The Guardian's comment columns now follow such a predictable pattern, you could almost write them yourself. Iran kidnaps British sailors? It's our own fault for supporting the Shah three decades ago. Sectarian gangs are murdering each other in Iraq? Washington must be encouraging them. Insurgency in Afghanistan? Blame the British empire.
So, after the bloody Hamas coup in Gaza, it was probably foolish to hope for a comment column that actually attributed responsibility to any of the main parties involved, or to their backers in neighbouring Arab and Islamic states. Instead we get this wearily predictable headline over today's article by Soumaya Ghannoushi - 'The west has created fertile ground for al-Qaida's growth' - followed by the usual attempt to pin the blame for events in Gaza on America and Europe and to sidestep any condemnation of the ideas or methods of fundamentalist political Islam.
As with these negative columns on the Rushdie knighthood, The Guardian probably thinks it's being terribly radical in commissioning this kind of thing, enabling marginalised voices to challenge received wisdom, etc. The problem is: these views are not marginal but part of a stale pseudo-left orthodoxy that is rarely challenged in the newspaper's pages.