Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Seumas Milne’s New Best Friend, Neil, “Belarus”, Clark.

with 28 comments

Censored Photo.

Neil Clark: Seumas Milne’s New Bestie.


New Photo.


Neil Clark.

Yesterday one Neil Clark, apparently a journalist who writes for the New Statesman and the Guardian, amongst others, published this on the Russian backed site, Sputnik.

The news that Seumas Milne, anti-war journalist and Guardian columnist, has been appointed the new Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Executive Director of Strategy and Communications has caused uproar among Britain’s McCarthyite pro-imperialist faux-left.

Milne, we’re told is a “terrorism apologist”, a “Stalinist” an “extremist”, ”apologist for dictators”, “apologist for murderous dictators”, “Kremlin/Putin apologist” and “facism (sic) apologist”.

Clark continues,

You’d think from reading these attacks that Milne was some kind of wild-eyed, foaming at the mouth madman who needs to be tethered on a leash for public safety. Just about the only very bad thing he hasn’t been accused of is being an “apologist” for Jack the Ripper — though no doubt, Cyril Waugh-Monger is working on that article right now.

Anyone who knows Seumas in person — as I do, can only laugh out loud at these ludicrous portrayals of a thoroughly decent and very thoughtful man

This may well be true.

We have concentrated on a few issues which concern us.

  • Milne supported the Islamist – and relatively moderate – right wing pro-business Tunisian party, Ennahda, against the Tunisian left, notably the by far largest workers’ organisation, the Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail, UGTT, in the period proceeding and immediately following Tunisia’s first free elections (2011)
  • That he failed to a give proper support for Charlie Hebdo’s freedom of expression. Making the claim, a  few days after the slaughter at the Weekly’s offices, and the Hyper-Cacher,  that suggested that their “repeated pornographic humiliation” of Muslims – underlined amongst other factors such as poor conditions in the French banlieues, helped to explain this blow back.

In today’s New Statesman Oliver Bullough sums up the underlying reasons for our gripes extremely well,

For Milne, geopolitics is more important than people.

Whatever crisis strikes the world, the West’s to blame.

Why did a group of psychopaths attack a magazine and a supermarket in Paris?

“Without the war waged by western powers, including France, to bring to heel and reoccupy the Arab and Muslim world, last week’s attacks clearly couldn’t have taken place”.

These – serious – disagreements pale into insignificance compared to the revulsion people on the left will feel about the full spread of Clark’s politics.

Here is an example.

Belarus and Venezuela are natural allies: both are progressive, independent, socialist democracies who are following entirely different economic and social agendas to the neo-liberal one laid down by the Empire, one which benefits only multinationals and the very rich. Because of their independence, the leaders of Belarus and Venezuela have been demonised: both President Lukashenko and President Chavez have been called ‘dictators’ despite their regular election successes and the overwhelming popularity both men command in their respective countries.

Clark’s Blog 2007.

And this, Bright light on the Dniepe 2011.


28 Responses

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  1. He’s even on the openly fascist site of Alain Soral (Egalité et Réconciliation)

    Neil Clark – Il est temps de mettre un terme aux brimades contre les Serbes


    Andrew Coates

    October 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm

  2. And Jobbik: http://www.jobbik.net/index.php?q=node/4747 (Hungarian translation of an item on Neil Clark’s blog from March 1, 2007.)

    Another example, as objectionable as I’d remembered, Clark writing for The First Post/The Week website on in 2009 (no date, but from June 8):
    “It’s clear that a large percentage of working-class protest votes across Europe have gone to populist parties of the ‘far-Right’, who combine traditional left-wing anti-capitalist and anti-globalist economic policies, with unequivocal opposition to mass immigration and an uncompromising stance on law and order…”

    “Since the 1960s, as European Left parties have gradually become more middle class, they have gradually lost their link with their indigenous working-class voters…”

    “In the last few weeks in Britain we have been bombarded with articles from the liberal elite and Church leaders lecturing the plebs on the dangers of voting for the BNP. In spite of that – or possibly partly because it – the BNP now has two seats in the European Parliament…”

    Oh, and by the way, according to Milne’s friend, Jobbik “is denounced as ‘neo-fascist’ by its opponents.” (The scare quotes are Clark’s)

    The whole piece is here: http://www.theweek.co.uk/politics/22397/why-working-class-dumped-labour-and-voted-bnp

    Philip Cross

    October 23, 2015 at 3:12 pm

  3. There is also his admiration of Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky’s ‘heroism’ in defending former actual Nazis in his ministry against the attacks of that monster Simon Wiesenthal:

    ‘In the 1970s, Kreisky was involved in a furious public row with Nazi-hunter Austrian Simon Wiesenthal. This developed over the Nazi past of some of Kreisky’s ministers and the Freedom party leader Friedrich Peter, Kreisky’s would-be coalition partner. Kreisky defended Peter and refused to sack ministers, leading Wiesenthal to call him a “renegade”. Kreisky, who himself had lost close relatives in the Holocaust, in turn accused Wiesenthal, a supporter of the conservative opposition People’s party, of “mafia” methods and of trying to bring him down’.


