Someone once wrote – the reference escapes for the moment – that Nick Cohen was so outraged and sidelined by the Corbyn phenomenon and the rise of the actual left that he was basically reduced to writing the same angry column every week. His venomous irrelevance means that he’s usually best ignored.
But his disgraceful article yesterday attacking the unions – which would be funny if it were not so vile – varied his usual theme, with a large dose of misogyny.
Cohen’s comments about Jennie Formby, the front-runner to be Labour’s new General Secretary, in which he dismissed her competence and feminism because she used to have a relationship with Unite’s Len McCluskey, fails the very simple misogyny test: would he dismiss a man in the same way because of a former relationship?
The rest of Cohen’s article is simply laughable. Calling for greater militancy – ‘a stirring age of worker resistance‘ – while failing to resist his pavlovian use of ‘hard left’ and dismissing those who lead actual resistance is feeble even by his own standards.
It also displays a staggering – wilful? – ignorance of why the unions have to work doubly hard to mount effective resistance: the Tories’ repressive anti-union laws.
And the fact that, despite that, they still do so.
Cohen lists a couple of ‘small victories’ – right-wing dominated USDAW is mentioned, naturally – but fails even to mention the successful McDonalds workers strike that captured imaginations and faced down the global fast-food giant – let alone Unite’s huge victory in the Birmingham bins dispute.
Cohen couldn’t be less relevant to left politics – not even he could manage that. Yesterday he found an even viler way to be irrelevant than usual, but it merely showed his stunted immaturity compared to a trade unionist of forty years’ experience who has fought tirelessly to better the lives of workers and is hugely respected in the movement.
That the Guardian/Observer continues to publish his bile encapsulates perfectly why it is increasingly dismissed by actual left-wingers when it should be profiting from the fact that there is a huge gap in the print media for a genuine voice from the left.
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