Asking Around is a record of the firsthand documentary research that provided the inspiration and source material for David Hare's trilogy of plays, Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, and The Absence of War. This trilogy examines the crises that faced three great British institutions—the Church, the Law, and the Labour Party—in the lead-up to the 1992 election that saw the Labour Party once again fail to defeat the Conservatives.
Conducted over five years, Hare's interviews are composed of informal conversations with a wide range of people—from unhappy vicars and police officers forced to put down strikes staged by their childhood friends, to judges and MPs—most of whom reveal a surprising awareness of and cynicism about the principles of their organizations. Priests admit to being essentially social workers with no time for questions of faith, wardens tell of inmates who boast of surviving certain prisons, and politicians and journalists reveal what really goes on in policy meetings. These interviews constitute astute social criticism in the words of the people and, taken together, provide an insightful portrait of Britain in the early 1990s.