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I think you're on thin ice if 'Narnia' is approved right wing material. It's reactionary, certainly, but the series' happy ending that they're all killed in a train crash, except the girl who decides to grow up, will put many off. Likewise to say a left wing work is anti-family is precisely the kind of thinking which saddled the Conservative Party with Section 28 and alienated so many gays. I would say, although this would outrasge many social Conservatives that there is a market for the so-called 'South Park Republican' approach: "I believe in the freedom to say what I like, have sex with who I like, and take whatever recreational drugs I like.

"The Falklands Play" was rejected not just becuase of left wing bias inherent at the BBC, but also because it's not very good...

In any case it's true that the Arts are generally dominated by people with left of centre sensibilities. Films and television programmes often like to cover issues like the miners' strikes of the 80s, for example, and unfailingly do so in a way that portrays the government of the day as villains (see "Billy Elliot" for instance).

Right wing positions are far less frequent, and when taken tend to be played up for camp intrigue value (see "House of Cards"). What there is in the media that takes a genuinely right of centre approach tends to programmes or books that aren't actually propagating a message.

Something like "Boys From the Blackstuff" or "Edge of Darkness" offer pretty unambivalent messages about the government. By contrast programmes (like "24") or books (say anything by Frederick Forsyth) that offer right wing view points tend to be doing so in a less overt and preachy manner.

Excellent subject for a thread, Mr Editor.

I would argue that cultural interventions like Team America (from the South Park team) are, while not exactly right wing, objectively helpful because they ridicule the pretentions and hypocrisies of the Left. We're so used to seeing the Right and its totems lambasted in popular culture that we almost don't notice but when the Left gets the same treatment it seems thrilling because a taboo is being broken.

In a more oblique way this is also true of Ali G. Sasha Baron Cohen's lampooning of the way that middle class white boys attempt to 'act black' by displaying the most aggressive and moronic aspects of Ghetto style as if they were gangsta rappers from the South Bronx has had a big impact in leading people away from that kind of transgressive nonsense.

I'm not sure how you could make a free-market film, other than some kind of battle against an over-arching socialist state - and you could globalise that to promote the nation state as well.
Promoting family values is something that can only really be done subtly over time - one film won't make much difference if most other films have contrasting undertones.

In the US humourists such as P J O'Rourke who are socially liberal economically conservative republican and writes and appears in the main stream media. I cannot think of an equivalent UK writer.

The nearest we come to conservative commentators in the mainstream with popular appeal is Jeremy Clarkson. And you could not really describe him as a commentator.

During the programme on radio 4 yesterday about "I vow to thee my country", they included a remake of it by Billy Bragg which was truly awful. In this particular case, only the most right on lefty could have been impressed and the majority would probably have been put off.

It is however irritating that the majority of political comedy is leftward-leaning; still waiting for the bbc (tv & radio) or channel 4 to commission a political comedy that isn't leftward leaning.

Sam,

1984 manages it. Granted it was written by a left wing commentator!

David Hart (hero of the miner's strike and destroyer of Arthur Scargill) wrote a few plays.

He was also helped out with Thatcher speeches occasionally. Perhaps his work is due a revival?

For those who don't always appreciate left wing comedy may I recommend Al Murray the pub landlord,absolutely hilarious and whilst not necessarily right wing is certainly patriotic and anti EU.

As long as a big chunk of Art & Culture is paid for by Taxpayers, it will remain Left Wing biased.

Its a little difficult for a BBC parasite to have a Right Wing point of view, when he works at a state owned tax funded company. Likewise with so much of the "Art Industry's" money coming from our taxes.

I've never had a great objection to the licence fee, Serf, - just the BBC's monopoly on it. As John Whittingdale's Elstein Cttee recommended a couple of years ago - other groups (with less establishment views) should be able to bid for a share of licence fee proceeds for their projects with the high quality production standards that the licence fee affords.

For libertarian plays one might look at an adaption of Ayan Rand's work.

