November 29th, 2008

The BBC's Little Dorrit

I'm enjoying the BBC's Little Dorrit.  I like how Andrew Davis has tightened up the ramshackle plot, given Amy a little more fire and turned the underpowered Rigaud into a proper villain of melodrama (Andy Serkis- plus beard and moustache, minus eyebrows) but it's not Dickens. Dramatized Dickens never is.  Take away the authorial voice- with its poetry, rhetoric and fantastical drollery- and you've taken away three quarters of what makes him so extraordinary. Little Dorrit is a huge novel, a great three-decker warship of a book (I'm borrowing a image from Kipling here) - like Turner's Fighting Temeraire with the sunset behind her- and Davis has turned it into a streamlined racing yatch. I miss the weather too. Dickens' London is dark and and foggy and muddy and hallucinatory. The BBC's London is so clean and brisk you could enact Jane Austen on the streets.

A Whiff Of Totalitarianism

Documents were leaked from the Home Office and ended up in the hands of the Shadow Minister for Immigration. They didn't contain national secrets, merely information embarrassing to the Government. The police were called in; they arrested the Shadow Minister, ransacked his house and searched his private office in the House of Commons.
The Shadow Minister was doing his job- part of which is to embarrass the Government. That is how things work in a democracy. Only totalitarian states use the police to intimidate the Opposition.

Or so we thought.

Or perhaps Britain under Gordon Brown is a totalitarian state.

The story has been overshadowed by events in Mumbai. That's a shame. Here's a discussion of the ins and outs of the affair- fair-minded as usual-  from my favourite newspaper columnist, Matthew Parris.

I was softening towards Gordon Brown. He has- ever since banks started collapsing left, right and centre- looked like a man who knows what he's doing. This affair is a reminder of how clumsy and anti-democratic his instincts- and those of his government- are.

Reminder to self: You must never, ever cast a vote in support of Gordon Brown, or anyone remotely connected with him.