The Disturbing Case of PD James: Children of Men (1992) [4.3.2023] 

The 2006 Film Adaptation of PD James’ ‘Children of Men’ Was Heavily Altered to Tone Down Its Anti-Working-Class Sentiment!

‘The third method of appropriation is employed when some alien power whose force he experiences in practice is regarded by him as holy and spurned altogether without being appropriated. In this case he sees his own powerlessness in the alien power and recognises this powerlessness as his property, his creation, above which he always stands as creator. This, for example, is the case with the state. Here, too, he fortunately arrives at the point at which he has to deal not with something alien, but only with a quality of his own, against which he needs only to set himself as creator in order to overcome it. In an emergency, therefore, the lack of a quality is also taken by him as a quality of his. When Saint Sancho is starving to death it is not due to lack of food, but to his own hungriness, his own quality of starving. If he falls out of a window and breaks his neck, it happens not because the force of gravity plunges him downwards, but because absence of wings, inability to fly, is a quality of his own.’ 

Karl Marx: The German Ideology, Prometheus, (1998), Page 312 

As Marx and Engels explained on numerous occasions – the battle against Bourgeois oppression and distortion is ongoing and relentless – if only because they hold all the cards. Just as the likes of Victor Lewis Smith copied the ‘humour’ of Marx (whilst ‘rejecting’ his message for a ‘Trotskyite’ [anti-working-class] stance) PD James liked to think of herself as being very much like a reborn ‘George Orwell’ figure. Hardly surprising, as she was spawned by an impoverished middle-class family that suffered from more than its fair share of mental illness. As a consequence of this financial malfunctioning, PD James had to ‘work’ for a living, but hardly in jobs that marked the banality and squalor of working-class existence. As a ‘White’ middle-class woman, Pd James occupied ‘Management’ level posts in the NHS, the Criminal Justice System and the Tax Office (although much of this work is kept from the public gaze) – receiving ample paycheques – whilst the Nurses and Midwives she presided over received a pittance for their labour. 

Despite this obvious advantage, PD James reviled working-class ‘collectivity’. Whilst the working-class performs the lion’s share of all required labour, it is the Bourgeoisie which a) steals and b) spends the results of that labour – living lives of arrogant self-indulgence, selfishness and indifference to the suffering of others. Only Bourgeois (Parliamentary) Dictatorship is tolerated, with all other forms of government misrepresented as being ‘oppressive’. Indeed, due to the poverty her family enjoyed, PD James had to work. The failings of her family ensured that she had to graft to survive. Whilst holding high governmental positions – ordering the lower classes around and ensuring they never got too big for their boots (or, that they even possessed boots) – PD James would pen fiction portraying the working-class as being nothing but perpetual criminals. This side-line in prejudice earned her a tidy income. 

When I first watched the 2006 film entitled ‘Children of Men’ – I was impressed. It seemed to encapsulate the Dictatorship and warmongering of New Labour’s Tony Blair and his unquestioning cooperation with the US and its mission to spread death and destruction across the globe. Tony Blair might as well had been a ‘Tory’ due to all the damage he did to the working-class. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that PD James had written ‘Children of Men’ – which was originally published during 1992 – although being laughingly set in 2021! I say ‘laughingly’ as I only managed to ‘listen’ to the audiobook yesterday and was stunned by its obvious anti-working-class message cleverly disguised by a story concerning worldwide human sterilisation! This is PD James attempting to be ‘George Orwell’! In fact, the producers of the film adaptation felt obligated to play-down the anti-working-class elements to make the project financially viable. 

I suspect PD James intended this book to originally be an Orwellian ‘warning’ about the spread of Soviet Socialism to the UK – but had to alter or water-down its message somewhat, with the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The UK seems to be an old-style NHS Ward – but not one administered by a ‘Matron’ – but rather a ‘Warden’ (somebody who used to control a ‘ward’). Furthermore, there are ideas that might well be linked to the Prison Service, etc. PD James seems to be paranoid about the bureaucracies she worked for ‘expanding’ beyond the roles intended for their use and becoming models of national governance. In her Orwellian delusion, PD James seems to liken this expansion of Bourgeois bureaucracy with a ‘Socialist’ Revolution – as if the working-class would simply mimic the structures of oppression inflicted upon them by their middle-class exploiters!  

PD James is a very knowledgeable and yet ignorant person. She is typical of both her class and political background (she was an ardent ‘Tory’). There is something very sinister about her fictional novel ‘Children of Men’ – and it is not the idea of human women across the globe being unable to conceive. The 2006 film adaptation was changed significantly so as to retain all the good ideas in the book – whilst downplaying all the disparaging anti-working-class troupes. The collapse of the USSR must have been a blow to PD James and probably led to a number of hasty re-writes and plot alterations. It is interesting to note that although she mentions Japan in what amounts to embarrassing and inappropriately ‘glowing’ terms (typical of US propaganda during the 1950s – and ‘White’ racism in general), she never once mentions Communist China, North Korea, Cuba, Laos or Vietnam when discussing events outside the UK. It is as if the women in these countries simply ‘do not exist’.  

She does imply the developing world, however, by conceding (near the beginning of the book) that a baby may have been born ‘in a hut somewhere’ which nobody bothered to notice – not long after sterility levels began to dramatically rise (an event she imagines happening in 1995 – or the ‘Year Omega’ – when she lets her Judeo-Christian bias shine through). Typical of the Bourgeois attitude – other classes (and races) are viewed as inconvenient necessities that exist to fetch one’s bags and mix gin and tonics! PD James was a parody of what she actually was. She epitomises the delinquent and contradictory attributes of the Bourgeoisie. As Marx states in his ‘The German Ideology’ – when the Bourgeoisie make the workers starve (by withholding food) – the Bourgeoisie blame the workers for daring to be ‘hungry’! When a worker falls from a height and breaks his neck (due to a lack of ‘safety’) – the Bourgeoisie does not blame the incident upon the presence of gravity – but rather upon the worker not possessing wings!