Defending New Labour in the Observer a few weeks ago, David Aaronovitch identified a sinister world of privilege, prejudice and plotting, where short-sighted, soi-disant left-wing opponents of the government gather 'in shuttered dining-rooms in Holland Park, Highbury and Kennington' to exchange vitriol, some of which leaks out into the public realm through such conduits as 'the pages of the London Review of Books'. The piece might cause you to consider whether it's self-indulgent and irresponsible to draw attention to the shortcomings of a government, or merely the duty of a free press. It might encourage you to think for a moment about whether or not it would be a good thing if the government weren't ever criticised from the left, but attacked only by the Daily Mail. Or it might make you wonder where exactly all these shuttered dining-rooms are, and why it is that you've never been invited to one of the fabled conspiracies forever taking place in them. Then again, you might find yourself curious as to whether David Aaronovitch doesn't have any friends who invite him round for dinner occasionally, and if he does, whether he refrains from discussing politics with them.
LRB 19 May 2005 | PDF Download