I watched V for Vendetta again recently. I don’t know why as I really never enjoy it when I do, but it’s forever held up as some sort of pinnacle of free though and rebellion, so every now and then I take another look to see if there’s something I missed the last few times around.
Here’s my problem with that film. At the end V blows up the Palace of Westminster, right? But that building was built in an age when Britain valued Beauty, Truth and Justice and wasn’t afraid to proclaim those values internationally. The building is a beautiful building, designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin in the Gothic Revival style which takes inspiration from 14th-16th century British Gothic structures (mostly churches and cathedrals). The site on which it stands has housed a palace since the 11th century. British history is baked into the very stones and the soil they stand on, and yes, that history has bad aspects as well as good, but no human endeavour is perfect. At least the aspiration was correct.
That the institution of Parliament has since been corrupted does not mean that the institution itself is not valuable or worthy. It has been corrupted by people who do not value Beauty, Truth and Justice, and don’t want you to value those things either. So they pretend they don’t exist, or, when they can’t deny them, they sneer at them as childish fantasies which no grown up really believes in any more.
But they do exist, and they are not fantasies.
I don’t want to blow up the Houses of Parliament. That’s the game of the communists, whose aim is always to destroy, destroy, destroy in order that they might have room to build their utopia (which never seems to manifest).
For us to destroy what once was in a bid to oust the authoritarians who have taken over our country is to do their work for them – it’s exactly what they want. The film is essentially communist propaganda disguised as dissidence.
Well I ain’t buying it. I don’t want to destroy, I want to reclaim what they have corrupted and set it right. I want to restore the Palace of Westminster to what it once was: a symbol of Beauty, Truth and Justice. Then the country will truly have been set free.