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Responsible Citizen

I’m no cheerleader for J. K. Rowling as an author, but I find a lot to approve of in her recent column for the Times Online. The British economy is not the American economy, nor is its safety net our safety net, but the fundamental battle lines, separating personal responsibility and basic human decency on one side from the “I’ve got mine, Jack; fuck you” attitudes on the other are universal.

Rowling stands with decent human beings when she explains that:

“I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism. On the available evidence, I suspect that it is Lord Ashcroft’s idea of being a mug.”

Nothing Harry Potter ever did, or saw, or had lectured to him by wise old Dumbledore, seems so germane to our times, and Rowling’s observation could be applied at least as readily to conservatives on this side of the pond.

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