A phenomenon about which I am normally sceptical in the extreme. And even if a sour old fruit does stalk him on Twitter. Well, he does look even younger than he really is, which would account for it...
Owen Jones was on Question Time last night. Impersonating a Blairite by having no tie on (and he calls himself Old Labour!), but otherwise running very little risk of being mistaken for one.
He was wrong about state secularism. No fully functioning example of that exists anywhere; for example, how secular is the political life of the American Republic? And it would preclude the principles, notably held by opponents of women bishops in the Church of England, which issued in the ultimately successful critiques, lived out as anything properly theological is by definition, both of apartheid South Africa and various Nazi-harbouring monetarist regimes in Latin America, and of Marxism in general and the Soviet Union in particular.
Leaving aside fringe aberrations, it was the churches, in specifically and classically theological terms, that opposed Botha and Pinochet without siding with Brezhnev, and which opposed Brezhnev without siding with Botha and Pinochet. No one else managed that, because no one else had the necessary resources, which were and are those of classical, historic, mainstream Christian theology. Those resources alone are able to critique the whole of the indivisible campaign of vandalism that has been waged socially since the 1960s, socially and economically since the 1980s, and socially, economically and constitutionally since 1997.
But Jones was on formidable form in his detailed denunciation of the figures and forces within and around the Israeli Government, with their calls for Holocausts, for Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Gaza, and such like. Their hired help in America would have invaded Iraq even if there had been no attacks on 11th September 2001, attacks which in any case had nothing to do with Iraq. And they themselves would have been doing what they are now doing even if the likes of Islamic Jihad, in opposition to the government in the Gaza Strip, had never carried on bombing southern Israel, or even if, through Shin Bet, they themselves had never created Hamas in the first place in order to weaken the PLO.
The PLO is "the Representative of the Palestinian People" recognised as such by the Holy See, the Sovereign Authority of the Catholic Church, on the principles set out above, the principles that opposed all of Stalinism, Maoism, the Trotskyist distinction without a difference, Nazism, Fascism, and the Far Right regimes in Southern Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. Today, this heritage defines the approach both to Islamism and to neoconservatism.
Jones was on fine form against the fomenting of divisions between the unemployed and low-paid workers, between the disabled and the able-bodied, between private sector workers and public sector workers, and so on, all with a view to distracting attention from those who really caused all the trouble. He recounted some of the ever-increasing thousands of horror stories of deaths caused by Atos due to its finding the most gravely or severely disabled people to be fit for work because it is paid by the number of such decisions that it reaches.
Again, the people who are doing this would have done it anyway, 2008 Crash or no 2008 Crash. They have never made any secret of that aspiration and intention. They include the remnant, but still very noisy, Blairite faction within the Labour Party. It can never be repeated too many times that most Housing Benefit claimants are in work, usually full-time work, and that the money does not go into their pockets, but into the bank accounts of their often shamelessly profiteering landlords, the pillars and paymasters of the grassroots Conservative Party.
And Jones stated the left-wing case against the EU, which is the mainstream case everywhere else, and indeed here in terms of voting against the Treaty of Rome, ever having held a referendum, ever having fought a General Election on a commitment to withdrawal, voting against the Single European Act, voting against Maastricht, voting against the European Finance Bill, keeping Britain out of the euro, electing Eurosceptics (including one who has voted against every Treaty since the first one) as MPs' representatives to the party's National Executive Committee, voting by one third of MPs to be chaired by an outspoken and dynastic advocate of outright withdrawal, expressing openness to the possibility of an In-Out referendum, proposing a Eurosceptical candidate for Chancellor, having a Eurosceptic at the head of the party's Policy Review, and voting to demand a real terms cut in the British contribution to the EU Budget at the negotiations currently underway.
But ssshh, no one must ever know. If the Question Time producers had known that Jones was going to hint at the existence of such a position, then they would never have let him on. Farage was not on, so he must be on holiday this week.