Further to my post of yesterday concerning Owen Jones and the young, I've learned of someone else who went off on an Owen Jones-type 'why-oh-why' about the big Iraq war demo a few days before he did. This is Sam Parker, whose lament you can read here. It has the truly relishable sentence, 'Blix swept into the darkening saga like a comforting beam from a lighthouse'; but Parker's complaint is that it just didn't occur to him that 'it might not work' - that is, that the anti-Iraq war demo might not succeed. Well, now he knows. But he's charging Tony Blair with having 'robbed a generation of their faith in politics'.
Tom Harris MP briskly puts him right on a number of points: among them, what was thought to be the case about Iraq's WMD before the military intervention; and Blair's election victory in 2005, after it. Central, however, is Harris's explanation to Parker that democracy doesn't mean 'getting your own way'.
So elementary is this observation that one has to wonder how the common leftist anti-war lament comes to be as common as it is. A friend has suggested to me that some on the left have to believe there's something wrong with the political system since it so rarely generates the policies they favour. Possibly. But I wonder if there isn't also an assumption - one to which I've alluded here before - that probably most people really think like 'we' do, give or take a spot of false consciousness. So ingrained in these quarters is the notion that the left is (always) right that their denizens just can't believe that there isn't a (deep but hidden) majority for what 'we' think; this even when other people on the left disagree with what 'we' think; an inconvenience then sometimes handled by saying that such people can't be on the left. All of it relieves those who harbour the assumption in question of the most difficult task of all - that of understanding that you need to persuade others of your view, then of actually persuading them, and then of winning political majorities for the view through democratic institutions. Those who don't reach the point of this understanding haven't fully grasped the meaning of democracy. A beam from its conceptual lighthouse might not come amiss. (Thanks: RB.)