AHH, the Guardian. It’s an entertaining read, so long as it is not taken seriously. The entertainment comes from the absurd linguistic contortions performed by its writers when objective reality contradicts their world-views.
A still-compelling example of this is the editorial published on the eve of last year’s General Election when the paper came down on the side of Corbyn’s Labour Party thus: ‘Anything less than zero tolerance against racism tarnishes Labour’s credentials as an anti-racist organisation. The pain and hurt within the Jewish community, and the damage to Labour, are undeniable and shaming. Yet Labour remains indispensable to progressive politics.’ Consider the doublethink in this sentence. An anti-Semitic political party was still seen as part of progressive politics. It gets worse. The article went on: ‘Despite our misgivings, we believe that a vote for the Labour party offers the best hope for the country.’ This was a hope not shared by British Jews, and it is instructive that anti-Semitism was not seen as a deal-breaker by the newspaper that once happily employed Seumas Milne.
‘Twas ever thus. One hundred years ago, the humorous magazine Punch published its suggestion of what job application letters to various newspapers by the best candidates would look like, under the heading ‘How to Gain a Journalistic Position’. For the Manchester Guardian, as it then was, the suggestion ran as follows:
‘Sir, I was a Conscientious Objector during the War. I conscientiously object to everything still, including the [Versailles] Peace Treaty. I speak and write fifteen languages and dialects, including Oxford English. I have a comprehensive knowledge of social and political life in Continental Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Polynesia. I have also resided in England. I have a deep conviction that under all conditions, everywhere and at all times, England is invariably and absolutely in the wrong. In home politics I am resolutely opposed to all the [Conservative-supported but Lloyd-George led] Coalition has done, is doing or will do. It is my firm opinion that the actions of England would become less deplorable, less criminal if [Liberal Party leader] Mr ASQUITH returned to power. I enclose as specimens of my mentality two intensely human articles which I doubt not will find a home in your columns: ‘Proportional Representation in Jugo-Slavia’ (length four thousand five hundred words) and ‘Futurism under TROTSKY’ (length five thousand words).’
Which all brings me to the present day. The Guardian is in the news for behaving exactly like the Guardian. The feminist columnist Suzanne Moore has been purged from the comment pages following an article that questioned the prevailing orthodoxy over transsexualism. More than 300 staff and writers, and Owen Jones, signed a letter protesting about her stance. Apparently some Guardianistas were left in a state of emotional shock. Poor dears. Pass the smelling salts.
Moore’s contract with the Guardian has now lapsed and she is telling her story across the media, portraying herself as the victim.
Wait a minute.
Moore is not without sin. All that has happened to her is that she has been on the receiving end of the same kind of ideological intolerance she was perfectly capable of meting out herself, the same kind of blind partisanship that saw her erstwhile paper see the election of an extremist socialist government with a proven reputation for open anti-Semitic harassment as more important than the fate of the co-religionists of six million men, women, and children who, within living memory, were ruthlessly selected for industrialised murder by an extremist national socialist government.
When hundreds of girls were raped in a managed, organised, and probably commercialised fashion by men of mainly Pakistani heritage in Rotherham, Moore decided that everyone was to blame, rather than look at the kind of political culture championed by people like her that made dealing with crimes which are concentrated in an ethnic minority impossible to address, officials being afraid of career-ending accusations of racism by those in thrall to the Guardian‘s kind of perverse thinking.
That wilful blindness pales into insignificance when compared with the intolerance she displayed in 2012. The Left-wing journalist Mehdi Hasan penned a piece for the New Statesman entitled ‘Being pro-life doesn’t make me any less of a lefty‘. Cue outrage. Hasan was interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme, when it was fairly good. In the interests of balance, Moore was invited to give her views. These consisted entirely of shouting at the male presenter, who if my memory serves me was John Humphrys, and Hasan himself, refusing to let them get a word in edgeways because she believed that men could not be permitted to debate abortion or indeed whether or not male Left-wingers could be pro-life, as it was a woman-only issue. Her shrill behaviour was typically Guardian when confronted by inconvenient fact. There is a link to the segment on the BBC website, but curiously, the audio is missing, hence my having to rely on memory; it was quite memorable and not in a good way for La Moore, which might explain the audio’s absence.
So all that is happening to Moore is precisely what she was quite happy to do to others. Rather than the Hollywood-style image of a poor truth-seeking columnist victimised by an ideological media monolith, this is a story about rats fighting in a cage. They are all as bad as each other: that is why they work at the conservative-hating Guardian. They are all actually quite conservative in their quest for an unfettered progressivism and once again have demonstrated their illiberal tendencies. That is why this is all so entertaining, but certainly no more than that. But then the absurdity of the Guardian has been entertaining for more than 100 years.