Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt marked the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth by presenting his Cabinet colleagues with the author’s works.
Prime Minister David Cameron received copies of Hard Times and Great Expectations and Secretary of State for Justice Ken Clark was given a copy of Little Dorrit – in which Dickens attacks the British prison system.
Charles Walford wondered if this choice was a comment on the economic circumstances in which the coalition Government is operating, as well as Mr Hunt’s hopes for its success.
Journalist David Irwin (Solihull News 1.6.12) – listed as the only teetotal journalist this side of Damascus - recently interviewed Charles Dickens’ great great grandson and reflected on the relevance of Dickens’ work today, noting that youths are not running barefoot through the streets but there are ‘particles’ of Pecksniff and hints of Heep in 21C Britain.
Other points he made included:
- The gap between rich & poor is still very much in evidence in Solihull – the divide between Lady Byron Lane and Lanchester Way is well-publicised.
- Our reporters regularly sit in on cases at the borough magistrates’ court that would make Bleak House’s Jarndyce and Jarndyce seem an exercise in brevity.
- Turning to one of the writer’s most famous creations, Wilkins Micawber, we see his latter day counterparts sitting in the Treasury, hoping beyond hope that “something will turn up”.