If ignorance is bliss…

…then Stephen Pollard must be the happiest man on the planet.

I’m certainly not alone in wondering just what the fuck this guy has to do with the Labour Party given that he makes Blair look like a raving Trot – Antonia Bance is certainly wondering the same thing.

On the face of it, Pollard has the right – choose your own ironic aside – connections – former research director of the Fabian Society, co-author of ‘A Class Act’ with another Blair favourite, Adrian – sorry – Lord Adonis, and author of a biography of David Blunkett.

Otherwise, however, his provenance looks distinctly shaky.

His biography (on his blog) notes his writing as a columnist for the Times, Sunday Telegraph amd Wall Street Journal Europe, having previously been a columnnist and chief leader writer for the Daily Express from 1998-2000.

What his biography neglects to mention is the full story of his departure from the Express at the time it being taken over by Richard Desmond – having resigned to take a position at the Times, his last editorial piece incorporated an acrostic which spelled out F-U-C-K–Y-O-U–D-E-S-M-O-N-D – nor indeed does he mention that as a result of this little prank, the Times decided not to take up his services with the result that he was sacked before ever setting fingers to keyboard for the paper.

Hardly the most authentic track record in Labour history, then.

Its also worth noting that the piece which has Antonia wondering quite if he’s all that he appears, on education policy, is little more than a restatement of a paper he released in 1995 while Research Director of the Fabian Society – without the backing of the Society, which advocated Labour supporting the Tory’s education policy – he’s at least consistent in his views, even if his ideas go completely against the grain.

Stephen is also Jewish, which would be of little or no consequence were it not for the fact that he has a very consistent track record of crying ‘anti-semitism’ at the first hint of any criticism of Israel without, at least from the few pieces I’ve seen, any real consideration of whether that criticism may be merited.

As such, I would have to say that anything he has to say on the subject of the Middle East has to be taken advisedly on the grounds of his clear and obvious bias on the subject – as evidence of this let me refer you to this piece entitled “Roll up, roll up, it’s the Jews’ fault” which sees him crying foul over a new play called ‘Prayer Room’ by what I assume from the name is a Muslim author, Shan Khan.

It’s a measure of Pollard’s obvious bias that he interprets this play as anti-semitic even when it should be patently obvious that what it is actually is, is an allegorical tale of the creation of Israel told from a Palestinian perspective.

Does that make it anti-semitic as Pollard clearly suggests by his comment that “Perhaps the Entz Manager for Hizb ut-Tahrir or the BNP might organise a trip.”

I certainly don’t think so, not on the scant evidence of the promo on which he bases his judgment – I’d have to see the play and judge for myself in terms of tone and content but then – unlike, seemingly, Pollard – I’m both a great believer in artistic freedom of expression and not so blinkered as to believe that there’s only one side to story of Israel/Palestine over the last 60 years – particularly as my suspicion is that the real target of this piece is not the Jews at all but the craven inadequacies of the British and US foreign policy in the Middle East which, to a large extent, created this whole mess in the first place.

The fact is, if we look objectively at the history of the region since the Balfour declaration of 1917, both the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs have good reason to feel hard done by as neither we nor the US has played straight with either – not that that seems to matter overmuch to Pollard.

When it comes to sorting out this whole sorry mess, just as Hamas have to accept both that the State of Israel has a right to exist and that world have moved on from rights of property granted by a 7th Century Caliph, so Jews have to accept both that thr Palestinian Arabs have a right to their own independent state and that the, 60 years on, its time to get out of the habit of treating the Holocaust like some sort of political free lunch which excuses their own excesses and intransigence – its a two-way street.

As for Bloggers4Labour’s question over at Antonia’s blog as to whether Stephen belongs within the Labour canon, I’d say leave him where he is for the time being and let history make its own judgment as I suspect that when all’s done and dusted and Blair finally pisses off onto the US lecture circuit as an ex-PM then people like Pollard will be seen properly for what they really are – a bunch of cuckoos in the Labour nest.

Either way, read only a few of Pollard’s ‘pearls of wisdom’ and you can’t really help arriving at the conclusion that whatever shit he takes in this life, its better than even money that he’s brought it on himself and very long odds-on that he’s more or less blind to that as well.


Judy Sharon (the wife of Israel’s prime minister), speaking on a US television show about the recent bombings in London:

“As long as I hold no official position, I can say it’s not all bad for the English to find out what it’s like.”

Charming. Perhaps she’d like tickets to the Prayer Room as well…

5 thoughts on “If ignorance is bliss…

  1. Rest assured this is political, although I can see why you may be a little nervous that it may be interpreted otherwise.

    To be clear as to my own position, Pollard’s ethnic origins and religion are of no consequence here – what I take issue with is solely the manner in which he equates political criticism of the actions and policies of the Israeli State with anti-Semitism, introducing an unnecessary personal dimension to the debate in order to deflect what would otherwise be legitimate criticism.

    I don’t buy into that kind of thing, never have, never will.

    There is no basic difference between his comments about ‘The Prayer Room’ and the stance of Christian Voice on ‘Jerry Springer: The Opera’

  2. Just in the interests of accuracy, Judy Nir-Shalom, not Sharon, is the wife of Israel’s foreign minister, not the Prime Minister. And she has a long and deserved reputation as a mouthy individual.

  3. I stand corrected having picked up that snippet from several US blogs…

    Still a lousy comment, mind you.

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