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Thursday, July 21, 2005


How times change

Watching Prime Minister's Questions on the TV news yesterday, I was struck by the fact that Tony Blair was flanked by two of Britain's leading young political rebels of the late 1960s.

On one side of Blair sat Jack Straw, the first 'political' president of the NUS (National Union of Students), whose name was a byword for student protest in that era. On the other side sat Peter Hain, a prominent Young Liberal and Anti-Apartheid activist in those days, notorious for digging up cricket pitches. If Tariq Ali had been sitting alongside them, we would have had the complete set.

Today, Straw and Hain are leading members of Britain's most authoritarian government since the second world war. There is a moral in here somewhere but I am not sure what it is.

Tariq Ali, on the other hand, maintains his radical credentials by
voting Liberal Democrat.

Somehow I doubt you ewere around in 67-9 when Straw was active in the NUS. Far from being a fire-breathing activist, he was a terminally dull apparatchik.
> There is a moral in here somewhere but
> I am not sure what it is.

Shurely it's: People who seek out power tend to be 'right wing' - no matter what they espouse to achieve that power.
But Straw still trades on an imaginary reputation for "radicalism" as he's climbed the greasy pole (as does Clarke), while Liberal students from then, still on the long march through the institutions, haven't sold out to totalitarianism (probably Jack's true calling). Emperors. Clothes. Someone's going to notice Jack and Chas soon.
do we want Tariq Ali????!!
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