It could be argued that right-wing plays are by definition apoliticial. Only the Left with its agenda of change would want to politicise the arts. On this basis Shakespeare's plays are right-wing, insofar as they are traditional and don't involve themselves in subversive commentary.

If however someone wanted an overtly political right-wing play, something about the struggle against communism could be a success. Or, if one wants to be more subtle, a play about the benefits of the British Empire - that would really throw the cat in amongst the pigeons.

Sorry to be pedantic, but "Shakespeare's plays are right-wing, insofar as they are traditional and don't involve themselves in subversive commentary," isn't true. There were no plays like them before, therefore they can't be traditional, and discussion of how far the right of kings extended and when it was justified to overthrow a corrupt king were at the centre of politics in Elizabethen days. It's arguable that they are conservative in outlook but nothing more.

The actor/writer Julian Fellowes has agreed with this.

"It is the role of theatre to speak for the underdog"

Kwame Kwei-Armah, actor and playwright

So why aren't they speaking for the Conservative right?

There was quite an interesting profile in the Telegraph some time last year (or before) about a young conservative film-maker in the USA setting out to do Michael Moore style features. Does anybody remember that - and could they find it?

I agree with the Editor though - culture is vital & we need a vibrant conservative voice in comedy & the arts.

Oddly enough, you can probably make a good right-wing play out of Brecht's The Good Person of Szechuan.

If I recall correctly there is a dilemma faced in it between being nice to everyone and being ripped off and empoverished or encouraging them to work and paying their way.

I've probably described it in quasi-fascist terms there but it's mroe subtle than that.

1984 was a right wing book/film. Left wing politics is about social control and forfeiture of personal freedom for the greater good. 1984 tears into this and shows that if you oppress all of the individuals then the greater good is already destroyed.

Brave New World also asks some powerful questions about state control and the destruction of the family, group happiness vs. personal freedom. Even Terry Gilliam’s Brazil falls into this category.

Starship Troopers (the book rather than the film) is very right wing and discusses the rights/responsibilities of individuals, punishment and policing etc. I can only think of SiFi films and books that address right wing issues.

One of the big problems is than many readers (writers?) seem to believe that the big oppressive state is a right wing incarnation and that the hero is a left wing figure.

As Conservatives we need to show that all the great evil dictatorships in history have been left wing, including the Nazis.

There is an argument that says that all satire is (small c) conservative - not sure if this always stands up but it does a remarkable amount of the time.

In support of this, I would say that figures such as David Brent are symptomatic of our times and essentially (again small c) conservative creations in that they poke fun at and expose the silliness of modern faddish behaviours.

This is not to say that The Office would not have been made if the Conservatives had won in 1997 - it merely relfects changes in behaviour that were taking place under any UK government.

Not sure if all that holds up - any one care to refute it?

"It's arguable that they are conservative in outlook but nothing more."

Well it's better than being left-wing in outlook.

"It's arguable that they are conservative in outlook but nothing more."

Well it's better than being left-wing in outlook.

I have a theory that the film spiderman is actually quite right wing. Bear with me, but it constantly shows Spiderman outperforming the useless New York Police, who even try and arrest him, Spiderman representing the voluntary sector, small efficient and working locally, while the Police are the ineffecient state sector, bureaucratic big and useless. THe film also stresses importance of family a lot, and 'spiderman' making the most of his individual talents. But I am probably just imagining things.

Trainspotting has some right wing messages I think. The NHS is a great source of drugs for the main characters, they all claim benefits falsly in a big scam organisation. The only time that Renton can break free is when he goes down to London and gets a job as an estate agent, no longer relying on the state. Again I could be wrong but thats the impression I get.

Some of our attempts (mine included!)to pull films and plays to the right do remind me of the famous monologue on Top Gun by Tarantino for some reason.

Stehpen B, you realize that I'm going to have to watch Top Gun again now!

I put forward Billy Elliot as having a right wing message (and certainly a right wing sound track).

it doesnt necessarily have to be right wing plays/films that will turn the cultural tide against the liberal left. the key i think is to get more conservatives into positions of influence in the media like the bbc and radio. that's the way to change the climate, it needs to be done in the day to day programmmes e.t.c. not just big films.

i reckon 1984 is the best right-wing film.

