Sunday, 7 Aug 2022

‘Wouldn’t get Cromwell going on holiday!’ Hilary Mantel hits out at Raab over Afghanistan

Hilary Mantel hits out at Dominic Raab over holiday

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Dame Hilary Mantel was interviewed by Andrew Marr after writing several books on Oliver Cromwell and made comparisons of the historic statesman and the political figures of today. Among them, Dame Mantel said former Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings liked to portray himself as an “outsider” like Cromwell and was able to scale the hierarchy by realising where the power truly was. But Dame Mantel was less than kind to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab after she said Cromwell would not have gone on holiday during an international crisis.

Dame Mantel was interviewed by Andrew Marr for this BBC show and was asked questions about Oliver Cromwell which she has written stories about. 

In 2009, Dame Mantel published “Wolf Hall” which told of Oliver Cromwell’s rise to power. 

She told Mr Marr: “Cromwell was a politician.

“He was the kind of man who was quite rare in any era, perhaps in any walk of life, because he was someone who was very much a big picture man, but he knew how to take care of all the details as well.

“He privileged competence and turning information into knowledge.”

Mr Marr agreed and said Cromwell was a rare type of person which is not seen in contemporary Britain.

She added: “He wouldn’t have gone on holiday during an international crisis. Can you imagine Cardinal Wolsey going on holiday?”

The pair laughed with Dame Mantel also drawing links with Dominic Cummings and Cromwell. 

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She said: “Dominic Cummings created a picture of himself as an outsider which was intrinsic to his self-created function.

“What Cromwell did was he conquered the hierarchy. He understood where real power lay as opposed to status and he worked his own way through the system, in a way that shouldn’t have been possible in that very hierarchical world.”

Actor Ben Miles, who plays Cromwell in the stage versions of Dame Hilary’s books, told the programme there were “parallels” between the two men.

He said: “There is an element of a man from outside, from perhaps a lower status background and origin, scaling the heights, as it were, and becoming indispensable.”

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The Wolf Hall author has been a frequent critic of Britain’s decision to quit the EU and told Italian newspaper La Repubblica she hoped to gain Irish citizenship so she could leave the UK.

She also said she was “baffled” by the popularity of the Royal family, and believed Prime Minister Boris Johnson “should not be in public life”.

“She also claimed Home Secretary Priti Patel’s immigration rhetoric as the “ugliest side of the new ‘global Britain’ post-Brexit”.

The Daily Express put out a poll asking readers what they thought of Dame Mantel’s comments. 

One said: “Mantel hates the Monarchy, hates Brexit, so she should move somewhere else just asap and then we might be spared her whinging and whining.

“Funny how she was happy to accept a Damehood, though.”

Another bluntly observed: “The UK IS EUROPEAN you womble. We voted to leave the EU.”

The Derbyshire-born 69-year-old, both of whose parents were Irish, told La Repubblica: “I don’t want to think that people are naturally slavish, and actually enjoy inequality, though I understand that they prefer change to continuity.

“I might breathe easier in a republic, and may be able to arrange it.

“I hope to loop back into my family story and become an Irish citizen.”

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