As Dalrymple continues his tour of Australia, journalist Kevin Chinnery of The Australian Financial Review hosts Dalrymple for dinner and an interview — and reports on both. The opening paragraphs:
He’s the psychiatrist who broke a taboo. In 1990, Theodore Dalrymple, prison shrink, slum area hospital doctor, and freshly appointed magazine columnist started telling the awful truth about Britain’s poor. Long before motormouth welfare queen Vicky Pollard became the butt of a national joke on the television show Little Britain, Dalrymple was warning of a native underclass utterly impoverished not in money, but in language, ideas and ambition.
His books, essays, and columns for The Spectator, The Times and the New Statesman, have been compared to Orwell in their observations of Britain. But the plight of Orwell’s working class, stricken by the Depression and the collapse of employment is moving and dignified in a way that Dalrymple’s post-welfare state underclass is definitely not. He shows a new Gin Lane, a Hogarthian horror show of self-destructive behaviour: drink- and drug-addled deadbeat parents, feral children, random violence and chosen idleness. Chaos and ignorance, encouraged by the welfare and education systems, and treated as both normal and unavoidable…
When did they have time to eat? So many fine questions providing for excellent, deeply-thought-out responses. I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from this. I wish I could have added to the bill by just drinking very silently from a glass of mint tea.
Good article. But is it common to add the luncheon bill to the end of essays in Australia? Is it a form of full disclosure? Maybe the writer was 50 words short of his editor’s demand, and figured no one would read all the way to the end anyway.