Half the point I want to make is that I have had a charmed life. I was whisked out of the way of the Nazis, bundled out of the way of the Japanese army, and, after a safe and happy four years in India, found myself in England instead of returning to Czechoslovakia in good time to grow up under communism. But I haven’t made my point even yet. I wasn’t merely safe, I was in the land of tolerance, fair play and autonomous liberty, of habeas corpus, of the mother of parliaments, of freedom of speech, worship and assembly, of the English language. I didn’t make this list when Iwas eight, but by 18 I would have added the best and freest newspapers, forged in the crucible of modern liberty, and the best theatre. When I was 19 there occurred the Hungarian revolution, and my first interest was in how the story was being covered. On my 23rd birthday I panicked because I’d written nothing except journalism, and wrote a derivative play. When I was 31, Russian tanks rolled into Prague, and my wife got angry with me because I was acting English and not Czech. She was right. I didn’t feel Czech. I had no memory of Czechoslovakia. I condemned the invasion from the viewpoint of everything I had inherited at the age of eight, including my name. During all that time, I had never been without a bed, or clothes to put on, or food on the table, or without medicine when I was sick, or a school desk to sit at. As I grew up I never had to put on a uniform except as a boy scout. As a journalist and writer I had never been censored or told what to write. As a citizen I never had to fear the knock at the door. The second half of the point I want to make is that if politics is not about giving everybody a life as charmed as mine, it’s not about anything much.