Aaronovitch watch nails why (referring to Nick Cohen)
It seems to me that while Nick may be up for a fight, the people he’s accusing of spilling his pint aren’t. Rather than engage in a great intellectual struggle with Nick, Dave and the decents, mainstream left opinion (inasmuch as the Guardian op ed pages represent it) seems to be routing around it. On the one hand you have Seumas Milne’s usual repertory company, sticking it to the septics and sticking up for the Allah-besotted. On the other you have all these genteel Tories, preaching realism from a comfortable distance above the fray. The parameters here seem to relate to the majority consensus in Britain over the London bombings, namely that the Iraq conflict made them more likely to happen. Within that there's plenty of room for a chat about the who and the what and the why. Outside it...well, where's your audience?
Something similar seems to be going on over in Blogistan. The pro-war left went into a spasm of self-righteousness after July 7, de-linking here and there; condemning this, insisting on that, stagily revealing collaborators, sternly sorting sheep from goats. The result seems to be that they’ve now shrunk into a circular network, constantly cross linking, boosting their favourite columnists, uninterested in events that don’t immediately fit in with their preconceptions and increasingly adrift from the general bloggy conversation. The United Against Terror project seems to have gone splat and Harry’s Place is reduced to trolling for attention. Even their old antagonists at the movement antiwar sites don’t seem to bother too much with what they have to say. The only outward channel they have leads them directly to the hard right in the USA. And so a tendency hardens into a sect, which in turn boils down into something that’s starting to resemble a cult.
When this happens, you have to shout louder for attention. You have to say that you’re involved, for instance, in the greatest intellectual struggle of your time. You have to promise apocalyptic smash ups. Those who disagree with you have been driven mad by the course of history. It’s all a bit sad.