Saturday, 26 October 2013

RIP Tom Clancy

How sad to hear of the shockingly early death of one of my all time favourite authors. How ironic too that the news of his passing broke when I was just over half way through Locked On (Jack Ryan Jr 3), a novel that arguably stands alongside some of Clancy’s all time military and political classics from his pre-collaboration era – think Clear & Present Danger, The Sum Of All Fears – with Threat Vector (Jack Ryan Jr 4) waiting in the Kindle for back to back reading. Both of them stand out as a welcome return to old times, following some years of drift after Executive Orders. Here’s hoping that Command Authority, with the promised return of Jack Ryan Sr to centre stage, will be a worthy posthumous memory.

So what led me to follow Clancy in the first place, thinking back to The Hunt For Red October over 20 years ago? Not just the action and suspense. There was always a sharp sense of moral right and shrewd insight lurking beneath the surface. Along with telling portrayals of many a real villain, whether a terrorist, drug baron or ayatollah. Or indeed a home grown politician or bureaucrat. The awful Ed Kealty, with all too recognisable traits here in the UK as well as the US, is one shining example.
So let’s turn to a passage from Executive Orders, when President Ryan is faced with the need to rebuild the US government from scratch (no spoilers): -
“Therefore to you and the fifty governors, I have a request. Please do not send me politicians. We do not have the time to do the things that must be done through that process. I need people who do real things in the real world. I need people who will not try to work the system. I need people who will come here at great personal sacrifice to do an important job, and then return home to their normal lives. I want people who know they’re working for you and not themselves. That’s what I want. That’s what I need. I think that’s what a lot of you want too…..These are the people who decide how much of your money the government takes, and then how it’s spent. It’s your money, not mine. It’s your country. We all work for you.” And a later gem: “The idea the Founding Fathers had was for citizen legislators, not for a permanent ruling class.”
In the context of what has now been inflicted upon the UK by politicians for the last 16 years or so, and their apparent desire merely to manage decline until they have seen their time out, further comment is probably superfluous.

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