When UKIP shocked everyone at the Southend election count last month, by going at one stroke from no representation to five seats on the council, there was a lot of whispering about the newest political grouping. The simple fact is that we (as in, Southend) know very little about the new purple councillors.
James Moyies is well known, of course, and has worked hard over a number of years to win West Shoebury. And from what I heard, Tino Callaghan worked hard in Prittlewell, even if his earlier campaign in the West Leigh by-election did little to inspire.
But the remaining three are pretty much unknowns, and there was of course a lot of wondering as to how long they might last. UKIP has a fairly high casualty rate (in the last EU Parliament, of 13 MEPs 5 were either sacked, had the whip suspended or resigned), and I doubt they have much imagined the responsibilities and work-load required of a local councillor.
Anyone who thinks politics and art aren’t connected is wrong. That has always been my philosophy — my politics heavily informs my view of the world and thus my writing. It may not always be the “safe” option, but if you really believe in something then you can’t escape that.
So serious praise is due to Andy Cox and co at Interzone. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to ignore the current controversies emerging within science-fiction. They could have breathed not a world, and not run the risk of upsetting some of their readers. It would have been easy.
But it would not have been right. So well done, as I said, for using the editorial to stand up to the forces of hatred and bigotry within our genre. Well done for believing something. I strongly urge you to read it, if not in the magazine then at least here on their website.
It does, however, present rather the challenge for the fiction to rise to.