Frank Noon could be described as a politician with a difference. A visionary thinker, he polarises opinion due to his outlandish views yet has a strong affinity with the British proletariat. He thinks drugs and brothels should be legal yet doesn’t take drugs and is a prude. He detests racism and homophobia yet thinks joking about such subjects should be mandatory. He loves boxing hates fighting, loves to preach yet hates public speaking. The following interview was published in January 2082 in Time For Change Magazine, a new anti-establishment publication notable as its editor, Mary Blackmore, is a former speaker of the house of commons. The interview failed to raise much of a stir, only deemed notable of report by one or two newspapers. The interview was conducted by Lily Webb, one of a host of guest college interviewees that the magazine employs.

‘Hi Frank, this magazine is called Time For Change. In your opinion, why is change necessary and important?’

‘Ha, did you read that article yesterday stating that there are now thought to be a billion people overweight and a billion people malnourished? Stealing some porridge back off those fat sweaty bears might be a start. I’d have said it was necessary a hundred years ago as change then may well have been in time and facilitated a positive shift in where the world was heading. Now I’m not even sure it’s relevant, let alone necessary. Just enjoy your life everyone that’s my message. We haven’t exactly developed our planet too well over the last couple of hundred years, I mean it really is genuinely embarrassing, just take a step back and assess. In that time we’ve created a world characterised by the constant exploitation of its planet and its people for financial gain, and a world blissfully unaware that the obsession and pursuit of material goods and talentless celebrity isn’t going to bring them happiness. All around the world there are small wealthy ruling classes who use confrontational rule to create economies based on the exploitation of the poor, and these world powers who use the act of war to continually bully countries out of their oil or other resources, ironically only when the opportunity arises to badge it to the masses as a humanitarian act.

Overpopulation as well becoming a huge issue?

Is it really? I’m not so sure. It’s obviously a major issue that puts stress on a lot of areas of society but the notion that it’s an immediate and pressing problem seems a bit hysterical to me. It’s getting to that level again with that where the brainwashing turns into a bandwagon. The same happened with global warming, that’s still bubbling away, breeding these outstandingly misguided and self-important people all over the world who actually think they’ve got the power and influence over the planet to save it. A planet that’s been here for 4 billion years, a planet that’s constantly evolving, adapting and that has overcome natural disasters and the like. Do you really think this planet will forever be indebted to Jane from Dagenham because she re-uses her plastic bag? It’s too short-sighted, it’s not making a great difference. I think it’s 3% of all waste we produce in this country is household waste so people shouldn’t obsess about it, it needs broader social and political action to try and eliminate the root cause.

And this planet already produces the particles needed to create plastic bags anyway. I remembered that.

God who’s teaching you that, surely not college?

I read you said that a few weeks ago?

Ha did I? God, well it shows a) how poor my memory is and b) how boring and repetitive I am. You don’t want to listen to everything I say anyhow, my point is that we need to be guided by the experts in these subjects, the scientists, the geniuses, philosophers, visionary thinkers. You know the Minister for Health should basically be the top person around in that field, not some guy who’s mates with the Prime Minister yet knows nothing about it.

Back to the original question, which basically was highlighting the failures of society?

You’re pushing me into diatribe mode here, you’ll regret that but ok let’s do this properly. The gap between rich and poor is ever widening. We spend billions of pounds a year on defence and war and yet nowhere in the world is there a guarantee that when you’re born you’ll have something to eat, a home to live in, and a job so you can endeavour to provide those necessities yourself. In most developed countries in the world now you literally need to be rich to get an education and own a home, that’s just a laughable disgrace. We’ve still got an insipid and despicable banking culture that privatises their profits and nationalises their losses, and it’s a world where the majority of the world’s resources are extracted into the hands of the few, god that’s quotable, put that in the little bubble thing that accompanies the article. Um, 40,000 people die each day from hunger alone, a lovely little stat that isn’t it, you’ve got terrorism, nuclear terrorism, again fairly unpleasant and avoidable if we’d have dealt with that threat a lot better this last couple of hundred years. There’s more, homelessness, child labour, child molestation, greed, jealousy (Frank counting using his fingers), revenge, murder, torture, we’re the only species that’s ever lived who consciously murder and torture our own for personal gain or pleasure you know. What else, rape, racism

Religion?

Ha, have you just got a list of key words there to prod me with? What would you like me to say about Religion?

Well I just thought maybe you’d include it in your answer as to why change is necessary, that’s all.

