Given he’s a Birmingham-ish based MP who’s relatively savvy on issues related to the Internet (you may remember his staunch defying of the party line during the Digital Economy Bill last year) I’ve come to know Tom Watson a bit over the last couple of years. Not in a particularly chummy way but to a point where I’m surprised by those who might attack him. He seems okay to me. A politician, for sure, who does what needs to be done to get elected, but not one of the baddies.
So this interview, off the back of his epic work in the Murdoch / hacking affair, is a welcome look at his 10 year career putting a lot of things into context. Yes, he was a bastard back in the day, one of Gordon Brown’s bruisers, but he’s changed.
“This has been a profoundly life-changing event for me, in many ways. It’s certainly changed my politics. When I was first elected, I was a completely naive and gauche politician. You look at the pillars of the state: politics, the media, police, lawyers – they’ve all got their formal role, and then nestling above that is that power elite who are networked in through soft, social links, that are actually running the show. Why didn’t I know that 10 years ago, and why didn’t I rail against it? Why did I become part of it? I was 34. I’m 44 now. I was naive. But I’ll never let that happen again.”
Top tip: Don’t do it. There are way too many photographers. Try to draw or get politically involved in something that matters. And unless you need to make art to stay alive, you shouldn’t be making art.