Sons and Lovers

“Then shall one speak of one who loved not wisely but too well.”

David Blunkett’s fall from grace has a Shakespearean familiarity. A plot with all the right ingredients of passion, power, betrayal and arrogance, for the television dramatisation that must inevitably follow, once the dust has had time to settle.

It is one of the greatest fallibilities of the human race, an intense love affair that is. To quote Shakespeare once again, “Tis a sickness and its cure together” and perhaps society should be a little more forgiving and less judgemental, treating such incidents as if the person involved was the victim of some sudden mental illness, which is what it is, simply ask Mark Anthony or Othello, Profumo or Blunkett.

Not so long ago, I watched a television documentary that tried very hard to understand the chemistry of romance from a scientific perspective. Most interesting was the evidence of brain changes when the subjects were scanned, with areas of the cortex visibly “Lit-up” like a Christmas tree in the subjects – or victims – of a passionate love affair. It might be argued that with the brain so disturbed by the experience that a person could not be considered completely responsible for their actions, an argument that leads directly to the judgement of crimes of passion, a temporary madness, that can lead a person to fast track a visa application against all common sense and at great risk to one’s career and marriage.

With Blunkett gone, there was a moment’s hope that the Home Office might fall under the control of someone with a little more imagination and intelligence than the tragic figure of the Prime Minister’s friend. Any hopes were quickly dashed by the appointment of the thuggish Cabinet enforcer, Charles Clark, a man with the charm and physique of the Vogon constructor fleet commander in Douglas Adam’s novel, the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and from whom we can expect more of the same, fewer carrots and rather more stick.

A society elects the politicians it deserves and by any account the present Cabinet gives us very little to be proud of, a divided and squabbling executive, castigated by Blunkett’s recent biography and led by one who many regard as the most mistrusted and disingenuous Prime Ministers of the century.

My opinion, for what little it is worth, is that our society has lost any real sense of belief, in politicians, in religion and in our ability to make the world a better place. Government today resembles an executive trapped between a dependency culture and the socially unattractive pressures of a global economy. Decisions that shape the future of nations are made by multi-national businesses and banks and government has to act as a mediator between these powerful forces and it doesn’t do this well. I don’t pretend to offer any answers, only the belief that democracy is looking increasingly stale and tired and only the Shakespearian epic of the last week, make it faintly interesting to a bored and disillusioned population.

A final quote on the resignation of the fallen David Blunkett, this time not from Shakespeare but from Dickens: “Tis a far far better thing I do than I have ever done before


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