My default mood at the moment is bleak despair, although it can sometimes be triggered into nihilistic loathing, which I think I mildly prefer. The most recent occasion this happened was last Monday when I drove through torrential rain to three retail parks in search of an item which – as I found out later – didn’t actually exist. While turning the car around to drive home I switched on the radio and Stephen Fry was bashfully admitting to some fawning sap of an interviewer how bloody brilliant he was. Triggered, right there, at the roundabout where you enter the old coal-mining village of Pity Me. It took ages for the bleak despair to re-establish itself.
That night I watched the TV adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s excellent book A Spy Among Friends, set in 1963, and failed to be triggered into nihilistic loathing even by the gratuitous insertion of a major female character who, the credits informed us at the end, ‘did not exist’. Further, a made-up female character whose husband was a West Indian doctor, over here to save the NHS, of course. They cannot help themselves, these screenwriters. They insist upon genuflecting to political correctness and rewriting history so that it fits in with their inane ideology. Macintyre’s book is about Kim Philby – and Burgess, Blunt, Maclean et al – and thus by accident fits very neatly into a paradigm which suggests that Britain was awful back then because weak-chinned posh men ran everything. The homosexual side of the whole business was not much dealt with, which I thought a bit of a shame. For the screenwriters, I suspect it was the only thing about the spies that they found palatable.