Under the headline


yesterday’s Observer prints letters both pro and anti the thesis advanced by Nick Cohen’s What’s Left?: How Liberals Lost Their Way (excerpted at length in last week’s edition of the paper).

One letter in particular made me smile:

[Cohen]’s caricature of the ‘liberal-left’ … is a travesty of the general situation … The anti-Americanism he describes is confined to a tiny minority of those who seeks [sic] alternative ways of achieving world peace from the appalling judgment that led to the invasion of Iraq
Michael Meadowcroft

In exactly the same position as this letter in the preceding spread, above the same newspaper’s main editorial, is a half-page cartoon depicting a massively obese man in plaid shirt and star-and-stripes baseball cap filling his drooling mouth with the contents of oil barrels. A full barrel is clutched in his fist; hundreds of empties are piled up in the background. The speech-bubble emerging from his mouth contains the following text:

GROW OUR OWN FUEL SO THE A-RABS CAN’T JERK OUR CHAIN – BRILLIANT [how many Americans do you know who use the word “brilliant” in that way?] FOR A MOMENT THERE, I THOUGHT WE WERE IN BIG TROUBLE…

It’s worse than anti-American: it’s unoriginal, unfunny, and scientifically and economically illiterate. In this context, however, it does make an important point very well, just not the point its creator intended. That “tiny minority” gets everywhere, doesn’t it?

The Observer is, incidentally, a Left-liberal newspaper that supported the Iraq war.

What\'s Left?: How Liberals Lost Their Way

There’s more about this at the Euston Manifesto Blog.