Michael Ignatieff was a public intellectual in Britain for many years and has now returned to Canada and will run as a contender for the Liberal leadership. Although he is running within an establishment party, the candidate seems akin to Jesse Venture or the Gubernator: an outsider gathering support beyond the hallowed grounds of politics and subverting the rules of the game. Ignatieff is an interesting character, an internationalist with Blairite overtones, a policy wonk who has imbibed the third way, and a perceptive politician who refutes the simple partisan rage of the Left:
“There is a kind of anti-Americanism that I understand, but it renders people so enraged that they cease to see some of the moral consequences of their own position, namely that they’re going to leave millions of people inside a jail with Saddam Hussein. To which they then would reply, ‘Well, isn’t this worse?’ And I won’t even deny that. But the thing that I felt so strongly, about the decision to go, was that the left, particularly in America, only talk about the costs of the military operation. And in some senses they got that right. But they have no sense of the cost of doing nothing.”
This is a quote that could just as easily have come from Aaronovitch or other proponents of the 'muscular Left'.
Ignatieff understands that he faces an uphill struggle puncturing the sanctimonious principles of the liberal left in Canada whilst detaching them from the amoral class warriors who have allied with Islamic reaction, exchanging the red for the green flag.
However, he is proving controversial. Rivals have drawn attention to alleged gaffes (and to the Gaffinator) whilst political inexperience has led to accusations of flip-flopping. A fascinating clash of intectual thought and the mires of politics. Will he survive?