Saturday, August 29, 2009

Admiring dictators

In criticising Hannan's expressed admiration of Enoch Powell, it seems that Sunny Hundal has been hoist by his own petard, as my impecunious yet peripatetic Greek friend notes.
Ignoring what must be the mother and father of all straw men here, one can't help noticing the lack of such outrage when Southall MP Virendra Sharma praised the pro-independence Indian leader, Subhas Chandra Bose. Indeed, Sunny leapt to his defence against the "misrepresentations" of Iain Dale:
Bose was never a fascist, though he did want to work with the Japanese and/or Germans to get rid of the British.

This is a little like saying that Enoch Powell was never a racist, though he did want to get rid of all the darkies. So I went to visit Bose's Wikipedia page, which Sunny linked to in his post, and which paints quite a vivid portrait:
Bose's correspondence (prior to 1939) reflects his deep disapproval of the racist practices of, and annulment of democratic institutions in Nazi Germany. However, he expressed admiration for the authoritarian methods (though not the racial ideologies) which he saw in Italy and Germany during the 1930s, and thought they could be used in building an independent India.

Bose had clearly expressed his belief that democracy was the best option for India. [...] However, during the war (and possibly as early as the 1930s) Bose seems to have decided that no democratic system could be adequate to overcome India's poverty and social inequalities, and he wrote that an authoritarian state, similar to that of Soviet Russia (which he had also seen and admired) would be needed for the process of national re-building.

It seems clear to me, from the little I know of him, that had Bose lived (he died in 1945) and achieved the prominence he sought, he would have done far more harm to Indians than Powell and his acolytes ever did. One is tempted to ask whether a man who can simultaneously express admiration for both fascism and Stalinism is the sort of person who Sunny would "invite round for tea", but that's not really the point.

Nor should we forget, at this point, to remind readers of Harriet Harman, Sunny's "second choice" for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, who last year described Fidel Castro as a "hero". That caused a marked lack of offence on the Left—some might even have described it as a "dog whistle"—but I suppose that's not really the point, either.

My point is, rather, that while one would hardly expect the editor of [the ever-readable] Pickled Politics to hold warm childhood memories of Enoch Powell, you can't have it both ways. If it's OK for a Labour politician to cite the influence of a controversial figure from the past, while trying to ignore their darker side, then it's OK for a Tory, too.

Quite.

Your humble Devil would like to make absolutely clear that I am not saying that Sunny is an admirer of dictators, authoritarians and other sundry nasty people. And the fact that he is so swift to publish expressions of support for those that are does not, of course, mean that Sunny Hundal is a nasty, hypocritical, authoritarian little shit who loves dictators as long as they are his kind of dictator.

I would never suggest anything of the kind. Definitely not.

As long-time readers will know, I am a fervent admirer of Sunny Hundal and all his works and do not, in any way, think that he is a nasty, hypocritical, authoritarian little shit who loves dictators as long as they are his kind of dictator.

That would be to credit the man with some powers of thought.

5 comments:

Martin said...

I struggle to read Liberal Conspiracy. It's the very face of everything I hate about the status quo in politics; rather than dealing with issues, smear tactics and the like need to be employed.

Sunny said...

And the fact that he is so swift to publish expressions of support for those that are does not

Winston Churchill.

JuliaM said...

Well, that was a devastating comeback by Sunny there...

Longrider said...

I would never suggest anything of the kind. Definitely not.

No. Of course not...

Removes tongue from cheek.

Rumbold said...

DK:

When has Sunny stuck up for dictators? He is always quick to condemn authoritarian regimes.