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Read this: Writing a First Draft of History

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Writing a First Draft of History…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 my guests today has the most defining stories of Our Time Gary young briefly became part of Nelson Mandela's Entourage joined Revellers as President Obama was elected and there's about much else to the Windrush scandal and the black lives matter movement Gary left full-time journalism at the Guardian newspaper in 2021 professor of sociology at Manchester University he continues to write articles various publications and books his new one is a collection of his journalism called dispatches from the diaspora welcome to the media show thank you for coming back from journalism.

Is it a relief not to have that constant pressure to find something to write about in a column every week on a Friday

Thursday had to have an idea and to be relieved of that pressures that is a great day probably not just for me before the readers that isn't very relaxing day for you.


I mean let's go back to some of where it all began you studied French and Russian at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and then and your final year you received the Scott Trust bursary from the Guardian to study John I think you're quite clear that point that you wanted to be a columnist.

Why because I have been very clean almost precociously and I thought I had I thought I had things to say and what I didn't realise at the time was a degree to which reporting running out talking to people finding out all of their is the nut house of everything including column writing as someone who had dermal filler Gemma's and Harry but didn't have a few newspaper for the first couple years I was there.

My my sense of being a journalist was about writing my thoughts and because I was 21 and 22.

I also assume that everybody would be thoughts with when I look absolutely fantastic.

What does show a certain kind of confidence which I really like in reading your book it made me wonder how much that was your mum's influence with my mum and my upbringing my mum was born in Barbados came to Britain as a 19-year old was first and nurse and then became a teacher three kids that my dad left when I was 15 months old, I was the youngest and so she had this project we were her project.

We were kids first of all that and she use Panorama living room with me on her feet and play Young Gifted and Black my brother my SIA

That song and it was this kind of this act of of hope and belief that this is the early 70s Britain is in a pretty dark place and arrange a place and observed victory because they were kind of blackouts and things but also racially an otherwise and my mum had this so we just come after imagine a price in your world that we had no evidence of but this is your world.

This is your life and you know you will occupy the spices that you need to occupy a place that you can do wherever whatever she had this thing if you want if you want to ride bus ride.

That's if you want to let you know big dig deep but you get your education and then you make your choice so far removed from anything.

We would even have imagine that time that it wouldn't have even can have come up.

Temperatures in places to go to university had a very kind of thing was like can you get a job doing that so my eldest brother who became head of the Travel Channel in America the TV executive he started mining geology you know a Cardiff I study to be a translator and interpreter and the idea, was is there been a degree and plumbing my mum would have said that would be better than history about you can get a job.

So very utilitarian and the notion that you can make a living writing would actually not something that occurred to me until very late OK well.

Let's fast forward a bit from then, but still not making much money writing 1994 you were sent by God into South Africa to cover the country's first democratic elections.

Why did they choose you and what was it like to be a witness to such a story change because they were.

Personalised Anniversary from the Guardian so I was known and I was when I interviewed for the best talked about my work in the anti-apartheid movement to the editor of The Time of this after elections and it was a kind of typical liberal dilemma babe.

I knew that there were stories that might journalists couldn't get into African endemic to the elections, but they haven't employed enough black journalist the bed wanted to send any anyway, I'm going to send and so they looked around for someone with young sheep and black to make a tendency.

What was out there? And I was the youngest cheapest pack of thing in the office so I went and I couldn't drive.

I don't have a driver's licence.

Just kind of United State either you think I can do and I haven't really bothered me before but then traffickers actually quite difficult play some navigate if you can't drive.

Get list from people and I ended up getting a lift with a TV crew who doing an official account of Mandela they drop Mia a gas station said DM come pick you up and then remembers bodyguard and frankly I am used them and made it my business to remove them.

They had had been involved the anti-apartheid movement.

I had studied a union as headlight.

I can tell the joke was quite funny to have me around I was 24 and 25th birthday when I was out there and so they would let me drive around with them and so I stumbled onto this kind of front row seats and it was the most stunning thing to be around that bearing in mind.

I've been round the anti-apartheid with an I had picketed this I can understand with my mum aged 18 when.

Still going on and her to be in some ramshackle stadium in the middle of nowhere because that's where I parked.

