Aaronovitch Blusters to a Well of Silence

by craig on July 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Why Rupert Murdoch considers it worth his while to pay David Aaronovitch a large six figure sum for such puerile antics as tweeting that I am insane, is a conjecture I find difficult to resolve. Today this exchange occurred on twitter:

David Aaronovitch: This suggestion that if elected Corbyn could be quickly ousted is utter bollocks. Democracy allows Labour to commit Hara Kiri.

Mark Doran: @DAaronovitch I hope everyone is watching how these servants of the micro-elite try to paint “attracting popular support” as “committing suicide.”

Mark Doran: @DAaronovitch Craig finds the elite-serving contortions every bit as funny as I do

David Aaronovitch: @MarkJDoran I tend to find Craig Murray unpersuasive on the grounds of him being unhinged. I can see why you like him, though.

Mark Doran: Says the man who managed to find Bush and Blair credible. I can see why you liked them, though.

It is remarkably ironic that on being referred to an article which argues that views outside a very narrow neoliberal establishment narrative are marginalised and ridiculed by the media, the Murdoch hack’s response is that the author is unhinged. Aaronovitch could not have more neatly proved my point.

But something else struck me about the twitter record. Aaronovitch’ twitter account claims to have 78,000 followers. Yet of the 78,000 people who allegedly received his tweet about my insanity, only 1 retweeted and 2 favourited. That is an astonishingly low proportion – 1 in 26,000 reacted. To give context, Mark Doran has only 582 followers and yet had more retweets and favourites for his riposte. 1 in 146 to be precise, a 200 times greater response rate.

Please keep reading, I promise you this gets a great deal less boring.

Eighteen months ago I wrote an article about Aaronovitch’s confession that he solicits fake reviews of his books to boost their score on Amazon. In response a reader emailed me with an analysis of Aaronovitch’s twitter followers. He argued with the aid of graphs that the way they accrued indicated that they were not arising naturally, but being purchased in blocks. He claimed this was common practice in the Murdoch organisation to promote their hacks through false apparent popularity.

I studied his graphs at some length, and engaged in email correspondence on them. I concluded that the evidence was not absolutely conclusive, and in fairness to Aaronovitch I declined to publish, to the annoyance of my correspondent.

Naturally this came to mind again today when I noted that Aaronovitch’ tweets to his alleged legion of followers in fact tumble into a well of silence. I do not even tweet. The entire limit of my tweeting is that this blog automatically tweets the titles of articles I write. They are not aphorisms so not geared to retweet. Yet even the simple tweet “Going Mainstream” which marked the article Aaronovitch derided, obtained 20 times the reactions of Aaronovitch’s snappy denunciation of my mental health. This despite the fact he has apparently 10 times more followers than me. An initial survey seems to show this is not atypical.

In logic, I can only see two possible explanations. The first is that my correspondent was right and Aaronovitch fakes twitter followers like he does book reviews. The second is that he has a vast army of followers, nearly all of whom find him dull and uninspiring, and who heartily disapproved en masse of his slur on my sanity. I opt for the second explanation, that he is just extremely dull, on the grounds that Mr Aaronovitch’s honesty and probity were never questioned, m’Lud.

Going Mainstream

by craig on July 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

For a decade, this blog has argued that democracy in the UK is dysfunctional because an entrenched party system offers no real choice. The major parties offer political programmes which are virtually indistinguishable. As I put it in lectures, if the range of possible political programmes were placed on a linear scale from 1 to 100, the Labour and Conservative parties offer you the choice between 81 and 84.

This exclusion of political possibility is reinforced by a corporate media structure, led by the BBC, in which ideas outside the narrow band of establishment consensus are ridiculed and denigrated. Therefore even political ideas which have the consistent support of the majority of the population, such as nationalisation of railways and other natural monopolies including utilities, simply cannot get an airing. Of all the broadcast coverage of the Iraq War, less than 3% gave time to anti-war voices, despite a majority opinion against the war.

