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Samizdata quote of the day

If Nazi Germany was fascism by radio, New Labour is the corporate state by television.

Colin MacCabe, writing in the Observer, on why he has left the Labour Party.

22 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Verity

    Well, he did sound a bit like a weepy big girl’s blouse, but his direct language did lob a few home truths at El Phonio. Especially when he told Blair that lying is like breathing to him. And that he had subverted the Civil service. (I wish he’d thrown in the Millenium Dome, but I guess you can’t have everything.)

    Where I stumbled was in his elevation of Walter Wolfgang to some sort of hero when actually, he’s a self-righteous old git. Here was a Jew given safe haven from a tyrant in Germany by the only country on this side of the Atlantic who went to war against Hitler, and he is pissed off that we went to war against the equally wicked Sadam and freed other human beings.

    And his interest in the controls on of freedom of speech and the ever-burgeoning army of public sector advisors used against the British themselves was interesting.

  • Julian Taylor

    Lets not forget for one instant that it is people exactly like Colin MacCabe who put Trendy Tony Blair and his oh-so trendy Highbury & Islington set into the premiership of the Labour Party in the first place. John Smith’s plan has always seemed to many to have take into consideration that Gordon Brown would be the steadiest hand on the tiller and certainly not Tony or Cherie Blair’s claw – unfortunately poor John Smith, who managed to break the unions stranglehold on Labour in a way that Blair would never have been able to, is now portrayed as a leftwing relic, rather than the anti-Kinnockian, anti-Gramscian moderniser that he really was becoming. Perhaps it is true that any previous Labour leader (except the truly odious Neil Kinnock) is now seen as a leftwing relic by the Millbank mafioso.

    Interesting that, as commented on by Rory Bremner tonight, while the Labour Party is trying to move on the from ‘Tony & Cherie Blair Experience’ the Conservative Party is desperately seeking its very own ‘Tony Blair’ at this year’s Party Conference. I hope for all our sakes that they don’t think either Ken Clarke or Malcolm Rifkind are that man.

  • ernest young

    Every time I see old Wolfgang on TV, I get more convinced that the whole episode was a charade staged solely for the cameras, just to embarrass ‘dear tony’ – and yes, I too, thought what a selfish old man he was to object when others were benefitting from being rescued from similar circumstances to those that he endured in WWII.

    How typical that he now takes his freedoms for granted… and gets oh so righteous when others are prepared to make sacrifices, by going to war, to defend those same freedoms. So he got ejected for calling someone, (another non-entity, I believe), a liar. I think he got off lightly!

    All so typical of socialism – “pull up the ladder Jack – I’m O.K.!”

    It is just the sort of stunt that the anti-war mob would pull to get attention, aided and abetted by the Beeb of course!

    Did you see his little Ban the Bomb lapel pin? – just how passé and corny can they get? – and wasn’t it all filmed so beautifully? I would wager that he was some sort of bureaucrat before he retired…

  • Verity

    Well, Julian, to demonstrate how desperate they are, they are putting it about that David Davis, looking defiant, is “defying the religious right”.

    This, as they say, speaks sad volumes.

    David Davis is battling a non-existent British “religious right” because British lefties (who wouldn’t vote Tory if you were choking the life out of them) hate the American “religious right” … and this is going to translate into … ah …

    How serious can the Conservative party be? “Defies the religious right”? How about “Defines the religious right” so we all know what he is talking about?

  • Verity

    Oh, Ernest, I didn’t see his ban the bomb pin! God, says it all, doesn’t it? So this self-righteous old fart wanted to ban the bomb to ensure that force would never be employed against the USSR to free their people from their servitude.

    That sums it up, doesn’t it? You’re right! “I’m in! Raise the drawbridge!”

    And he’s not just a self-righteous old fart, because he was obviously a grindingly self-righteous young fart and then an argumentative middle aged fart holding court, I am sure, as a refugee and therefore an expert.

    I wonder whether he was indeed, as Julian suggests, a “public servant” before he retired? I suspect, Julian, yes. Or a university professor of Holocaust Studies.

  • guy herbert


    David Davis is battling a non-existent British “religious right” because British lefties (who wouldn’t vote Tory if you were choking the life out of them) hate the American “religious right”.

    There is a British religious right. It is not electorally important in the way the US religious right is, but it is getting more organised (witness the Jerry Springer: the Opera protests) and is overrepresented in the Tory party. Just like for the Americans, abortion and homosexuality are touchstones for them. They have tried to declare themselves as a group in the commons, with Edward Leigh as their leader. The code phrase is “traditional moral values”.

    Liam Fox has hinted at courting them by raising the abortion question in a rather oblique way, and Davis’s “defiance” should be seen in this context. Like the left of the Labour Party, they find themselves with nowhere else to go, and he’s calling their bluff.

  • RPW

    According to his wikipedia entry, Mr Wolfgang was a qualified accountant, not a civil servant (though it’s also implied he mutated into a pretty much full-time CND activist at some point). As for the accusations that he’s attempting to pull up the drawbridge behind him – well, he also volunteered for the RAF during WW2 (was invalided out due to a medical condition) when he could easily have sat out the war as a refugee.