I put black people and to see old two women and young bed for children dancing around waiting in the cavalcade coming up and I'm singing kicking up the dust tens of miles away and the cheering stop waving in the screaming and shouting and just to just to be in that moment and to B25 and to discuss anything well exactly I've seen it all cos I didn't think that but just wow wow, it was incredible go down.

You know I'm really really really I can have them and you too much at seem too much.

I couldn't I couldn't put all of that into words originally you know my first crack at it.

The correspondent at the time David Benson lovely man who died not so long ago.

He said it's all here, but it's all jumbled up.

You know you said you spent too long.

I can't see any more it took me out for a drink and just have to stay up all night and just kind of you know with into shape and so I did the better time I felt really see what I done and then that night which was the direction to place over 3 days.

I went to stay with a family countdown with them and the piece was going through the system that we go gym and I managed to get a connection for my computer and I started seeing all these notes coming from colleagues and then Adam mash potato the Dead Theatre and then Pizza Presto which has a big one.

That's all sorts of them saying this is a wonderful pay Sandwell down then.

Was very very relieved with no words only people in your career not least how did you end up getting drunk in my and we have traffic to and and also a little bit Susan sontag actually that's not in the book but she wants told me she want to be in to find me and I sent her the first book written about going through the deep south and she said ok.

I'll do the interview now because I know something about you and makes it more like a conversation and after then.

I always said ok, so you should try and give a little bit in the when you're interviewing.

Not so much you cry the other person out but just a little bit and and sell two things I said to my Angela one was I had 45 minutes away with it and when was the I was really looking forward to perform that night because I had tickets to see her perform in Edinburgh and my mum died the night before and I come down and so excited to see her and the other thing was she was talking about living in Ghana and what a joy it was to have arrived in Ghana and I said yeah, I remember having a similar feeling when I arrived in memory and as a as a 21-year old who working group and never thought I'd really get there and feeling like why I'm really here and this is really excited all the things that I've read about I just up the road and when the 45-minute service she said just hang just hang back.

So then she took me for lunch.

Something to do so she got me a room in a hotel so I can sleep and then we went to her event and then on the way back from the event.

There was a huge of the traffic down the whole place is came like a big car park limit and she said she had this kind of purring.

Would you like some whisky Mr Young and I said oh yeah, please that would be nice and then her sister and said them.

I want a little bit of rice and all the staff came out.

There was more whisky and there was more is the big traffic jam, and it was also big can't say couldn't like you know we've it's banter my god.

I was pretty hammered and I think she was too although she was in better shape than I was she could ring me at the table.

I think as I said you like.

Time it could have been any number because I was drunk she she hang her head out of the window the car limo driver and she's kind of excited.

I hope she had a nice time too and she's making fun of the hotel.

I'm staying and replaces swanky here to Swanky and described it as being like it was like driving Miss Daisy but the negatives you know this white limo driver in this black woman.

Just kind of driving off into the evening and I did I don't need many days like this in my last one one day this will carry me on for quite a while.

Have you met quite a few that I mean stormzy as I'm getting drunk.

I was really excited to meet him.

I just wasn't aware of what kind of thoughtful and find for he was and you know there were no good monsters in that interview and there were times when he say something and then it said well.

It's not really like now.

It was probably a bit more like this and a real emotional intelligence and a can of a Desire for political and I also thought was interesting and he would come there was no funky humidity but there was essentially no he would talk about charitable works on a bursary brackets get to Cambridge and the the book in print and it's a probably shouldn't swear on the shelf should I bet I'm not Gandhi

You know I'm not Gandhi I just sitting around thinking.

What would be a sick thing to do you know my family is good.

I'm good.

What would be a sick thing to do with this with this opportunity that I have and yeah.

I just kind of really interesting way to understand the world if we talk about your early you moved American 1996 C180 more than half your career there working for the Guardian was it initially difficult as an outsider to understand.

What made that country take some things it always was to be honest guns.

I never quite understood although you know I got further on than I was in the bath and you know anyway as a phone call from the understanding is a bit of a gift really because then you can go and find out and things that.

Call people words not would not occur to them as being can order interesting or engaging you know will be to you and that would be true.

