25 December 2008

Harold Pinter

A brilliant screenwriter, a great playwright, a decent actor, a well intentioned but hopelessly inept campaigner, an embarassingly bad poet. Pinter was right to protest against the invasion of Iraq but why did he do it in poetry that would shame a thirteen year old? Google Harold Pinter bad poetry for all the proof you need. But for me, he'll always be a benchmark of Tony Blair's philistinism and totalitarian tendency. When a UK citizen wins the Nobel Prize, you'd think any UK PM would wish to congratulate them. Even if, especially if that writer has been a critic of the government. At the most cynical level, it would be a demonstration of the UK PM's acceptance of free speech and open debate. A celebration, if you will, of our democratic values which we wish to spread throughout the world. When Pinter won the prize, Blair completely ignored it. Pinter wouldn't have wanted Blair's praise, of course. If he'd been offered honours, we can be sure he'd have refused them. We wait to see what (if anything) Gordon Brown has to say following his death.