The History Boys is an excellent right-wing play exploring the importance of education.

on the family values front, maybe someone could make a film showing how a family divorces and the effects on children, poverty e.t.c. and then the family getting back together or something like that. im sure something like it probably exists or its a sub-plot in some film. well its an idea anyway.

The dramatization of Bradbury's 'The History Man' brilliantly depicts the menacing and manipulative mindset of the
illiberal politically correct liberal. It reminds me of nothing so much as the typical Anglican bishop.

Are you sure that Billy Elliot could be regarded as rightwing Mark?There is a song in that play looking forward to the death of Mrs T.

Metropolitan is the finest conservative film of recent years, and all of Whit Stillman's films count: see here for a comprehensive discussion.

The original 1930s The Four Feathers has a great discussion of imperial duty and obligation.

And The Titfield Thunderbolt is a sterling denunication of nationalisation, anti-competitive behavior and idiotic bureaucracy.

Spiderman is pretty right wing though more by accident than design, with it stressing the concept of individual responsibility (particularly in the part where Spiderman relinquishes his superhero role)and duty. You should read Mark Steyn's review of the second film in particular.

The History Boys is the same with Hector the typical bolshy anti-oxbridge teacher, portrayed as a tragic character and virtually all the boys all going on to achieve good middle class jobs.

The classic right wing film though is probably Forest Gump (I film I love) but which most critics loath. Its all about achieving the American dream with Forest succeeding by following the traditional path and his wife failing by following the glitzy liberal approach.

The important thing is to make a good film, that has the right values.

Not to put the message before the entertainment. A lot of crap movies overdo the message.

Thinking about it, some of the 1950/60 Ealing comedies were quite right wing. I’m All Right Jack and The Man in the White Suit were both anti union closed shop.

A brilliant discussion guys. Would there be interest in a once-in-a-week discussion on the latest film releases/ big new TV dramas? Email me at tim@conservativehome.com if anyone is interested in authoring something regular...

I'm all right Jack with Ian Carmichael very wittily took the mickey out of the Unions.I guess this was made in the 1960's. Also how about the Long Good Friday when Bob Hoskins portrayed a very patriotic gangland killer.The IRA were in it too and unusually for a British film they were not portrayed as heroes!
Finally of course there is dear old James Bond who showed those Russkies a thing or two!

I'm all right Jack with Ian Carmichael very wittily took the mickey out of the Unions

It also satirisied ineffective (and crooked) British management...

Taking on corrupt unions and ineffective management. The pinnacle of a good Conservative DTI.

Frankly, if Passion of the Christ and Narnia are examples of "right-wing" cinema, we're in a lot of trouble. One is a typical Mel Gibson film: badly acted, abysmal dialogue, and focused almost entirely on lots of pointless, gruesome violence. The other is just a simplistic kids' film, with a few blatant and very lame topical allusions to try rope in mass repeat viewings from US church audiences.

"In Monday's thread I said that "the Tory Party can't be expected to do all of the work itself" in turning public opinion on issues like tax."

But it's not doing any of the work...

I'm all right Jack is a terrific film. But the best has to be Casablanca, withoutdoubt the greatest film of all time, and it has a strong message that is fairly conservative as well. Now now, here's looking at you kid......

Yes, the Casablanca dialogue could have been written for the Tory leadership:

Heath: 'Of all the political parties, in all the towns, in all the world, she had to walk into mine'

Thatcher: 'The fundamental things apply as time goes by'

Major: 'You played it for her, you can play it for me'

Hague, IDS, Howard : 'The problems of three little leaders don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world'

Cameron: 'I think this is the beginning of a beautiful leadership'

I nominate "The Night of January 16th" by Ayn Rand.

Her novel "The Fountainhead" would make an excellent play too. I recommend the film starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neale.

