Shakespeare and UK politics

The turmoil which followed the Brexit shows no sign of abating. The turmoil in British politics, I mean. Developments follow each other so fast, it is unbelievable. What seems to be the situation between breakfast and lunch, changes before lunch, again before dinner and kind of remains the situation between dinner and breakfast the next day.

These quick developments do not stop during the weekend. One might presume that people have plenty opportunity to let off steam. What with the EU football championship, Wimbledon, the Tour de France, and other activities taking place.

20160702 Matt on Brexit 1 Jeremy Corbyn was out, refused to budge, was challenged, then not, nearly had a complete government and shadow government asking him to leave, but remained in place – so far. The unions stood behind him. But just in case, they also made known, that in case of a Labour leadership challenge, they’d back to person with the most votes. Very reassuring.

In the meantime, New Labour states it never dreamed things could get so bad. Its former PM might be impeached after all, as a few MPs dust off old laws. The LibDems comment from the sideline, but also angle for any Labour votes dissatisfied with the Brexit, or the current Labour leader.

The Tory camp managed to stage lots of cloak and daggers scenes as well. The PM stepped down. The man dubbed the next PM was pushed out-of-the-way by his trusted ally. It seems a leaked mail was part of the dark business.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s slick mover is calling for independence and also dusting off old laws to serve this end. Northern Ireland seems to bide its time. It might decide to join the rest of Ireland after all.

Outside Parliament and politics, racism is increasing. Mobs turn on foreigners and their cultural venues. The murder of Jo Cox is of course completely forgotten.

Too bad Shakespeare is no longer around. In the media, he is regularly referred to, when a new scene unfolds in the current drama. One wonders: should one reread his history plays and if so, which one resembles the present drama most? Or should one turn to his roman plays and in this case, which one best to reread?

There are six Shakespeare tragedies one might call roman and 10 history plays. Personally, I am inclined to start with Coriolanus, followed by Julius Caesar and then perhaps Anthony and Cleopatra.

On the other hand: what about Shakespeare’s history plays? Richard III is of course a must. But what for starters and desert? King John might be a first course, though Richard II is definitely to be read before Richard III. But which to pick from all the Henries?

Actually, the most fascinating thing is of course, that while journalists are commenting on recent developments within British politics, they continue to refer to and cite from Shakespeare. It shows the timelessness of his plays.

]If you have any recommendations on which of Shakespeare’s plays might resemble recent developments in the UK, feel free to comment.

Here are more of Matts cartoons on recent developments in the UK.



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