Tuesday 20 April 2010


Compare and contrast:

Be your own boss. Sack your MP. Choose your own school. Own your own home. Veto high council tax rises. Vote for your police commissioner. Save your local post office. See how government spends your money. So many things to do. So little time in which to do them. The country wants change and I want to get started.
   - Samuel Beckett, The Unnameable

I know it well. I must know it well, it's a lie. I can't stir, I haven't stirred, I launch the voice. I hear a voice, there is nowhere but here, there are not two places. Thare are not two prisons, it's my parlour, it's a parlour, where I wait for nothing
    - David Cameron launching the Tory Manifesto

I can't help thinking that David Cameron's speechwriter is overly influenced by Samuel Beckett, just as I am convinced that John Prescott has read too much Joyce. The technique of a series of main clauses slung together with no ands, buts, thens or therefores is called parataxis. St John the Evangelist was rather fond of the device as well. Beckett is usually considered the great paratactic master, but flicking through The Unnameable I couldn't find an example as extended as Mr Cameron's. So Beckett has been outbecketted.

A busy day in CCHQ

1 comment:

  1. A more sophisticated speechwriter, certainly - but it's still all bolleaux (as they say in France).