Public intellectual (II)

Douglas Bell responds to Andrew Steele’s advice for Michael Ignatieff.

Steele points to Ignatieff’s review of Leslie Gelb’s new book on American foreign policy as a good example of what Ig ought to be doing, ie exercising his considerable skills as a writer and intellectual to augment the leadership grind … True. But I would also suggest it’s all a bit of a mixed blessing. Here are two things that bug me about Ignatieff’s writing, his style of intellection and ultimately his leadership. On bad days he can be both glib and needlessly scheming. Both cropped up recently.

As one example of Ignatieff’s diabolical nature, Bell cites the Liberal leader calling Brian Mulroney to wish him him a happy birthday. Because, as everyone obviously knows, no one ever just wishes someone else a happy birthday. Not to mention that, as is generally accepted by those pure of spirit, no one accused of political crimes really deserves to have their birthday recognized anyway.

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