16 June 2003


Paul Anderson writes:

Sorry, but unlike Stephen Marks, I think there is something wrong with Andrew Murray's crazy piece (click here). It is patently untrue that there has been an imperialist assault on opponents of the war against Iraq in Britain. Opponents of war are sitting happily or unhappily at home, going about their everday business unmolested, now and again having an argument in the pub. It's not very exciting, but it's no worse than that. The idea that we have become victims of some gigantic plot is bonkers.

More important, there was and is a real argument to be had here - and Murray's claim that we should not be side-tracked by a conspiracy of diversionists is cretino-leftism of the worst kind. Being "anti-war" on Iraq is an honourable position, but the pro-war line taken by Nick Cohen, Christopher Hitchens and others was not so beyond-the-pale that they should not continue to be treated as comrades by the left. If it's OK to engage on civilised terms with people who defend suicide bombings of civilians or theocratic dictatorships - or who carry a torch for a regime that long ago killed millions in forced-labour camps, ethnic cleansing and political purges - it's fine to do the same with people who argue that al-Qaida Islamism is the new fascism and Saddam Hussein was such a tyrant that all right-thinking people should rally round the destruction of his regime.

Here it's interesting that, once the fighting kicked off, the anti-war protests collapsed. No doubt some onetime opponents of war decided that they had to support "our boys". Others simply decided there was no point in marching. But hunch tells me that a significant number of former protesters decided that, when push came to shove, the choice between American imperialism kicking Saddam's ass and his vicious regime surviving was what the Americans call a no-brainer. In other words, we didn't want it to come to this, but now it has, death to Saddam, long live democratic Iraq (or words to that effect) - which is not too unlike the line taken by Hitchens and Cohen.

Marks is right that the internal politics of the Stop the War Coalition meant little to the hundreds of thousands who demonstrated against the war. But I think he's wrong when he says that its domination by diehard revolutionary-defeatist Leninists was wholly irrelevant. They did put people off, as they always do. And they did to some extent define the politics of the peace movement, not least by ensuring that it extended a welcome to supporters of Saddam and reactionary Islamists.


Ian Williams, review of Orwell by Gordon Bowker (Little, Brown, £20) and Orwell: Life and Times by Scott Lucas (Haus Publishing, £8.99), Tribune, June 20 2003

At the Orwell Centenary conference at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, this May, I had a sort of epiphany. Scholars were analyzing Orwell’s deep pessimism, and I had to go to the rostrum to share a brainstorm: in fact Orwell was a hopeless optimist. In 1984, he thought that rulers would care enough about history to want to rewrite it! Does George W Bush know or care?

Soaked in 24-hour context-free cable TV driveling amnesia over them, a huge percentage of American voters are not only unaware that Iraqi WMDs have not been found, but think that they were actually used during the war. Even higher percentages still think Saddam was behind September 11. It is a truly Orwellian prospect, and his works gives us the intellectual tools to understand what is happening.

Nothing vindicates Orwell so much as his critics – except perhaps the usurpers who have posthumously enlisted his name in support of causes that he would have detested. He has become a literary Rorschach test, an intellectual ink blot onto which critics and followers alike project all their fears and hopes. The former Tribune columnist’s clearly stated political and moral positions have been chucked down the memory hole so that he can be rewritten as a free market conservative, or in the case of Christopher Hitchens, somehow as simultaneously a Trotskyist and a retrospective neo-neoconservative supporter of current American imperial ambitions. And conservatives and Gulag nostalgist alike united in denying Orwell’s socialism.

Ironically in view of recent New York Times scandals, its obituary for Orwell, as Gordon Bowker says, corrected misconceptions, “Although many reviewers read into Mr Orwell’s novel a wholesale condemnation of left wing politics, he considered himself a Marxist and a member of the non-Communist wing of the British Labor Party.” In fact, I doubt whether there was Jura branch of the Labour Party for him to join, but right up to his death, Orwell proclaimed his support for the anti-totalitarian democratic socialism which he saw the Labour government of 1945 trying to implement. Bowker shows the complexity of experience that led Orwell to that position.