Perhaps this sounds pretentious, but I think that Billy Elliot contrasts the joy of personal choice, ambition and excellence with the misery of the militant picket. Billy’s father chooses to cross the picket line in order to provide for his family and, because he does, they all live happily ever after. It might offend the director, but I take that as a right-wing message. Malcolm, I concede that I was overstating the case when I said that the soundtrack was right wing. I was thinking of The Jam at the time.

I agree with Andrew on Passion of the Christ. The Christian conservatives who dragged their kids to see it frankly have forfeited the right ever to criticise the almost pornographic levels of violence that Hollywood is capable of churning out.

Would people consider a play about the lesbian couple forced to abandon their council house by their conservative neighbours' family values campaign a rightwing play?

Mark,what have the Jam got to do with Billy Elliot?They were a good band 'though and I remember them being pro Conservative in the late '70's.I did hear that Paul Weller had become a boring old lefty more recently.Sad.

Guido Fawkes - reviving David Hart's plays is definately not a good idea. I had the "pleasure" of sittig through the performance of one of his plays in the Hampstead Theatre - to say it was appalling would be a grotesque understatement. The play - who's name I have forgotten - was all about Gladstone and Disraeli.

Gladstone is the establishment figure - Disraeli the outsider who is subjected to anti-semitism. It soon becomes abundantly obvious in the play that Disraeli is the voice of David Hart, represents David Hart as the outsider etc.

The play ends with Gladstone going to church and the crucified Jesus turns into Disraeli/Hart and gives an interminable speech from the cross on how Disraeli/Hart has been victimised, excluded etc. An excrutiatingly bad play.

As for those suggesting Ayn Rand as a good right-wing writer, are we sure we like her morality. In Atlas Shrugged the corss is replaced as a symbol by the $ sign - and Ms Rand regards this as a good thing! I am a non-believer (in God) and very much a free-marketeer - but does anyone really believe that $ is the fount of morality? Ayn Rand should have no appeal to those other than slightly torubled teenagers. She is a bad writer - albeit on the execrable level of David Hart.

Mark,what have the Jam got to do with Billy Elliot?

"Town Called Malice" featured in the soundtrack. OK, so everything else was left-wing, but 6% right-wing is probably better than we average in the arts. It was a shame that Paul Weller turned into a Thatcher-hater.

I think a book exploring the benefits of the British Empire is a great idea. When I was very young - 6 years old - in 1939, I was at boarding school, and each week the nuns would expect us to give them a penny, which was in fact ALL of my pocket money, for the 'little black boys' in Nigeria I think it was. There was at least one branch of our convent out there educating the children - for nothing I am sure, and also what I am sure about is that a good number of those children educated under the maligned British Empire, and often by nuns, became doctors and lawyers and politicians (God forbid) later. The question is would they have done at that time if there hadn't been that education available under the Empire?

Regarding left wing culture people particularly the acting profession, I have always thought, possibly wrongly that it is quite a claustrophobic profession, and that unless you are quite high caste, it is better to profess the same political values as the majority, for ease of progress! But one of the things that bugs me no end, is the number of actors and indeed authors etc: who take gongs and 'hobnob' while professing republican beliefs, that is hypocrisy. And, no I don't want a gong or to 'hobnob', so I am not just jealous, I actually have some straightforward beliefs!

"Would people consider a play about the lesbian couple forced to abandon their council house by their conservative neighbours' family values campaign a rightwing play?"

No, that would be a typical left-wing "right-wingers are hateful bigots" play.

As for those suggesting Ayn Rand as a good right-wing writer, are we sure we like her morality. In Atlas Shrugged the corss is replaced as a symbol by the $ sign - and Ms Rand regards this as a good thing! I am a non-believer (in God) and very much a free-marketeer - but does anyone really believe that $ is the fount of morality? Ayn Rand should have no appeal to those other than slightly torubled teenagers. She is a bad writer - albeit on the execrable level of David Hart.

