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Samizdata quote of the year

“If the French social model is so great, why is the country in flames?”
– Peter Mendelson in an off the cuff remark before talks with Philippe Douste-Blazy, French foreign minister.

23 comments to Samizdata quote of the year

  • Colin

    You’ve spelt his name wrong, Adriana. Not Peter Mendelson but Peter Meddlesome.

  • Top quote. He said it during a Newsnight film – Mandy on Newsnight

  • Sol M

    Doesn’t matter a jot how his name is spelt – what he stands for stinks just the same

  • Andy

    Poor old Mandy, popular as ever I see.

  • Andy

    Speaking of flames – I assume everyone read todays G2 today? Got a bit of a surprise reading the paper on the train back to the office just now. Looking very pretty Adriana! However, what’s with this lurch to media mainsteam?

  • Mike State

    Let’s just call him Mandy.

    Like all the other placemen in the EU Commission, he is there to keep him out of the mainstream of national government.

    He was a twat as HM government minister and remains a twat. Whoever heard of a leopard changing its spots or slime losing its ooze?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Well, he may be a tosser, but a stopped clock tells accurate time twice a day.

  • dearieme

    He’s rather like the late, unlamented Senator McCarthy – he sometimes tells the truth, but only by accident.

  • I think we are far from mainstream but thanks for your kind words… We rather enjoy our dimly-lit popularity in the blog trenches. 🙂

  • verity

    Dearieme opines: He’s rather like the late, unlamented Senator McCarthy – he sometimes tells the truth, but only by accident.

    “Unlamented”? A bit behind the times, aren’t we?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Verity, I dunno if Tailgunner Joe’s reputation has been fully restored. I thought he was still regarded as a toxic figure in American life, although the whole McCarthy era has been woefully distorted by leftwing historians, for obvious reasons.

  • Millard Foolmore

    Paleocons such as me, individualists of the Old Right, never believed the Red scare was anything but a power play by would-be centralist dictators in the States: an attempt to keep the military-industrial complex’s ball rolling.

    Joe McCarthy was a proto-neocon and thoroughgoing shill for arbitrary state power and thought control. He was a RINO from Wisconsin, the most socialistic state in the Union then (he took over from Bob La Follette IIRC). Ike had his measure and refused to be stampeded by him.

    Long live Robert Taft!

  • Joshua

    I thought he was still regarded as a toxic figure in American life, although the whole McCarthy era has been woefully distorted by leftwing historians, for obvious reasons.

    Right. The only person seriously trying to restore his reputation is Ann Coulter – and no one takes her seriously for obvious reasons.

    I second Millard Foolmore’s interpretation.

  • Ole Hickory

    Well, I reckon McCarthy was the illegitimate father of the whole dreary 60s counterculture of protest for protest’s sake: it began as an exaggerated backlash against the hysterical conformism and litmus tests of loyalty he tried to foist on Americans, who are naturally a nation of plain speakers and adventurous thinkers.

    Blame Tail Gunner Joe for Hanoi Jane. He was a nasty piece of work who surrounded himself with dittoheads, the Titus Oates of American politics. Nobody loves a snitch, and a snitch who lies and defames to build a career is less lovable yet.

    In the end Joe didn’t do too much harm because folks got his number. When they saw him sweating and snorting on TV they thought ‘with friends like these, do our freedoms need enemies?’ Thankfully the democratic system has a way of flushing out its false friends, and Communism in America withered away in the late 1950s without Sen. McCarthy’s assistance.

  • Eric Sivula

    Hunh. I have never heard of either the elder Kennedy brothers referred to as ‘dittoheads’. As for the poor, benighted victims of ‘Tailgunner Joe’, perhaps you could name one for me that WAS actually innocent? Or do you still think Alger Hiss was not working for the Soviets?

    And please do not bring up the lefties from Hollywood – that was the HOUSE Unamerican Activities committee. SENATOR McCarthy had nothing to with it, Bill O’Reilly’s rantings to the contrary.

    As for ‘Tailgunner Joe’, while your at it, proove he said that the pinkoes should be shot, or imprisoned, or even fired. His goal was to have Communists removed form positions with access to classified documents. In an era of massive Soviet espionage – ala Venona – how was this an unwise position to hold?

    I mean even the WEST WING admits that the Left was awash in Soviet operatives in the 40s and 50s. And they think that Castro is a decent guy.