In stark contrast, Scott Lucas’s biography is effectively a sustained polemic against its subject. Orwell wrote about totalitarian literary language, that it had “a curious mouthing sort of quality, as of someone who is choking with rage & and can never quite hit on the words he wanted,” and it is a prescient description of Lucas’s treatment, which sneers its way with epithets like “Orwell, the armchair general”, and in which “Orwell’s crusade against socialism” is proved by his observation that the Conservative Council in Liverpool was engaged in slum clearance. Tribune it seems hosted Orwell’s “muddled political conceptions,” in the "As I Please" columns.

Lucas is more measured in this book than his previous writings about Orwell, but his revulsion for his subject still oozes through in almost every chapter. He is an odd choice for the publisher, almost as if they had commissioned a biography of Shakespeare from someone who thought that the Earl of Oxford had actually written his plays. Orwell’s contempt for alleged left intellectuals seems amply justified when reading this bad tempered biography, which seeks to “rescue ourselves from ‘Orwell’”. It slinks in stark contrast Gordon Bowker’s rounded and informative work.

Lucas repeatedly accuses Orwell of “animosity towards the left”. But this is true only if you accept a peculiar definition of “left”, one that can love concentration camps, show trials, the Hitler-Stalin pact and stay silent while Spanish socialists and British Independent Labour Party members are pursued, imprisoned and executed by KGB agents.

Lucas epitomizes the inchoate rage of the Leninist left’s hatred for Orwell. Khrushchev may have confirmed all that Orwell was writing about the Soviet system, but since few of them have the courage to get up and confess their continuing nostalgia for the system that equated socialism with Gulags plus electrification, they attack him tangentially for not being a 1970’s feminist, for not being working class, and for “collaboration”, with a government that he and the majority of British voters supported. Interestingly, many of their charges could be levied at their own icons. Neither Marx, nor Lenin, nor even Trotsky were paragons of political correctness. But, any truncheon in a rage, and Orwell is fair game.

Lucas in fact shows his bilious bias on his first page announcing his discovery that “Orwell had been cooperating with Big Brother even as he was denouncing him.” He is referring to the list Orwell provided to his friend Celia Kirwan of three dozen people he thought should not be employed by the British Labour government to promote its message worldwide in the face of Stalin’s repression.

If his denunciations were to have weight, Nye Bevan, Clement Attlee and other members of the Labour cabinet would have to be a composite Big Brother, brooking no opposition. The people Orwell listed, rather than being denied occasional copywriting employment by that socialist government, would have been dragged out of their beds at dawn, hauled off to the dungeons, tortured, imprisoned and shot, as was happening to Socialists in the Soviet bloc of the time.

While Orwell was indeed providing what one might call “negative references” for people he thought were over-slavish supporters of Stalin, even Lucas agrees that he opposed prohibiting the Communist Party and the Daily Worker. We are left to wonder why so-called Left wingers would want to work for an “imperialist,” and “anti-Soviet” government: were they prepared to sell their principles, or did their principles include betraying their elected prospective employer?

The difference in approach between Lucas and Bowker is apparent in the accounts of what happened in Spain. Bowker documents the British communists, working for the ComIntern, who infiltrated the ILP offices in Barcelona and provided the information that led to the imprisonment, and in some cases death at the hands of the KGB. For Lucas, this was the “government, supported by the Communist Party” trying to suppress the POUM and the anarchists.

Much more honest, Bowker gives the flavour of the repression in Barcelona as the Stalin’s agents homed on ideological opponents with far more fervour than they displayed against the fascists. Lucas essentially glides over this immensely important episode in the development of Orwell’s thought. If the unrelenting tenor of his attack on Orwell was to be maintained, to do otherwise would, would mean explicit defence of the indefensible, rather than the implicit defence represented throughout his book.

Lucas “proves” that Victor Gollancz, the publisher of the Left Book Club, was innocent of “any affinity for Soviet Communism” because in 1941, during the Hitler-Stalin pact he published one volume The Betrayal of the Left. It is a laughable comment when one sees the monthly flood of Soviet-adulators that followed, and the incontrovertible fact that Gollancz abrogated his contractual rights to both Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, Bowker gives us a much more nuanced and detailed view of Orwell’s relations with his publishers. An interesting contrast is that, almost as an afterthought, Lucas adds in parentheses about the Ministry of Information official who recommended to publishers that they refuse Animal Farm : “It has since been alleged that the official, Peter Smollet, was a Soviet agent.”

