Sourced via Bernard Boase in the Naked Rambler group on FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/freestephengough/10153548394859403/?ref=notif¬if_t=group_activity
Robert Malcolm Kay phoning in to
The Kaye Adams Programme
BBC Radio Scotland, 10-Feb-2016
KA: Robert's in Kilsyth. Good morning, Robert.
RMK: Good morning, Kaye.
KA: Good morning. How are you this morning?
RMK: Great, thanks, beautiful morning.
KA: Yes, it's gorgeous. So, your thoughts on who should and shouln't be in the nick?
RMK: Yes, I was listening to the programme this morning, and the first name that popped into my head was Steve Gough who is well known as the Naked Rambler.
KA: Yes, we haven't heard from him for a while.
RMK: He's a fascinating character, and probably a one-off, but he's probably Britain's most famous prisoner of conscience. And just for listeners who aren't aware of the background, for the last ten years Steve has been in and out of Scottish and English jails. He hasn't actually committed an original crime in being naked, because it's not actually illegal to walk around naked, and lots of people do naked bike rides and so on. His only crime is to actually be in breach of an ASBO, and the ASBO is unique to Steve: he's the only person who is not allowed to walk around naked in Britain. So you or I could do it if we so chose to do (which I don't), but there's a fundamental issue of human rights here because Steve is unique in being the only person with this ASBO. I think he's a fairly harmless eccentric, and he's certainly never caused any offence to anybody that I know of.
KA: How long did he spend in prisons during various different sentences?
RMK: The total is pretty much most of the last ten years, which is incredible. I mean that's a sentence which is equivalent to murder or life.
KA: And cost to the taxpayer of somewhere around £300,000 because it's around 30 grand a year.
RMK: Yes, horrendous. What's more, a lot of that period has been spent in solitary confinement because the prison system refuses to allow him free association with other prisoners on the basis of the fact that somehow his nakedness might corrupt them, I think, which is quite bizarre. So it's not just that he has been in prison, he's actually been subjected to what I would regard as a cruel and unusual denial of his human rights of association.
KA: Where is he now, I mean his is a name that for a few years we heard on a regular basis but we haven't heard from him for a while. Do you know where Steve Gough is now?
RMK: Yes, Steve was released from Winchester prison just shortly before Christmas and has been spending some time with his Mum who is quite elderly and with other family members. So he has not attempted, as far as I am aware–or if he has he's done it fairly discreetly–to go naked walking. Maybe the weather has something to do with that as well; it's been a bit cold.
KA: But if he does again, then presumably he will again be arrested and likely end up in jail.
RMK: It's the classic case of breaking the butterfly on the wheel, Kaye, it's absolutely awful to think that this decent, dignified and rather simple man has a very straightforward mission in life which is to try and tell everybody that the body is not evil or wicked or essentially ugly. That we all have one; that we're all born with one, and that we all die with one. He's almost like a kind of religious person, in a sense, a monastic person, who is content to carry on suffering to try and get across a simple educational message that there's nothing wrong with the body. And I just feel every day that Steve is in prison offends me as a human being; it makes me really upset.
KA: Robert, thank you very much for your call. As you say, Stephen Gough the Naked Rambler, as many people will know him, is a very kind of unusual example, but in terms of what prison does for people and whether or not it is a blunt instrument. Well I guess it kind of tells that story in fairly primary colours.