This phenomenon explains why a large majority of both Conservative and Labour MPs are members of the Friends of Israel when public opinion consistently sympathises more with Palestine. It also explains the quite extraordinary media onslaught against Scottish independence.

I pointed out that Nicola Sturgeon’s appearance in the TV leadership debates was the first major airing of an anti-Trident argument on broadcast media in England for a decade. Actually hearing anti-austerity arguments led to a huge surge in support for the SNP in England as well as Scotland.

Now Jeremy Corbyn, having obtained a platform where on occasion he has been able to have his views broadcast direct without media mediation, is experiencing a massive surge of support. Ed Miliband’s lasting achievement is that he managed to put the ordinary people who marched against the Iraq War in charge of the Labour Party, not the careerist Blairite committee manipulators. The result is stunning.

The sheer panic gripping the London elite now is hilarious to behold. Those on the favoured side of Britain’s enormous wealth gap are terrified by the idea that there may be a genuine electoral challenge to neo-liberalism, embodied in one of the main party structures. This is especially terrifying to those who became wealthy by hijacking the representation of the working class to the neo-liberal cause. The fundamental anti-democracy of the Blairites is plainly exposed, and the panic-driven hysterical hate-fest campaign against Corbyn by the Guardian would be unbelievable, if we hadn’t just seen exactly the same campaign by the same paper against the rejection of neo-liberalism in Scotland.

I think I am entitled to say I told you so. Many people appear shocked to have discovered the Guardian is so anti-left wing. I have been explaining this in detail for years. It is good to feel vindicated, and even better that the people I have repeatedly shared platforms with, like Jeremy and Mhairi, are suddenly able to have the genuinely popular case they make listened to. Do I feel a little left behind, personally? Probably, but I would claim to have contributed a little to the mood, and particularly my article on the manufactured myth that the left is unelectable has been extremely widely shared – by hundreds of thousands – in the social media storm that is propelling the Corbyn campaign.

There has been very little comment on the impact a Corbyn victory would have on the SNP. Indeed, despite being unbendingly unionist, the Scottish media have been unable to avoid representing by omission the fact that the Labour leadership contest is taking place almost entirely in another country with another political culture. But there is no doubt that a Corbyn-led Labour Party would be more attractive in Scotland than the Tory lite version, although the paucity of Labour’s Scottish leadership would be a constant factor. Much would depend on the wider question of how the careerists who make up most Labour MPs and MSPs would react to a Corbyn victory.

At Westminster, I can see no reason at all why Liz Kendall, Chuka Umunna and their like cannot simply cross the floor and become Tories. Cameron is astute enough to find junior ministerial positions for them and the Tory ranks would be elated enough to swallow it. But most of the careerists will look at their new constituency members and suddenly discover left wing principles. It will be less bloody than people expect.

In Scotland, a Corbyn victory will bring some swing back to Labour from the SNP, but most of the old Labour demographic have now set their hearts on independence. Should Corbyn actually look set to win a UK general election in 2020, that would very possibly dent the enthusiasm for independence at the margins. It would in no sense reduce my own desire for independence, but even I would feel it less urgent. A Corbyn led UK would not cause the same feeling of moral revulsion. All of which is a good argument for having the next referendum early.

Should Corbyn not win the Labour leadership, the effect will be opposite. The SNP will be boosted by the death of the last hope that the Labour Party might actually mean something again, rather than be a vehicle for soulless careerists spouting management-manual jargon. If Corbyn loses, the Labour Party in Scotland really might as well wind up. The cause of independence will be furthered.

So what do I want to happen? I want Jeremy to win, of course, deeply and sincerely. I am an internationalist and not a Machiavellian. I want the chance of a just society and an ethical foreign policy for England and Wales. Like me, Jeremy wants to see Ireland eventually united. I have never discussed Scottish independence with him, but I am quite sure his opposition is not of the Britnat imperialist variety.

