Flash Back (Official Secrets)

We flew to and from Mexico recently, maxing out on a stash of films.

One, Official Secrets, an excellent Keira Knightly vehicle, portraying Katherine Gun and her struggle with her conscience, her country and the official secrets act.

It revealed/portrayed the national shame and the the national scandal of Tony Blair and government lying to the public and committing the nation’s young men and

women, to say nothing of innocent Iraqis, to depraved years of illegal war with rendition, Guantanamo Bay (agh don’t) and the dropping of the case because it would reveal the lie.

One of the lawyers advising Katherine Gun was Shami Chakrabarti then head of Liberty, now a baroness. It felt strange to see her fictionalised. I met her at a writing retreat at Gladstone’s library is my claim, before I’d looked at her CV online, before reading On Liberty, before Jeremy Corbin recognised her worth. She was forever at his side in those horrible parliamentary debates. It felt one of those six degrees of separation moments, a blend of coincidence and a minor brush with greatness.

Official Secrets was not funny. It points out the vindictiveness of our government with regard to deportation and legislation that makes challenging official secrets an impossibility – however wrong, illegal, unprincipled those imposing the secrecy, A neat piece of story telling that lost out perhaps in the oscars to Parasite, also thought provoking but darkly funny.

Can’t imagine how Katherine Gun felt about the film.

Any day soon

We are well placed here on the edge of the country with only the sea and distant Ireland to one side and mountains to the other before any marauding virus gets to us. Who knows for sure how it migrates from one person to another? By hand, by mouth, by cruel word or unkind deed, by vibrations in the air we breathe? I’m no scientist. Not any kind of scare monger. My instinct would be to make light. ‘Happy self isolating!’ I say, causing derision from those sorely afflicted. Boris’ gallows humour is perhaps out of place, too.

Self isolating

An agnostic Catholic, my faith is in beauty, a face, nature, music, a poem or a neat turn of phrase, prayer a recourse when others are in need.

Here on the edge we are imbued with beauty. it is no sacrifice to self isolate. Just getting it done, whatever it takes, no hardship as yet.