The BBC has just started its latest anti-UK democracy drama, Gunpowder, which plumbs new depths of brutality. One by one, it seems the barriers against barbarity are being crossed in the media, with the BBC in the vanguard. But perhaps it is no surprise when you look at who they commission.
The series is written by a gentleman called Ronan Bennett, a novelist and screenwriter who was once a self-styled Irish republican revolutionary who grew up in a Roman Catholic family in Belfast during the Troubles. So he would know a thing or two about trying to destroy the British state. At the age of 18 he was convicted of murdering an Inspector in the Royal Ulster Constabulary during an IRA bank robbery. After 18 months in Long Kesh his conviction was declared unsafe and he was released. He still cites his time there as an ‘inspiration’ to him.
After moving to London he mixed with people he himself describes as ‘young enemies of the state’: activists, anarchists, revolutionary socialists. Before long, perhaps unsurprisingly, he was arrested again and accused of leading a terrorist gang. He spent 20 months on remand but was cleared after a 14-week trial at the Old Bailey in which he defended himself, helped by leading Left-wing advocates Michael Mansfield, Helena Kennedy and Geoffrey Robertson.
You might wonder who else apart from the BBC would employ a man such as this self-styled activist who admits his fiction is ‘his way to play his part politically’? Two guesses and both are right. Step forward Jeremy Corbyn, who hired him as a researcher, a position which caused a huge security headache and, not surprisingly, a fair whack of controversy. But don’t worry, in case you want to direct him to the nearest food bank, stay your hand. The Guardian also keeps this ‘controversialist’ in business and keeps his measured suggestions flowing. ‘Let’s put May’s grisly new coalition out of its misery as soon as possible’ being a recent highlight of an outpouring of victim propaganda.
No, this no-doubt talented writer is not on the breadline. His focus on violence and his romanticising of terrorism have made him the darling of the liberal luvvies. No doubt, successful and in demand, our film maker, now a reformed fellow who adores British democracy as much as he values the freedom it gives to propagandise what he wants, would never wish to harm innocent people.
However, I put it to the fair-minded readers of TCW and members of Biased BBC that had he been a man of Right-wing terrorist leanings, no amount of self-analysis and reform would make him fit to be commissioned to write a BBC drama.