Monday, 5 November 2012

Guantanamo? Novice stuff

I often wonder why I still read the Guardian. It's so timid and bound-up in the concerns of a self-regarding soi-disant liberal elite whose concerns are far removed from the actual struggles of the left and the non-metropolitan classes. Perhaps it's because I'd like to spend my life agonising over my second home, school-fees guilt and the origins of my artisan cheese rather than doing admin, cleaning vomit off my doorstep and keeping students awake after they've done a factory night shift.

But sometimes the good old Guardian makes me laugh. In particular, I loved Philip Hensher's review of monstrous art critic Brian Sewell's autobiography. In it, we learn that Sewell harboured his old tutor Sir Anthony Blunt, who was unmasked as a KGB spy. Now, being a syndicalist communist and the bearer of an Irish passport, I'm not that concerned about nationalistic patriotism nor the Cold War. But I can understand why the British Establishment was less than impressed by Blunt and by Sewell's behaviour, just as I can understand why the USSR would be unhappy about the activities of traitors in their ranks. Blunt told the KGB about spies in the USSR, and some of them were killed.

Sewell suffered the full weight of the Establishment's wrath. OK, he didn't go to prison. Nor was he ever arrested. Or fired. Or tortured. Or sent to an offshore secret prison. Nor did any of these things happen to Sir Anthony. But he and Blunt were treated, says Hensher, in a 'brutal' fashion.
not just Blunt, but Sewell too was stripped of his library privileges at the Courtauld
Oh! The inhumanity! To lose your library card! I'm sure there's something in the Geneva Conventions about this kind of viciousness.

For feck's sake.

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