Monday, February 23, 2009

Down on the Count: Ignatieff “naive, egotistical”: UK paper

Count on the British to be able to size up Michael Ignatieff. He has after all spent more of his recent life in their company – in their universities, in their wood-paneled social clubs, on their televisions and in their newspapers – than he has on ours.

For its part The Guardian – Britain's venerable left-leaning paper – is decidedly anti-Ignatieff, if this column in its on-line edition today offers any indication.

The column casts long doubts over Ignatieff's leadership, finding him “nowhere” on the economy, ridiculing his “conditional” support for the Conservatives' budget, and blasting him for his decidedly un-progressive decision to let the Harper government survive despite the alternative accord offered by the New Democrats.

Michael Stickings savages Ignatieff and the pervasive delusions held about him by the know-it-all establishment saying:

Ignatieff “has never seemed to be much of a Canadian, and certainly not enough of one to be our prime minister. It's not that he has spent so much of his life overseas – mostly in Britain and the US. It's that he has seemed to aspire actively to be anything but Canadian, and more specifically to be American. Which is fine, in a cosmopolitan sort of way, but he comes back to Canada with an air of condescension about him, as if he has seen the world and conquered it and has now decided, with the coaxing of a party eager for him to lead it back to the promised land, to sully himself in the world of politics supposedly on our behalf but really because he just wants to be prime minister, so great would it look on his resumé, a capstone to a long and successful career.”


But wait, there's more. As that last paragraph lets on, Stickings is a Canadian who writes for The Guardian. Not just that, he's also a Canadian who has supported the Liberal Party in the past (on his website he admits to have supported Bob Rae for leader in 2006).

That The Guardian let this column run shows that Ignatieff's international audience isn't all rosy adulation and gratitude from wide-eyed plebes. There is a real sense - from the people who know him best - that the man may be in this for the wrong reasons.

UPDATE: The comments on the column are lively and revealing that Britons are grateful to finally find their televisions Iggy-free …

“Is this the same bloke who used to ponce about on the BBC?”

“he's a dreadful old pseud. he ruined bbc arts programmes in the late 80s. we were glad to be rid of him. our gain, your loss.”


janfromthebruce said...

Well beyond the ego he is a known warmonger, and labeling Iggy - neocon lite - priceless!

One poster wrote: Throughout the 1970's and 80's Ignatieff was marketed on UK television as the iconic intellectual who provided agonised explanations to philosophical and political questions that always seemed to harbour the "evils of communism" at their core. His minders flew him into the UK to promote Western military interventions in the Balkans and Iraq on the UK media. One wonders what they intend he should promote in Canada.

On that last thought - war, invasion, and more killing of working class young men and women. I think that it's time for young liberals to enlist for Iggy's army.

Beijing York said...

The comments are great. But I did note that the author of the article is actually a Canadian blogger.

gryff said...

You guys should post at CIF America in the Guardian. It tends to be very international . Halgeel84, for example, is from Toronto area.

I do alot.

gryff :)

1eyedpecker said...

Gotta dissent on this one. While I agree Iggy has serious shortcomings - I'm not sure I give two wits about what churlish commentators from the UK have to say on the subject. In his new job for only eight weeks, I think even a partisan observer has to admit that, on one level, he has been much more successful than we would of assumed at the outset.

Am I an Iggy supporter? Not yet. But it would sure help if I was seeing some positive PR come out of Layton's office. I am not.

Yes the death of the coalition was a hard bullet to bite- but his subsequent petulant act before the media over the liberal decision to back the Budget was poor form. My problem with Jack is rooted in his failure to reach out in a constructive manner - and on that count I lay the blame firmly at his and his counsels feet.

Sorry guys, but as a long time supporter I believe this party needs a new leader. One that places his party's fortunes above his own personal ambitions.

What Jack should have said after the Budget was that he didn't agree with the LPC decision but that he would not allow it to preclude a future coalition scenario down the road. He could have even attributed it to a case of rookie nerves on Iggy's part? But he choose not to - he choose to launch a polarizing attack instead. Further, he miscalculated by saying in advance that he would vote against the Budget. This had the effect of diminishing his cache days later when he tried to then (justifiably) critique many of its flawed features. Once he said he was voting against it sight unseen - his ensuing criticism lost their relevance in the eyes of the media. This played very badly in some places (yes the media is biased - but he had two choices that day - he choose wrongly). He will be hard pressed to regain credibility with soft Dippers.

Eight out of nine federal elections I have cast my vote for the NDP. However, I regret to say that I'm not sure I will be able to do so again until a change in leader occurs.

janfromthebruce said...

I respectfully disagree, oneeyepecker. Iggy was just playing a political game - pretending he and his crew were going to vote against the budget. Remember that magical moment on the common's floor when Harper met Iggy half way to shake his hand, for thanking him for keeping Canada in Afghanistan - priceless.
Iggy didn't give two hoots about the vulnerable - it was just liberal talk - his big deal was 3 update reports. There was nothing there.
The NDP is not about making the liberals look good. The NDP just took a huge risk to partner with the libs - and the libs instead partnered with the Harper neocon agenda - again. That is the side of the fence they are on, no matter "what sweet words" liberals speak.