You can be sure that the security services are heavily targeted on the Corbyn campaign. Allow me one last “I told you so”. I came in for much ridicule when I stated, from certain knowledge, that MI5 were targeted on Scottish Nationalists (I had actually been shown the tasking). This comes into the category of obvious truths which the media and political consensus seeks to deny. The ridicule even came from some within the SNP – which, like any other organisation deemed a threat to the UK, is itself penetrated by the security services. Well, now that truth has become mainstream too. I do not anticipate any apologies.

Mob Morality Again

by craig on July 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

Nobody has more contempt than me for the House of Lords or for cronies of Tony Blair. But I shall not join in the pillorying of John Sewel over his private life. If he wants to take cocaine and spend time with prostitutes that is entirely his own business. Britain’s periodic outcries over private morality are contemptible. There is no legitimate reason why the activities of consenting adults in their own homes should be of concern to the rest of us. Not the least unpleasant aspect is that those journalists and politicians who whip up such witch hunts are for the most part hiding secrets about themselves. That in 2015 we still have not come to terms with the most ordinary sexual desire or formulated a more rational policy response to use of narcotics, is unfortunate.

I expect if I dug around I could find a lot of things to dislike Sewel for, in terms of the policies he has supported. But to attack political opponents over their private lives – assuming the necessary factors of adults and consent – is low.

Something to Read in the Meantime

by craig on July 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

I have returned after a stressful and hard-working, though ultimately successful, period in Ghana, in serious need of recuperation.

I very much enjoyed reading this from the Belfast Telegraph.

Embarrassing Pasts

by craig on July 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

It says a huge amount about the confidence of the royal family, that they feel able to respond to their Nazi home movie with nothing other than outrage that anybody should see it. They make no denial they were giving Nazi salutes, no statement that the royal family did not support the Nazis. Of course the young children had no idea of the implications. But the adults most certainly did. The missing figure is the cameraman, future King George, who was filming his wife and brother displaying the family sympathies.

The royal family were of course German themselves – completely so. Since George I every royal marriage in line of succession had been conducted in strict accordance with the Furstenprivatrecht, to a member of a German royal family. The Queen Mother, who was of course not expected to feature in promulgating the line of succession, was the first significant exception in 220 years. She was evidently trying hard to fit in. But I am not sure German-ness has much to do with it. Nazi sympathies were much more common in the aristocracy than generally admitted. Their vast wealth and massive land ownership contrasted with the horrific poverty and malnutrition of the 1930’s, led the aristocracy to fear a very real prospect of being stood against a wall and shot. Fascism appeared to offer social amelioration for the workers with continued privilege for the aristocrats. It is completely untrue that its racism, totalitarianism and violence was unknown in 1933-4. They knew what they were doing.

Happily fascism was defeated. The royal family is of course only the tip of the iceberg of whitewashed fascist support – without even starting on industrialists, newspaper proprietors, the Kennedys, etc. etc. But the Buckingham Palace option of outrage that anybody should ever remember is very sad – still more sad that such a position gets such popular support.

We never did get round to shooting the aristocrats.

I am an optimist in politics. My experience of life has taught me that altruism is a far stronger human urge than selfishness. Modern political fashion is based on the denigration of the urge to cooperation, and I do not believe will survive.

Which leads me to believe we are now living in an embarrassing past. Future generations will look back at the massive and exponentially expanding gap between rich and poor, at the super state security services and near total surveillance, at the violent wars waged in ill-disguised annexation of resources, and be amazed that people could support it. I also think that enormous shame will attach to all those who support the excruciatingly slow genocide of the Palestinians. That will be part of our embarrassing past.

Doune the Rabbit Hole

by craig on July 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

This year’s Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival will be at the Cardross Estate near Port of Menteith again from 21-3 August. As our long-term readers know, while there is no formal link between this blog and Doune the Rabbit Hole, and the festival has no political view, the general tone, tenor and atmosphere of the event is one likely to appeal to people who enjoy this blog, and I shall as ever be running the bars.

dounefun

I can’t quite describe what makes this little festival more appealing than others. It has an extraordinary sense of community and idealism, and I always find it seriously refreshing and uplifting, with confidence in my fellow human beings restored. The bands are very eclectic, and a reminder that great live music is made all over Scotland by people that largely you have never heard of. A particular selling point is that it is very family friendly, and it is not just that there are one or two examples that enable you to say the age range is 9 weeks to 90, it really is like that.