Bowker and others record the proof that Smollet was a Soviet plant, but for Lucas to admit this would dent several of his misconceptions: that Orwell really had it easy and was part of the establishment, and that his worries about pro-Soviet leanings among British intellectuals were simple cold war paranoia. In the end, Lucas proves that Orwell’s distrust for so-called left so-called intellectuals was, and still is, well founded.

In contrast, Bowker’s work shows Orwell, warts and all, but the warts are real, not the fevered product of a political line. The oddly corroborative details, such as Orwell’s necromantic plot with Steven Runciman to kill a bully at Eton add artistic verisimilitude to an already bold and convincing narrative which puts in perspective a figure whose work is amazingly fresh and relevant.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Goldstein’s heretical text read: “In the general hardening of outlook that set in round about 1930, practices which had been long abandoned, in some cases for hundreds of years - imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages, and deportation of whole populations - not only became common again, but tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive.”

Orwell wrote this in the aftermath of Spain, Manchuria and world war two, and while Stalin continued to use the techniques he had perfected at home to seize control of Eastern Europe. The horrifying thing about the turn of the millennium is that there are still apologists for all these practices and more.

These totalitarians span the whole traditional political spectrum. On the establishment side, there has been toleration for death squads in Central and Latin America; on the left, apologetics for ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and users of poison gas in Iraq. More currently, the case of the shifting excuses for the war on Iraq, the manipulation of facts to mould public opinion, the 24-hour hate of the cable networks, all combine to ensure the continuing relevance of Orwell and his fight for a genuine, human and democratic socialism that is, to use a word unashamedly that Lucas sneers at, “decent”.

Paul Anderson, review of Orwell: The Life by D J Taylor (Chatto and Windus, £20), Tribune, June 20 2003

There is no doubt that George Orwell is an excellent subject for a biographer. He wrote two of the most influential novels of the 20th century, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four; he was an exceptionally talented polemicist, reporter and cultural critic; and he packed an extraordinary amount into his short life. He was, moreover, a notably complex human being: the old Etonian colonial policeman Eric Blair who turned his back on his class, changed his name and became a revolutionary socialist bohemian; the prewar quasi-pacifist who transformed himself into a wartime propagandist; the civil libertarian who turned over a list of Stalinist fellow-travellers to the spooks. Partly because of this complexity, he has remained a controversial figure to this day. No writer of the 20th century has attracted more fulsome praise or more excoriating denunciation.

D J Taylor is one of Britain's best highbrow book-reviewers, an accomplished biographer (his Thackeray, published in 1999, deservedly won plaudits) and a novelist of distinction. He has also been an Orwell obsessive since his teens, and he shares many of Orwell's literary enthusiasms (Swift, Dickens, Gissing).

Who could be better placed to write a life of Orwell? Well, if it hadn't been done before, hardly anyone - and if it hadn't been done before, Orwell: The Life would be hailed universally as the nearest thing to definitive you can get. Taylor has immersed himself in Orwell's writing and has trawled the archives. He has interviewed dozens of people who knew Orwell. He knows the secondary literature backwards. Orwell: The Life is an impressive piece of scholarship, well written and fair. It is generally sympathetic to Orwell but acknowledges his faults and even sets out the case against him.

The problem is that it has been done before. There were dozens of takes on Orwell's life between his death and the late 1970s, some good and some dire, but none of them done with the benefit of access to Orwell's own papers. In 1972, however, Orwell's widow Sonia gave Bernard Crick unrestricted access to the papers, and in 1980 Crick's magisterial George Orwell: A Life was published.

Now, there's a case for arguing that Crick's biography doesn't successfully capture Orwell's inner life (though you could equally well say that Crick resisted the temptation of engaging in the sort of amateur psychological speculation that has marred subsequent biographies). There have also been some important Orwell-related documents that have emerged since Crick first published - notably a version of his notorious list of fellow-travellers, but also material from the Soviet archives (turned up by Gordon Bowker for his new biography) that shows just how close Orwell came to being liquidated by the Stalinists in Spain. Several very good short books have been written contesting various aspects of Crick's take on Orwell, the best of them John Newsinger's Orwell's Politics.