Wherever you were from correspondent in Britain would be similar why do people think that have football matches, you know that kind of think so but it was like anthropology really it was like you know this foreign I on on the natives.

You know what am I up to you can come around and it would work quite well in moments of can of where other American journalist might not want to go having steak with a bunch of Republicans trump, Republicans and I'll be funny.

That and that would be my MOT for an awful lot of interviews but as time goes on my wife is American I had two kids.

Are you become invested stops being anthropology and it starts you got skin in the game and you start thinking that's my teacher talking about that's my neighbourhood is not directly on knowing people who don't have Healthcare as friends knowing people who are undocumented and can't go to their parents funeral and then it stops becoming interesting person and becomes quite personal story in the book which slightly you know it kind of that sense of being an Observer potentially more than a participants at the Beginning which was when you were threatened at gunpoint while you are out with walking in rural Mississippi 2003.

I am we were covering the most probably best known as the Mississippi Burning case that's a lot of his own Council civil rights era were coming back up because everybody knew who done it at the time, but there wasn't legal framework.


There was a legal framework, but it wasn't legal will so we were we were in Philadelphia Mississippi myself and actually radio producer doing this program and I stopped to ask directions and III excuse me could you just tell me the way to roast carrots and Wigan and what would you say to me those moments because people see me and they see a black man and it's Mississippi and I understand where I can go is up the social registered my voice goes up about 3.

Is the magistrates and posture and more English so I said? I'm sorry I just I'm just wondering if you tell me the way to rock we go again.

We don't shoot you and and I knew enough not to stand on their property or you know that we go we Gotta Go I'm on on the the piece of radiation giggling and driving away when I get home.

I tell my wife and her brother.

I know you think it was funny at all and I didn't think they they would just like what the hell.

Do you think you're doing stopping in rural Mississippi and asking why people directions I said I was on a property.

I know enough not to do that, but it seemed like a reasonable question do you know?

Play my now now that story is about you being an idiot.

That is not story about how funny can of funny things that happened in the city and I couldn't get a laugh out of them at all.

It's not even it is a story about racism in Mississippi sensible person you know would would do that and I was dead in house in Florida with a young TV producer.

We were doing a story about kind of gerrymandering years later and we were trying to get access to Somewhere better and time she's gonna have to come over this phone so I said to now.

I don't I don't climb over fences in Florida and she's like she sounds like you go ahead and get shot if that's what you want to go back that you know that's not going to happen so many important stories in while you're in.

About war the election of President Obama Occupy Wall Street the tea party but I think I'm putting on hurricane Katrina over the course of the years stands out for you.

Why is that I felt that.

the contradictions of America's cup race and class were laid bare

that they were all sorts of ways in which they could be for neff anybody tries hard enough to do this now.

You know the civil rights era.

That was a long time ago.

Even though it wasn't and we have a quality now and so on this is.

Obama was known by mistake, but it's not sensor he will never be president been a really weird and answer to see who could escape and who couldn't escape and why they couldn't escape and to know that you know hard times in.

Tuba and places like that, but I have a public response is a public disaster see have a public response, but this was a private response a privatised response and the car if you don't have the money for a motel and it came at the end of the month if you haven't been paid you couldn't go and and said to see that all wash up and see the response.

There's a moment where Michael Brown their head of the federal emergency management agency says we're seeing people that we didn't know exist and I thought you'd never a truer word has been and it was hard with a bit because his mouth allergy you have to come pick a piece and go with it and went to Nolan's several times over the couple years after Katrina and very hard to pick one because

It was such a kind of devastating it was such a devastating occurrence and it was one of those moments where you couldn't just Glass over it and so kind of the American media in that moment can of discovered race and class in the way the teenagers come and Discover sexy moments Virgin and I'm just a little bit to eat in 2015.

He wrote and your puppies to America about the period of protracted social conflict as you put it that you witnessed including the murder on Honor Blackman including travel Martin Michael Brown hair it go on.

What was that experience like for you report stories? There's a really interesting thing that happened with black lives matter in particular, which was that it wasn't.

And it hasn't been there more black people were being killed by the police.

