A friend commented on Phoenix becoming political, and it felt strangely uncomfortable. Is it because, coming from such a political family, politics has at times been rather a dirty word to me? Although a fact of life, I don’t think politics is the key to human happiness at all. Or is it because a so called friend, at the heart of a US publisher, warned me how ‘political’ work is, before a nightmare unfolded in New York, and they acted so cynically and politically? As that firm underlined to an author, a writer is not an employee at all, and so protected by the benefits employees enjoy, but nor should I have been used as an internal political football. My work should have been protected too, and by extension my livelihood.
I and Phoenix, except that half the gnomes disagree with my politics, believe in the story, on either side of the political divide, and the truth and falseness of people. That is why law is so important too. As for freedom of speech, perhaps I believe as much in the intelligence of what is said and done. What happened in London yesterday might put a sharp curb on notions of absolute freedom. But then a group of thugs, showing off to camera, and labelled as ‘students’, can sour the vital right of peaceful protest. To see the windows of the High Court smashed, the Treasury, and the National Gallery invaded, and that security breach with Charles and Camilla, does not exactly symbolise a ‘free’ society to me. That might quickly turn people off the student cause, and education is a vital cause. As for Julian Assange, there is certainly a case that a blanket sharing of documents is a dubious or irresponsible thing, as there is if there really is a specifically anti-American agenda to Wikileaks. The fact is though, if a journalist starts to censor themself too much, then they become the Judge and Jury, so perhaps the blanket approach was the only option. Now, it’s time for us to get back to what we do best, telling stories. DCD