Monday, March 14, 2016

Know Your Enemy

"The home secretary, hitting syllables with a hammer as to a backward class of four year-olds, gloweringly asks everyone to share what she calls 'British values'. Yet her own values, which she shares with the gilded David Cameron and George Osborne, include support for drone strikes and targeted assassination, the right to intercept private communications, the intention to curtail freedom of speech, the imposition of impossible limits on industrial action, a fierce contempt for any of the sick or unfortunate who have relied on the support of the state in order to stay alive, and a policy of selling lethal weapons to totalitarian allies who use them to bomb schools. The home secretary contemplates with equanimity the figure of the 2,380 disabled people who died in the little more than two years following Iain Duncan Smith’s legislation that recategorised them as 'fit to work'. I don’t. By these standards, am I even British? Do I 'share values' with Theresa May? Do I hell."

An incandescent David Hare on Theresa May.

The playwright may usually communicate by means of his dramatic creations, but this article from which this diatribe comes, entitled "Why the Tory project is bust" and originally delivered as the 2016 Richard Hillary Lecture at Oxford University, is an exception. In it, he savages the narrative about the 1970s that the Tories have imposed on us, with the aid of historians; takes an iconoclastic swipe at the sainted Thatcher; points out that "it is hard to think of any area of public activity – education, justice, defence, health, culture – which any of the last seven Conservative governments have been interested in protecting, let alone conserving"; underlines the Tories' shamelessness in pandering to rather than punishing bankers who brought the country's economy to the brink of collapse while pursuing an austerity programme ("Socialism, too good for the poor, turned out to be just the ticket for the rich"); and makes the astute observation that "The reason we have been governed so badly is because government has been in the hands of those who least believe in it".

At the age of 68, with a knighthood and a clutch of awards under his belt, it wouldn't have been a surprise if Hare had gone quiet and retreated into a comfortable existence - so it's good to see that he remains passionate, angry and determined to speak out.

(Thanks to Kyle for the link.)

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