It was the for whatever reason and part of this new technology and you can take pictures and distributed amplify people were paying attention in a way the way home before and it can have it problem attached a an adage that I learnt at journalism school, which was you know when a dog bites a man.

That's not a story but when a man about a dog Lhasa story and I started to think during that time you know sometimes actually news resides in these dogs and why does the same people keep getting bitten and what can we do to control these dogs that the actually black people have been living with this for decades and it wasn't used because it the people who decide what's news decided that it wasn't newsworthy.

It was absolutely fine whatever and then in a certain in a certain moment for reasons that I can't entirely tell you what are the reasons? Why it became years so and it was in it was it wasn't really possible if you you wouldn't have to be black in order to get this but if you are black not to lick your son who was big for his age.

Can I mean it was a good example of the was no longer anthropology and there was there was there was an incident park.

Nearby where my son is having a water fight without the kids and he splashed this woman who was mine and she started screaming at him and screaming at my son.

She started screaming at me.

I said now you're screaming and we can you just stop screaming and she said how are you? You're nobody likes who you are and I can I step back just think it's ok.


Ok? This is where we are amount that was actually literally had flown up from Ferguson that morning and you know.

Some of my sister and brother-in-law's comments about like you don't stop an answer directions their caravans.

Ok, I can see how have you been today that would make a lot more sense and you left a Mark I think a year before trump was elected and was obviously seen more polarisation and the country sense.

Do you do the media had a role to play in those divisions in America oh? Well.

I mean certainly if we look at Fox news on the way in which you have cable television amplifying division in a range of ways then to the accident certainly yes.

Beyond and I think the picture of the divisions are are true.

I think the divisions would be there anyway.

I think that is a racial and economic phone line and the racial phone line is my people will be a man or a t probably within the next decade maybe it will be more and you can see that feeling that in places like Arizona New Mexico and struggling struggling to get my head around that and amen and economic full and because wages have been standing for a half a century and you know really serious serious problem for an awful.

Lot of people and

So you put those two things together and you have the ingredients for division weather than Media have been responsible or not but the meal was able to come amplify particularly TV media amplifying exaggerate to the point where people new different facts about the world and sell having a patient with someone was difficult because you said Tuesday and Wednesday will be very difficult to sort your calendars out if that's what you're dealing with anytime bacteria.

May you continue to report from America and TV documentaries in 2017 at clip of you interviewing the American white supremacist Richard Spencer for Channel 4 went viral.

That's just there a bit now.

You really proud of you.

You're really proud to be a white man.

That's different from being had never existed world history.

Almost exactly the same as it is today.

You'll never be an Englishman you to tell me because my name is Richard Spencer did you agonise over whether interviewing Spencer gave him a platform and how did you reach that decision about organised after it because I think it's it's important.

Not to give oxygen to two people like that.

My view was here already had oxygen that the doing that documentary there were several people who I refuse to interview that they want to meet you in for you.

Just random big head, but he because of his because of being in the urine and because of their collection to Steve Bannon Steve Bannon collection to trump.

I thought there wasn't a legitimate reason.

Am I my aim in interviewing him at the first question I ask is you want a Wi-Fi Thursday what is that? Why do you want it? I might end was to be tough back to you allowed him to speak back quickly.

He quickly descended into a range of inside and and this thing.

I've just telling me I'm not English which just kept anything that's that's not your call actually that's none of your business and

Isn't it amazing? It's urgent that decision making process it does feel part of ongoing debate about what the role of the journalist ears and potentially it feels quite generational now that you know they are age but you know all the journals tend to think you're along those lines and younger ones are saying you shouldn't have these people platform at all.

I understand the argument that I mean that you should make my view as he already had a platform and its there's a challenging balance because lets if you take and it was a very beginning of my media career.

I was working for Yorkshire television on a magazine programme called the word this week and I was asked because I was employed for my language to call the for National and ask for an interview with John marine.

Le pen and I refused.

Direct Line 7% in the pals this is for titillation you can do it, but I'm not going to do it and I understand how is an intern understand that you can find me I'm being supportive but I'm not going to do it because it was so low for everybody who is an interim.

