Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney
rozk

This analysis of the Iranian election results seems a pretty authoritative reason, along with the supernaturally early announcement of Ahmedinajad's victory, to suppose that the results were largely fictional. Chatham House is a very establishment institution, but its good name depends on its impartiality.
I'd be inclined to accept its analysis, absent some very cogent reasons not to.

Obviously there were those right-wing American academics who claimed to have done telephone polling before the election that confirmed the results. I don't think, though, that their claims compare in authority to this analysis of why the whole thing smells. I have no idea why Right-Wing Americans might want to confirm Ahmedinajad's victory - unless of course they want him to stay in power so that there is a pretext for Israel to attack and drag the US into a war with Iran willy-nilly.

But no, Roz, that's crazy talk. No American rightwinger would ever do anything immoral like tell lies in order to start a war...

And then, of course, there are the strange bedfellows who found the right-wing American claims convincing - various people on the Left like the Guardian's Seumas Milne who went on about how Ahmedinajad had authentic roots in the Iranian working-class and peasantry that should not be discounted. Contrary to what Milne claimed here, the demonstrations in Teheran do not seem to be populated exclusively by 'gilded youth' - they are not the Bullingdon Club or the Countryside Alliance, but people prepared to fight and die for a democratic Islamic republic. The question is, why do so many on the Left side with anyone that Israel or the US establishment hates?

The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.

Don't we know that by now?

There is a simple answer - Orwell would have said it and it does not become entirely untrue because said by the likes of Andrew Sullivan - that large parts of the Left just like authoritarians so much that they will pretend to themselves that someone is of the Left just so long as they are anti-American and killing people.

I don't think that's simply or straightforwardly the truth.

I think that the trouble is that the Left, among whom I count myself as a perpetually dissident bad element, have lost so many battles that we are punch drunk, that we want there to be a right side in any quarrel, which is usually defined as being the side the American and British governments are not on. I think, incidentally, this is one of the reasons why people suddenly defect to the Right, or to alliance with the Right - the same simple-minded yearning for certainty and a right side.

There is sometimes no right side - except that there are always human beings engaged in combat and bloodshed and lies and deceit. What there are, is people who are dying, people who are being murdered, people who are being oppressed. As Lenin said, 'who whom' and as Eugene Debs said 'years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.'

And as Hippocrates or Galen said 'first do no harm.'

In the end, I know that our media are censored and slanted. I also know that people died in the streets of Iran - I am on their side, not the Islamic Republic's or the Western industrial-military complex's.

****

Also, the idea that the British Secret Service can successfully foment a revolutionary crisis in the capital of a hostile power does seem to indicate that the Iranian ruling elite watch Spooks too much.

In counter to which, I will say two words, and explain them if people don't remember them,
'Michael Bettany'. The worst spy in history, and he was a British spook - I must have told that story surely...(The Plain People of Hackney say - many times, o god, many times.)

****

Her defeat by Bercow and Sir George Young in the election for the Speaker stopped Margaret Beckett being one of the great pub quiz questions of all time in a few years time. Actually, she will still, in a decade or so, be a toughie.

I mean, 'who was leader of the Labour party, deputy leader of the Labour party, minister for Agriculture and Foreign secretary?' and quizmasters will say 'Margaret Beckett' and people will go 'who?'

She has had the least distinguished career of anyone with so distinguished a career in living memory.

And I am STILL glad I voted for her against Blair and Prescott, because she may be crap, but at least she's not that crap.
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