Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It May Not Be Chaotic, But Is Unquestionably Grotesque

Ronan Bennett - whose personal history I was unaware of - has a puff piece for John McDonnell and his campaign for the Labour leadership in The Guardian today. I'm increasingly inclined to take my place on amongst the dead-enders by voting for him, even though I'm pretty sure he's fairly clearly unelectable, whenever the leadership election comes around. Regardless, Bennett's piece has a fine penultimate paragraph, revolving around a quite pleasingly provocative ironic rhetorical repetition of a memorable attack on the Labour far left:

In 1985, Neil Kinnock, then Labour leader, made an electrifying speech at the party conference denouncing Derek Hatton and the bankrupt Militant Tendency-run Liverpool council. Kinnock was devastating about "the grotesque chaos of a Labour council - hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers". The unlamented Hatton is long gone, but compared with the record of Blair's administration his misdeeds were petty. Cash for honours, secret loans, a neo-con foreign policy, war crimes in Iraq, home secretaries boasting they send more people to prison than the Tories ever did. A Labour government - a Labour government - in which sit both Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt, former stalwarts of the National Council for Civil Liberties, proposing 90-day detentions for terrorist suspects, restricting trial by jury, throwing asylum seekers into prison ... The list is long. It may not be chaotic, but is unquestionably grotesque.


Update: it looks like Peter Hain is going for the left-wing vote in the Deputy Leadership.


Marc Mulholland said...

I read Ronan Bennet's 'Havoc, In Its Third Year' (a novel set in the 1620s, or there about). It was brilliant, I thought.

Rob Jubb said...

'The Catastrophist' I thought was even better.