We’re used to reading powerfully-crafted descriptions of characters in novels – but, for some reason, this treatment seems to be rarely applied to politicians and others in the public eye. The current issue of London Review of Books has a short article by David Bromwich on the Republican Convention in the USA which contains as lacerating a picture of a human being as I have ever read -
His constant demeanour is cocksure; his face never registers reflection. Listening to other people is a formality, for Ryan, to be endured before he springs his answers. And how the answers pour out! There is an attractive, efficient speed in the way he works, but also a kind of deadness. And the deadness is there in his eyes – the hard eyes of the self-fulfilled and self-justified, clean of mind and clean of body, a whole mental mansion trip-wired against invasion by entities seeking pity and bearing excuses.
Savour that last phrase - a whole mental mansion trip-wired against invasion by entities seeking pity and bearing excuses. It purports to describe the guy just nominated by Mitt Romney to be his Vice Presidential running mate. It could be applied to a lot of young, arrogant professionals I have met in the Balkans!
I don’t want to get into the American Presidential election – save to express my disgust at the blatant way Republican Governors have been going about the disenfranchisement of poorer voters by trying to introduce requirement for ID. Apparently, since 2000, there have been only 10 cases of voter fraud. So it is not an issue – except for those who want to prevent the supporters of opposing parties from voting. In
, the organisation of election lists and elections is kept out of the politicians’ hands – and that’s the way it should be Britain