Letter: The end of statesmanship

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The Independent Online
DOUGLAS HURD is not a passionate orator of the old Lloyd George or Oswald Mosley school, but he stands out among modern British politicians as an exemplary communicator, combining a subtle and complex style with a beautifully modulated delivery ('What became of all the passion?', 22 May).

Thus he is well placed to comment on the disappearance of serious political argument along with literary experience, as books become the rotting artefacts of a dying civilisation. The closure of libraries is accompanied by the transformations of the telescreen into lowest common denominator visual stimulants: the moving wall-comic of 'sensations'. Oswald Spengler, Pitirim Sorokin and Marshall McLuhan saw it coming, but even these futurologists of Western decadence scarcely imagined that literacy, poetry and statesmanship would eventually disappear altogether in one global cybergasm.

Hendrik Pienaar

London E17

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