By Ben Cohen
George Monbiot wrote a very accurate piece in the Guardian on the broken political system in the U.K accusing the political classes of selling the public out for corporate money. Days later, Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, fired back accusing Monbiot of being an armchair warrior, afraid to test his values where they would count. She wrote:
Seldom have I come across such cynical and corrosive commentary as that written by George Monbiot (
He starts with an attack on selected members of the government, calling
us “heartless, soulless, gutless technocrats” and “political ghosts”……..
Ultimately, Monbiot misses the point: we need more people standing for
office and serving their communities, more people debating, engaging
and voting; not more people waving placards on the sidelines. His
entire political outlook is based on protesting about what someone else
As many politicians, business leaders and climate change skeptics have recently found out, Monbiot is not a man to be messed with, and he fired back with a scathing piece tearing Blears record as a public servant to pieces. Some choice excerpts:
Courage in politics is measured by the consistent application of principles. The website
records votes on key issues since 2001. It reveals that you voted “very
strongly for the Iraq war”, “very strongly against an investigation
into the Iraq war” and “very strongly for replacing Trident” (“very
strongly” means an unbroken record). You have voted in favour of
detaining terror suspects without charge for 42 days, in favour of
identity cards and in favour of a long series of bills curtailing the
freedom to protest. There’s certainly consistency here, though it is
not clear what principles you are defending.
Then, it gets nasty:
You remained silent while the government endorsed the kidnap and the
torture of innocent people; blocked a ceasefire in Lebanon and backed a
dictator in Uzbekistan who boils his prisoners to death. You voiced no
public concern while it instructed the Serious Fraud Office to drop the
corruption case against BAE, announced a policy of pre-emptive nuclear
war, signed a one-sided extradition treaty with the United States and
left our citizens to languish in Guantánamo Bay. You remained loyal
while it oversaw the stealthy privatisation of our public services and
the collapse of Britain’s social housing programme, closed hundreds of
post offices and shifted taxation from the rich to the poor. What
exactly do you stand for Hazel, except election?
The only consistent political principle I can deduce from these positions is slavish obedience to your masters.
Blears hasn’t responded as yet, but I’m not sure how she can come back from that. I report on Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts, and am familiar with the art of combat – in my humble (and some would say ‘expert’ opinion), I’d call it a KO in the 3rd.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.