Monday, November 20, 2006

Euston Manifesto

Never Trust a Hippy writes that:

"My experience of the blogosphere is one of finding perspectives that are entirely unrepresented in the MSM - and ones that Taylor would be very glad to see discussed in the irrelevant newspapers that he reads.

Perspectives such as that found in the Euston Manifesto - surely* the first effective political movement to grow out of the blogosphere"

The thing that I never really understood about the Euston Manifesto was the idea that it represented a new political movement, given that there was nothing in it which differed particularly from the foreign policy of the Labour Party since 1997 (except possibly for the bit about open source, I don't know what Labour policies have been like on that).

This policy was, in general, quite successful from 1997 until about 2003, with most of the criticism coming from when the government failed to live up to its principles (e.g. arms sales to Indonesia), or opposition to the wars on Serbia and Afghanistan. I opposed both of these wars at the time, and by 2002 I thought that on balance the predictions made by the supporters of these wars had been proved right and the predictions made by me and the other anti-war people hadn't.

Since then, the foreign policy of the government has proved much less successful, increasingly unpopular in Britain, with the situation in Iraq deteriorating, and with the likelihood of it being politically possible for a future British government to support military intervention to prevent genocide or overthrow repressive regimes almost non-existent.

I think that this is in many ways regrettable, as the ethical foreign policy was, at its best, a radical and thoughtful alternative to traditional Foreign Office diplomacy and a bold attempt to use the power of the British state and build alliances to extend democracy and freedom. It would be much preferable if, for example, Iraq were now a stable democracy and if the current strategy for containing radical Islamism did not involve making deals with a variety of dictators and human rights abusers. But to describe the Euston Manifesto as 'an effective political movement' seems a very curious assessment, like describing the Conservative Party between 1997 and 2005 as 'an effective political party'. If supporting the policies of the government during a time when support for them is collapsing is success, I would hate to see what failure looks like.


At 3:22 am , Blogger wozza said...

Bloggers in America got respected CBSNews man Dan Rather fired and helped revolutionize the US political system in 2003 when Dean was getting a head of steam and raising money like no tomorrow.

both before Euston.

i have always been sceptiical of Euston, it just seemed like another mindless division and one thats been remarkably pro-Blair.

At 9:52 pm , Blogger Bloggers4Labour said...


Bloggers in America may have got respected CBSNews man Dan Rather fired, but they weren't a political movement.


I must say, your piece is more reasonable than at least 95% of the responses I've seen to the Manifesto, but whatever individuals say, the aim of the M is not "success", it's about outlining a set of fairly basic values that a 'decent' (I mean that not in the pejorative sense) Left ought to be able to agree on. That's all it is.

While the UK Govt broadly sticks to those universal democratic principles I'm sure Euston supporters will look favourably on it, but that's as far as the relationship goes, and should go.

At 1:29 am , Blogger wozza said...

they were some fairly vicious right wing hacks who decided en masse they were going to do something. It was a right wing movement united around defending president bush - it may have been transient but it existed.

Like getting John Bolton confirmed for the UN and stoping John Mccain.

If it walks like a movement, talks like a movement and quacks like a movement, its a movement


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