While I don't agree with the anti-conservative aspects of her philosophy, Ayan Rand was very effective at challenging the ethos of egalitarianism and socialism. Atlas Shrugged was rated America's second most popular book after the Bible. I read it a couple of years ago and found it to be very good. No, I am not a troubled teenager :P.

One film we've forgotten about is the Incredibles, which makes a mockery of political correctness.

All the "conservative" subjects aren't sexy. I'm not going to see a movie or a play which will talk about the magic of monogamy and family values, because I think those things are uninteresting and irrelevant. The left own that part of my brain.

If the Right wish to have any traction in the mind of those under the age of thirty, they want to listen to the South Park guys not the fusty Ann Widdecombe types. I don't want the State spending my money on diversity co-ordinators, and I don't want it spending it on preaching to me about family values either. I want the State to stay the hell out of my business, my life, my brain and my family, should I choose to have one. It has no business telling me what to think, how to think, who to worship, whether to worship or how to live.

In short, we don't need right-wing culture. We need liberty culture, we need free market culture, we need "stay the hell out of my life" culture.

"We need liberty culture, we need free market culture, we need "stay the hell out of my life" culture."

This is a pie in the sky culture, Tom. The same culture that says leave me alone when smoking pot,, fathering lots of kids etc demands that the state picks up the welfare bills for those kids and dysfunctional drug addicts...

There are a lot of voters to whom "leave me alone when smoking pot" would sound very appealing. And who take Es or snort coke at weekend. There are many practical reasons why allowing business to supply drugs rather than gangsters is a good idea. Pro-choice Tories v Paternalistic Labour, banning thing they say are bad but large sections of the public enjoy. It may outrage some moral conservatives, but there's a valid argument for legalising drugs.

Someone mentioned 24 as a right wing TV show, however much I love the show, I have to disagree. Jack strongly believes that the 'ends justify the means' and this can be shown in his every action. This is a distinctly unconservative approach, far more pure utilitarianism. Bauer is also the greatest supporter of Federal government, loyally following his orders from the President, even when he disagrees. President Palmer, who is the voice of good and morality personnified is a Democrat, as President, it is mentioned in passing his bill to nationalise health care. Though perhaps I am being picky. 24 also clearly shows the importance of the truth and doing what is right, clear conservaitve values, Jack Bauer could simply be a representative of how important freedom is and how it must be defended. Family values are also emphasised, Jack's utter devotion to his daughter, there is also a strong theme of personal responsibility running throughout the first 4 seasons. I have probably looked too deeply at 24, but it is a fantastic show.

Also just watched Fight Club again, another film where possible right wing messages can be found in the least likely of places. The film strongly assaults materialism, however it attempts to deal with what communism, that marx wrote about, when government eventually fades away, would look like. The picture it paints is horrible, treating each individual as nothing but waste, 'We are all part of the same compost heap', where people are animals blindly following orders, with no independent thought 'The first rule is, you do not ask questions'. The film shows what society would be like if the idea of the individual is destroyed, indeed the film blurrs the lines between the two constantly, 'There is no you anymore, its we.' The film can be seen as a warning, of the dangers of collectivism, along the same lines as Ayn Rand and Freidrich von Hayek did. Again, this could just be because of the perspecitve I am watching the film from. But is just a thought.

The question is would they have done at that time if there hadn't been that education available under the Empire?

Probably not, Patsy.
But if it makes you feel better, your pennies pale into insignificance compared to to the donations that would have come from the parents of those 'little black boys'.

Before he died, my grandfather, a reverend in the Methodist church, told us about the forced mass conversions to Christianity and how people were told that if they didn't pay their tithes and donate to the church they'd go to hell.
This was even worse in the Catholic church, so you can rest assured that your nuns were not working "for nothing" as you suggest above.

"The Falklands Play" was rejected not just becuase of left wing bias inherent at the BBC, but also because it's not very good...

Your opinion, James. People wanted to see it at the time, but they were not allowed to - by big brother. He's a cousin (distant), I admit. It was pulled for political reasons.

In short, we don't need right-wing culture. We need liberty culture, we need free market culture, we need "stay the hell out of my life" culture.

