Sunday, June 09, 2013

RIP Iain Banks – world-renowned author and Transform patron

We are sad to announce the death of one of Transform’s most well known supporters – the writer Iain Banks. Here is the Telegraph's comprehensive obituary.

Iain was one of the early adopters of Transform in the 90’s, and gladly gave his name to support our work. I contacted him after reading The Wasp Factory (always my favourite Banks straight fiction). He never hid his fascination with drug culture, indeed, much of his his sci fi writing was set in an interstellar anarcho-communist utopia called 'The Culture'.

  Iain Banks 1954-2013

When he became a patron he gave us this message of support:

"I think Transform is a necessary voice of sanity in the debate about drugs. Supporting Transform will help end the drug war and promote a society at peace with itself."

Iain also supported the work of our sister organisation, TDPF Scotland from the outset.
"I think it's long past time that Scotland faced the truth about drugs and the extra level of damage their illegality and prohibition imposes on individuals and society. The sort of rational debate and fact-based response to drug use that Transform has been championing throughout the UK for years needs to be brought to focus on Scotland, to reflect both the legislative realities brought about by the Scottish Parliament and the particularly Scottish mix of health, social, deprivation and addiction problems that people here face. I look forward to offering continuing support to a laudable and much-needed cause."
Aside from brief email correspondence with him over the years I only met Iain once at a reading he gave in Bristol. He was very approachable and had no airs and graces. Iain always had strong political views and an anger I can relate to. He famously tore up his passport over the invasion of Iraq and mailed the tatters to Tony Blair - "I was so angry about the illegality and immorality of the war. And this was me - a comfortably off, white Caucasian atheist from a vaguely Protestant background. If I thought it was a disgusting, what would Muslims think about how their co-religionists were being treated?"

I emailed him in April when he announced his terminal illness, and his reply included the following:

“Ah well. Hoped I'd live to see the world come to its senses re drugs, but I guess it's not to be. Still, don't regret the small part I've played trying to turn things around. One day...”

Happily for all of us who enjoyed Iain’s presence, his writing and his politics, his legacy will live on, and when the drug war ends, Iain’s call for peace will be remembered.

RIP Iain.


Anonymous said...

Well said Danny.


Kenneth Allison said...

RIP Iain. Very sad to see a Transform patron and fellow Scottish proponent of reason and drug law reform passing. Iain was a fantastic literary talent aswell; he'll be missed by so many people throughout the world.