They were barely paying me so like you know but my view was my view would be now that it would be very difficult argument to say that you shouldn't marine.le.pen now when she is second quite often in the polls that can of the politics has broken down and actually you have to you have to engage with that someone doesn't give them a platform what you're saying is they already have a platform when people have a platform than otherwise one of you going to do are you never going to speak to like let's take Donna

Should journalist never interview him.

He's a president should you never anything more should you be trying to hold him to account so in a moment where people have power you have to hold them to account on my judgement was that Richard Spencer in this case was moving into the realms of power now.

It's a judgement.

So I think it's a very legitimate question of like should you wash should you not but it was my Michael that in that case it made sense still a bit about your jealous because there was lots of it.

There is lots of it.

You know when you started out you write.

You one of only half a dozen black journalist the Guardian Building and as we said you sent South Africa to get some other stories white jealous.

Couldn't get to you told by some older colleagues to be careful of being pigeonholed worried about no.

I thought it was interesting.

I was I was generally told by older journalists and the only older German as well.

Why journalist either done right about race it will get you always in the passive passive voice it will get you pigeonholed or only right about right so the first column of them which was about Bosnia I was told that we have other people who can do they can you add an ethnic Sensibility to this instead of pieces actually spiked until I could write some black into it and and I feel like what all too few people said was what are you interested in right about that because you're right about it.

Well and it or you have the most jobs around a roundabout it passionately and that's and the idea that you could be interested in issues of race and other things can do some people's Minds

Yes, I know.

I I really want to do is next my next time.

I really want to go to Derry and I wanna roundabout now and the next time you know I really want to write about economic policy and know about everything but that you might have a few interest so there was this there was a struggle which I think is still going on it was understood that black jealous when necessary but there was a struggle about what they will full where they greenhouse to can offer some insight into what black people were thinking of that Becca know what all of these people were thinking or was their presents to can effectively be a bit more decorative and to add to Showcase a kind of weird calendar versity and that by no means limited to the Guardian one of the things.

I find quite interesting.

About the BBC is the degree to which there is significant racial diversity on camera where you can see it, but much less in radio, how much do you think it has improved in the time in newspapers and wider in the time? You've been jealous because The Gatekeepers and you have to go through the Guardian of The Independent all the times but now if you have a phone you can become something like a Dermot there's now them all the route or so there more there more routes into publication which gives pay some more voices which sign means that nobody can say email.

I just couldn't find someone who writes about travel back or who does it you know because they are there in a in a

I also think that most institutions saw that their viability was caught up in this.

I think it became more urgent the present report had something to do with this but not only that it became that's right in 1999 that if you want to be seen as relevant and understand stories that are taking place and the way that Britain is changing then you can't just have a new where I'm here.

I'm exaggerating but where everybody went to the same kind of school and then everybody went to the same kind of university and then they all got you know of this kind of factory and then they turned up here and that's also about class in 2018.

You were one of the Janice Long side your garden and a Gentleman

Draw attention to the Windrush scandal in which of the most hundreds of commonwealth citizens in the Caribbean in wrong you've been detained deported or denied legal rights, what was it like to be involved in a story like that particular story story really and I remember calling her saying I'm thinking of doing.

I'm thinking of doing a piece about this column and she's going out.

Thank God for this like I'm glad that someone is picking up machine been going out for quite a while and this is one of those interesting things were in my transition to academia.

I've been able to do a bit of which is the length of time that Amelia was producing me stories.

It's another dog Bassman star she was producing me stories nobody followed them up.

Nobody and I'm very little change politically and then a damn broke and the damn blood around the time that I wrote my please have nothing to do with that was the beginning of the Commonwealth chocolate the Commonwealth heads of government meeting this tablet come within a week.

It was the story of it was stunning and and he would be a case of kind of being British and it kind of feeling would not like anthropology.

You know that kind of it was it was so stunning to the point of this belief that people have been here for 50 years pay their taxes done all the things that they were supposed to do the good immigrant as that phrases coined.

They were getting turfed out and it was almost unbelievable but that also.

Made it even more unbelievable that Amelia was doing me stuff and somehow they didn't come as news anywhere else was pretty shocking and it went on for about a leaf for 5 months before our head of Steam g.

