‘When you don’t have trust, everything falls apart’

Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas

Following a sell-out Edinburgh Fringe run once again, one of comedy’s elder statesmen and all-round arty mischief-makers continues his eighth nationwide tour with a comedy of betrayal.

A tale in which Mark Thomas himself is the betrayed, as he will explain at the Corn Exchange, Brighton, on Thursday, March 5 (tickets on 01273 709709).

“I was involved in a group called Campaign against the Arms Trade, and I worked with various people around that group,” says Mark.

“One of my closest friends turned out to be working and spying on behalf of (Britain’s biggest arms manufacturer) BAE Systems.”

“But this guy was a very close friend,” he continues.

“There were a group of us that were involved in direct action that really trusted him. He was godfather to the child of one of them. This is the story of the betrayal, the effect it had and the bigger ramifications. Initially, I was very, very shocked and hugely upset, but also embarrassed that this had happened, that I had defended him when other people were saying he was a spy. It’s just a sad and tawdry tale.

“Ultimately in everything, it is the trust that is important. When you don’t have trust, everything falls apart. When politicians get involved in the expenses scandal, you lose trust.”

Mark is a Green Party supporter himself in an era where there is little respect for politicians generally: “So many politicians are bland and boring these days. They are overly cautious. They are worried all the time. They are living in this world of offence. They are worried about what they say. It is a weird time.

“But partly they are so bland because there has been such a convergence of political ideology. There are great battles of ideology, which are not happening as they should be happening.”

So doesn’t that mean that comedians are becoming today’s politicians?

“Certainly I get more people to my gigs!”