  4. And this (via Twitter from APC),

    “The biggest mistake of the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe was not building an alliance with the Church. I know there were valid historical reasons for socialist antipathy to organised religion- but if an arrangement could have been reached, a much more widespread popular support for socialism could have been achieved.
    As it was the forces of globalisation and money power were able to use the Church as a ‘trojan horse’- to
    help them destroy socialism in Eastern Europe. It’s time for the left to forget its old differences and join up with the Church in opposition to ‘international imperialism of money’ and the war-lobby.


    Andrew Coates

    October 23, 2015 at 4:03 pm

  5. Clark is a classic example of “Red-Brown alliance” politics, and living proof that fascism and Stalinism are natural allies. I still seethe at his article (can’t be arsed to find a link) arguing that Afghani translators were “quislings” who deserved everything they got. Come to think of it, didn’t Milne come out with a similar line? Clark is a cruder, less sophisticated version of Milne – both are equally undesirable and have no place in the ranks of the honest left.

    Jim Denham

    October 23, 2015 at 4:53 pm

  6. Yet another one: worse than an error, a crime.

    I haven’t been arsed either to follow the fool – clearly a dangerous fool, but a fool – though he’s been there on the edges of politics for quite a while.

    But now it’s all coming back.

    What is he playing at?

    We learn he likes Edgar Wallace.

    “Trotsky, reading a Wallace novel whilst recuperating on his sickbed in 1935, found it to be “mediocre, contemptible and crude… [with no] shade of perception, talent or imagination.”


    One can only note that Clark certainly does not lack imagination, though as for the rest….

    Andrew Coates

    October 23, 2015 at 5:15 pm

  7. Comrade Andrew
    Not sure whats going on here, are you setting out to condemn Milne or Clarke or both, surely Milne is a good appointment for Corbyn, he is a Guardian insider who better to deal with the media, poacher turned gamekeeper in us country boys language.

    As to Jim claiming Milne has no place in the ranks of the honest left I despair, I was going to make some shitty comment about is that the section which meets in the empty phone box, but no, that would be the old way;). For christ sake haven’t we got enough arseholes to attack who are trying to destroy Corbyn and totally demoralise the young people who support him.

    By the way out of interest what is the honest left, old Lev would be spinning in his grave if he heard such preposterous bourgeois nonsense.

    Mick Hall

    October 23, 2015 at 5:41 pm

  8. I was reserved on Milne.

    Not on Clark, he consorts with the worst enemies of the left, like Soral.

    Do you know who that filth is?

    Andrew Coates

    October 23, 2015 at 5:43 pm

  9. To be honest with you Andrew I am not really interested in Clark, when I once saw him on RT he seemed like the type of chap who believes who pays the price calls the tune, but that might be unfair of me. I have also disagreed with some of the things Seumas has written, but then again in the past the same could be said for you;) and surely that is how it should be.

    Mick Hall

    October 23, 2015 at 6:03 pm

  10. The central problem here is going to be that “the young people who support” Corbyn also support, and take for granted, a lot of stuff which is deeply offensive probably to Mick Hall, and definitely to Neil Clark and Seumas Milne.

    And just as the last leader to be elected via a comparable revolt against the consensus of the previous few decades ended up, without having any idea what she was doing at all, empowering the legacy of 1960s pop culture far more than any kind of “Victorian values”, it is quite clear which side would be most likely to win if Corbyn ever did get to power (unlikely as that currently seems even to me). I suspect that would be fine for Andrew Coates, but probably not for Mick Hall, and definitely not for Neil Clark and Seumas Milne.

    Where do I stand? Either side, or not.

    I don’t see what is “bourgeois” about honesty, at all.

    Was Clark actually at Abingdon School? That would have been at about the same time Radiohead were there, which is a tale of the Two Lefts (both admittedly largely as bourgeois as each other in modern times, but still diametrically opposed) in itself.


    October 23, 2015 at 6:47 pm

  11. The New Statesman link is good, specifically the clear sympathy for some of Corbyn’s aims (which of course increases frustration if he makes a misjudgement) and the frustration at Milne’s lack of humanitarianism – that for him, people are just pawns in the Great Game, not living, breathing humans.


    October 23, 2015 at 7:25 pm

  12. Clark’s reputed connection with Abingdon School is sourced from this profile in the “Oxford Times” about his Edgar Wallace project: http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/news/opinions/graymatter/11805242.Passionate_champion_of_neglected_thriller_writer/

    The book can be sampled: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=cGS1BAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22Neil+Clark%22+%22Stranger+Than+Fiction%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAGoVChMI3f-e_5vZyAIViBs-Ch1jzAFT#v=onepage&q=%22Neil%20Clark%22%20%22Stranger%20Than%20Fiction%22&f=false Sample it and wonder why Duncan Campbell (the former “Guardian” journalist) gave it a positive notice a few months ago.