But on most of the big things, Crick has not been found wanting - and, good as Taylor's Orwell is, too much of it retells a familiar tale. There is some interesting new material on Orwell's early life, but otherwise the freshest bits of Taylor's book are the short essays on various aspects of Orwell - his voice, his attitudes to the Jews, his paranoia - that he scatters through the main narrative. So much hard work and craft have gone into this book that it almost seems churlish to suggest that Taylor should have dropped the traditional biography and produced a collection of essays. But it is what I think.


Stephen Marks writes:

Granted that Andrew Murray is a raving Stalinist, and granted that his piece (click here) is stylistically an extruded length of agitprop cliche, as far as the content goes just what is so loony about it? Like any successful campaign on the left the anti-war campaign has been the object of an open season by the right-wing press. Murray is advising its supporters to keep calm, and reject destructive infighting on the one hand and delusions of grandeur on the other. Sounds good sense to me.

True, he describes the instinctive behaviour of the Tory press as if it was a conscious conspiracy, but this is a universal bad habit on the left and relatively innocent. It is also not as far removed from reality as some other bits of left mythology. But his main problem is that like Nick Cohen, Mark Thomas and the SWP, he shares the delusion that the internal politics of the STWC is particularly important.

Most of the 2 million who marched in February neither knew or cared about the factional makeup of the STWC leadership - it was a convenient facilitator for a massive popular outburst of opposition to the war.

The one relevant political position the SWP and CPB shared was the 'unprincipled' [from a left-sectarian] view that the campaign should be broad, minimalist and non-exclusionary. As long as its leadership clung to that view, their other politics was and is irrelevant - unlike ANSWER in the USA whose sectarian instigators - the Marceyites of the Workers World Party - used their position to advance their particular party line. In that situation to point out how far removed the Marceyites neo-Stalinoid politics are from that of the majority of anti-war opinion is not witchunting but legitimate and relevant politics.

Rather like the legal principle that your previous convictions cannot be mentioned in court, unless you are unwise enough to plead your alleged good character in your defence - when it becomes legitimate for the prosecution to reveal your previous form to the jury.

15 June 2003


Paul Anderson writes:

I'm grateful to the excellent weblog Harry's Place (click here) for alerting the world to Stop the War Coalition chair Andrew Murray's extraordinarily crazy piece (click here) in the Morning Star on the dangers posed to the peace movement by by splitters and Trotskyite fascists.


Paul Anderson, Tribune column June 13 2003

I'M not sure exactly why, but I felt deflated this week after Gordon Brown's announcement that we shan't be joining the euro for a while.

It was hardly that I was expecting anything else. True, I'd felt a little twinge of hope when Will Hutton reported in the Observer a few weeks back that Tony Blair was so fed up with the Chancellor's obstructionism on the euro that he'd decided to shunt him off into the Foreign Office. And even as late as Monday morning, I found myself imagining Gordon stunning the world by declaring that there was a persuasive case for British euro membership now.

But these were idle thoughts. All the evidence suggested Hutton's story was just too good to be true - and that there was a close-to-zero chance of Brown springing a surprise and giving the euro the green light. I had only modest hopes of New Labour in government even in 1997. After six years of disappointment, I reckon I've learnt that wishful thinking gets you nowhere.

So why did Brown's performance on Monday get me down? The more I mull it over, the more I realise that it's because I simply can't stand the thought of another two years - or three years, or five, or whatever - of British politics being dominated by the grind of inconclusive arguments about the euro.

It's not that I don't have my own view about it. I think Britain should join as soon as possible and put its weight behind proposals to tone down the anti-inflationary zeal of the growth and stability pact and to give the eurozone the capacity to run a redistributive fiscal policy. Britain's best hope, I believe, is to become part of a social democratic federal Europe. And we won't do that outside the euro.

The point is that I've thought this for years - and just about every other protagonist in the argument, whatever their views, is in the same boat. For all the pervasive grumbling from the sceptics that Britain has not had a proper national debate about our relationship with Europe since the 1975 referendum, the truth is that our relationship with Europe has been minutely dissected as no other political issue has been in recent times. All the positions are so well rehearsed that the argument has become stale and utterly tedious. It should be decision time.