    Granted that he is a ridiculous fossil with a hopelessly outdated worldview, does this mean we should ignore his treatment at the hands of the authorities (it was the police that detained him under terrorism legilsation ast the end of the day, after all)? Is the sort of response visible here actually not what the Blairites are relying on?

    “When they came for the CND activists, I did not speak out, for I’m not a CND activist…”

  • Julian Taylor

    Liam Fox raising the abortion question probably indicates that he’s got one of his researchers or webdesigners pregnant. On abortion issues the British religious right would most likely assume that Roe vs Wade were the alternative methods for citizens of New Orleans to get out of the city, rather than protection against the infringement of a citizen’s right to privacy … something that has been for the most part stripped away from the UK electorate.

  • GCooper

    Yes, while agreeing that Walter Wolfgang is clearly the sort of person one wishes had gone to join his fellow communists in, say, East Germany during the 1960s, I still tend to agree with RPW.

    As has been remarked elsewhere, though seeing Wolfgang bundled out of the conference hall (not to mention his young supporter receiving even worse treatment from a Za-NuLabour goon – how well they learn from Comrade Bob!), what was truly sinister was the use by the old bill of Labour’s anti-terrorist legislation to stifle further dissent.

    This was later extremely arrogantly defended by the ubersturmbahnfuhrer of East Sussex, who gave a faultless display of why the office of Chief Constable needs to be abolished, without delay.

    Moreover, RPW hits the nail even more squarely on the head with his last remark. It’s the tedious Walter Wolfgang today – it’s people haunting websites strewn with pictures of guns and hot talk of political upheaval, next.

  • Pete_London

    I’m with RPW and GCooper. His pacifist stance makes Wolfgang a fool, the fact he’s happy to raise the drawbridge and deny others his fortune makes him a contemptible fool. However that can’t be made to obscure the fact that his physical treatment and detention under the Terrorism Act was an outrage. Worse, his experience was the least of it:

    MORE than 600 people were detained under the Terrorism Act during the Labour party conference, it was reported yesterday.

    That’s six hundred. The damn thing only lasted five days. The back of my fag packet tells me that’s 120 terrorist suspects per day. Radio news reports have carried interviews with people who have been detained because of t shirt slogans insulting to Blair (note, not carrying offensive language, but they were insulting to him.) Others have had pencils cases confiscated, been detained because of papers they were carrying (it’s a conference!)

    What we have been warning about, been sniggered and dubbed paranoid about is now coming to pass. In Britain in 2005 you can be detained under anti-terrist legislation because of a t shirt deemed not politically acceptable. Well I’m packing my toothbrush because my Bollocks to Blair t shirt will be getting a good airing in future.

  • simon

    Yes. Blair is the new Mussolini.

  • Verity

    Pete_London, Yes. I wasn’t diminishing the importance of what Blair is doing – and has been doing for 10 years. He is a thoroughly contemptible piece of work.

    I was just pointing out the self-righteous lunacy of people like this old git. And now he’s being patronised and made much of and thinking he’s been proved right. I hate these judgemental, self-righteous, priggish socialists with a message for the world.

  • Julian Taylor

    Yes. Blair is the new Mussolini.

    … and we’ve already picked out the lampposts for him and Cherie.

  • Pete_London


    Ah now I’m with you there. Maybe I shouldn’t get too worked up about this; just the sight of that CND badge on his lapel would have been enough for me to start putting the boot in. He’s not only a member of the Campaign for No Defence either, but a Vice-President. It makes me wish he’d gone east in 1938 instead of west.

  • Verity

    What is absolutely fascinating to me is, Tony and Cher were big CNDers at one point. I’m assuming they quit when they realised their membership was rendering them unelectable. But their entire Ban the Bomb involvement has been air-brushed out of their history. You will not find a reference to it anywhere.

    I remember coming across the fact when they (sic) were first elected. I tried to find some reference to it a couple of years back, and it was all gone.

  • ernest young

    As I am very sure the whole thing was a set-up in the first place, it would appear that all that publicity has had the effect of drawing folk’s attention – not to the war in Iraq, but – to the loss of freedoms engendered by the Terrorism Act, and the use of the same by the poice.

    So all’s well that ends well, an unintended result to a stupid charade. Even Wolfie may take some small satisfaction from this one…

  • susan

    Blair’s a Mussolini? But, he acts like a Dhimmi.

  • Verity

    Hello, Susan. Blair is not a dhimmi. He is using the Muslims as a tool for controlling the Brits. He can cut back on our freedom of speech, under the guise of taking Muslim feelings into account. Tony certainly doesn’t have any regard for the Muslim deity or, I would wager, God. Don’t forget, he never leaves home without his ju-ju.

  • Jaime Raúl Molina

    The article reflects the naiveté of democrats in general.

    “The determination to control the party’s image on television is incompatible with a democratic party and, indeed, with democracy.”

    No my friend. The manipulation of public opinion by the sages in power is not incompatible with democracy. Quite on the contrary, it is the logical result of democracy and the well-intended but doomed principle of one-man-one-vote.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The late Nicholas Budgen, former Tory MP, once made the remark that instead of trying to nationalise business and industry, Labour would instead try to nationalise people.

    I think that prediction has come to pass with a vengeance.

  • D Anghelone

    Yes. Blair is the new Mussolini.

    Can’t picture Blair in a street fight.