Alan Bennett: What’s to love?

I get very homesick for England, so it’s been a relief to be back. But then I settle in with the London Review of Books and see this country’s most beloved playwright, Alan Bennett, displaying his black old heart.

In this most recent case, Bennett laments that London Mayor Boris Johnson, with whom he disagrees politically (as do I), might be regarded by anyone as “human.” In the very next diary entry, he bemoans the fact that Stuart Hall, a confessed child molester, was subjected to the humiliation of being shown on TV in handcuffs. Even for a totalitarian-loving man who wants people to be thrown in prison for educating children outside of government-run schools, this is astonishing stuff.

As much as I love England and its natives, there is something quintessentially English about admiring truly horrible people. But I really can’t grasp what it is about this nasty old man that they so love. Alan Bennett can’t go away too soon.


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