The fiction of wish-fulfilment

John Rentoul

play 199x300 The fiction of wish fulfilmentI have written about politics in fiction in The Independent on Sunday today, because Bloomsbury, publisher of Professor Steven Fielding’s A State of Play, was kind enough to send me proofs of the book, to be published in April.

This provided new discoveries in my quest last week for the answer to the question: why do people hate politicians so much.

I have written about the fiction of wish-fulfilment before, in my similar quest for the source of “Blair rage”. And it is notable that two of the wish-fulfilment fantasies mentioned by Fielding, A Very British Coup and Love Actually, involve a British prime minister “standing up to” a US president.

This reflects a strain of anti-Americanism that is represented in actual politics only by the UK Independence Party, possibly because it is more popular in theory than it would be in practice.

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  • Ciaron Goggins

    The far left already drew up a list of “hostile Yanks” and “friendly”, after the revolution no more “special relationship”. The US propped up this and preceding regimes.

  • Kippers

    I feel that I ought to make a comment. However I have better things to do with a Sunday evening than try to decode what John Rentoul is trying to say.

  • greggf

    “This reflects a strain of anti-Americanism that is represented in actual politics only by the UK Independence Party….”

    I could have sworn they were anti-EU…..,perhaps I’ve been Tuckered already!

  • Pacificweather

    Anti-Americanism is a journalistic lazy expression much like hung parliament. People who disagree with U.S. foreign policy may love the USA, take their holidays there, have American friends who may also disagree with their country’s foreign policy and are, in short, very far from being anti-American. Only someone of limited linguistic skills or a person who thinks life is only about politics would use such an expression.

  • Pacificweather

    Questing for the source of Blair rage? Are you not in a position to ask Tony Blair why he is in a rage? Is he not your pal?

    It could be because he got caught with his metaphorical trouser down by a certain media mogul of his acquaintance. He doesn’t like being caught out.

  • reformist lickspittle


    If disagreeing with US foreign policy is “anti-American”, than the VAST majority of Britons were “anti-American” during the GWB era.

    Except, of course, that they weren’t and aren’t.

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