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It’s difficult to imagine that an apologist for National Socialist mass murder would be treated politely, yet the apologist for communist mass murder (and friend of the Cambridge Spy Ring), the execrable Eric Hobsbawm, was feted, showered with trinkets, awarded a Companion of Honour and is eulogised still by equally execrable politicians.

Asked by the Canadian academic and politician Michael Ignatieff on television whether the deaths of 20 million people in the USSR – not to mention the 55 to 65 million victims of Mao’s Great Leap Forward – might have been justified if this Red utopia had been realised, Hobsbawm muttered in the affirmative.

The maxim is that you should say only good things about the dead. Ok, Eric Hobsbawm’s dead – good. The Commentator has a suitably honest appraisal of Hobsbawm, although it’s a touch unfair on much more pleasant David Irving.

Update: How fitting that Ed Miliband (now there’s a surprise) described Hobsbawm as “a lovely man”, and Tony Blair described him as “a giant of progressive politics”. Yeah, many progressives were happy propagandists for evil.

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  1. Frogspawn was a misguided man, now feted by the fawning media and politicians he would have gladly seen purged…

  2. “A quite brilliant man.”

    Said Prat, the poodle.

    Let me ask you something, Poodle,
    WHY on earth are you still here in the West, instead of some Communist Utopia?

    Frankly people like you are no better than the (British) Communist union leaders who sought to destroy this country.
    You sit on the sidelines, bark excitedly from time to time and have achieved nothing constructive or useful.
    Go away.

  3. Agit – I’m sure Petr was using the expression “damning with faint praise”, otherwise he would not have used that word “quite”, but ‘very’.

  4. There is a good reason why the Milibands (see 1st link) would be praising Hobsbawm. But on examination, it isn’t really ‘good’. The Milibands’ father and Hobsbawm have a great deal in common.

  5. He really was no better than David Irving.

    His contemptible beliefs alone wouldn’t stop him being a great historian- and apparently a lot of his stuff about the 19th century is very good- but his politics clearly led him to to lie and mislead his readers when he wrote about more modern events.

  6. Bernard,
    Petr rarely has anything constructive to say. Sure, he complains and criticises, he champions “uprisings” of various sorts, but it’s nearly always negative.
    I could quite happily explore the pros and cons of Israeli attitudes towards the Palestinians for example; but as it always appears to be a one way street, why should I?

  7. Agit — I’m a very positive person about whom you know not a single thing. Debating with you leads up a blind alley, as Noel has been learning. He’ll never get that time back!

  8. I think we have to differentiate between his academic abilities and his political opinions. I have read only one book by Mr Hobsbawm ‘Interesting Times’ and found it to be a quite neutral record of events with no discernible slant to it. Like Vanessa Redgrave (or Elvis Costello) , it can be possible to admire someone’s professional abilities while loathing their opinions.

  9. I could quite happily explore the pros and cons of Israeli attitudes towards the Palestinians for example

    Really, Agit? Every time I take you on you have to resort to insults and evasions. Let’s have a closer look at what Israel is, shall we?

    Sinister Sites – Israel Supreme Court

  10. I agree with Pete on not treating an apologist for National Socialist mass murder politely, but such news will be unwelcome in parts of Aberdeen.

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