"Cultural Value and the Crisis of Legitimacy, a study by the think-tank Demos, calls for politicians to show their support for British culture by “publicly embracing” artistic pursuits.If M de Villepin had spent a little less time on Rimbaud, he might not be presiding over a country where 3 million took to the streets yesterday - and I don't suppose that they were celebrating poetry.
It recommends that Tony Blair could start by following his opposite number in France, Dominique de Villepin, in writing and publishing poetry, and says that British politicians are shamed by their counterparts in Europe.
M Villepin has written several collections of poetry, as well as a prize-winning biography of Napoleon and essays on France with titles such as The Cry of the Gargoyle. He also collects African and Asian art.
On becoming Prime Minister, he observed that “a single verse by Rimbaud shines like a powder trail on a day’s horizon. It sets it ablaze all at once, explodes all limits, draws the eyes to other heavens.”
There are some things that don't mix. British politicians and culture are an obvious example. As Herman Goering is alleged to have said: "When I hear the word 'culture', I reach for my revolver".