The reason it isn't has precious little to do with the mounds of documentation produced by the Treasury on Brown's "five tests". There are of course real arguments to be had about the technical economics of joining the euro, in particular over the exchange rate at which we join; and it should go without saying that it would be mad to join if the British and eurozone economies were completely out-of-kilter.

But the Treasury documents show no such thing. Their most serious claim is that there would be a danger of inflation if Britain adopted eurozone interest rates, which is true - but we're not talking serious inflation, and in any case fiscal measures, otherwise known as increased taxes, could effectively counter the danger (as the Treasury report acknowledges).

No, the real reason that Brown put off the decision yet again is purely political. To put it bluntly, the Government is scared shitless that it will lose the promised referendum on euro entry. Which is not to say that the Government shouldn't be worried. If Britain voted no in a euro referendum, as all the polls suggest it would, Labour's credibility would be shattered, and the only beneficiaries - and I mean the only beneficiaries - would be the Tories.

Labour's mistake was offering a referendum in the first place, way back in 1996 when it was in opposition. At the time, it was greeted by nearly every commentator as a clever political gambit that not only neutralised Labour's own divisions on the euro but also had genuine cross-party popular appeal. But even then it should have been obvious that a referendum campaign would have to be fought against the rabidly anti-European Right-wing press as well as the Tories - and winning would not be easy.

Had Blair and Brown gone for a euro referendum immediately after the 1997 general election, they might just have prevailed - but instead they lost their bottle and effectively ruled out the referendum for the duration of Labour's first term. Since that defining moment, the referendum has become an increasingly daunting prospect. Monday showed that it has now rendered the Government incapable of acting decisively just as decisive action has become urgent.

Some on the Tribune Left will no doubt find some satisfaction in New Labour being hoist with one of its own petards, but I can't join them. In 1997, Blair was handed the best chance anyone has ever had of making Britain a full member of the European club. That he has blown it is his greatest political failure.


Paul Anderson, Tribune column, May 20 2003

In marked contrast to the hoo-hah in the press over Cambridge Spies, the BBC's big-budget television dramatisation of the already familiar tale of Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Anthony Blunt, the genuinely newsworthy revelation in a new book of the identity of the Soviet agent who spied on George Orwell and other members of the Independent Labour Party contingent in Spain during the civil war in the 1930s has so far gone unremarked everywhere but the Guardian.

The story appears in a splendid new biography of Orwell by Gordon Bowker, and is the result of an extraordinary piece of historical detective work - aided by just a little bit of luck.

Back in the early 1980s, Bowker went to China to write for the Observer about the filming of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor, and during his trip met several Western communists who had gone to live in China as admirers of Mao Zedong's revolution. One of them was an Englishman in his seventies, David Crook, who had arrived with his Canadian wife Isabel in the late 1940s. The Crooks had written several books on the impact of the revolution on a remote village and were now working as teachers in a Beijing university. Crook's enthusiasm for the regime was undimmed even though he had spent seven years in prison during the Cultural Revolution. He told Bowker that he had fought for the Republicans in Spain in the 1930s and had gone to China after reading Edgar Snow's sympathetic account of Mao, Red Star Over China.

Bowker wrote up Crook's story for the Listener and thought no more about it. But many years later, after publishing acclaimed biographies of the authors Malcolm Lowry and Lawrence Durrell, he started researching his book on Orwell. And in the Orwell archive in London, he came across a mention of a David Crook in a letter to Eileen Blair, Orwell's first wife, who had followed him to Spain and worked there in the office of the British Independent Labour Party in Barcelona.

Could this be the same David Crook? Bowker managed to find one of Crook's sons in London - who, to Bowker's amazement, told him that his father had spied on Orwell for the Communist International. Crook was by now very ill after suffering a stroke in Beijing - he died in 2000 at the age of 90 - but, said the son, had talked at length to a researcher in the United States and had admitted his role in Spain.

