Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lazy Sunday Service

Yesterday I made a start on A Spy Among Friends about the life of Kim Philby.  The argument forwarded is that Philby survived for so long as a spy inside the British establishment because of his charm and extensive network of deep friendships.  What is striking about the story is that it is full of people with names such as 'Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen', 'Hester Harriet Marsden-Smedley', 'Sarah Algeria Majorie Maxse', and 'David de Crespigny Smiley', who were mostly educated at private schools and Oxbridge, and drifted into key government posts by virtue of their class and daddy's connections.  Eccentricity is a hallmark of this class 'born to rule' but nevertheless, half the anecdotes would be probably be dismissed as a little too fantastical if they were in a novel.  And when one looks at the present British cabinet, it's not hard to conclude that very little has changed with respect how and by who the country is run.  An interesting read so far.

My posts this week
Digitial geography
August reviews
Review of Bad Penny Blues by Cathi Unsworth

1 comment:

Uriah Robinson said...

Rob I saw a TV program about Philby earlier in the year and agree the security services, foreign office etc were run in a totally amateurish fashion. Have things changed?
Well the Scottish referendum campaign shows that the establishment still don't live in the real world.
The "class born to rule" were on the wrong side in the 1930s, the wrong side from 1950-1989, and now once again they have chosen the wrong side.