Look I think it’s ludicrous that we still live under a pretence from the people who run this world that we’re being guided by this mythical being. The belief is still perpetuated that we must behave or else this incredible man in the sky, a man who loves and forgives everyone, might show his cranky side by injecting life back into us after death then transporting us to a place of eternal suffering. It controls us, it restricts our growth as a species, it limits our conscious thought, all these are positive things for the upper echelons of society, the majority of whom are concerned only with preserving their position in that upper echelon in as trouble-free a manner as possible. They’re not going to take that risk when they’re in it for their own means and living such comfortable lives. It really is an Orwellian nightmare we’re living in you know. They’ve just brought in those cameras that listen to the streets and detect if your voice is angry, for what purpose I’m not sure, probably mind reading machines something like that, believe me I bet it’s not that far away. Most people just haven’t got the balls to question things. Religion’s negative primarily because it divides people and controls people. By definition almost anything that divides people is negative and will ultimately lead to conflict on some scale. I don’t agree with this argument that if religion wasn’t there it’d simply be replaced by another divisive ideology, to me it’d simply be one less divisive concept in the world, that’d have to be a positive. I do see these alternative arguments by the way, people don’t get that, of course I can understand the good it can do and possibly did do. Humanity probably needed religion when we were in our infancy, and I think some of the proverbs in the bible are great. People wrote parts of it really well and we’ve learnt some great lessons and ideas from that. Thing is two hundred odd years ago now scientists proved that we weren’t created. At that point we’d developed enough as a species to discover that and yet we didn’t act upon those revelations, ignored it, and now we find ourselves in this tentative position hoping that nuclear weaponry and religious extremist terrorism doesn’t connect anytime soon. It just makes me despair that people are still brainwashed and still look to the bible for moral guidance, it’s just so lazy given how we’ve been given these brilliant minds. Lazy and selfish almost actually. Why are they doing these good deeds they purport to do? Because of a want to help others or just to try and ensure a place in that fictional paradise called heaven? I’d rather live by a moral framework where I do good because it’s the right way to live your life. As soon as the ruling classes adapted spirituality into a stick to beat people with the whole concept became poisoned then really. Anyway let’s move on, talking about this just frustrates me, there’s no arguing is there with people who believe it, the power of a belief for which there is no evidence is just too exhausting to battle.

So what would you change? What are the key areas and which do you think could be successful? It’s not as simple I know, but

You’re good you know, I like your spirit, keep questioning everything. Look, the list of what should be done differently is endless. Education is the key, it really is. I bang on about it relentlessly but the knock on effects from it would just affect everything long term. I don’t just mean ensuring everyone gets educated academically to a certain level, I mean teaching children the right things, instead of the state forcing children into learning certain subjects and doing certain activities at school they should instead be teaching them to think about and question everything. They should be educating them about social issues like drugs to the level where you can be honest and say that taken in moderation they may have positive effects. Science as well should be relentlessly taught, I mean the sheer scale of the universe seems so incomprehensible that if people could understand that the logical conclusions they’d come to would be so positive. Children have the tools as well, that quizzical curiosity is inbuilt but somewhere along the way it gets knocked out of them. The problem with this question is there’s no short term fix and a lot of the tweaks that need to be made might not have much effect now, it might be too late. Can you really see people changing and not allowing themselves to be restricted and brainwashed by things like religion and the marketing of goods? An ethical and scientific humanism, that’d be a great step forward, make it all about living good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs, it’d so much more rewarding.

Right finally

Finally?! You can’t leave me already, you’re saving me from some unbelievably stuffy meeting I’ve got to get to.

Sorry I’ve got to get back to college.

Well there’s a reality check for me isn’t it? No all good, you’ve been great, thanks.

Thanks. We’ve had a few emails in about people wanting your take on the recent spate of shootings in America, culminating in the one last week with 40 people killed at a cinema screening in New York.

Well firstly that’s one thing we have got right in this country, never legalising firearms. America and the West have not only armed its own citizens but also countries that they’ve then invaded, so the second you buy ammunition off the state all you’re doing is giving them the ammunition to attack you, as an individual or a country. My first emotion was one of surprise actually when I found out there wasn’t a religious motivation behind it. My second emotion was overwhelming frustration when I found out that the man involved had recently been diagnosed with a form of mental illness. We still haven’t got a grip on that, it’s an issue that’s largely been ignored for generations. I think they say one in four people have a mental illness but it depends on the parameters you use. To me religion could be seen as a form of mental illness, are you of a sane mind if you think there’s a man in the sky keeping score of everything you do? How many people have got OCD that don’t get it diagnosed or seek treatment for it? I certainly have, and who knows whether that has scope to worsen when under stress or in times of hardship. Watch the reaction now to this latest incident, no doubt the President, and our Prime Minister, will come out and condemn the attack, banging on about how it’s an act of evil and a crime against humanity. They’ll then simply assess how the man can be punished and that’ll be it, a good punishment and everyone will be satisfied, situation resolved. I really don’t understand why justice appeases people so much, it just stops everyone from questioning further and getting to the root cause of why it actually happened in the first place. That’s the only way we can get to work on reducing the chances of it happening in future which must be everyone’s aim. Again it’s that word why. Why is the planet under pressure, why do people commit heinous crimes, why are people drug addicts. The list is endless yet instead of digging to seek those answers we simply shove the simplest short-term solution at them. And the hypocrisy of the Prime Minister or President in condemning these shootings. To me the failings of the Western leaders over the last few hundred years, they’re way bigger crimes against humanity than a single incident like this, you know consistently failing to correctly educate the young or sufficiently look after the old, presiding over countries that are riddled with people living outside on the streets. I bet that when this incident happened I guarantee the first thing quite a few people thought upon hearing the news was ‘Oh god I wonder how this is going to affect sales’. That’s not a great world we’re living in is it. Anyway, sorry I don’t mean to finish all morbid, you only live once for 80 odd years so why spend any of that time being negative, you have to just shut yourself off from it, be positive and have a sense of humour. Yes you can acknowledge these truths along the way, the more people that do that the better, but change being achievable I’m not so sure. Have fun, enjoy your life and don’t hurt anyone, there’s a great mantra.

Time For Change Magazine16 June 2081

 

Frank Noon didn’t take a fee for this interview, asking for it to be donated to a children’s charity.