Magazine article The Spectator

Political Hoaxes

Magazine article The Spectator

Political Hoaxes

Article excerpt

New York

Irving Kristol, who died last week, was generally seen as the father of neoconservatism, a non-existent concept in Europe where we're steeped in more traditional and less opportunistic politics. I once sat with him at a dinner in honour of William Buckley given by Drue Heinz in her east side townhouse. We were four: Kristol and his wife, Teresa Manners, as she was back then, and yours truly.

Kristol was pleasant and fun to talk to. He was particularly intrigued by the fact that Lady Teresa's old man was a duke and that Belvoir Castle was pronounced Beaver.

One thing I noticed was that the old boy did not know how to eat properly. I found that interesting. Perhaps Kristol wished to retain a certain proletarian connection with his Trotskyite past. Never mind. He was civil when Teresa asked him what he thought of a certain rock band.

Kristol believed that neoconservatism reached out beyond the traditional political base, thus making the idea of conservatism more acceptable to voters. In this I beg to differ. Neoconservatism is a hoax, like being just a little bit pregnant. Its heroes include FDR, a major criminal in my book, and exclude Calvin Coolidge and Dwight Eisenhower, the models of what a president should be, unobtrusive, distant and nonmeddling.

Kristol was one of those eagle-eyed types who recognised political trends while the rest of us were out whistling Dixie. They saw the curves before we did. And shifted their allegiance accordingly. Nothing wrong with that, as there's nothing wrong with opportunism, either, except that it lacks originality. I was never convinced of their conservative principles - they spent too much, interfered all over the world, and were ready to go to war for Israel's sake rather than that of America. America reached her nadir when a bunch of neocons, the Feiths, Abramses and Wolfowitzes of this world, convinced a moron to attack the only dictator in the Middle East who was at war with radical Islam. We all know the rest, although the prize for cynicism goes to Tony Blair, because unlike Bush he knew what was going on but took his people to war anyway in order to ensure business as usual after he left office.

Otherwise it's nice to be back in the Bagel.

That fish like-looking dwarf, the mayor, qis angling for an outdoor ban on smoking, which has some of us up in arms. Mind you, it doesn't surprise me. Bloomberg is like most of his fellow billionaires, a dictator posing as a man of the people. The whole art of politics today is to pander to the weakness, fear and greed of the people. …

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