Tuesday 25 November 2008

instinct for the times

Philip Pullman has rightly called climate change 'the most important challenge the human race has ever faced'. But the news hasn't reached everyone. Take political playwrights.

Imagine someone in 50 years time trying to understand what people were thinking/feeling about climate change by reading some of the plays that had been staged in 2008. OK, so theatre isn't journalism. There's going to be a time-lag. But nearly 20 years after the first IPCC report, the answer would be: people weren't thinking about it at all. It had barely impinged.

In the Guardian, Michael Billington defends David Hare's Gethsemane, saying 'Hare may not be right about everything. But he has a far greater instinct for the times we live in than most of the critics who so routinely abuse him.'

If only that were the case. Unfortunately, as Pullman's remark makes clear, there are far more pressing political issues today than Gethsemane's plot about party fund-raising and a cabinet minister's daughter sleeping with an Oxbridge journalist.

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