I’ve always enjoyed the work of columnist and commentator Peter Oborne since first discovering his tirades against the oleaginous Tony Blair. So I was somewhat surprised to hear that he had resigned his position at the Telegraph, itself the flagship of media Toryism, where as its chief political commentator he had provided mild-mannered and sober reflections for many years.
Not so much a fulminating reactionary, Peter Oborne is an honourable conservative fellow and embodies the best of moralism. You know he means it when he’s indignant with rage at political corruption, cronyism and opportunism, the three characteristics of our trilateral consensus, precisely because he’s polite by nature. Compare this to Peter Hitchens, the chief fulminator, who does adhere to difficult principles and abhors the party system as it is. What’s the difference? The little Hitch is a drama queen, who smells rot everywhere, whereas Oborne assumes the best of people (which isn’t always an advantage).
Unlike the Daily Mail herd of scabrous journos, Oborne has kept his distance from the racist narratives around Muslims, their faith and terrorism. Instead of partaking in slanders against the Muslim community, Oborne embraces multiculturalism and tolerance, while at the same time, he condemns homophobia and other forms of bigotry. He’s been willing to share platforms with Leftists on these very issues standing with the prickly George Galloway, whom he defended against a ghastly assault, as well as Charlie Brooker and Mehdi Hasan. He was one of the few commentators to argue that the London riots were a sign of a society increasingly polarised by a wealth gap. But this isn’t the only instance.
On more than one occasion, Peter Oborne has eloquently raised the question of Palestinian statehood and the rights of its dispossessed people. He has not been afraid to criticise Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories, and he has done so at the leading conservative newspaper. He’s even dared to slam the pro-Israel lobby and its dealings with British politicians, particularly the Conservatives. Oborne may assume the best, but he’s not going to pretend he doesn’t see wrongdoing by his side. This is a great public service on his part.
Not enough liberals, let alone conservatives, have the brains or the guts to take a stand on the issue of Palestine. So the decision to resign can only be seen as another instance of this integrity. It only reaffirms and consolidates his record.