Anti-statist libertarianism is an attractive philosophy, especially when combined with constitutional conservatism. However, I don't think the country would accept the absence of the welfare cushion as a price to pay for such freedom. Nor can I see social conservatives accepting some of the more zealous libertarian social views such as abortion on demand (although I acknowledge there are a large number of anti-abortion libertarians) or legalisation of incest.

Biodun - I meant pay cash for their children's education. As far as the aspect that I think you are referring to, I think you should agree that EVERY religion (except perhaps Buddhism), and definitely including Islam, says that you will go to hell or the equivalent if you don't believe in their particular religion, and this definitely doesn't only apply to 'little black children'!

Biodun - I meant pay cash for their children's education.
I know. That's what I meant too.
My point was that even if the nuns were not getting paid, the church definitely was.
They chose their religion, the children they were educating didn't have much of a choice.

Anyhow, I think we've digressed from the topic of the thread here.

Your opinion, James.

When did I say it wasn't? Or do I need to preface any judgement on articstic value with an "I think" or an "in my opinion"?

It was lent an allure by being pulled from the schedules. That made people want to see it. That doesn't mean it was any good.

Someone mentioned 24 as a right wing TV show, however much I love the show, I have to disagree.

If you look at the braod stroaks of the programme it's basically supporting the Bush doctrine: intelligence services should be given a freer hand, pre-emption is an option, actions that would in other circumstances be illegal are officially sanctioned to tackle terrorist threats, pre-emption is acceptable, and most importantly, US power overrules international laws and institutions.

In any case, I stand by my point that there is a lot of right wing thought in drama, it's just that it tends to be more mainstream and less polemical than left wing drama.

Left wing drama tends to have a preachy anti-establishment quality. In the 90s "Casualty", for example, always used to take time out to let Charlie pontificate against the terrible policies of the (then Conservative)government. It was trying to say something.

By contrast, programmes like "Hearbeat" offer people an escape into a simple past, often harking back to conservative instincts. Many police programmes take almost Daily Mailesque views of law and order, where criminals are human filth and the fdorces of law and order are obstructed by a liberal bureucracy.

The problem with this is that when someone actually tries to construct a polemic from such material (e.g. "Death Wish"), the message that's offered is not only generally unpalletable, but's also an affront to many on the right

The Libertarian Alliance producing a pamphlet on why James Bond was a free market hero in the early 90s. Iain Smedley head of Tory Students in 90-91 also wrote "Sonic the Hedgehog as Individualist Hero: A Libertarian-Conservative Defence of Video Games".

A reasonable case could be made for the 6th Harry Potter book having an anti-government intervention theme.

However, surely The Cat in the Hat and his advocacy of alternative lifestyles and behaviours, not to mention Thing One and Thing Two would make an ideal modern conservative?

At the extremes, all politics tends towards the domination of the individual by the organs of the state. And people seeking an audience tend to exaggerate / demonise those they disagree with. From that viewpoint, Labour are presented as Communists, Conservatives as Nazi's.

So what constitutes 'right wing' and is that what Nicholas Hytner really wants to see?

I supect that he wants to see more debate about the rights and responsibilities of the individual / citizen.

We have seen serious encroachments of our civil liberties since 1997, and the ruthless extermination of contrarian thinking from all state-funded agencies; even Martin Sixsmith fell foul of it. 'Twas ever thus - ask Lenin's comrades-in-arms who were the first to be purged.

What characterises Conservative thinking is the sense that individuals need to be nurtured not nannied, and should contribute to society rather than be dependent on it. On that basis, Kafka would be my man.

When you can be arrested and sent to our former penal colony in America on a whim, Hytner isn't the only person thinking we need another Shakespeare "Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!" - check how many times he used the word 'Freedom' in his plays.


"Yes Minister". The books of the series by Jay and Lynn are absolutely scathing about the left wing/beaureaucratic mentality.


Overall, good satire is pretty conservative, since it presupposes that those in power have fallen from the high moral standards of the past.

