My reasons for taking on Big Brother
Sir Humphrey, in Yes Minister, would term it a 'brave' decision. The decision by this politician to enter the Celebrity Big Brother House, bereft of watch, phone, family and all contact with the outside world was, however, an easy one.
Firstly it was for Palestine. Millions of people vote by premium phone and text lines to choose who should face eviction. A percentage of the proceeds goes to the charity of the participants choice. My choice is Interpal, led by my friends Ibrahim Hewitt and Ismael Patel in Leicester, Anas Al-Takriti in Leeds and Dr Azzam Tammimi in London. Like me Interpal have faced the witch hunters in Washington and the Zionist movement in London. But every smear against them has fallen away and the truth about their humanitarian work amongst some of the most oppressed people on the earth has prevailed. They don't get many opportunities to raise really serious amounts of money. My appearance on Big Brother will give them the chance to move up the Premier League.
Secondly, I'm doing it for the audience. The biggest audience I will ever have. Every night on prime-time television millions of viewers will tune in. Almost everyone in the country will see at least a part of at least one episode. In the slow January news month the newspapers will be chock-full of Big Brother.
I have done almost 2000 public meetings since 9/11, traveled tens of thousands of miles and spoken to thousands of people. These face-to-face meetings are invaluable. But often I’m talking to people who already agree with what I say. I want to attempt to connect with the politically untouched, the millions of people – most of them young people – who are completely turned-off by conventional approaches. It’s the Generation X-Factor. One of the crucial elements in the equation, the success of which will be the removal of this corrupt and discredited government and the replacement with a genuinely socially democratic one. We need to use new and innovative methods to put across our arguments. I’m determined that there are no no-go areas for us and I believe Celebrity Big Brother will be hugely successful for our ideals. If I'm wrong at least many will eat in the Gaza Strip because I tried.
I hope, within the difficulties of C4's editing of 24 hours down to one hour per day (though E4 will have wall to wall coverage), to reach this mass, young, overwhelmingly not yet political audience with our simple case. That war without end, war throughout the world is leading us all to disaster. That exploitation, one of the other, is not the only way to run a railroad. That another world is possible and that it's there to be won.
I will talk about racism, bigotry, poverty, the plight of
Tower Hamlets, the poorest place in England sandwiched between the twin towers
of wealth and privilege in Canary Wharf and the spires of the City. I will
talk about war and peace, about Bush and Blair, about the need for a world
based on respect. Some of it will get through.
Sure, there may be an indignity to be suffered along the way. But it will be worth it. If I'm voted out early I'll be back on the road again. If I go a long way I'll have reached a lot of people. If I win it will be my greatest election victory since, well, my last one.
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