We have learned in the past few weeks that even if all current international charges are dropped against him, Julian Assange wishes to indefinitely remain in the Ecuadorian embassy. Presumably in a bid to challenge Andy Serkis, should he ever yearn to reprise the role of Gollum in a Tolkien spin-off.
Let's consider what life would be like inside the Ecuadorian embassy walls, were one to reside there forevermore. We can only assume that Julian has been enjoying a level of hospitality so unrivalled in the outside world that he can conceive of nothing which cannot be provided inside that building. His needs and wants are being met to the letter. Undoubtedly he enjoys the freedom to stand at windows for any given length of time undisturbed; unlimited access to the meeting room's insulated coffee jug/ miniature packets of Business Biscuits, and carte blanche to slide down the staircase on his tummy after the last intern has gone home. I would guess that he's weighed up the options and made his bed in the photocopier room; the faint hum of machines lulling him to sleep as he snuggles down on his makeshift nest of shredded policy documents and quilted envelopes.
He has truly made this diplomatic Knightsbridge swank-prison his home. So much so that Assange has even taken to inviting his more questionable friends over to play. Just like a teenager desperate to defy his already achingly liberal parents by smoking nutmeg in the attic with Ben Grimes from bottom set Maths, Julian has ostentatiously paraded in a rogue's gallery of fair weather supporters, from Lady Gaga to Oliver Stone, Richard and Judy to Jeremy Clarkson. I may have made up the last three, but I bet they put in a visitation request. Clarkson may not agree with what Assange stands for, but by god he'd defend his right to drive a remote controlled car up and down the embassy corridors, as long as he didn't come in ahead of Gary Barlow on the leader board. I'm not sure about Richard and Judy, but I like to think they'd host a live episode of their virtual book club from Assange's den, probing for his opinion on the latest E.L James and having a loaded argument across his head about whether suggesting that thing would be wise online, with her issues and his track record.
The other explanation to what's unfolding is that we are actually witnessing a fascinating sociological study into the effects of captivity on incredibly fair-skinned men. Just like the Bristol zoo polar bears of my childhood- which could only walk round and round in demented circles- this could be one man's descent into insanity through confinement. Albeit with fewer rocks and cold fish, and more soft furnishings. Does he wander up and down the hallway, lolling his head with every step, tracing the embossed flock wallpaper with a shrivelled index finger and a detached look in his eye that simply says 'hungry, knee-itch, have you checked the cistern? I like green.'
Adding to the unending story of Julian Assange's voluntary house-arrest is the news that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden may seek asylum in Ecuadorian arms as well. Whether he's being escorted to Ecuador by a WikiLeaks advisor, or hanging out on a Russian runway under the chassis of a baggage cart, South American countries have begun queuing up to offer Edward a safe haven from the wrath of the US. Much like when the naughtiest and most feared kid in school gets their head stuck between the railings and it's briefly safe for the other children to run out into the playground to point and laugh.
Assange must be pressing his tongue masochistically hard into the inside of his bottom lip, gurning with angry, frustrated groans at his own idiocy in failing to make it to South America proper but rather getting trapped in a glorified office building in West London. Edward Snowden could be dancing the Sanjuanito along La Costa by now, enjoying a well-deserved break from an undignified international manhunt. Maybe in another couple of years there will be a direct high speed under-sea rail link between mainland Europe and Quito, so future political truth-tellers don't have to do the geographical Hokey Cokey for so long in the name of democracy. In, Out, In, Out, Shake It All About. But not for too long or we'll Taser you on the threshold.
On the plus side, we learn that Assange is heart-warmingly writing a song about "the new politics that has come about as a result of the Internet and media distortion" with a South American band. Please welcome to the stage, Jules, Ed, and The Leakers, with their debut tub-thumper, Midnight Train to Anywhere with Diplomatic Immunity.Suggest a correction