I suppose it’s a sign of growing up, that you lose reverence for your childhood heroes. As a bloke in his mid-fifties, I sometimes wonder if I have ever really grown up: I was genuinely shocked, recently, to hear Tony Benn spouting simplistic, incoherent anti-American, utter bollocks. I had previously heard him compare Islamicists in Iraq to the ANC, and wondered if he had lost his marbles. I now conclude that he has. I am informed that he never got over the loss of his beloved wife.
Another once respectworthy leftist who seems to have lost it, is John Pilger. This former hero of mine (he once even wrote a book called “Heroes”) now simply blames ‘The West’ for everything that’s wrong in the world and -unforgiveably – acts as an apologist for the clerical-fascists who rule Iran. Mark Osborn ‘fisks’ his most recent piece very effectively in the latest ‘Solidarity’. Nevertheless, I feel sad and sorry for Pilger, a once serious leftist commentator, who is now a preposterous and reactionary joke: a living embodiment of the utter stupidity of the old saying, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”. But a very good advertisement for the advisability of reading ‘The Communist Manifesto’, especially Section 3.