  • Verity

    What I meant was as explained above by Eric Sivula and a couple of others. Whether you liked him, his methods or his attitude, Sen McCarthy was right. The American power structure was infested with communist sympathisers at that time.

    Meanwhile, lethal fascist viruses mutate but continue. I see today that the ROPMA has officially promised to seize King Abdullah of Jordan and behead him. (Link) Why am I not surprised?

  • I’d prefer to withhold judgement on the French model until and unless I’ve determined the rioters are something other than what they appear to be–riotous thugs. Has some frivolous anti-French shadenfreude led us to blithely accept the boilerplate diagnosis of the mainstream media? Needle the French a bit if you must, but when push comes to shove, I think I’m siding with them against, well, whatever the hell it is.

  • Luniversal

    McCarthy wasn’t ‘right’, he was an erratic guesser. If you cannot substantiate an accusation you should not make it. Innocent until proven guilty. Besides the Venona evidence is itself tainted: exaggerated Beria-pleasing claims about how many agents we’ve got and how well they’re working. Bureaucrats don’t only overstate their successes in the West, you know.

    The proof of the non-pudding was in the absence of eating: for all this sinister subversion, communism made far less appeal to Americans after WW2 than before it, despite the wartime alliance with Our Gallant Russian Allies, and America’s military superiority was never seriously challenged by the USSR despite the atomic espionage McCarthy failed to nail. When Tailgunner Joe was smearing and raising false alarms, the USA was at the zenith of its imperium. Today, with communism on its way out everywhere, America is sagging too. The big ideologies were symbiotic and convergent– dirigiste capitalism, meet decadent bolshevism– which is why the Cold War was such a sham, like the neocons’ later invention of ‘Islamofascism’. As a leftist turncoat screeching for confrontation and denouncing critics as traitors, Joe had much in common with today’s neocon chorus.

    As principled Republicans of the great isolationist tradition such as Margaret Chase Smith were first to see, McCarthy was the best friend genuine commie infiltrators had. Anyone who indicts the entire Democratic Party (himself being a member at the time) for ’20 years of treason’ and calls Pres. Eisenhower a Soviet dupe belongs in a bughouse, not the Upper House. As Ike said, he was a skunk.

  • which is why the Cold War was such a sham, like the neocons’ later invention of ‘Islamofascism’

    And that is why it is hardly worth debating with you. “The Cold War was a sham”. And presumably if the west has just spent all that money they spent on defence on, well, private non-military expenditure, the Soviets would have just sat on their side of the line and made faces at us. You clearly have little grasp of reality but I am happy to leave you to your delusions without any further comment from me.

    Dennis: I think I’m siding with them against, well, whatever the hell it is.

    Over 300 French towns get hit by multi-day riots and it might not be the French social model that is to blame? Riiiighht. PMS on a massive scale maybe?

  • Perry, is it beyond all possibility that the rioters are in the wrong? When the fascists take to the streets (God forbid) are we going to lay down our critical arms and pronounce whatever nation they seek to destroy guilty? It is entirely possible that the sub-culture at work in the ghettos is to blame. That these new thugs are virulently racist and misogynistic is readly apparent, and to divorce these tendencies from the formidable presence of hip hop culture, on one hand, and what’s left of the Islamic traditions of their homelands on the other is willful ignorance. I don’t pretend to know, but I wish there were a little more leeway allowed in the debate over just what is at work here and what should be done about it.

  • Luniversal

    P de H: “And that is why it is hardly worth debating with you.”

    And yet you keep forcing yourself to. You are even taking more care with your spelling and grammar after my strictures. Admit it: you’re just a big old masochist at heart like all libboes– laying out an impossible dream and then writhing in impotent fury when it’s constantly confounded by the realities of human psychology and biology.

  • Eric Sivula

    Luniversal, I am still waiting on the name of ONE person ‘Tailgunner Joe’ smeared. Just ONE.

    So far, you have raised the traditional canard of the “No Reds in the Left” revisionists – McCarthy smeared innocent people.

    So name one.

  • Luniversal

    Start at the top. General George C Marshall and Dean Acheson, maybe?

    “The President [Truman] is not master in his own house. Those who are master there not only have a desire to protect the sappers and miners – they could not do otherwise. They themselves are not free. They belong to a larger conspiracy, the world-wide web of which has been spun from Moscow. It was Moscow, for example, which decreed that the United States should execute its loyal friend, the Republic of China. The executioners were that well-identified group headed by Acheson and George Catlett Marshall.”

    (McCarthy to Senate, June 14, 1951)