I found at Shiraz Socialist that I made the dubious Total Politics "Top 100 left of centre blogs", weighing in at 47. I don't give much credence to the list, but any loving is good loving so I'll take what I can get, as they say. The list is rather blighted by Alastair Campbell coming in at no.4. Above me, congratulations are due to: no.9 Stumbling & Mumbling, no.10 The Daily (Maybe), no.12 A Very Public Sociologist, no.13 Dave's Part, no.14 Third Estate, 37 Harpymarx, 38 Though Cowards Flinch and 44 Tory Troll. Some of those behind me include 52 Splintered Sunrise, 53 Stroppy Blog, 55 Barkingside 21, 57 Normblog (inexplicably and undeservedly down from a more apprpriate 20), 65 Left Outside, 69 Madam Miaow Says, 70 Dave Hill's London Blog, 71 Shiraz Socialist, 72 Green Ladywell, 78 Oliver Kamm ,93 Grimmer up North, and 95 Martin Bright.

At Shiraz Socialist I wrote "I hadn;t realised the results were in. I can now reveal that I voted for you guys in my no.2 slot (after myself of course) and am rather suprised to have undeservedly beaten you. Congrats to Chris D. And glad we both beat Clark and Kamm. The only way is up comrades."To which The Exile said "I am sorry that Bob feels to the need to gloat about Neil’s position in the list. At the end of the day, and unlike Gimlet Kamm, Neil believes in the old socialist values of equality of outcome and a fully collectivised economy." He continues "We should also remember that if it hadn’t been for Neil taking up my anti-harki campaign and giving it valuable publicity, today the warmongers would be able to console themselves with the thought that although they lost the war they had saved the scabs. Sorry, losers, but facesavers are not on offer these days." This is a completely disgusting position. What he calls "harkis" (the term is incredibly offensive: it properly refers to Algerians who fought with the French in the Algerian war) are the Iraqis who sought asylum in the UK after they were targeted for translating for the Coalition forces. Their right to asylum here is so clear-cut, only a morally perverse person (i.e. Clark and The Exile) would take that view. I know Martin M rates Clark, so he might want to defend him.

Moving on to something far more elevating, The Contentious One has replied to the Five Words meme - and is on splendid form. Highly recommended.

Following up the UAF/Hope Not Hate debate here, there is a fair amount in the left blogosphere about the BNP appearing on Question Time - see, e.g. Dave S, AVPS, Sim-O, Soho Politico, Bart Cammaerts, Denis MacShane, Sunny. I'm too tired to formulate my response now.

Finally, here is what TNC says you should read.


Martin Meenagh said…

Neil Clark and I worked together in Oxford. We could always share pints or cups of tea and disagree. When I've had dinner with him and Szuszanna, we've generally had a convivial time. Neil and I disagree on quite a few things, and we are different politically. He's been hounded through his employment and on the internet by personalised and fairly full-on attacks, which I don't like to see directed against anyone.

On the matter of capital punishment, we disagree, and we disagree on Israel. The point is, I'm not really on the left anymore, if I ever was, and Neil is. My discussion enders are racism, antisemitism, and god-bothering atheism, but generally I can get along with anyone.

On the matter of the Iraqi translators, I think the whole misbenighted Iraq effort is wrong. I know that I am treading on eggshells, but I think that you have to step back, not be emotional and say, 'can a collection of states support a modernising monster against Islamiciszing nutcases, then turn on him, invade with a dubious promise of imposing a culture of modernity, screw up its occupation, then take tens of thousands of people it employed who are likely to be very able, their families, and anyone with them, and put them in Surrey or Doncaster?

Can a state just do that? Just move people wherever it wants on the basis of a momentary moral obligation, when it has huge immigration as well?

I think Britain, and America, and Canada, and Australia, and the other states that invaded Iraq probably have an obligation to do that. I think that they should have coordinated it together, and left Iraq last year. I don't think Britain alone could.

Emotionally, I did't want a scuttle-and-airlift, because the inevitable consequence of the whole immigration issue, given how bad people can be and what an economic mess we are in, scares me. It scares my girlfriend, who is Korean, much more directly.

But, intellectually and morally, I think we should. I also think that this country benefitted massively from the Ugandan Asians, and that Canada did well out of the Hong Kong Chinese. I'm also a person with two passports and an immigrant family.

Exile's language is pungent. The Exile sees Iraq as an outgrowth of the global capital system which he believes broke up mines, encouraged debt over income (and therefore the pretensions of people he dislikes as a class), and which he thinks is run by and for people he hates. He sees the Iraq war as imperialist, and the translators as collaborators. You also know what you are getting when you go onto his blog, but he does things on class or ideological lines and he's upfront about it.

By contrast, when I put a piece on Harry's place last year about the Southall Black Sisters--and David Toube was a gent about it--people under the cover of anonymous names who now tout themselves as defenders of womens' rights and the left had a fit and called them 'murdering bitches' and me mad.

Conservative Cabbie is also buckling a bit, from the right--just a bit--under the pressure of people launching personal attacks on each other. What happened on this blog when I suggested that the Gurkhas should be paid more and that the British should fight their own wars, what happens in the states when anyone mentions abortion or sexuality, is happening everywhere. It all needs to stop and people need to calm down, or be open about their blogs being vents. I vent too. That's not a dig at you, by the way, I like it here.
Martin Meenagh said…
So, I understand why you asked if I wanted to defend a grown man who has been up-front about his views from others online--but I've said what I think. I have never heard Neil Clark say one thing that makes me stop thinking of him as a sort of old-left, voluble socialist with some fairly conservative views of the sort people I knew growing up used to have. I'll judge him on what I know of him, and not the way he got under Oliver Kamm and Stephen Pollard's skin.

I used to be a very angry man. It drove me on but maimed my life. Fundamentally, and I don't care what anyone thinks of it, I read my catholicism to mean that you don't persecute, don't hate, and strain if necessary not to be angry. I'm not sure my church or its texts or hierarchy always believed that, but we'll be judged on how we treat others now. This anger I see everywhere, and which is a part of political posing, does no good. It breeds the worst of the other vices (and stops people enjoying the good ones!)

Congratulations on your ranking, by the way. You deserve it. Sorry for the long post.
ModernityBlog said…

I hope you don't let all of that popularity go to your head!

I was there,once, it is like being a 2 second rockstar, one second you are up next, like me, you are 200+ in the listings :)
TNC said…
Congrats and thanks for the link.

I am putting together a post on your academic books fit for human consumption meme.
bob said…
Thanks Mod and TNC for comments. I'm sure and I'll drop out of these dizzy heights by this time next year...

Martin, thank you for replying so swiftly, thoughtfully and fully. I know exactly where you're coming from.

I have no problem with people having a position that taking in Iraqi asylum seekers is practically impossible or politically dangerous, or that the invasion/liberation/occupation was wrong or a form of imperialism. However, there is something totally different about saying that it is actually morally wrong to give asylum to the translators because they are collaborators - and particularly to use language like harkis, scabs, etc. This is beyond a certain moral pale for me. Exile is way beyond my moral line. Neil, it seems, passes close to it or over the edge of a little too often...
Martin Meenagh said…
Cheers, Bob. Je vous comprends... (pun intended, no offence :)
On Clark

The hero worship of Slobo got me.