Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"There is a house, somewhere in this city . ."

Remembering the spymaster, Smiley,
in Le Carré's twice perfectly film-
ed tale, Tinker, Tailor, we are told,
there is a house where the double a-
gent meets with the top brass of Her
Majesty's intelligence services, to
exchange tradecraft. There is no rea-
son to analogize that fiction, with
the picaresque reality of devoting
the only Cabinet meeting ever to be
held in the history of the new gov-
ernment, to idolatry for its leader.
The comparison would be contemptible.

No reason, but for the resonance of
the idea, that there is a house that
was used to facilitate this rite. A
room, indeed, presided over by por-
traits of George Washington, as Gen-
eral of the Continental Army, and
Harry Truman, as architect of the
Atlantic Alliance and the recovery
of every capital in the West. A room,
heretofore, which has hosted council
and decision touching on the gravest
crises in the survival of this Repub-
lic, now degradation's rendezvous.

I don't sense that we are asking
ourselves, soon enough, how we may
expect to find our way back from
these days, to the provenance we
inherit with that house. What pro-
visions have we laid by, to carry
us through these excoriating sea-
sons of abduction, betrayal, humil-
iation, and the revolting response
of despair? Apart from cataloguing
the requisite indictments and de-
fenestrations, contriving resis-
tances, and piling up barricades
of improvised alliances, where is
democracy's displaced debate occur-
ring, to keep us abreast of time?

We find, we need a city of houses,
somewhere close to this one, to 
nourish the restoration to be won.

Tomas Alfredson
Bridget O'Connor,
  Peter Straughan and
  John Le Carré, screenplay
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Focus Films, 2011©

Anna Morosini, photograph

Cabinet Meeting
November, 2009

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