In today’s Guardian, a number of public figures, including some I respect (Benjamin Zephemiah, Bob Crow, Jeremy Corbyn) and others I dislike intensely, write to condemn David Cameron’s recent denunciation of“multiculturalism” at a mass rally (sorry – “security conference” in Munich.
In my new novel, “Out of Office”, Britain is being run by a Coalition government, an ongoing terrorist campaign threatens to bring chaos to the streets, an EDL-type militant group threaten reprisals against religious organisations and the main character believes he is the object of football pundit Andy Gray’s affections (in his dreams).
Although I wrote the book before much of the above took place, none of this was particularly hard to predict; in any case, the novel also “prophesises” that the Olympic stadium remains a building site and a giant sea monster is discovered beneath the Atlantic.
However, I didn’t write “Out of Office” as a prediction, but because of my confusion and concern about what I see as the appalling state of current political debate. In the book, the (anti) hero, Chris Hook, begins to question beliefs he has long taken for granted, but his real confusion is with the people around him who he sees as apologists for what he sees as reactionary elements in society.
I’m no Chris Hook; for a start, he’s a Londoner and public schoolboy. But like me, Hook feels that deep down, he hasn’t changed; he still believes in equality for all, yet the rules appear to have been rewritten – without anyone telling him.
This was a tricky book to write, but I believe it touches on a number of important aspects of contemporary life. As for whether I got the tricky balance right, I’ll let others be the judge...