Posted Under: Criminal Justice,Human Rights,Media
The sleepy little market town of Beccles rarely makes it into the news. The most exciting thing to happen here since three turnips were stolen from the village fete in 1833 was the discovery last summer that carts move more efficiently with rotating circular devices attached to the undercarriage.
I spent 25 years of my life living on the outskirts of this rural backwater, safe in the knowledge that no matter how long I’m away, nothing ever changes. In February this year I swapped the quotidian quiet of Beccles for the bright lights of London. And what a difference a year seems to have made. Not only has the old pub I used to work at been bought up by Wetherspoons, but a man wanted dead by Sarah Palin is living just down the road.
Parking my car down an old stone track and turning the corner, I was surprised to see a dozen paparazzi camped outside Beccles police station waiting to get a shot of Julian Assange. Chatting to them, I learned that as part of his bail conditions while he is staying with Vaughan Smith at the rather plush Ellingham Hall, Assange must register at the local station every day between 2pm and 5pm.
The paps, sent from civilisation to stand on a frozen empty street in the dark of this provincial little settlement, seemed rather confused by the whole experience. I suspect the locals, who it appears refer to Assange as “that Wikipedia bloke” have also been somewhat confused by the attention the world has been paying to Beccles. But it’ll pass. Some travelling tinker will show them how to operate a lightbulb, the whole village will gather round jaws to the floor, and Assange will soon be forgotten.