Buried by Steve Jacobi

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BBC Radio 4, 15 May 2009
This true story of civil servant Mark Higson, recounted by his university friend Steve Jacobi, outlined a scenario reminiscent of Alan Bennett's An Englishman Abroad. A brilliant student at Cambridge, Higson seemed destined for a prosperous future in the diplomatic service; however his career stalled once he discovered how the Conservative government had been selling arms to Iraq. Instead of letting things take their natural course (i.e. by hushing up the scandal in the 'national interest'), Higson chose instead to blow the whistle on the affair by admitting in court that the government had been involved in illegal sales. Needless to say the whole affair was adroitly handled by the spin doctors: the Scott inquiry published its report in the late 1990s, absolving the government of most of the blame.
However Higson's life suffered as a result of his statement. Having resigned from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on a matter of principle, he found himself unable to obtain further employment. Increasingly prone to epileptic fits, Higson became more and more isolated. His marriage broke up, and press interest in his case declined. He died at the age of 42 as a result of another seizure, just as a journalist was coming round to interview him.
This true story revealed the extent to which the diplomatic service were prepared to bury the facts if it was perceived to be in the 'national interest' - which in this case meant governmental interests. Truth or integrity counted for nothing in a world where only the fittest survived. Like Burgess in An Englishman Abroad, Higson stood up for what he believed in, and was cast out by his society.
Performed with obvious sincerity by a cast including John Lloyd Fillingham (Higson), Michael Begley (Jacobi) and an oleaginous Malcolm Raeburn as the Man from the F[C]O, Buried was directed by Melanie Hines.

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