Evelyn Waugh Makes Election Appearance

The Guardian has dragged Evelyn Waugh into its U.K. election coverage.  In an article on Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish National Party candidate, her apparent popularity is described as the “greatest constitutional crisis since the abdication, which Theresa May [Home Secretary in current government] recently reminded us had paralysed Britain.” The story then continues:

… as Evelyn Waugh put it in his diary at the time: “The Simpson crisis has been a great delight to everyone. At Maidie’s nursing home they report a pronounced turn for the better in all adult patients. There can seldom have been an event that has caused so much general delight and so little pain.” (Diaries, p. 415)

A few days later the Daily Telegraph cited Waugh in relation to the proposal of Nigel Farage, U.K. Independent Party candidate, to roll back the ban on smoking in public places:

This position makes him unusual among conservative politicians. Evelyn Waugh once complained that so-called Tories do not wish “to turn the clock back by a single second.” Farage, by contrast, would not only stop the onward march of history but push it back a few steps. For rejecting the mantra of progress, he has revived a truly radical spirit in our politics – and is to be admired for his courage.

It seems unlikely that Waugh, who was aggressively apolitical, would be comfortable being seen as aligned with the UKIP group. But on this particular issue, he might have been willing to make an exception.

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