March 4, 2024

Top playwright blames Boris Johnson and Donald Trump for ‘madness’ in modern politics

Britain’s top political playwright James Graham has accused Boris Johnson and Donald Trump of taking politics to “a new level of madness”.

Graham, who wrote the hit TV drama about Brexit, The Uncivil War, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is famend for his even-handed method and for avoiding revealing his personal political stance.

But he has lambasted Johnson and Trump in a hard-hitting interview in which he denounces “populist” leaders.

Tossing apart his traditional impartiality, Graham declared: “F*** it! I DO want to disrespect Johnson.”

The former Conservative prime minister had wasted a golden probability to set the UK on a brand new path, he stated. Britain was crying out for new management – and it may come in the type of the approaching normal election.

He praised Joe Biden for making an attempt to reverse the tradition of populism” in the US whereas lamenting that Trump’s “narrative has taken root and it is impossible to uproot it”.

Mr Johnson wasted a golden probability to set the UK on a brand new path, says Graham

(Getty Images)

Britain had didn’t “reset itself”, because it had in 1945 and 1979, Graham informed the Desperately Seeking Wisdom podcast hosted by David Cameron’s former spin physician Craig Oliver.

“Something has gone wrong in the last 10 to 15 years. It goes back to the (financial) crash in 2008. It felt like a moment when we were going to begin a new story… It just didn’t happen.

“It didn’t happen because, no disrespect to Boris Johnson… actually, f*** it! I DO want to disrespect Boris Johnson. He fumbled the ball. We have lost that moment and may never get it back.

“We are going down into levels of madness because we cannot reset the story, with characters like Trump.

“We need new characters with new stories to tell, that might be in the form of a general election.”

‘Trump’s narrative has taken root and it’s not possible to uproot’


Graham’s outspoken views are in distinction to a earlier reluctance to disclose his personal political stance. He has joked in the previous that some assume he’s “massively” left-wing, however he has been cautious to keep away from being drawn.

He is extra forthright in the podcast, nonetheless, arguing that politicians who try and “ride the tiger of fame and populism” are doomed to fail “because it is going to eat you in the end”.

“At some point, we are going to have to decide whether to reverse that culture. That is what Biden was trying to do in the US.

“The problem is Donald Trump is a more compelling storyteller than Joe Biden. His narrative has taken root and it is impossible to uproot it. You get real-world consequences.”

Playwright James Graham receives an OBE in 2021


It may “explode” into violence, because it did in Washington in 2021 after Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol when he refused to just accept dropping the US election.

“I worry about it,” stated Graham. “The darker side of humanity exists in all nations and cultures and is always closer to the surface than we think. We have a responsibility not to inflame those forces.”

Graham, 41, has written a collection of political performs and movies, together with Brexit: The Uncivil War, This House, concerning the collapse of Nineteen Seventies Labour authorities, The Coalition, concerning the Cameron-Clegg administration, Ink, concerning the rise of Rupert Murdoch, in addition to non-political exhibits together with a musical about TV evangelist Tammy Faye, with songs by Elton John, and Dear England, a present West End play about England soccer supervisor Gareth Southgate, starring Joseph Fiennes.

You can take heed to the ‘Desperately Seeking Wisdom’ podcast interview with James Graham from Monday 12 February.