’Bring Up The Bodies’ by Hilary Mantel, which I blogged about yesterday, has much to say about the nature of political manoeuvring and power games that seem as relevant now and as in the 16th century.
This quote, for example, could apply to any age:
”What is the nature of the border between truth and lies? It is permeable and blurred because it is planted thick with rumour, confabulation, misunderstandings and twisted tales. Truth can break the gates down, truth can howl in the street; unless truth is pleasing, personable and easy to like, she is condemned to stay whimpering at the back door”.
Not one to stay anonymous, Russell Brand mixes with the Occupy London protesters.
Up until now I’ve never been a massive fan of Russell Brand but he went way up in my estimation after making Jeremy Paxman look like a floundering twerp in the Newsnight Interview which has gone viral.
Brand has never made a secret of his serial addictions to drugs, sex and porn or that he is a shameless attention seeker. On the contrary, he has built his stage persona around these vices. He is only half joking when he says that he is going for a look that crosses Jack Sparrow with Spartacus.
It was clear that Paxman didn’t expect him to come up with such an articulate and forceful response to his usual sneery line of questioning.
For someone who has built his reputation on exposing the shameful lies and deceit that is the stock in trade of politicians, Paxman was put on the back foot by Brand’s entirely logical conclusion that voting changes nothing.
Now while Paxman blasts his peers for appearing on Strictly Come Dancing, Brand shows that his backing for people’s democracy by joining the massed ranks of the Occupy London protest.
As a multimillionaire comedian he makes an unlikely revolutionary but by bringing these issues back into the headlines he’s doing far more good for Britain than David Cameron and his cronies ever will.
Silvio Berlusconi defecates live on Italian TV.
In Italy they are calling it a video message but the European press are rightly calling it a rant and a tirade.
Silvio Berlusconi, a man who knows no shame, is not merely ridiculous but dangerous.
He claims once more that he is an honest, decent man who is just trying to serve the country he loves.
Today he railed against the injustices he has had to endure but the very fact that he is allowed to voice this criticism in a 16 minute uninterrupted political discourse on national television is a further example of the corrupt and biased media which lie at the root of the Italy’s crisis. View full article »
RATKING by Michael Dibdin (Faber & Faber, 1988)
“A ratking is something that happens when too many rats live in too small a space under too much pressure”.
A ratking is not a creature but a condition. It’s a state of a nation.
Dibdin’s subject is Italy, a country where state corruption is so advanced as be as deadly as an inoperable form of cancer. Italy is one of the most conspicuous examples of the misuse of power and the decay of democracy but it is not alone. This novel could be set elsewhere and be just as damning but, at the same time, it is Dibdin’s accurate sense of place that gives the story its credibility.
Ostensibly, this is a generic crime thriller with a maverick cop , Aurelio Zen, appointed to a high-profile kidnapping case. The victim is the head of a prominent Miletti family in Perugia, Umbria. This man has four children and as the investigations proceed the dysfunctional relations between these siblings suggests that the demise of their father would not necessarily be a cause of grieving.
Zen is under no illusions that the can of worms he uncovers will be closed happily. Neither does he see the resolution of the case as being anything but an isolated victory against the wealthy lawyers, politicians and criminals who control the institutions. His pessimism is understandable but also a little frustrating for any reader looking for a more inspirational figure. View full article »