The way I see it: Raymond Briggs

Raymond Briggs’s classic children’s book “The Snowman” has been re-released on audio CD, narrated by

1 Does art make a difference?

It mainly makes a difference to the artist. It’s something you have to get out of your system before another idea arrives for you to deal with. You don’t do it to change the human race.

2 Should politics and art mix?

If politics is in the artist’s mind it will inevitably come out in the work. Some of my own works were provoked by the political situation at the time. You don’t think writing a book is going to stop people going to war, but sometimes you just feel so annoyed by things that you have to let off steam.

3 Is your work for the many or for the few?

Everyone hopes their work is for the many – who wants to work for the few? That’s why book publishing is better than the art galleries: if you do a book, it’s printed in thousands and, one hopes, sent all over the world.

4 If you were world leader, what would be your first law?

Ban all interviews and questionnaires. I’m only joking, of course, but at this time of year they do keep me incredibly busy.

5 Who would be your top advisers?

A team of tall, long-legged Swedish masseuses.

6 What, if anything, would you censor?

Media intrusion into private lives: when someone has experienced a tragedy, and people approach them for the public’s titillation. It’s all in pursuit of money.

7 If you had to banish one public figure, who would it be?

It’s almost too obvious, but George Bush. How many deaths, and particularly deaths of children, has he brought about?

8 What are the rules that you live by?

In old age (I’m 73), you are increasingly governed by time. You haven’t much left, so you don’t like wasting it. It’s a security thing, I think.

9 Do you love your country?

Absolutely – I love the Englishness of England.

10 Are we all doomed?

Of course we are. It might not be because of climate change, but the rising human population. We have just got to be resigned to it, I’m afraid.

This article first appeared in the 17 December 2007 issue of the New Statesman, Christmas and New Year special 2007