The Guardian (London)
In January 2015 Sajid Javid, then culture secretary and now business secretary, was invited to choose and introduce a film for members of parliament’s new crossbench film society to watch. Javid’s choice caught the audience by surprise. No Star Wars, no Godfather, no Brief Encounter for him. Instead Javid picked the 1949 movie The Fountainhead, directed by King Vidor and starring Gary Cooper as the defiant architect Howard Roark. Why? The important clue, Javid explained, was the script, which had been adapted by the implacable libertarian Ayn Rand from her novel of the same name.
Javid admitted that The Fountainhead was not his favourite movie, but he said that it was the most important to him. When he first saw it, he said that evening, he thought it was “a film that was articulating what I felt”. So taken with its message was he that Javid even, he remembered, read the movie’s courtroom scene aloud to his future wife, Laura, when they were courting – a scene I find difficult to banish from my view of Javid. And still today, he went on, he made sure to read that same scene to himself twice a year.
These are fascinating cineaste confessions. However, they shine a disturbing light the way he has approached his job as business secretary for the past year – in charge of government policy on, among other things, the steel industry.