Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Left, Timothy Taylor's and Laban Tall

Laban Tall's blog must be one of the best-advertised in UK circles; you can hardly move these days without seeing him on a blogroll or being praised/rebutted (and it's usually the former given the intriguing bias amongst British bloggers I seem to get directed to).

Aside from the fact he's a good writer who does what all good blogs should do - provoke comment - Laban prides himself on his lefty credentials. Not his current lefty credentials, of course, but his credentials as an ex-lefty, which apparently give him an especially authoritative insight in harranguing non-conservatives.

What is this "left" from which Laban escaped, and is now able to preach about the dangers of? I am often confused by the delight of people of all sorts of political beliefs to create monolithic blocs out of their enemies. A look at Laban's most recent posts include a snipe at opposition to Iraq ("Another great blow struck for the 'left', as Iraqi insurgents torch the Sadr City HQ of the Communist Party") and his unidentified opponents' sympathy with burglars over terrorised old ladies ("The thing I love about the modern Left is their concern for the truly vulnerable in society"). I just wonder how many people would fit into the strawman left--- of the many posters I read on blogs, they tend to be far more nuanced and complicated than any such reductions, or even the slightly more informative form where social/economic descriptions being split.

If anybody answering this is able to cheer for Iraqi militant bombings and the burglary of elderly people do let us know! But if, as I suspect, we'll have trouble finding many, Laban's "left" and the corresponding "right" of many other commentators will remain fantasy strawmen, imported from the divisive and simplification-friendly climate of American politics.

Now, another day I'll return to the 'self-hating white liberal' tag he also uses.

Update: Since drafting this post (I held it back from the bumper election posts yesterday), Laban was kind enough to link to us. I think he may have just redeemed himself from the above critique, in my eyes, with his implicit statement of affection for Timothy Taylor's beer. Sadly, I'm a long way from Bingley, but this particular Oxford pub has the cask and pipes perfectly set-up, such that I really think they offer one of the few superb pints of Landlord in the South.