By Che Applewhaite, Editor-in-Chief
Index on Censorship recently chose me to be on its youth programme concerning justice and the ‘Magna Carta 2.0.’ We’ve had a lot of talks given to us by people active in politics, journalism and arts – this recent one was one of the most interesting.
‘Hypocrisy, Corruption and Greed.’ That’s what most people believe the political elite are about, especially now since the recent reveal of the Panama Papers. They implicated our own Prime Minister in its less than admirable financial practices.
Jolyon Rubinstein recently spoke at a protest demanding Cameron’s resignation in light of the reports, but this is only a small part of his political action; he and his friend, Heydon Prowse, write and act in their own BAFTA- award winning BBC show, ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised.’ A few weeks ago, he spoke to a small group of young people participating in the What a Liberty workshop about political satire, his views and his advice for young people.
His appearance at the protest wasn’t the first time he had challenged the Prime Minister. We saw a clip of one of the episodes in which Jolyon pretends to be one of Cameron’s old chums.
Jolyon told us he did this to poke fun at the privilege of many politicians who run the country. It was refreshing to hear such a critical perspective on the nature of British politics, especially on the class divides that still exist between those in the Cabinet and others living in the country.
He was also very frank in saying that him being white most likely enabled him to do it. “If an Arab person had attempted the same thing, they may have been arrested, or worse.” This was, in a roundabout way, to advise us to use our abilities for the social good. When he considered what he wanted to do after an eye-opening university experience, his severe dyslexia pretty much ruled out journalism. But he could speak well, looks like most people with privilege and also did some drama, so satire became an unconventional but somewhat obvious career choice.
A lot of our group are involved in or want to study politics or the media, so it was very inspirational to see someone who had succeeded in a field that mixes both. He noted the importance of anyone interested in political action to know the law. ‘Defacing a wall is criminal damage, but sticking something that can peel off a window is not – as long as you take it off when and if someone asks, it isn’t against the law to do that.’
There was a significant uptick in mood when he implored us to, “never let anyone feel that our voices were not valid, or that we had nothing to say.” I have often felt unsure if whether my voice deserved to be heard by others, but his interest in our views on his work and politics made us feel like he truly cared about our potentials.
“Things take a long time,” was something he really wanted us to remember in an age where it is so easy to get caught up in the instant gratification of social media. Getting the show off the ground was the hardest thing he has ever done, it taking two years of perseverance from idea and script to greenlighting the programme for production.
At the end, we all felt really inspired to partake in political action, though perhaps not revolution just yet. He gave us a lot of hard truths, but also a lot of hope. I left thinking: what do you have to say on things that affect you and your future?