - and explains how Blair was re-elected in 2005 "by less than 22 per cent of the overall electorate (the lowest percentage scored by any governing party in recent European history.)" The result is diminished democracy.

Political pamphlets have a noble tradition and Ali makes a fine contribution. Nobody is spared, including the so-called "liberal press" of the Guardian and Independent, and the writer provides a welcome perspective on the widespread amnesia within popular, Western culture, from Iraq to anti-terror laws, the BBC's occasional bravery to New Labour's bastardisation of Thatcher's sordid legacy.

4 Comments:

Blogger Shabadoo said...

What about blaming the bombers themselves? No other minority with a grudge in the West behaves this way...why Muslims? (I notice in the Cronulla thread you duck this question as well).

Anyway, what does it matter how few people voted for Blair? That was your line about Chavez, at least.

Monday, December 12, 2005 1:26:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Actually that was your line Shab. That the poor voter turnout at the last election was an indictment on Chavez, rather than his opponents.

Try as you might with the bait and switch arguments Shab, you're not getting any better at it.

What apparently went clearly over your head was that the IRA did indeed resort to similar tactics.

Monday, December 12, 2005 1:45:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

IRA...fair enough, mutatis mutandis... But I think it's Anty who's baiting-and-switching here...

Monday, December 12, 2005 2:11:00 pm  
Blogger RapScallion said...

shabadoo, you haven't replied to the perfectly reasonable criticism that you have changed your tune. It's OK for Blair to have won with a tiny percentage of the electorate's vote, but not for Chavez, according to you. You give yourself away far too easily.

These sorts of results, the ones Tariq Ali adduces, make a mockery of 'democracy' and the argument for voluntary voting, not to mention the British first past the post system. Above all, they show how a kind of national political somnolence can allow even the most egregious deceptions and heinous actions to just slip past into history, where they might eventually be studied and damned some day.

Monday, December 12, 2005 5:02:00 pm  

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