I’ve a good mind to drive round to that Andrew Bloggers4Labour and take a sledgehammer to his server. Since he started aggregating comments as well as posts it feels like PooterGeek has been under siege. Now, as regulars know, when someone’s got me bang to rights (see below), I own up, but please, people, can you read the posts before you comment? For the record (and repeating myself):
Much as crazed libertarians holed up in aluminium-coated geodesic domes on Dartmoor with bowie knives between their teeth would like it to be otherwise, my ID card post says nothing about compulsion to register or to offer papers on demand. I oppose both of these, neither of them are part of current legislation anyway, and neither of them stand an eclair at a health farm’s chance of getting past The Great British Public. I just think it would be convenient to have a reliable, all-purpose, and legally weighty form of identification to hand and, in itself, if the state makes such ID cards available I feel no threat to my rights.
My George Best post says clearly that I have no objection to people celebrating his footballing achievements, but have very strong objections to the way in which, even now, (male) members of the press not only indulge(d) his behaviour off the field because of his performance on it, but wax nostalgic about the days when men were men and women were “birds” and heroes shagged and drank and smoked too much and put their girlfriends in casualty. It’s disgusting and even Best himself became disgusted with it too.
My Margaret Thatcher post wasn’t intended to argue that she was stupid, but to point out that her intelligence was overestimated by many people—to her advantage and to their disadvantage—just as Ronald Reagan’s intelligence was underestimated. In itself her level of intelligence has no bearing on my assessment of the goodness or badness of her or her actions, but other people’s assessment of her intelligence had serious political consequences. Then, many people in the Labour Party failed to prevent her from doing serious damage because they were both handicapped by their own ideological clumsiness and fooled into thinking they faced in her a fiendishly clever and intellectually coherent enemy. Now, the failure of those both on the Left and Right to see through the myths built around her interferes with the serious business of assessing her place in history.
I have argued in the past that high intelligence can be a handicap to good leadership. In Thatcher’s case, however, it was her shocking lack not just of smarts, but of cunning, that led to her defeat as a leader. If her enemies had identified these weaknesses earlier they might have removed her sooner. Perhaps it was her coming to believe the myths about herself that took the time.
These are all unsupported personal observations and I hope they are independent of my intense dislike of the woman and, in turn, independent of my very mixed feelings about her policies. Peter might be surprised to read that I believe that some of the worst consequences of Thatcherism flowed from what I consider to be her lack of ideological conviction, but I’m damned if I’m going to do the necessary research to write an essay to back up my feelings about this and then mud-wrestle half the ‘Blogosphere about it in the comments afterwards.
Now go away, all of you; I’m trying to build some bookshelves.