This has probably been mentioned already, but isn't the Notting Hill Set's favourite book Lord Of The Rings a response to authoritarianism?

Ah, Lord of the Rings, how could I forget? The films are also brilliant. Absolute power is corrupting, Monarchs as the goodies, conservative environmentalism, defending your homeland from destructive change.

Suffice to say the lefties hate it because the heroes are mostly white, male and aristocratic .

"If you look at the braod stroaks of the programme it's basically supporting the Bush doctrine"

On many issues yes, but 24 is quite a mixed bag, it strongly attacks the idea of rushing into war, Palmer in series 2, with the doubts on whether to go to war in response to the nuclear detonation, whether there is sufficient evidence to invade, pokes questions at Iraq. The key point I take issue with in 24, is when in series 3, Jack kills his boss in response to terrorist demands, this is blatant utilitarianism and conflicts strongly with the age old right wing principle, 'treat people as ends not means'.

On the Lord of the Rings, the book is good, but War and Peace is a much better read, its strong emphasis on the individuals involved and the human effects upon them, arguing that the influence of the 'great' men of the period, the so called heros, is not as important as millions of small decisions made by millions of individuals, is a much greater conservative point.

We also need to distinguish between 'left' wing and 'right' wing interpretations of books, plays and films. Last night, for example, I went to see the Theatre de Complicite production of Measure for Measure at the National. The Director tried to make some crude analogies between the plays depiction of abtriary power and George Bush and Guantanamo Bay but the overall sense from the production was the sense of need for societies to be vigilant about power and its abuses in a society which has grown decadent and corrupt. The point being that, despite the Director's attempt to frame the play in a 'left wing' way the drama articulates a strongly conservative message.

The Schuman Plan at the Hampstead Theatre recently could be descrived as 'eurosceptic' drama in its depiction of the corrosive effects of EU bureaucracy on local communities in Britain.

Maybe one of the reasons that Heartbeat is such a success, is that we have an increasingly aging population for whom seeing the villain of the piece being caught and 'banged up', is very satisfying at a time when many violent offenders are 'let out' early, then lost sight of and able to repeat their crimes, and if Charles Clarke has his way there will be even more muggers on the streets. I wonder if Charles Clarke has ever been robbed or mugged?

This morning Jeffrey Archer was being interviewed on 'This Morning', I caught some of the interview, and he said that 60% of prisoners could not read or write, and he thought that it might have more effect if all inmates that could not read or write were required to learn these essential skills.

"I wonder if Charles Clarke has ever been robbed or mugged?"

He certainly missed out when they were handing out brain cells.

Did anyone see "Tory, Tory, Tory" on BBC4 last night? (which was followed by Alan Clark's Diaries - interesting to note the continuity announcer mention that after the 'Lefties' had been on air the last few weeks, tonight was the turn of the 'Righties'). It was a pretty interesting documentary about the rise of Thatcherism in the early seventies, and was disparaging the planned economy of the Wilson/Heath era, seemed to me a refreshing change for the Beeb, with lots of air time for Tebbit and Parkinson among others. Anyone else see it? What did you think?


Oh yes, LOTR. Loathed by people like Polly Toynbee.

"Anyone else see it? What did you think?"

Indeed it was an excellent documentary. My only petty gripe was the suggestion that outlawing resale price maintenance was a "free market" measure. Insofar as RPM is a result of private contracts the government has no business getting involved.

Government is right to bust anti-competitive practices/ market failures like RPM, Richard. Surely?

"The Incredibles" is full of conservative values.

"Government is right to bust anti-competitive practices/ market failures like RPM, Richard. Surely?"

Not if it interferes with private contracts. But that's an Austrian School view and I expect there are many neo-classical economists who would disagree.

What is forgotten is that RPM may be utilised to prevent the "free rider problem". This occurs when consumers find out details about a product from full-service retailers but then buy the lower priced item from elsewhere:

http://www.mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae9_1_6.pdf

To continue from my above piece (in case you don't have time to read the article) the problem with this free riding is it leads to full-service retailers having to cut costs by ceasing to provide such a comprehensive information service. This harms the manufacturer as they now find it harder to promote their product.

