Alex Massie

How Conservative is The Wire?

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Thanks to Brother Hoskin for mentioning Chris Grayling's bizarre comparison of urban Britain with the Baltimore of The Wire. Bizarre not because there aren't problems in Britain but because he's talking abut a show that, though brilliant, barely anyone watches. One of the great things about the programme, however, is that it's open to multiple interpretations. This is something I've considered before.

Let's just say, however, that the Tories' manic enthusiasm for the War on Drugs fits rather oddly with the reality of life on the streets of Baltimore as depicted by The Wire. As I've argued:

If you have to investigate The Wire's politics, it seems to me that you might be tempted to conclude that it endorses a libertarian view of local politics, rather than any conservative or liberal perspective. No wonder it's such a trendy show to like... The evidence is there: manifest failure of a crippling and immoral war on drugs? Check. Manifest failure of a school system resistant to reform and implicitly ripe, therefore, for real school choice? Check. Desperate consequences of the criminalisation of prostitution? For sure. Ghastly consequences of local government and planning regulations held hostage by rent-seeking? Yup, that too...

The Wire


Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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