Seumas Milne: Enemy of the North African Left and Secularists.
Opponent of North African Left and Secularists.
Seumas Milne has a new job.
Guardian columnist Seumas Milne has been appointed as Labour Executive Director of Strategy and Communications. The appointment is considered controversial in Labour circles.
The appointment of Milne is the surest sign yet that Jeremy Corbyn will fill senior positions with hard left allies in an attempt to assert his dominance. Milne is considered one of the most left wing commentators in the media. He has worked as comment editor and labour editor for The Guardian, as well as writing for The Economist, and has spent 10 years as an executive member of the National Union of Journalists. He has also written several books, including one about the miners’ strike of the 1980s.
Milne will join the Labour leader’s office on the 26th October, next Monday, on leave from his position at The Guardian.
Much will be made of Milne’s various political stands, including, no doubt the time when he stood as a ‘Marxist-Leninist’ candidate in mock elections at his exclusive public school, Winchester College (information from an Old Wykehamist).
These are just two which make him unfit to represent Labour to an important section of the world left, his opposition to the North African left and support for their Islamist allies, and, as he showed with his reactionary anti-Charlie Hebdo rants, his hostility to secularists and lovers of freedom of expression everywhere.
The first issue is Tunisia:
Seumas Milne, Guardian Comments Editor, has described the Ennahda party (right-wing Islamists) as “progressive” and gave space to pro-Islamist views during his time as Comment Editor (for six years, 2001-7).
In October 2011 he said this (Guardian)
The once savagely repressed progressive Islamist party An-Nahda (Ennahdha) won the Tunisian elections this week on a platform of pluralist democracy, social justice and national independence.
In January 2011 the Guardian published this – reflecting Milne’s enthusiasm.
We are building a Tunisia for all
Oddly this had happened in February that year, (BBC)
Police have cleared crowds of Tunisians who marched through the capital Tunis on Friday demanding the resignation of interim PM Mohammed Ghannouchi, a long-time ally of the ousted leader.
It was the biggest rally since Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia last month after 23 years in power, after being toppled by weeks of unrest.
Mr Ghannouchi’s interim government has promised elections by mid-July.
But crowds marched down Tunis’ main avenue chanting: “Ghannouchi leave.”
Later police fired tear gas and warning shots as they cleared the demonstrators from in front of the interior ministry .
Witnesses said one protester was injured when police fired warning shots at the crowd which some estimates said was 100,000-strong.
By the beginning of 2013 this was happening:
Milnes did not support the left-wing Tunisian Front Populaire. Or (presently ruling, left-of-centre secular party) at the head of a coalition with the Islamists and nationalist parties, Nidaa Tounès, of PM Habib Essid.
Instead he backed full-square the Muslim Brotherhood franchise, the pro-business, pro-liberal economics, Islamists of Ennahda.
The second issue is Charlie Hebdo.
The attacks in France are a blowback from intervention in the Arab and Muslim world. What happens there happens here tooNothing remotely justifies the murderous assault on Charlie Hebdo’s journalists, still less on the Jewish victims singled out only for their religious and ethnic identity.
What has become brutally obvious in the past week, however, is the gulf that separates the official view of French state policy at home and abroad and how it is seen by many of the country’s Muslim citizens. That’s true in Britain too, of course. But what is hailed by white France as a colour-blind secularism that ensures equality for all is experienced by many Muslims as discrimination and denial of basic liberties.
What of Charlie?
Charlie Hebdo claims to be an “equal opportunities offender”, abusing all religions alike. The reality, as one of its former journalists put it, has been an “Islamophobic neurosis” that focused its racialised baiting on the most marginalised section of the population.
This wasn’t just “depictions” of the prophet, but repeated pornographic humiliation.
I will not dignify this with longer extracts but note this conclusion, and note it well,
Europeans are fortunate that terrorist outrages have been relatively rare. But a price has been paid in loss of freedoms, growing anti-semitism and rampant Islamophobia. So long as we allow this war to continue indefinitely, the threats will grow. In a globalised world, there’s no insulation. What happens there ends up happening here too.
In brief, the slaughter was terrible, but Charlie Hebdo was so awful that there was bound to be a “blowback”.
For in plain English: they (and one assumes the victimes at the Hyper-Cacher) had “it coming to them”.
The failure to back the left, and instead support the right, during the important events in Tunisia, and his misinterpretation of Charlie Hebdo’s satire, are enough to make Milne unsuitable to represent the Labour Party for important constituencies.
That is, on Tunisia he stands against the majority of the North African and European left, and to the overwhelming majority of the Francophone left which mourned the Paris slaughter in January this year.
He has already mightily annoyed Kate Godfrey (“Mr Corbyn, I have spent my life in conflict zones. Prior to becoming a Labour PPC I worked in Somalia, in Sudan, in Libya, in Algeria, in Lebanon when the Israelis were shelling the passes, in Yemen, in Iraq, in Georgia, in Azerbaijan and in the DRC”), who criticises a much wider field of misjudgment on international issues. ”