With this lead, Bowker tracked down the researcher, then scoured the archives - and turned up crucial Soviet intelligence files (in International Brigades collections in New York and London, of all places) that show conclusively that the David Crook he met in China had indeed become a Comintern agent in Spain in early 1937 after fighting in one of the International Brigades, which he had joined on the recommendation of Harry Pollitt, general secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain. They also show that, as part of the Stalinist campaign to liquidate Trotskyists and all other serious rivals on the revolutionary Left, he infiltrated the ILP contingent in Barcelona that was allied to the far-left (but non-Stalinist) POUM. As readers of Orwell's Homage to Catalonia will know, the POUM and its anarchist allies, hitherto the dominant force in the Catalan capital, were brutally suppressed in a Stalinist coup in May 1937.

Bowker says that Crook passed on everything he could find out about the ILPers - including Orwell - to his secret-police controllers, and that none of the ILPers seems to have suspected him. He was certainly one of the sources (along with at least one other British communist) for the indictment for treason issued by a Stalinist-controlled tribunal against Orwell and his wife just after they fled Spain in June 1937. It described both of them, wrongly, as "rabid Trotskyites", and was intended to be their death warrant.

Beyond this, Crook's precise role is murky. It is possible that he had sufficient scruples to help Orwell and others escape arrest in a raid by the Stalinist-controlled Spanish secret police, but it also likely that he played a small role in the notorious murder of Andres Nin, the POUM leader, and various other Stalinist crimes in Spain. Whatever, he remained a Comintern agent for at least another three years, ending up in China, before returning to Britain and joining the RAF. During the second world war, Bowker says, he served in RAF intelligence in Asia and the Far East.

It's a fascinating story - and one that breaks new ground. Bowker has put together the most compelling evidence so far published of direct involvement by British communists in one of Stalin's dirtiest crimes against socialism.

George Orwell by Gordon Bowker is published by Little Brown at £20.

20 May 2003

NICK ANNING 1942-2003

The radical journalist Nick Anning has died at the age of 61. He was one of a vanishing breed, an inveterate freelance who did only what he wanted. He was one of the key figures on The Leveller, the libertarian left news magazine of the late 1970s, and subsequently researched and wrote on an extraordinary range of stories, among them the sinking of the Hull trawler Gaul, the Russian mafia, the porn industry and the moral panic about child abuse. Here's to you, mate. Duncan Campbell's obit in the Guardian is here.


Arthur Lipow has emailed me on the subject of the left backgrounds of the American neo-cons, and he confirms that the idea that the current neo-con mob came out of Trotskyism is very crude intellectual history. There is, however, a germ of truth in it. Several of the today's neo-cons started out in the late-1960s/early-1970s cold-warrior Social Democrats USA gang around George Meany, the hardline anti-communist boss of the AFL-CIO, and senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, who challenged unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972 and 1976 on a cold warrior populist ticket. And the eminence grise of the SDUSA scene was Max Shachtman (1904-72) - who in the 1930s had been America's most charismatic Trotskyist and in the 1940s and 1950s had been the leader of an important "Third Camp" ("Neither Washington nor Moscow") current in far-left politics that went under various organisational guises.

Of the first generation of neo-cons, Irving Kristol was briefly an early-1940s member of Shachtman's Workers' Party, but drifted away; and during the late 1940s and 1950s Shachtman's group remained influential among the New York intellectuals: people like Nathan Glazer were, says Lipow, "part of the milieu". But the Shachtman connection with today's neo-cons (and indeed those of the 1980s) really dates from the period after Shachtman himself had broken with most of his old comrades by backing the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and then throwing in his lot with the cold warrior liberal wing of the Democratic party over Vietnam. Several key figures in the current neo-con firmament - among them Richard Perle and Jeane Kirkpatrick, both of whom campaigned for Jackson - got into politics through the Jackson-Meany-Shachtman-SDUSA milieu. But as Lipow puts it, "Take all of this as a course in intellectual history not as an organised conspiracy." A Brit connection to this cold-warrior Democrat scene is the noted historian Robert Conquest, who wrote speeches for Jackson. A brief account of Shachtman's later years is in Peter Drucker's Max Shachtman and his Left, published in 1994 by Humanities Press.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, John Kampfner produced an extraorinarily barmy piece in the New Statesman a couple of weeks ago claiming to identify a British neo-con movement in the making. One of the people he identified as a leading figure was David Aaronovitch, who has responded, very amusingly, in the Guardian, for which click here.