Saturday, 3 May 2008

beyond number 10

'We've had a new Prime Minister, but political life doesn't feel new; it feels like more of the same. It's not like the Thatcher era, when reaction was in the air like the weather. Playwrights were dashing to their typewriters. This doesn't mean there's nothing to have opinions about. It means that an opinion isn't a play. A play is a more complex reaction. A worthwhile play is a reaction, but there needs to be an action to provoke it in the first place.' - Tom Stoppard

This quote appears in today's Independent, so sadly (unlike the blogosphere) there's no link to show us where or when this was said, or even if this is the full quote. Stoppard's thoughts don't sound quite as seamless as we might expect.

But the idea that playwrights might draw their inspiration from whoever is in Number 10 is a charmingly old-fashioned 'Westminster' view of politics. There are big political changes taking place, but many of these changes are attitudinal ones about green issues.

(The ex-Tory chancellor Nigel Lawson gets this. He just gets it wrong.)

The complex actions and reactions, for instance, between the oil and coal industries and climate change scientists should be sending playwrights dashing to their laptops.

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