Even if RPM is used for uncompetetive purposes, market forces will iron this out. Retailers can simply choose to buy from companies that don't enforce RPM. Suffice to say this is an incentive for companies not to request such an arrangement.

I think it rather depends what we want a right wing play to have to say. Do we want it to have a libertarian message, warning of the danger of excessive state control over our lives? or are we we looking for something focusing more on social conservatism, which challenges the liberal orthadoxy that has prevailed since the 1960s. Both of these themes are right wing but also completely contradict each other.

Both of these themes are right wing but also completely contradict each other.
Which precisely indicates why the whole right, left, centre argument is rubbish as inevitably there are pointless abstract arguments over which falls into which, some Communist and Marxist regimes have been very socially Conservative and frequently continued with strict penal laws and even continued to enforce theocratic systems that had been introduced by more traditional governments. Surely it is easier just to talk about Libertarians (which I would consider a form of Liberal - I am not a Liberal but have some Liberal and Libertarian tendencies), Liberals, Fabians, Trotskyites, Stalinists, Neo-Liberals, Social Conservatives, Survivalists - these things all have meaning and involve less risk of falling into semantic discussions more of a sort formerly indulged in by trendy Trotskyite and Anarchist groups.

One of the most overt anti-Labour films was the Ealing comedy "Passport to Pimlico", which satirised the command economy of the post-war era - by setting a little corner of London free from it....

People have posted that "The Passion of the Christ" was a right-wing movie. Well, of that I'm not sure, but I do know that Mr. Gibson's remake of Life of Brian was much less funny than the original.

Perhaps I have missed something but thus far the discussion seems to me to be a little obvious. A right wing play, poem or novel might well not contain explicit policies or even directly political opinions .Jane Austen for example is Conservative at a structural, thematic and even linguistic level. A political speech or point would, of course, have rudely obtruded into her pattern of detail and the pervading rightness she miraculously achieves. The politics is in the form then and this is the sort of response we need to the crude Liberal agenda. Often the artistic strategy may actually not allow Shavian style political mouth pieces.
The cavalier poets are highly political in aiming for a different sort of rightness and by their aesthetic choices engaging with the puritan Milton centuries later .This is perhaps the ultimate formal political comment and furthest from political discourse
It isn’t all bad news anyway. Tom Stoppard and Martin Amis are two Conservative writers by my reckoning and most vernacular drama is neutral at least. Conservatism is naturally ascendant in comedy of all sorts despite the elaborate circumlocutions of ex `alternative comedians`
. A play like Closer is certainly of the right and by deliberately taking a City Comedy as its model it avoided the excessive `pity ` for one `victim ` character .Political by formal inference not by `politics`.
For all of this there is certainly a problem, partly because of the empathetic, romantic preferences of us all at this time when Conservatism is perhaps best expressed as a natural balance or formal Classicism.
Classicism can also express other right wing ideas though .T S Elliot is certainly not left wing but I might be nervous about claiming him for Conservatives, to me there is something fascist in his aloof modernism. Modernism in general can be of the right but is always too cold for our `human` beliefs

One of the problems faced by the genius waiting to right the imbalance in the arts and drama especially is that the good humoured rightness, true Conservatism requires , is difficult, even elusive . A show of Liberal empathy is comparatively easy and requires less instinctive control of every stroke of the pen.

I used to know Ian Curteis when he was married to Joanna Trollope. Nice guy, but I'm afraid his plays were pretty third rate. Ever see his Third Reich mini-series (based on Shirer)? It was appalling

Shakespeare (arguably), Dryden and a few other great writers may have been "right wing" but most have been apolitical or on the left. Supporting The Establishment, Divine Right or whatever rightwing orthodoxy happens to be does not make for great drama.

Ayn Rand? Oh dear! "The Fountainhead" movie should have killed her stone dead.

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