Actor Samuel West owns Oliver Dowden over St George’s Day Shakespeare quote blunder

Actor Samuel West owns Oliver Dowden over St George’s Day Shakespeare quote blunder
Oliver Dowden denies any wrongdoing over Downing Street Christmas party

Actor Samuel West has handed out an English lesson to Oliver Dowden, after the MP posted a Shakespeare quote to mark St George’s Day.

Dowden tweeted a line from the most famous speech from Richard II as he made a patriotic statement to mark the day.

However, he clearly didn’t realise that as the speech continues, it comes to have unexpected (and completely non-patriotic) meaning.

“This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,” Downen wrote.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

The line is spoken by John of Gaunt in the 1590s history play, but if you read further on, it’s not a celebratory statement about England at all.

Pointing this out on Twitter, West wrote: “Oh Oliver. Know your #Shakespeare, especially on his birthday.

“The speech continues: ‘this England… is now leased out …bound in with shame,

With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds. That England, that was wont to conquer others,

Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.’”

The former culture minister, it seems, doesn’t know his culture.

The actor pointed out the real sentiment of the speech on TwitterGetty

It is the most recent valuable contribution from Dowden, since he recently complained about a so-called “painful woke psychodrama”.

The ex-culture secretary made the comments in a speech to The Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think-tank earlier this year, telling attendees a West which is “confident in its values” would not be “obsessing over pronouns or indeed seeking to decolonise mathematics.

“Rogue states are seeking to challenge the international order. And at the precise point when our resolve ought to be strongest, a pernicious new ideology is sweeping our societies,” he added.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)