Not like us

Meeting Kajsa at Gatwick Airport. I thought I’d need to fill her in on events here in Britain. Not a bit of it. The Swedish papers are full of it. They of course are gobsmacked. ‘Clearly’, one of Kajsa’s friends tells her, ‘the English are not like us.’ That’s typical Swedish politeness: she really meant ‘mad’. Indeed. Journalists there are comparing our recent party leadership battles with Shakespeare plays – which the Swedes know well. Having watched a recording of the BBC’s superb Henry VI Part III last night – the one where the Yorkists and Lancastrians all stab each other, usually in the back; the Bard’s other ‘Lady Macbeth’ features (Queen Margaret); and Dick III hobbles in – I’m inclined to agree. (Which is Theresa May – Margaret or Richard?) In Shakespeare’s case, of course, his art was reflecting life. Today it looks like life reflecting art. Do our leaders get too much Shakespeare at school? Or are we still the Terrible Tudors at heart?

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