To say that it is a not for profit event is an understatement. We need people to buy tickets, and you can do so here. If you can afford it, you really will have fun. For those short of cash or free to enjoy hard graft (and it is quite tough), readers of and commenters on this blog make up a high proportion of the volunteers who are needed to make it happen at all.

I do hope many of you will come again this year, either as guests or volunteers. Lifelong friendships are forged, and it is great for me to meet you in real life rather than virtually, though I am more free to pull you a pint than engage in profound discussion. The bar – the Whistleblower’s Arms – will have an even wider range of superb local ales and ciders. I can taste it already.

I am happy to tell you that a month’s consultancy work has mended my personal finances, and I shall be back from Africa next week. We shall therefore avoid the need for a donate button to keep the blog going after all, rather to my relief. I should have been at Julian Assange’s birthday party in the Ecuador Embassy today, and am sorry to miss it. Happy Birthday, Julian. There is a good exposition of the state of his case here, for those interested in fact rather than derogatory mainstream media slogans. Julian, Chelsea and Edward have done so much to improve human understanding and resist the powers of the corporate state, and each has had a normal life denied them.

The Mainstream Discovers Mhairi Black

by craig on July 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

Having spoken alongside Mhairi at a few meetings, and much admired her, it is rather strange to find her in danger of becoming an object of cult veneration. Just as with Nicola Sturgeon, it seems the shock of seeing the coherent and intelligent articulation of views outside the narrow consensus manufactured by the corporate media and political class, really does strike home to people. They almost never get to hear such views put; Mhairi is being given a hearing because of her youth in her position, but the marginalisation and ridicule will soon kick back in. Above all, Mhairi should remind us of how the Labour Party has completely sold out those they used to represent, and abandoned the task of proposing an intellectually compelling alternative to trickledown.

Jeremy Corbyn and the small group around him are of course an honourable exception.

You will recall that I managed to fall asleep on the platform in Perth while Mhairi was answering a question, embarrassingly revealed when the chairman passed the question to me! It really was nothing to do with Mhairi, I was exhausted. The question, as it happened, was asked by Joanna Cherry, who also just made a first class maiden speech.

The Labour Party has finally woken up to oppose something the Tory Party is doing, in the new draconian and unnecessary anti-union legislation. This is not because they really want to protect workers; the only thing that has motivated Labour to action is a threat to their own funding.

The Tory anti-union proposals are shocking. Criminalising peaceful secondary picketing is an infringement of the right of free expression and undoubtedly open to challenge under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The proposal that not just a majority of those voting, but 40% of the qualified electorate must vote yes for a strike to go ahead, is beyond belief, coming from a government who have an absolute majority on the basis of the votes of just 23% of the electorate. The hypocrisy is absolutely stunning.

The part of the proposed legislation I do support is on party political funding by unions. It should be by opt-in not opt-out. A majority of members must vote for a donation to a political party. That seems to me absolutely right and fair.

Precisely the same principle should be applied to company shareholders, of whom a majority should specifically have to endorse a political donation by the company. Where a shareholder is institutional, that shareholder must too base its vote only on a vote taken by a majority of its own shareholders specifically in each case, or its members if a mutual.

So if Tesco wants to donate to the Tory party, that must be specifically approved by a majority of Tesco shareholders. If Aviva is one of those shareholders, Aviva can only vote for Tesco to donate, if a majority of Aviva shareholders vote to do so. And so on down the chain ad infinitum.

That would be entirely fair and strike a massive blow at the corporate state/political party nexus. Then more real people like Mhairi would be able to become prominent in public life.

Iran Breakthrough

by craig on July 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

I am really very pleased at the agreement reached with Iran. Coming as it does against a background of widespread and Western exacerbated Sunni/Shia conflict, it is one of very few hopeful recent international developments.

