December 1, 2013

The Indomitable Vicky Pryce

Thanks for your honesty Vicky...

“Thanks for your honesty Vicky…”


Vicky Pryce and I in conversation at the Hay Winter Festival on Sat 30 November went down a treat with our sold out audience in The Swan ballroom. Talking about her amazing book, PRISONOMICS, Vicky gave an excellent presentation of herself. (All royalties from the book’s sales are going to Working Chance, the charity that helps women prisoners get back on track.) Despite the fact that I got a couple of facts wrong accidentally on purpose when I introduced her people warmed to her openness and humility quite quickly. I expected a little hostility to be honest – now Hay is sponsored by The Telegraph group, I sort of thought there might a few right wing antagonists wanting to score a point or two – especially since I am, ahem, (among other things,) a Guardian columnist.

But even if there was anyone there who thought they might like to have a go for a hoot – when Vicky opened up to my questions it was obvious that anyone who thought they knew her from the myriad lurid headlines and acres of tabloid “reporting” of her personal and not so personal trials and tribulations this year was in for a very pleasant surprise. The hour went quickly – always a sign that nobody was bored. The questions from the audience were intelligent and considered – even one from someone who worked at HMP Holloway, “Britain’s most notorious women’s prison”, where Vicky spent the first few days of her 8 month sentence for perverting the course of justice. I think what struck most people present was her very evident lack of bitterness and her strength demonstrated by her ability to cope with the whole horrendous saga that had befallen her and her family. Comments to me from the audience as they trooped out when the event was over included, “well done her,” “what a nice lady!” and “hope she keeps up the prison reform agenda…” Hear hear!

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