Will someone kindly explain to me what’s really
going on in the Julian Assange affair? For
reasons related to an age-related declining attention span, I find myself
completely adrift from the plot, which is starting to resemble a script
proposal for an Ealing comedy.
All I can recall is that Mr. Assange leaked
some American defence documents and is now holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy, not
to protect himself from angry American militarists, but to avoid extradition to
on charges of sexual assault. Outside,
the Old Bill seems to have summoned more coppers to guard the place than it
deployed for the Olympics and the Jubilee combined, amid dark talk of
extracting the miscreant by force of arms.
Is Assange notorious because he’s wanted as
a data leaker or as a rapist? Actually,
who is he? Is he Swedish, American,
Australian? He looks like a grown-up
version of one of those spaced-out kids from The Village of the Damned,
in which possessed children with angelic faces take over the world.
Does this incident have the potential for
leading to a world war – a second Sarajevo?
You’d think so, judging by the grave
expression and tones adopted by the British Foreign Secretary William Hague in
explaining the government’s position.
This, we’re to understand, could include the storming of the embassy by
Special Forces, or its destruction by the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Mrs. Thatcher would have gone in by now,
What would the tourists, streaming in and out
of Harrods, across the street, make of that? Lots of lovely pictures, that’s what, recording
a far more colourful ceremony than Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
Could any of this jeopardize Britain’s
prospects for hosting the next world tiddlywinks championship?
How did Ecuador get to be involved? Is Ecuador one of those new
powerhouses of the booming South American economy? Is Quito
destined to be the next Shanghai?
Where exactly is Ecuador?
And who are the heroes and villains in this
plot? Are there any of either, or are all the
players merely actors playing the kind of roles one might once have envisaged
for Terry-Thomas as a bumbling clot from the F.O. and Joan Greenwood as a
purring Communist seductress.
Above all, should we care?
If I could work out the story so far, I
could decide whether to, or not. Right
now, the story just sits on the front pages of the newspapers, filling the
space recently vacated by the Olympics, and causes televisions newsreaders to
adopt the kind of stentorian tones that suggest the world could soon be a very
dangerous place unless the problem, whatever it is, can be resolved through
Meanwhile, I must dash off to check the
latest from Lord’s. We should have
bowled out South Africa
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