• Freedom: The incredible story of 43 years locked up alone

Freedom: The incredible story of 43 years locked up alone

Issue 1194

Freedom: The incredible story of 43 years locked up alone

In this weeks issue…It was proud day for all at The Big Issue today as our gaffer John Bird made his maiden speech in the House of Lords. It was a belter. Funny, spirited and righteous, “it will go down in the records of maiden speeches as astounding and eccentric,” said Lord Patel. If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to watch it through. There can’t have been many maiden speeches in either House that begin: “I’d like to thank my probation officer…”

Albert Woodfox spent a staggering 43 years in solitary confinement following one of the most incredible miscarriages of justice in America legal history. He was released, finally, last week on his 69th birthday. The men he’d been convicted alongside – the trio were called the Angola 3 – had been released several years previously. One of the most prominent supporters of their cause was Gordon Roddick, the man who helped establish The Big Issue. We trace the incredible story.

Our Letter To My Younger Self is with Ken Livingstone, one of the big beasts of contemporary British politics. He explains why he never had luck with girls when he was younger, and, amongst other things, what Gordon Brown and Boris got wrong.

The great Joan Bakewell writes this week about how the freedoms of her generation have given way to unrealistic hopes of this one.

Does David Cameron have a point or is he just rude with his reckoning that clothes make the man? This week we visit Suited and Booted, a unique scheme in London that finds great suits for the homeless and long-term unemployed in order to give them a fighting chance as they head through the door at a job interview.

This week’s featured vendor is Barrie Carter, who sells in central Bristol. He started selling just before Christmas and is living in a tent just now. He’s saving to get into some more permanent accommodation.

We also have the final, for now, installment of James Campbell’s diary. James started documenting his story of rough sleeping and trying to get back on his feet last summer. The pieces were so compelling he was shortlisted as Scottish Feature Writer of the Year at the prestigious Scottish PPA awards. Through writing, he has worked his way off the street and into a positive future. We’re delighted to have been able to be part of that success.

The Big Issue

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