    Incidentally, the APC Andrew Coates refers to above is me. Twitter feed used as url this time

    Philip Cross

    October 23, 2015 at 7:33 pm

  13. Tendance Coatesy’s Pabloite deviation in agreement with Jim Denham’s ‘third position’ Shachtmanite deviation,teaming up on the main issues. They are partly right, but not completely. James P Cannon’s orthodox Trotskyist position is not put forward by anybody on the British left.

    That is why we need to reforge the fourth International!

    Alain Soral is a scumbag. I must admit, I am somewhat confused about Russia Today, and this Karl Radek left/right national Bolshevik (so called) tendency. I see on Russia today pro Putin leftists as well as Pro Putin fascists, who also both like Assad in Syria and Gaddafi in Libya, formerly.

    what are we to make of this? I think the problem is because that there is no real revolutionary leadership, and an acceptance of stalinism, which tends to team up with fascism at times, as Jim Denham rightly but one sidedly pointed out.

    Again, this is why we need to reforge the Fourth International.
    Southpaw has been listening to James P Cannon, and can now possible begin to understand the importance of this historical task.


    October 23, 2015 at 8:13 pm

  14. An area where I have to congratulate Tendance Coatesy is that he never fell for it, that is he did not follow the Cliffites when they team up with Islamists and tail George Galloway.

    By the way, will Galloway go back to the Labour Party? Is Corbyn friendly to Galloway?
    Do you think that Galloway will become Mayor of London?

    I’ve never trusted Galloway, he’s another one of these RT types.


    October 23, 2015 at 8:16 pm

  15. Talking about “honesty” on the left is “such preposterous bourgeois nonsense” according to Mick Hall. Lenin said something like “lie and cheat (to) the ruling class, but (be) scrupulously honest to the working class. James P. Cannon also placed great store by honesty. So what’s your beef, Mick?

    Jim Denham

    October 24, 2015 at 1:23 am

  16. One interesting angle is this kind of congruence between ‘anti-imperialists’ ‘sovereigntists’ and the far-right has become a major issue in France over the last months.

    This is just one example, a public debate a few days ago in support of Michel Onfray, a former left-wing libertarian atheist who’s made anti-foreigner and pro-nation statements (accused of playing the Front National’s game) – to which he did not turn up.

    “Devant la maison de la Mutualité à Paris, haut lieu historique du militantisme de gauche, une quinzaine de jeunes gens bien vêtus vendent l’Action Française, bulletin du mouvement royaliste et nationaliste….”

    Sous les huées, Laurent Joffrin, le directeur de Libération, à l’origine de la polémique Onfray, est venu prendre quelques claques et réaffirme son jugement sur le philosophe : «Je soupçonne d’être ici le bien-pensant de service, mais ça ne me dérange pas. Si vous voulez me siffler, n’hésitez pas. Onfray dit que le peuple français est abandonné par ses élites, c’est en partie vrai, mais au profit des étrangers, c’est faux. Cette idée, c’est le cœur de la propagande du Front national. Onfray n’a répondu à aucun argument [détaillé dans l’analyse publiée le 15 septembre par Libération]. Alors qui refuse le débat ? Je viens ici, où est-il ? Je ne le vois pas. Je devine qu’il a une stature intellectuelle trop grande pour nous qui sommes des nains de la pensée, je parle pour moi. Donc on va débattre entre nains.»

    “Vient le tour de la journaliste Natacha Polony et de sa rengaine souverainiste : «Depuis 2002, le mot souverainisme a surgi dans tous les éditos et pour certains, c’était ça le mal. C’est un mot que j’assume. Ça nous parle du peuple souverain, c’est l’essence même de la Révolution française et de la République ! C’est quelque chose de magistral d’expliquer que le peuple n’a plus quelqu’un au-dessus de lui qui décide de son destin, qu’il est son propre souverain. Et cela implique la souveraineté de la nation ! La nation d’Ernest Renan et non celle de Maurice Barrès.»

    A la Mutualité, le débat n’a pas eu lieu


    Apologies – it would take a long time to translate this effectively, but essentially it indicates a cross-over of ‘sovereigntists’ of right and left.

    Andrew Coates

    October 24, 2015 at 11:31 am

  17. Philip, I tend to agree with Trotsky’s views on Wallace – having read a couple of his books as a teenager….

    Andrew Coates

    October 24, 2015 at 11:34 am

  18. Jim

    I have no beef Jim, I’m a vegetarian.(sorry couldn’t resist it) Lighten up comrade things are on the up, for the first time in decades I feel optimistic politically about the future.

