As the chapter opens, V is beginning his broadcast across London. V begins by explaining why he’s “called you here” to talk. Imitating a corporate manager, he explains that he’s been disappointed in the human race’s “performance,” as if thinking about “letting it go.”
V has hijacked Norsefire’s own powerful broadcasting system. This is a skillful act of “jujitsu”—because V is weaker than Norsefire, he cleverly uses Norsefire’s strength against it. V speaks in riddles and metaphors, as usual.
V goes on to explain that humans have been in existence for about ten thousand years. In this time, they’ve accomplished some incredible things: agriculture, putting a man on the Moon, etc. As V names these things, the corresponding photographs pop up behind him. V explains that these achievements don’t change the fact that humans show a great reluctance to “move on” and become their own bosses. Humans have been offered a “promotion” many times, and turned it down. As V says this, photographs of the Buddha fade in behind him.
V’s speech is bold and accusatory: he criticizes the human race for refusing to “ascend” to a higher level—being unable to follow the words of its prophets and spiritual leaders (like Buddha, who taught peace and detachment from desire). To V, humans too often refuse to take control of themselves, and rely instead on dictators and tyrants to run their lives.
As V’s broadcast continues, we see the Leader watching it. Police officers race to the studio, ready to attack V. In his broadcast, V explains that “lately,” the human race has been having problems: it’s rowdy, it exploits lower-class workers, and it’s cruel to its women and children—those it is supposed to love most. V acknowledges that “management has been terrible,” and photographs of Stalin, Hitler, and other dictators pop up. Nevertheless, V insists, “who elected them?” As the broadcast continues, soldiers and police officers run into the building where V stands, still wired with explosives.
As V makes his speech, we think about the corruption we’ve seen in Norsefire society: Bishops abusing children, men beating their wives, police officers attempting to rape prostitutes and then kill them. V’s major point is that humans themselves are responsible for their own misery—they’ve entrusted great power to men like Hitler and Mussolini. It’s as if humans want to be hurt and abused by their masters.
Soldiers rush into the room where V is standing. The broadcast continues: in it, V explains that human beings have consistently made the same mistake, allowing criminals and murderers to rule over them. If humans don’t “show improvement” in the next two years, V concludes, they’re “fired.” As V’s broadcast concludes, soldiers open fire on V, and V falls through a window to the ground outside the TV building.
V ends his message with a veiled threat. This reminds us that, for all his talk of liberty and human progress, V is technically a terrorist: he uses violence to further his ideology. It’s ironic that V threatens to fire people at the exact instant that he seems to be shot by soldiers. V has always expected everything before, so we assume this isn’t the end for him.