An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Thursday, March 25, 2004  

Alan Clarke

Alan Clarke, Tory MP was a real shit, and yet the television adaptation of his famous diaries starring John Hurt has endeared me to him. But first his 'shit' credentials. He was a Tory minister for defence at a time when the Brits were selling attack helicopters and missiles to the Indonesians who were using them in their appalling oppression of the harmless East Timorese. Clarke was unapologetic about this and was famously interviewed by John Pilger, the left wing journalist. Pilger began by confirming with Clarke that he was a vegetarian. "Yes", Clarke replied. "And you are a vegetarian because you are deeply concerned about the manner in which animals are treated?" asked Pilger. "Yes" replied Clarke. "And yet", queried Pilger, "you don't seem concerned about the way the Indonesians are slaughtering the East Timorese?". "Quite frankly," said Clarke "what one bunch of foreigners does to another bunch of foreigners really doesn't bother me". Outstanding and vile.

Yet the diaries show fascinating accounts of how open he was about lying. What I mean is that some liars will spend a lot of time convincing themselves and others that they are not really lying at all. Clarke just told outright lies and knew it. Furthermore his arrogance didn't translate into confidence. Every time he screwed up he fully expected to be fired, wondered should he resign, he anxiously awaited word of his forgiveness, was openly disappointed when he would fail to be promoted and despite all his outrageous affairs and philandering (he fancied Margaret Thatcher and his descriptions of her are hilariously at odds with one's normal perceptions) its obvious he really loved his wife. I can't help liking him. Very odd. Perhaps its comforting to witness others richer and apparently more intelligent and succesful than myself walk themselves into trouble and sweat in their discomfort. Or it the Tony (Soprano) syndrome. We love to see frailty in the strong.

One final note. Describing his first appearance on Question Time he admitted that Sue Lawley the presenter didn't like him because she realised that while he was lecherous he didn't fancy her. Double offence! Some other notes here and some must read quoteshere.

posted by Sarah | 15:02 0 comments
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