Janan Ganesh: The Labour Party cannot redeem itself! Some thoughts from Old Socialist

Notice that Mr. Ganesh gives a kind of testimonial to the notion of ‘prudent capitulation’ in his opening paragraph, awash in the hyperbolic, and then claims for the New Labour loyalists the role of a McCarthyite victim of ‘Socialist Vigilantes’. Can those ‘Moderates’ i.e. the Blairites, be the practitioners of that special kind of capitulation, and the victim of those vigilantes? Or is this a bit of rhetorical prestidigitation?

But then Mr. Ganesh reveals his rhetorical strategy, after his melodramatic introduction, as a pox on both your houses: name it Tory Triumphalism! Mr. Ganesh’s practice of London Spleen makes a triumphant return to the pages of the Financial Times:

‘The people they want tend not to join political parties. Their participation in real life gets in the way. An entirely fresh movement founded on the pro-European centre-left could, perhaps, attract those who feel dispossessed by Mr Corbyn and what is shaping up to be a hard exit from the EU. An invitation into an old, tainted party to fight ideologues who know the difference between Leninism and anarcho-syndicalism for mastery of things called the National Executive Committee is, for many people, a refusable offer.

Keeping the wrong people out is easier than bringing the right people in. Having proven so derelict in the first duty, the moderates should not bank on their own excellence in the second.


Then comes the accusation by our Robespierre of the ‘Moderates’ being the dupes of the ‘Hard Left’:

Keeping the wrong people out is easier than bringing the right people in. Having proven so derelict in the first duty, the moderates should not bank on their own excellence in the second.

Even if the rebels dislodge Mr Corbyn, the party will be remembered as one that twice voted for the hard left

Our Maximilien anticipates the quickening in his audience, and executes his coup de grace:

They cannot organise their way out of this fix and they cannot brainstorm their way out of it either. Labour moderates have an unhealthy relationship with abstract thought. They do too much of it without getting any better at it. They believe earthly electoral success always flows from prior victory in the meta-world of ideas. In Mr Smith’s second-hand leftism they saw proof of their own intellectual fatigue. So expect some working papers over the next year, with names like “Towards a Renewed Social Democracy” and findings — be a bit tougher on immigration, for example — that any sentient adult with access to the news could have drafted for them in advance.

Amid the cheers of the Convention the prisoner’s hands are bound behind him, and he is escorted to the tumbril, for the journey to where revolutionary justice will administered.

End scene!

The Ganesh melodrama then a takes a turn toward the politically jejune, but not before he quotes Philip Roth’s ‘ecstasy of sanctimony’ as indicative of the ‘politics’ of Corbyn and his fellow travelers. Roth, a writer whose whole career was monument to his insufferable narcissism.

Old Socialist






About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.