Diary

Ross McKibbin

In the days since Sir Geoffrey Howe’s resignation I have had a strong sense, not so much of history being made, as of history being invented: all the actors in this drama seem to be declaiming their parts as much for the history books as for the audience. That is true also of those whose duty it is to watch the drama and criticise the actors. Even before the heroine expired in the night there was everywhere an assumption that the play was over; everywhere a scuttling for cover and the hasty construction of intellectual positions which put actors and critics in as good a relation to history as possible. Whether the play is over remains to be seen. The plot was always paltry, the dialogue incoherent, the characters usually unpleasant: but the stage on which it was acted is well-constructed, firmly buttressed and many hands have an interest in keeping it erect.

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