It was chillingly unnerving watching Robert Harris backing himself into a corner on the Marr show. From his point of view he was fortunate that having put him in the corner Marr let him wander out again . He does that too often .
The question was would Robert Harris ever work with Roman Polanski again ?
It’s not a novel question. The Ghost , Harris’s story about the ghost writer of a retired British Prime Minister who obviously isn’t Blair (allegedly), with whom Harris was once , but is no longer , friendly is set on an island off the East Coast of the USA and in London. When Polanski made the film an island in Germany and Prague , I think , substituted for those two locations which Polanski could not visit for fear of arrest .
As long ago as 1979 the quintessentially British story of Tess of the D’Urbevilles was shot in Brittany with conspicuously incongruous vernacular architecture .
So everyone has known Polanski’s history for around 40 years .
As a former Political Editor and an accomplished novelist Harris is familiar with dealing with both questions of principle and nuance .
Why would anyone put themselves in the position of appearing to condone a self confessed sexual abuser of a 13 year old girl? I won’t recite the painful facts but they are not the sort of detail one forgets .
Harris could have truthfully answered , as it emerged in the interview,that in any case he had no plans to work with Polanski and in view of the Director’s age he would never work with him again .
Instead , for reasons that are difficult to fathom , Harris ran the argument that Polanski had done nothing wrong in the time he had worked with him. Harris was not a man , it was implied , to sever a friendship to accommodate himself to the climate of public opinion
So Harris effectively placed his priority on portraying himself as a loyal , not a fair weather , friend .
In many circumstances such steadfastness would be admirable .
These are emphatically not such circumstances.
Abuse is never a question of fashion .
Sharing ideas and experiences drawn from 30 years as a Public Service Leader . Firm believer in the value of Public Service and the importance of vision , strategy , communication and engagement in making a positive difference to people's lives .Hopefully helping make sense of what often seems a complicated world .