@JananGanesh: from sangfroid to high dudgeon: on Rees-Mogg. Political Observer comments

What can be bothering our Tory Hipster? Or have I misidentified Mr. Ganesh? Is he rather a New Labour Hipster, an acolyte of Tony Blair? So many questions! Another consideration is that approaching deadline!

Is Rees-Mogg’s Conservative position on same-sex marriage, and his opposition to abortion, even in the case of rape at all surprising? Should the reader look to Mrs. Thatcher as the political precursor to Rees-Mogg?

Even given the change/evolution in public opinion that Mr. Ganesh presents. Or Rees-Mogg’s feudal attachment to his ‘high birth’? Should the reader just discard the political thought of both renowned Conservatives, Burke and Disraeli? Who based their politics on their misplaced faith in the primacy of a benevolent English landed aristocracy.

Then Ganesh confronts those elderly political nihilists who voted for the Brexit:

There was an elegiac feel to the Europe referendum even at the time: old people voting more as a final act of defiance against social change than in serious hope of restoring the slow, ordered and, yes, religious nation of their youth.

The dissatisfaction of the electorate with the European Union, Neo-Liberalism avant la lettre or Cartel with the trappings of Democracy? doesn’t even register with Ganesh. Nor the telling object lesson of how the Greeks were treated by the the Merkel/Schäuble blunt instrument of the UCB.  Not just by the Anti-Enlightenment elderly, afflicted with a radical political nostalgia, but by younger voters who eventually became the supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, and the return of Labour Party to its roots.

On Germany’s many debt restructurings:

For a couple of minutes Friedman then offered a brief review of western financial history, highlighting the unprecedented nature of Europe’s single currency experiment, and offering a description of sovereign and local government defaults in the 20th century. Then, with an edge to his voice, Friedman pointed out that one of the great beneficiaries of debt forgiveness throughout the last century was Germany: on multiple occasions (1924, 1929, 1932 and 1953), the western allies had restructured German debt.


Mr. Ganesh end his hectoring polemic with ‘liberalism’ triumphant. Meaning Social Liberalism, and in the lower case, as a diminishment of that triumphalism. Mr.Ganesh’s usual sangfroid has deserted him, in its stead we get Mr. Ganesh in high dudgeon!

But what reader can resist Mr. Ganesh’s obvious talent for the telling aphorism, even if its just a sparkling shard :

Authenticity, the star dust of this political age,…

Political Observer




Thank you for offering a more cogent criticism of my style of writing! Much more welcome that your first comment. Your dissatisfaction, in its inchoate form, lacked that cogency.

I followed Mr. Ganesh’s lead, rhetorically. I attempted to follow Mr. Ganesh’s polemical arguments, he is a polemicist! I answered polemic with polemic. Because I consider the readership of the FT to be very articulate, intelligent, not to speak of well read, my polemic may reference many ideas, thoughts and speculation, that I have learned about here at this newspaper, and my other reading.

Since The Economist began publishing ‘1843’ that publication, in my judgement, has lost much of what it made it challenging, and made it a most hospitable place for me to comment, on its essays on all kinds of subjects. Perhaps you, as a reader of my comment might just consider that that ‘frenetic way’ is based upon my belief that the reader of this publication is a highly sophisticated reader and worthy of being treated as such!



P.S. You might just consider me an intellectual, who riffs on the leaps and somersaults pioneered by Robin Williams’ stand up!



@John Smith,

Thank you for your enlightening and thoughtful comment.  I read Mr. Sen’s comment on the Brexit in The New Statesman. He still is mired in the idea that the EU is a product of The Enlightenment Dream of a ‘United Europe’! When it is most assuredly the product of Monnet, in his role as Super-Technocrat,who helped to create the Common Market, a steel and coal cartel, that evolved into the E.U. That EU has become the political economic instrument of the four time defaulter Germany under the leadership of Merkel/Schäuble and its blunt economic instrument the ECB. The world watched as that duo and the ECB made Greece tow the political line of Austerity, when Germany defaulted 4 times in the 20th Century! Hypocrisy doesn’t describe it, hubris does. See Ms. Tett’s essay here titled ‘A debt to history’ 


On the irrelevant question of J.G.A. Pocock as being ‘comfortably ensconced in a rich country’, I would say your barking up the wrong tree. I’ve read his Machiavellian Moment and the first two volumes of his Barbarism and Religion: it is quite astonishing that he covers much of the same intellectual/historical territory, as part of the ‘Western Political/Moral Tradition’ : that is his analysis of the influence of  Machiavelli on our republican tradition, and on a critical reading of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall. Mr. Pocock from my reading of his work is a committed republican. His comments on the Brexit are succinct and devastatingly accurate. The EU has rejected even the idea of reform, that would make it democratic in fact. But the Merkel/Schäuble alliance along with the Neo-Liberal  Macron’s Jupertarian Politics, rule by decree, are quite happy with the current simulacrum of democracy. That is the lie that all the Neo-Liberals endlessly repeat, even as the 1% prosper and the 99% are continually lectured that this is ‘The Best of All Possible Worlds’ : Dr. Pangloss is the false prophet of that present.




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
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