So before there was his name so it was really it was really stunning and the more I learnt there's something about growing up black in this country makes you feel like not that I've seen it all but very little would surprise me and this really shocked me I really did not very low expectations for what goes on in terms of immigration and Race in this country.

I try and have higher expectations.

I try to be more helpful, but when when certain things happen.

I think that figures and this did not figure.

I'd like to stand and some of your commentary on British politics is closest analysis rather than reportage as a famous March 2018 you a memorable piece called if Boris Johnson wear a black.

What was the point of that thought experiment and do you think you could have published it anywhere in the national newspapers anywhere other than the garden.

I don't dependant maybe bfp.

Maybe it was it stem from a certain point.

I think he.

he been in Miami and started reciting the Road to Mandalay and the

The Diplomat the headline because it's done that and it done something else and I just thought this guy you know if you and to be honest I thought of the mistake the Diane Abbott and the way the data had been passed upon the journalist green like you know you're in the shower.

Can you make a mistake people will Rami but the disproportionate compared to the word happened to him inside a can of almost as a thought experiment I started and then when I thought that it wasn't going to Eden he would have been in the Bullingdon club, how many

Comprehensive to Cambridge and Oxford at the time, how many black women would have been given a second chance after was kicked out of plagiarism? How many you know there was and it was one of those columns where I didn't know when I started it whether I think I called in the day before and I said I want to do this and I'm telling you the day before because I'm not going to know whether it's going to work until I actually start writing it and when I started trying it just it came out my brother flowed and does not preaching to the already convert it and you think left wing journalist do enough to engage with the diversity of viewpoints in Whiteley well.

I think there are very few of them so badly.

You left in German selling prints for a few left when compared to you know if you if you just look at the spread that's a guardian in the mirror and then there's the Express the mail that the telegraph for some compare and there's an argument that you know the preaching to the choir sometimes the client to song to sing sometimes.

It's ok to just be putting out things that should be pointed out.

They can be an onerous Stratford quite often does a black German it's quite often the like if I don't do this nobody else is going to do it if I don't I don't feel specifically about Mum Russian immediate elements she was running with the story but if I don't do this is economist.

I don't think anything as a regular condom is going to do it right now.

You know there is that.

Representation which you really have to take off because you can't nobody likes again.

You're not a representative and then otherwise I can tell you when I did think that it was a problem.

I thought it was a problem in the coverage of brexit and I thought it was a problem in the coverage of trump is that this is a criticism that I would make of German political Hughes it's just left in this case these were to the right and left wing journalist when more like me and they wrote people off and I think that is an act of criminality as you can get in that was a huge radio just to find out what people what why you doing that? Why do you why do you think there? Where does that come?

That these The Curiosity is at the bedrock of any kind of journalism and there was a distinct lack of curiosity their German still we know them and we know why they do and I remember for example sitting in the top of a print shop in Muncie Indiana talking to Republicans and then talking about our Trump is so awful ok, so you see him, so you do see it, but you're still going to go from what we're going to go for this what I mean Hillary and what I remember one woman say I've got some friends and Democrats but they're not bad people but when they start talking about Hillary all my god.

I'm so glad that is exactly Democrats are saying about you and that there was a kind of inside for me about like where this was coming from it wasn't coming from people who.

Pervert he's bullying a misogynist and I'm in a man of uses words, but their understanding was Leicester two evils his leg anyway.

It's a small example, but I do think that can of them both times and it's not jealous job to predict the outcome.

That's not her job our job is to describe the things that we see not clairvoyance but that the the nature of the disaffection the sources of the disaffection within Britain around brexit when beyond to xenophobia and then went beyond racism and that there was there was a sense among many that these were that this was easily explained.

And it was easily explained by dismissing the camera harder harder questions and so I think that's a problem in German some generally and a particular Society so polarised that sometimes I feel like a democracy actually depends on the ability to at least stand where the other people coming from not to not to not to agree with you, but if you don't understand why people coming from how can you win the mother and do you think the space for free speech on the left has become narrower in recent years anything any garden? It's just paid the Observer recently sayings and resignations of high-profile columnist is Hadley Freeman who no longer think they can express themselves freely on certain subject.

