Who would have thought?
Actually, in Britain, "socialist" usually means a supporter of the Labour Party of Tony Blair. But Patrick Stewart is no fan of Tony Blair's and Bush's Iraq War. As he explains in Patrick Stewart: The X factor actor by Liz Hoggard Independent 04/30/06.
Stewart is also a life-long socialist. "I was moved along by a policeman during the first election after the Second World War for carrying a placard. I was six. My father was a very strong trade unionist and those fundamental issues of Labour were ingrained into me." He's a guest at Chequers, but no sycophant.
"I feel the war in Iraq was a mistake. I'm one of those who was convinced that we should have pursued, with the United Nations, the resolutions that were on the table further. I thought war was precipitate. I have not burned my Labour membership card, like one or two people I know, much as I respect their decision."
Politics has never been about fashion, he insists. "Everyone seems to be able to pass over the fact that there are poor people, it's a kind of concept that gets overlooked somehow, although maybe at times the Labour Party has been distracted," he says sternly.
He campaigns for Amnesty and worries about global warming. He's even a wet blanket about space travel. "I think that the unmanned space flights are absolutely thrilling," he says. "But when they start talking about manned flights to Mars, I do feel I would just rather see all of that money spent on our world's problems, which are massive." (my emphasis)
Coming from the commader of the Enterprise, that's a pretty strong statement.
A few years ago, I got to see Patrick Stewart in San Francisco do a reading from Moby Dick. Since he played Captain Ahab in a TV-movie version of the story, it was like hearing a live reading from Ahab himself!