Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.Now let me start by saying this. I’m not saying that H E Bates would have voted Leave in the EU referendum, or that he would have campaigned against legal immigration to Britain. But sometimes a writer’s work can change when read in a different decade and this is what I’m chatting about here.
Also the reason why I’m titling the post ” A Thought In Progress ” is not to sound poncey but because I’ve not read enough of his work to throw a complete answer but as it’s nagging within I felt some sort of chat was worthwhile.
I’ve just finished reading Castles In The Air. A short story (I thought when I purchased it on the Kindle that it was a collection but there we are that’s my fault) and it was then when I thought about The Darling Buds Of May quartet of books and Uncle Silas that this thought began to occur.
You may remember when I chatted about the last book in the Larkin quartet I mused that it was a Tory book in disguise. But now I think it’s potentially, when read in these troubled times a far more right wing book than that.
After all what these stories depict is a Britain, no an England where people are basically happy living off in a countryside (almost always sunny) without the state around them. Where there are comely maidens ready to pounce on unsuspecting tax officials and where there is oceans of alcohol of all varieties. Where whilst you may be friendly towards your overseas neighbours England is still the best place to live.
And of course almost everybody’s friendly ….and white.
I suspect the reality was not even the case when these books were written but it’s definitely not the case now. Britain is a much harsher, greyer place now.
But this vision of an England is the sort of vision that would appeal to the extreme right. As indeed similar visions of a nation have appealed to their equivalents in other countries.
So again it’s a thought in progress. And I don’t know when I’ll be reading another H E Bates book but it’ll be something will return to when I do.
Until the next time.