THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Why doesn't the Guardian defend this humble, disadvantaged boy?

Cribsheet 28.10.11 | Education |

The new film Anonymous revives the old claim that William Shakespeare, Immortal Bard of Avon, was a mere front man for some better-educated writer. As the film-maker admits, it's not that he has any evidence that - as he portrays it - the Earl of Oxford wrote the plays and poems. Rather, he simply can't believe that a humble grammar school boy from the Midlands could have done it and the good Earl '...has the most going for him...'

This is angels on pinheads stuff, God knows, and ultimately an irrelevance. The works are brilliant, whether or not the man we think wrote them, did. But what always strikes me when this hare is set running is that the motivation is so very clearly snobbery. It's is amazing that in this democratic era there are still cap-doffing, forelock-tugging sorts who think such a genius must have had blue blood.  It's doubly remarkable though that our class warrior friends at the Guardian find nothing in that to comment on. Perhaps there is just too much manly wisdom in Shakespeare's works for Guardian-reading tastes? Perhaps they would like that wisdom tainted by association with the aristocracy they profess to despise?

For myself, I am quietly content that the greatest genius of the English was such a workaday fellow as Bill; a man I would have liked (unlike Goethe or Beethoven) had I met him at the pub. I am particularly content that he was famously a rational economic actor. He wrote for money and stopped when he had enough. Only an English genius would down quills and rest once he had enough to buy the house of his dreams.

Bless his abused memory. When England is gone, there will be Shakespearians yet and the memory of our nation will live on in some future version of a wooden O. History will tell if there will be Oxfordians too. Let's hope there are no Guardianistas.