Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Abraham, Mark and (no mention of) John

"Mark strikes up an unlikely friendship with Bob Monkhouse, started surreally by Bob approaching Mark in the Television Centre car park and saying how much he loved Reasons to be Cheerful, which he’d got as a 75th birthday present from Jeremy Beadle."

Hop on over to Splintered Sunrise for his must-read review of Mark Steel's 'What’s Going On?' (Previously mentioned on the blog here.)

Very funny, very informative and the only reason I can think why Splintered Sunrise didn't make Iain Dale's recent Top 10 Northern Irish blogs is because Splintered rises in the South. (It can be confusing sometimes working out if he's working out of Belfast or out of Dublin when he's working over the SWP.)

And as much as I like Mark Steel, kudos to Splinty for taking Steel to task with this wee barb at the end of the review which is, in the main, largely positive:

". . . But, and I have to make this point as a small criticism, Mark may be a good bloke but he’s also a little bit of an asshole. What I mean by that is, the history of the SWP, and other left organisations, is full of people in privileged positions who have known all about the organisational skulduggery that goes on, and haven’t said a word until they have been targeted themselves. I think there is a particular responsibility on people like Mark Steel or Paul Foot or Eamonn McCann, who function as a human face of their organisation and make people feel good about being in it, and who could function as a sort of conscience of the organisation. But normally they don’t. Paul Foot, who I miss a lot, was a lovely man, a brilliant journalist and one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard. But it must be said that, when confronted with the SWP leadership and with Cliff in particular, Paul could be the most awful creep. Eamonn has gone along with all sorts of hair-raising stuff, as long as he’s been allowed to plough his own furrow in Derry. And so on."

There's a hell of a lot of truth in that. Of course, it's now much too late for Steel to take on any sort of constructively critical role with regards to his old organisation because if he so much as coughs in the direction of the SWP his former comrades will be quickly on hand to dismiss him as nothing more than a political apostate. Such is life in (and out) of a political organisation.

PS - You got that Abraham is Tony Cliff, right? I posted one of Phil Evans's excellent cartoons to make the point and everything. I was originally going to go with 'Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide' as the post title, but who but the most avid Marvin Gaye fanatic will know that that was his first single on Motown back in '61?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Usually I rise in the North, but I try to spread my net wide... ;)

Thanks though, I expect Mark's publisher to have the cheque in the post.