Commenting on this post about Fidel Castro's welcome retirement, a reader wrote, quoting part of my argument:
"If conservatives – on both sides of the North Atlantic – were too ready to turn a blind eye to Pinochet's crimes, left-wingers have been equally credulous with regard to Castro's Cuban dictatorship."
When Pinochet died, Jonah Goldberg and I had an email back-and-forth about this very claim. I dispute that the level of admiration for Castro on the left is anything approaching the right's support for Pinochet. Only among the most extreme, throwback lefties would you find a good word for man. Compare with Pinochet, who received so many kind words from conservative pundits upon his passing, and who maintained friendships with Thatcher, Reagan et. al. Sorry, it's not the same.
Perhaps that's true in the United States. But not all countries are the United States. You can imagine the delight I felt then when - via Mr Eugenides - I spied this comment from Harriet Harman* MP, currently Deputy Leader of the Labour Party as she answered questions from readers of The Independent:
Fidel Castro: hero of the left, or dangerous authoritarian dictator?
Hero of the left – but time for Cuba to move on.
*Ms Harman, it should be stressed, is not a Lady of the Loony Left. On the contrary she's been identified with the right-wing of the Labour Party. True, she's also hopeless but that's another matter entirely...