Around the world green politics is more closely aligned with the left than the right. It has been said that greens are like tomatoes. They start green but they always end up red. Why is this? There doesn’t seem to be any particularly strong reason why people who believe in the free market shouldn’t also believe in protecting the environment. Even fascists can like trees. So why are greens not only pretty consistently liberal, but are also generally liberal even by liberal standards?
The political views of an author don’t matter very much. You pick up a book to be entertained, and the plain fact is that the ability to write something worth reading is pretty evenly distributed across the political spectrum. Nonetheless we like to think that authors we admire hold roughly the same views that we do. Sadly for the many fans of J.R.R.Tolkien his views are not ones that many people currently hold. But before we get into that lets have a look at the character of Tolkien as it emerges from these letters.
Orwell’s account of his participation in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the Republicans has quite rightly achieved the status of a classic. Orwell pitched up in Barcelona as a journalist intending to cover the war. In the event he got carried away by the atmosphere of the time and ended up signing up to fight at the front. It must have been some atmosphere. Orwell describes it as a formative experience that made him really believe in socialism, something he had done only intellectually before.
The whole History Books Review organisation was saddened to hear this week of the death of Michael Foot. In addition to his career as a politician he was of course also a historian of some note and his biography of Aneurin Bevan is on the list of books I intend to review. This particular book is interesting as an example of a history of his own time written by a participant in that history. This is quite a rare thing nowadays.