I don't know why the unobservant Observer continues to irritate me. Perhaps it's because I have a sense of right and wrong. As much as we Lefties regret Nick Cohen's lurch to the right. None of us would welcome Cohen's column being cut in favour of the ridiculous Jasper Gerard. Gerard's peculiar fascination with all things anal was on display yesterday when he "interviewed" the neoconservative nutter Michael Gove.
Gove remarked "My views are closer to some on the left than to, say, Henry Kissinger". Gerard mused: "Such are the curious bedfellows of the war on terror". This absurdity is pervasive: Kissinger is against the so-called "war on terror" and the invasion of Iraq. On December 17 the Sunday Times magazine had a long review of Henry Kissinger's relationship with Dubya. Kissinger, the magazine reported, "has met Cheney every month and the president every other month since he took office." Bob Woodward remarks that this is "more time with the president than almost any outsider ever" and that Kissinger's advice is "very soothing. That's why they talked to him. It's all part of the refusal to face reality".
Presumably George Junior and Cheney invite a notorious war criminal round so as to tell him how wrong he is about everything. Kissinger enjoys this kind of humiliation - and Dubya and Dick have nothing better to do than play practical jokes on Henry K. The very idea that Kissinger supported the invasion of Iraq and played a leading role in pushing for the invasion is anathema. And so a public display of dissent within the blackish shirt movement results, with Gove claiming to be closer to the Left than Kissinger's blackish shirts. Privately, however, Gove probably has a temple devoted to worshipping the neocon's neocon. This ruse has worked on the extraordinarily dimwitted Gerard.
And with the taste of bile still in my mouth I turn to the Observer's book review section. Peter Conrad writes that "PG Wodehouse contentedly reconciled himself to Britain's defeat by the Nazis; he broadcast from Berlin during the war, and adopted American citizenship in 1955 to ensure that he could not be arrested for treason if he returned to Britain (he never did)." Does Conrad know anything about Wodehouse? (Incidentally, not many Lefties are taken by PG; indeed, those Lefties who have an opinion on the great man are generally of Conrad's opinion: Wodehouse the Nazi, Wodehouse the toff who lives in a Wooster-style world of his own, etc, bloody etc.)
Conrad should brood on the case of Lord Haw-Haw if he believes that American citizenship counts for anything. Yet Conrad would have us believe that ten years after the war’s end (for pity’s sake!) the UK was still after Wodehouse. PG was an ass, as he himself admitted. He was amazingly naïve and a somewhat of a simpleton. But a Nazi? What tosh. What piffle. What codswallop. Let us never forget that Wodehouse brought us the hilarious fascistic figure of Roderick Spode and his organisation the Black Shorts in 1938, a time when it was not shall we say fashionable to speak out against fascism's fight against the Left. It is my considered opinion that every Leftie should read and revere Wodehouse - they'd also develop an excellent sense of humour, even if I do say so myself. And all of Conrad's nonsense got past Observer literary editor Robert McCrum, Wodehouse's latest biographer.