Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How Conrad Black ate the Conservative Party

A good article by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in today's Guardian. He looks at the malign influence that Conrad Black, Barbara Amiel and their followers had on the British Conservative Party through their control of the Telegraph titles and the Spectator.

They used this control to push American-style neoconservative policies, yet as Wheatcroft says:
What always struck me was how dissonant such views must have seemed to ordinary English Tories. They aren't like that at all; not ideological, not fanatical, not even very pro-American or keen on the Iraq war. So David Cameron has noticed, even if the new owners and editors of the Telegraphs haven't.
He suggests that the fact that Black and many of his group were Canadian led them to try to be more American than the Americans. And he has particular fun with Mark Steyn.

Steyn is a good film critic, able to write intelligently about unintelligent films. But the fact that for several years his was the predominant voice on foreign affairs in the British Conservative press was simply bizarre. Wheatcroft says:
For some reason, Steyn no longer writes for the Telegraphs and Spectator as he used to, pronouncing from New Hampshire with enviable self-confidence on the affairs of Iraq or anywhere else.

Apart from predicting that George Bush would win the 2000 presidential election in a landslide, Steyn said at regular intervals that Osama bin Laden "will remain dead". Weeks after the invasion of Iraq he assured his readers that there would be "no widespread resentment at or resistance of the western military presence"; in December 2003 he wrote that "another six weeks of insurgency sounds about right, after which it will peter out"; and the following March he insisted that: "I don't think it's possible for anyone who looks at Iraq honestly to see it as anything other than a success story."
I also recommend Wheatcroft's book The Strange Death of Tory England.

1 comment:

Tim said...

I can remember Harry's Place posting a few quotes from Steyn, and (correctly) pointing out that they could have come out of the mouth of Nick Griffin.

Steyn appears to be to at least a fellow-traveller of the white supremacist right. While he and his groupies keep scrieking that 'Islam isn't a race', he and his followers keep repeating a lot of very old racist tropes.