At first blush, the Euston Manifesto doesn’t seem explosive. Conceived in a London pub and hashed out online, and signed by left-wing, mostly British academics and journalists, it declares itself for democracy and freedom of ideas, and against racism and terror. OK, great. Torn by the Iraq war and the fight against terrorism, Britain’s left, like some in the U.S., could use a few reminders of what is at stake.
Yet since its unveiling in April, the Euston Manifesto has generated fierce debate. On the kinder end, Daniel Finkelstein, in the Times of London, called it “a gigantic waste of time and energy” that seeks to salvage an unsalvageable left. Brendan O’Neill, meanwhile, wrote in the Guardian that “the Euston group and al Qaeda are cut from the same cloth.”
Just what could be so provocative?