Theodore Dalrymple at the Gladstone Club
Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 14th December, 2010
The famously dyspeptic and self-proclaimed reactionary author and columnist Theodore Dalrymple (aka Dr Anthony Daniels) entertained a full house in the Gladstone Club in the Lady Violet Room of the National Liberal Club last night, when he drew comparisons between Britain and France. He divides his time between the two, and clearly feels the latter has the better quality of life, even if bizarrely it has the highest number of McDonald’s in Europe. Britain has gone down the pan, he said (only more elegantly), stagnant in a bog of vulgarity and aggression. He rages at the brutality on the faces of people in the Birmingham or London street, and at their obesity. France, on the other hand, retains a degree of cultural awareness, he believes, as well as family stability — though interestingly one French member of the audience predicted that it will have gone the same way as Britain in 15 years time. Dalrymple used to be a prison doctor, spending his time analysing the criminal mind, before retiring to write full-time, being a prolific contributor to the Spectator and other, generally right-wing, journals. But unlike most conservative commentators, he has a talent for being very funny. He hasn’t had a television for 40 years, which has doubtless helped him to develop his persona as a crusty old buffer in some dusty old gentleman’s club, railing against the follies of the modern world.