Lying on my bed of pain yesterday, I was unable to decide which of two articles in the Independent could legitimately be thought the stupider. It was a tough choice. How to decide between two versions of the 'progressive' point of view at its most fatuous?
The first was by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and was hilariously headlined: How did the BBC fall into the hands of right-wingers?
What she was essentially saying is that if BBC does not adhere to her pure notion of 'progressive politics'– ie her laughably loopy lefty view of the world – if, for example, it has the nerve to make a programme about the 'besieged' white working classes, code for nasty racist thugs – it has given in to 'right-wing ranters'. In the process, it has shamefully abandoned its former commitment to 'free speech and journalistic ethics'. No less shamefully, this amounts to the BBC's writing off the 'progressive' left as 'passé, irrelevant, annoying, elitist and soft'. (Personally, adjectives such as cretinous, pestilent, hypocritical, self-serving and, above all, wrong seem closer to the mark. But I'll settle for 'passé, irrelevant, annoying, elitist and soft' if pushed.)
It is worthy example of the left's warped view of the world that anyone who disagrees with it is by definition a 'right-wing ranter' who should, indeed must, be silenced instantly in the interests of free speech.
The second was by our old pal Johann Hari and appeared under the headline: Thatcher's baleful influence lives on.
This of course immediately wins bonus points by dragging in St Margaret, still 17 years almost to the day since her fall the totemic hate figure for the left, the devil incarnate.
Brilliantly, Hari argues that Thatcher herself is responsible for the current travails and miseries of the Bottler's government. Forget that NuLab have been in power for ten and-a-half years. It is all still Thatcher's fault.
Impressively, he therefore holds her responsible not just for America's sub-prime mortgage crisis, not just for the Northern Rock fiasco, but, piece de resistance with a vengeance – Bravo, Johann! Bravo! – HMRC's losing the two CDs.
Hari's piece was written before the more grisly details of David Abraham's donations to the Labour party had emerged. But I feel sure he could have found a way to blame these on Thatcher, too, had he been writing 24 hours later.
On the whole, I think Hari shades it. But is is a close-run thing.