    I suppose my point is if we who have been on the non labour party left and are going to work within, or closely with the LP, we need to be less judgmental about some peoples views, especially those on the LP left. We need to stick to the issues we can agree upon which are considerable since Jeremy took the helm. I am not saying we should bury any differences completely, but be more cautious if they exist about how they are expressed.

    This will be difficult for some comrades who have belonged to groups in which the cut and thrust of debate has been vigorous, less so for a lone wolf like me who has not given my allegiance to another UK based organisation since I left the CP decades ago.


    Galloway will not become Mayor of London and if he stands all he will do is help split the vote away from LP candidate, as he still has some support around east London. Will he rejoin the LP, I doubt it myself, I’m not sure the party would or should have him back. He is regarded with great bitterness and not only amongst the usual suspects. By all accounts he was not a good constituency MP in Bradford West so I cannot see what he has to offer. If anyone reeks of the past it is George, he should stay out there on his sputnik and enjoy his pension and free air travel, those points must build up.

    Comradely regards to you both

    Mick Hall

    October 24, 2015 at 11:36 am

  19. Interesting to see how his admirers are going to wriggle out of that – particularly when Corbyn, er, had a bit of a difference over the issue of selective schools in his own personal life.

    Andrew Coates

    October 24, 2015 at 3:55 pm

  20. @Amdrew: ‘Smear’, comrade, ‘smear. Washes whiter than white …

  21. “In this nasty and silly article Simon Danczuk, the sad and pretty pathetic right wing Labour MP for Rochdale, said: “Seumas Milne will clearly struggle to understand working people and I’m puzzled as to why Jeremy would have appointed him.”

    So what is this jerk saying, we working class would not try and send our kids to the best school in the area, are we to dim witted to understand the future prospects of those who attend a sink school are pretty poor, as I know only to well having attended one. Every year working class people fight hard to get their child into the best school they can, sadly they do not always succeed. Anyone he thinks otherwise is either not working class or has never had any kids.

    As the Telegraph piece it said:
    The two Tiffin Schools select children on the basis of ability, not wealth.

    It is not a public school it is simply the best school in his catchment area although it is a grammer. It is pretty obvious the middle classes will be in a majority in these schools as they understand how to manipulate the system better than far to many of us. We live in the world as it is, not as we wish to make it, if any working class socialist is prepared to sacrifice his child education then they are damn fools.

    Would I like to see the end of all grammar schools yes, do I feel they should be abolished yes, but they are not public schools which are the curse of the English education system as they encourage class privilege and in my view cruelty to children. How else can you describe sending a 7 year old away from their home to be brought up by and to live with strangers, with all that entails.

    Is it any wonder people like Cameron are such warped individuals?

    It might be wise to ask why Danczuk has suddenly become the LP darling of the neo liberals ever ready with a reactionary quote, I felt sorry for him once as he was clearly out of his depth, unaware of just how nasty the British establishment can be, but not any more. They have an armlock on him, and when they have completely wrung him out they will throw him back to the likes of the Murdoch’s blood hounds who were first sent to nibble around his life.

    As to Danczuk’s above quote even a sad fuck like him understands why Milne was appointed, he is a media insider who understands how the media works.

    Now if any comrades object to his appointment and have an alternative comrade in mind who understands how the media works, and who is willing to take a massive pay cut like Milne has, let’s debate it? We can even debate grammar schools, but what is happening here is falling into the trap set by our class enemies.

    Mick Hall

    October 24, 2015 at 6:38 pm

  22. To make Milne the story at all is to fall into the trap set by the class enemies. Or to set that trap on their behalf….


    October 24, 2015 at 6:44 pm

  23. Mick, now I’ve heard everything. Do you honestly think there are not a stack of equally qualified, possibly female or black, non-private school educated, strategy or media management experts out there who Corbyn could have employed? Really. Really?

    As Bob has pointed out there’s no evidence Milne has any skills in either area.

    Obviously it’s an ideological appointment. Corbyn opened this can of worms and it’s pretty pathetic to pretend otherwise.

  24. Just notice this Mick:

    ‘Galloway should stay out there on his sputnik and enjoy his pension and free air travel, those points must build up’

    Priceless √√

  25. Milne stood with the class enemy in Tunisia – against the unions and the left.

    If he does it once who can say that he won’t do it again?

    Andrew Coates

    October 25, 2015 at 11:34 am

  26. Yet another highly ill-advised appointment to Corbyn’s Westminster team: the loathsome sub-political hooligan Ger Francis, expelled from the SWP for bringing them into disrepute with his bullying,
    and then a paid creature of Salma Yaqoob (leader of Respect) and, later, the corrupt Rahman regime in Tower Hamlets.

    Jim Denham

    October 25, 2015 at 7:06 pm

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