IT LOOKS like the monster showdown of the year. I’m not talking about the sadly limited charms of the new Godzilla movie, but the public clash between the state-sanctioned might of Westminster’s MPs and corporate behemoth Pfizer over its takeover bid for Astrazeneca. Yet the monstrous truth is that while the latest kaiju film with its plus-sized lizard king makes for underwhelming popcorn fodder, it shows every sign of being smarter than the commons select committee that quizzed Pfizer boss Ian Read this week.
Godzilla, after all, is a story about the limits of knowledge and the perils of unforeseen consequences. Secret attempts to destroy a supposed monster in the past under the cover of nuclear tests have blown back with a vengeance. Its central message is a call to humility (and to get out of the way, stat, whenever giant radioactive mutants start brawling). We got nothing of the kind from the Whitehall knockabout, just politicians preening for the small screen, taking little consideration for the impact on Britain’s status as an open economy as they presumed to judge the logic of a transnational pharma deal.
Godzilla has always been a great big metaphor wrapped in a foam rubber suit. Its original incarnation in 1954 was a roaring symbol for Japan’s terror of nuclear weapons in the wake of Hiroshima. The latest take is apparently supposed to evoke memories of the tsunami-triggered disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011.