October 2, 2009

HOW ABOUT EVERY 4 YEARS?:

The NS Interview: Robert Harris (Jonathan Derbyshire, 01 October 2009, New Statesman)

Do you agree with Enoch Powell's line about all political careers ending in failure?

I think that's indisputably true, because there is a false assumption built into the whole rhetoric of politics, which is to think that somehow things could ever be solved. Every politician and political party connives in this falsehood. The National Health Service is not a problem that can ever be solved, because people are always going to get sick and die. I have sympathy with the view of François Mitterrand that politics is not a crusade, it is a profession.

That is what attracts me about Cicero: he was a practitioner of the humane art of governance. There were few politicians more skilled, yet he was crushed by the forces around him. [...]

You take the title of the novel from a ritual purification that occurred in Rome every five years. Do we need something similar?

I think so. In Rome, it was seen that this ritual purging, with the census coming in and clearing out the senate every five years, was needed. And yes, we're definitely about to have one.

Although I'm no Conservative, I do think in a way a change of government is to be welcomed, because this lot do seem to have run out of ideas. We need that sort of five-year sacrifice and sweeping away to see whether we can find something new, some fresh way forward. I feel we have now run into a dead end, and I think that there is generally a strong feeling of that
in the country.


Posted by Orrin Judd at October 2, 2009 7:08 AM
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