As you've probably guessed it was some witless sales talk about how we 'must work together' with China to 'build a stronger future'. Well, that's all well and good, I suppose.
However, the headline. The first Cultural Revolution, as we must now preface it, is not now generally reckoned to have been a good thing, certainly not a satisfactory basis for building a strong, reciprocating future in trade and commerce, let alone human rights. It is clear now that millions of Chinese, Tibetans, Mongolians and others died as a consequence of the Cultural Revolution, often as a result of particularly vicious acts. As Mao said in defence of ferocity in service of the cause: "This man Hitler was even more ferocious. The more ferocious the better, don't you think? The more people you kill, the more revolutionary you are."
You may think I'm making a bit of a hoo-ha of what is just an oversight. But how about something like 'Trade relations should avoid another Holocaust' in relation to, say, German-British intercourse? Not a hanging crime, but in bad taste.
I can think of a few explanations for such a balls-up in metaphor:
(a) Writer (A. Darling as it happens) didn't know what he was doing, despite being a lapsed Trot and so someone presumably versed in the crimes of the various socialist heresies.
(b) A. Darling did know what he was doing as he believes the first Cultural Revolution was actually a good thing (perhaps I've got Darling's history wrong and he was a Maoist rather than a Trot).
(c) Headline was written by sub on the Times who similarly didn't know what he was doing.
(d) Headline was written by sub on the Times who did know what he was doing and had a right laugh about it down the pub last night.
I think it's telling, and typical of the more puzzling actions of this government, that the most scary explanation is that it happened because the politico actually knew what he was doing. Applying this explanation to things from the McBride affair to Smith's banning of US shock-jocks produces a similar feeling of worry. I really hope they're just an incompetent bunch of shits.
UPDATE: This isn't a truly BFD. So, am I over-reacting? None of the 17 comments (so far) that follow the article online raise the headline as an issue. Perhaps no-one gives a shit about history. In any event, truly the victors write their own. Or at least persuade others to forget about it.