Gimme Shelter

I do think it’s unfair that the name Assange doesn’t rhyme with Strange and Derange.

The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may pronounce his surname to rhyme with Duck a l’Orange but he has turned out to be a uniquely bonkers fowl indeed. Currently, he’s completely ducked.

His original pledge, that he was going to share rare secrets we really needed to know through Wikileaks by dispersing government papers, promised we would all sit up and realise what a freedom loving, marvellous human being he was. I think the idea was that the Pope would canonise him, he would ascend to Heaven, then come back while The National Lottery gave all charitable monies to him as the only “good cause” worth preserving. He would probably also take over presenting duties on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire and marry Jennifer Aniston while finding a cure for verrucas, cancer and Jeremy Clarkson.

In the end, of course, there was little new in his paper catharsis and this self proclaimed trailblazer of righteousness and freedom of information now finds himself fighting to avoid extradition to Sweden where he faces rape charges. The Australian activist, who looks like a debauched incarnation of Captain Scarlet’s buddy Blue, has claimed asylum from the Ecuador government, a country with a national anthem that sounds like “Here Comes The Bride” and a system that imprisons journalists who don’t agree with it.

Last July three directors and one writer from the El Universo newspaper were  jailed for three years and told to give forty million dollars to the President for questioning his decisions in print. No hypocrisy there then, eh? Mr Strange may want to save us all, but he wants to save himself even more.

Anyway, I bring this up because Assange walked in to the South American country’s embassy in London and has been living there for weeks, unable to leave without being arrested. An internet campaign to raise money for someone to set off the fire alarm and get him on to the street has so far raised £6,500, while the UK could engineer a sewage problem, perhaps feed George Galloway in to the water and block up their toilets, and that might get him out.

But meantime he’s confined to the inside of the embassy, not allowed to leave.

This may sound OK, almost as if he’s having a bit of a holiday, but I doubt it. Once you’ve counted the number of Galapagos tortoises on the dining room wallpaper and had a pee in every single one of the embassy’s many bathrooms, what’s left to do?

I can imagine it makes for a very poor diary. “Woke up, had breakfast, tried not to molest the embassy secretary, looked out of the window at those nasty police people, had lunch, then afternoon nap followed by a bit of internet porn, then sent out for a curry and up to bed.” Not much of a life is it? It must be like working from home but without the distraction of a quick trip to Starbucks.

Perhaps I’m too cynical and the guy is actually well intentioned rather than self obsessed. Perhaps he didn’t carry out the sexual assaults, but he’s got to show his own belief in humanity by allowing twelve good men and true to decide his guilt or innocence in a court room. The longer he stays holed up, looking like a bad smell in Coco Chanel’s bathroom, the more sympathy he loses. 

If all he’s guilty of is believing in his own puffed up importance then that’s not a crime. Self delusion is easily fixed by getting out and joining the real world.