It was a struggle to keep a straight face when I said to the guys in the office, “I must go now, my car is waiting…”
My brief flirtation with being a media-tart is the product of a lot of thought. My giant ego is robust enough not to need to see my name “in print” so to speak, nice though it is to be wanted. But that is no earthly reason to get out of bed at dawn to hit a TV studio.
In many ways this popping up on telly to disturb your peaceful cornflake munching is a logical extension of my public perambulations from within prison. And the motives are the same. There should always be public debate around prison and its many attributes, purposes and place in our society. When the State deploys its power in such a naked and violent form then it should do so in the knowledge that it is under the closest scrutiny.
That was the initial impetus behind the blog at its conception. Casting any light, no matter how meagre, into the shadowy corners of the State is, as I view the world, not only helpful but should be mandatory. We cannot hold the State to account if we are casually ignorant of what is being done.
The periodic upsurge in interest over Prisoners Votes had the media folk reaching for their little black books and my name sometimes appears as a viable Talking Head. Not too shabby-looking, free, and able to string a reasonably long sentence together….the list of requirements is hardly a lengthy one!
And if there is any issue related to prison that I feel I can contribute more light than heat upon, then I will continue to stick my head above the parapet. There are far too few of us either willing or able to do so and I feel that is imperative that (ex) prisoners intrude as often as possible into the various debates.
If we all retired into obscurity, the debate would be left solely in the hands of the politicians. And if it means I have to get up at 5am to prevent that, just send a taxi and I will be there.