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David Aaronovitch

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Harken back to the days of HG Wells when Phileas Fogg sat in his Chesterfield armchair in the Reform Club protected by his broadsheet and a single malt and soda at his side, calmly content in his knowledge that he was in the navel of a commonwealth of colonies on which the sun never set.

Britannia ruled more than the waves.

Now peer deeper into that room. You should be able to discern another figure there, off to the side, surreptitiously reading yesterday's Morning Star.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

Things move on along with time and lofty ideals of youth become rungs on the ladder one climbs to make it to the top. And the higher you go, the more you forget.

Behold David Aaronovitch, former Marxist who today not only represents the hawkish right but more importantly represents David Aaronovitch.



Oh he's won his awards, our David, but then again they all do once they get their bearings straight and learn that principles are objects of barter. (Others like Assange win them without bartering but that's another story.)

David met with Julian Assange the other evening in what most accurately can be described as an orchestrated ambush amidst an audience of imbeciles. Under contract to the Times, David of course had to write something about that fantastic encounter. You can pay the £1 to read the less than 800 words or you can pluck 'fair use bits' here. The latter is probably recommended.

Julian Assange is 'a composite of the coolnesses of the early 21st century', writes David in obvious New Yorker style. David goes on to reveal that Assange was wearing 'winklepickers' - something that otherwise hyper-alert crowd of MA journalism students probably didn't notice as they were still dropping jaw over Julian's 60-day old makeover. Thanks, David.

David goes on to mention in passing that WikiLeaks is running out of an 'underground bunker'. Perhaps David knows more about the new server facilities of Sweden's oldest Internet hosting company Bahnhof, perhaps not. Perhaps not.

David tries to build up an atmosphere of the 'unreal', all the while he's clearly trying to bask in Julian's glory, much as Anna Ardin did a month earlier.

There are precious few of the <800 words devoted to anything of substance. But David does point out Assange had a bodyguard and didn't dare enter through the same door as everyone else. And he doesn't offer a theory why.

But he didn't like what he would have called Julian's evasiveness to his perfectly legitimate questions.

'Not only would Assange not answer these questions, it was almost as though he regarded them as illegitimate.'

Wow. Why that, Aaronovitch? But David can't answer as he's being swept away by what he diagnoses as 'Stockholm Syndrome', you know - that bank holdup at Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm where Clark Olofsson tried to reason with robber Janne Olsson to release hostages.



'I wanted to protect this young man from his questioners, his pursuers, and above all from his surly self.'

You're such a condescending hypocrite, David. Skärpning!

So where does David Aaronovitch stand on today's issues as opposed to yesterday when he appeared on University Challenge and answered every question with the name of a communist revolutionary? As opposed to when he was still at the bottom of the ladder, peddling his bag of discount bulk rate ideals?

A clue (or two) can be found in some of his rantings of late in the New Millennium.

'I don't believe that Saddam is a major backer of al-Qaeda (though he gives support to other groups) and I think it quite likely that he has had no effective nuclear programme for years. He would if he could but he can't. But I want him out.'
 — David Aaronovitch

'The argument that Saddam's removal will of necessity lead to 'chaos' or the democratic election of an unsuitable Islamist government is worthy of Henry Kissinger at his most cynical.'
 — David Aaronovitch

'I do not believe that George Bush is the manic oil-chimp of caricature. His administration really does have a view that it is necessary to remove Saddam pour décourager les autres. It will, they have convinced themselves, show resolve, deter state terrorism, discourage proliferation and permit the building of a rare non-tyranny in the Arab world. There is something to be said for all this.'
 — David Aaronovitch

'If nothing is eventually found, I as a supporter of the war will never believe another thing that I am told by our government, or that of the US ever again. And, more to the point, neither will anyone else. Those weapons had better be there somewhere. They probably are.'
 — David Aaronovitch

'I do apologise. For Abu Ghraib and Donald Rumsfeld. For not understanding the insurgents. For the looting. I apologise to the election workers assassinated, the police trainees blown up, the parents of children caught in crossfire and everyone else that the planners and executors of the invasion that I supported and still support may have let down by neglect or stupidity.'
 — David Aaronovitch

Britannia doesn't rule the waves any longer, David. That Chesterfield armchair is looking a bit worse for wear. And you've got nothing left in your bag to sell.

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