Generally speaking, I stay out of politics online. It gets you nowhere. It is a person having their say followed by another person having their say and not really listening to what the first person had to tell them. You do not post on Facebook forums and political websites to have your mind opened; you go on there to sound off. And it is in two minds that I even touch this. Events in Paris have left me appalled – not shocked, alas, because nothing does these days – but even despite the show of solidarity from cartoonists, any sort of statement on my part feels a bit crass.
But Doctor Who has always been a political animal, whether it was the staunch environmentalism of ‘The Green Death’, or the political satire of ‘The Sun Makers’, or the anti-Thatcherite condemnation of ‘The Happiness Patrol’. And even without the heavy-handed lampooning of ‘Aliens of London’ or the nod to the Falklands in ‘The Christmas Invasion’ the very show is, in itself, quietly political. That’s what science fiction does, after all: it enables you to deal with contemporary themes with sufficient detachment to avoid too much fallout. The Doctor goes to planets where the populace are oppressed by regimes and destroys them (before conveniently vanishing into the time vortex so that someone else can do the cleaning up). When a peaceful system is threatened, he deals with the hostile takeovers on a daily basis. Above all (and despite a penchant for casual genocide) he abhors violence; the end does not justify the means. Would he negotiate with terrorists? Probably. He has. But he would not for one second condone their actions, nor the deplorable atrocities that occur in the name of organised religion – all sorts of organised religion – across the world. He’d fight – in whatever capacity he could – for freedom: individual freedom, of course, but also freedom of thought, freedom of belief, and freedom of expression.
Anyway, today? Just this.