Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Alan Bennett

For a national treasure, Alan Bennett (at 80) is unafraid to say brave things. His recent lecture in Cambridge (now published in the London Review of Books) contains a claim that "One only has to stand still to become a radical." This, in the light of the fact that "there has been so little that has happened to England since the 1980s that I have been happy about or felt able to endorse."

And he goes further, comparing the dismantling - as he sees it - of the welfare state with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, "with profit taking precedence over any other consideration, and the perpetrators today as locked into their ideology and convinced of their own rightness as any of the devout louts who, four or five hundred years ago, stove in the windows and scratched out the faces of the saints as a passport to heaven."

Private education, he said, is "not Christian either. Souls, after all, are equal in the sight of God." I wonder what he would make of Stowell Park, a hymn to inequality. Four of us walked through this morning.

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