You know they I left the Guardian nobody asked me you know is this because you know there's no freedom of speech in in this man.

Who is newspapers already seen you like you don't get too ripe.

What you want all the time now that date that is for their decision their decision to make but when I think of if I think of pro immigrant pro Corbyn pro-union articles in the mail order Telegraph all the times.

No, I'll let you know I don't see the Guardian is being you know all the left in general has been particularly particularly mendacious with in that regard.

I had a very interesting experience with this when I was shortlisted myself and a colleague misery married with shortlisted for the comment Awards this is about 3 or 4 years ago in the diversity and inclusion section and another German so I'm not going to because I wouldn't want a pylon who had written things which we believe to be deeply problematic racially and otherwise was also shortlisted, so we wrote to the would like to withdraw my name's please.

We don't want to be involved in this anymore and I said what you can't do that.

You can't do that mate.

Give us something about all well and enlightening.

Set up now we have to be to a publicly so we each issue, the single tweed saying we withdrawing the pointed to about 300 piece.

I put on my way we understand the difference between views we don't like a little beyond the pale you think this person if you will be on the pound.

Oh my god, you think that had called barrier installing them to come and show people I was accused of no-platforming.

I said I'm not planned for me.

I've actually see the platform.

I didn't say that she can be shortlisted.

I was accused of not understanding freedom speech sounds like this is my Freedom speech so all sorts of ways.

I mean I found it very intriguing and one doesn't have to take sides on the particular issue for this to to come to think of the way in which the freedom of speech issue has come about a time when you had things like the ihra about what you can and can't say about Israel that kind of you don't have to take a position on either those things to see that as a contradiction.

Are you in favour of free unfettered freedom of speech or you know?

But you can't you can't have it both ways people worry about his are you know our people to having to self censor and I just wanted for you with are there any subject that would you would feel controversial to write about or to you know what button at the moment.

He just wouldn't want to get involved in and it's on I don't want to Leverage any kind of essentialism has a black man in Britain century myself speak and which is what sort of things to yourself.

I don't have the capacity to write about this all not interested in taking the flak about how this is how this is going to go that kind of all you need is a headline.

Or this or that.

I'm things where I'm evolving where I'm cos it's not a lot of space for developing your opinion so one example would be transitioned now.

That's not because the trans lobby or after meal because this because actually no generosity.

There is no generosity in my space for a conversation where you say well.

I don't know about that.

I literally don't know about that as I think that's more complicated than that I wrote one piece about Corbyn and anti-semitism, but otherwise it's like there's no general is no sense in that conversation of any kind of nuance or kind of them so sad.

And that's not one group of people not being generous.

It's a can of when the battle lines have become so Stark and soul entrenched.

That is really difficult to come now how you couldn't usefully intervene and you know and I'm so but many of the people who claim that silenced are the people who contribute to that ambersphere actually and it or not.

I find it peculiar the way in which this issue of freedom of speech is Leyton floor the left which is running wear as if you look at the kind of priority of voices in the Times all the Telegraph all the mail churches.

Adjustable we end this very fascinating conversation when you look back at your career which story are a story that you are most proud off the story on the story of his credit card and who was the woman who was kicked off the bus before Rosa Parks in Montgomery Alabama and they were going to go with her you going to be held up as the one moment but she was very dark.

She's in the wrong side of town and then she got pregnant and she was 1560 years to find her few years to find her she's working as a nurses aide in the Bronx and as well as it being a fascinating story I also felt it made some kind of contribution to our understanding to my understanding how the world works.

I mean it's journalism, so you don't want to ever blow it but a little bit of a contribution to this is how history is told.

Is actually what happened in the Civil Rights Movement and so on the other thing that I was really proud of in the Guardian was a series that we did on knife crime where I felt that this would be one hour I felt feel Jenner's and really has let people down chasing they cover the murder the cover the verdict mostly little house and we are trying to look at the Themes and actually spend some time with the people who are trying to do something about it and so on and I think the people who wanted to read out the shed some light into what was happening.

What's read more articles like this patches from the diaspora Gary and thank you so much for the media show today will be back at the same time next week, but thank you for listening.


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