Such is the lamentable state of what passes for political discourse these days that it's a rare pleasure to come across something like this - a recent speech by Jon Cruddas that takes its text from William Morris: 'Love and work, these two things only.' It even includes a quotation from Edmund Burke, about 'that state of things in which liberty is secured by equality of restraint' (that highly desirable state of things...). Of course I don't agree with everything Cruddas says here, and of course it is a political speech - with all the limitations that implies - rather than an essay. But at least it engages with real ideas and the realities of life, and at a level stratospherically higher than most of what is uttered by our party politicians.
Cruddas is a rarity in today's political world - a man who genuinely thinks and genuinely cares, rather than going through the motions and hoping enough people are fooled. Like Frank Field - another cherishable rarity - he is a natural conservative and a loyal Labour man. Field, you might recall, was invited by Blair to 'think the unthinkable', only to have all his ideas ignored. Cruddas is Labour's Policy Coordinator, and it's hard to imagine that his ideas will get any further than Field's while his party is under the dead hand of Milliband-Balls.
'Whatever may be meant by moral landscape,' writes Geoffrey Hill in The Triumph of Love,
'it is for me increasingly a terrain