Liberalisation of Iranian society continues to go forward at an achingly slow pace. The human rights situation, role of the military and theological power structure remain, frankly, appalling. But insofar as there is movement, it is for improvement. Normalisation of its international situation will certainly help.
Taking the long view, Iran is the classical case of a great culture perverted to destruction by western power interference and the reaction to it. But I believe the enormous potential of the Iranian people will now start to reassert itself.

The danger of course is the Zionist militarists in Congress and the US media who will do all in their power to scupper any peaceful move. But for once, Bush’s extension of executive power might do some actual good. There is a parallel danger in Iran. The Iraq War was totally unjustified and illegal, but Saddam Hussein might nonetheless have evaded it had he boxed a bit more cleverly and allowed some foolish inspectors to wander around his palaces prodding at the teaspoons. Yes the inspections regimes will be galling, even humiliating. But patience will have its rewards. There is real danger though that the hardliners on the Iranian side will be able to muster sufficient local points of power to hamper inspections, thus giving the US and Israeli hardliners an opportunity.

The Embargo on the Truth About the Iranian Arms Embargo

by craig on July 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

The corporate media in both the UK and US are attempting to portray the Iranian desire to have the arms embargo lifted, as a new and extraneous demand that could torpedo the nuclear deal. This is an entirely false portrayal.

The issue has been included in the talks since, quite literally, the very first Iranian position document. And there is a reason for that. It is absolutely part and parcel of the issue and in no way extraneous to it. If there were any real journalists employed by the corporate media, that is obvious right on the face of UN Security Council Resolution 1747 of 2007 which imposed the arms embargo. The sole and exclusive reason given for the arms embargo is Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme. And it specifically states that, once the nuclear proliferation issue is resolved, the embargo will be lifted.

Paragraph 13 reads:

(b) that it shall terminate the measures specified in paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
and 12 of resolution 1737 (2006) as well as in paragraphs 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 above as
soon as it determines, following receipt of the report referred to in paragraph 12
above, that Iran has fully complied with its obligations under the relevant
resolutions of the Security Council and met the requirements of the IAEA Board of
Governors, as confirmed by the IAEA Board;

It is the United States, not Iran, which is introducing extraneous factors, banging on about Yemen, Iran and Hezbollah, which are nowhere mentioned in the Security Council Resolutions.

The way this is being reported in the media is the exact opposite of the truth. The United States is attempting to welch on a deal which was not only open, but forms the very text of the security council resolution. None of the BBC’s highly paid analysts, reporters, or guest commenters is capable of noting this basic fact.

Taking the Paracetamol

by craig on July 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

When I was a student, an appalling toothache on a Sunday led me to take too much paracetamol. I didn’t take vastly too much, and only two tablets at a time, but over 24 hours about twice the recommended dose. I am pretty certain it would have done me no harm, but I was sharing a flat with medical students and they insisted on rushing me to Ninewells. There the staff acted on the presumption that it was a particularly ineffective suicide attempt, which it most definitely was not, and instead of doing something useful about the toothache they lectured me about paracetamol.

My long introduction was simply to set the scene for that lecture, which has remained vividly with me, because the picture it painted was horrible in an Edgar Allan Poe sort of way. The doctor said that when people try to commit suicide with paracetamol, they generally wake up a few hours later in hospital and find they are not dead. Most of them are pretty happy about that. But then the hospital has to tell them that they are going to die anyway. Paracetamol has destroyed their organs and in five long days they will be dead. There is nothing the hospital can do to save them. Usually they are distraught.

I have no idea if that is true or just the doctor’s way of improving my views on toothache management. But I certainly never forgot it. It led me to wonder whether today’s statement by Harriet Harman that the Labour Party will not oppose Tory benefit cuts is the equivalent of taking that last bit too much paracetamol. The frank admission that the purpose of the Labour Party is to discern what wins the election and then support that, should finally drive away anybody with any interest in principles from that party. I was not joking when I said that Osborne’s budget outflanked Labour to the left. That is true, even though it was the most unabashedly right wing budget of my lifetime.

The parliamentary opposition to the benefit cuts will come from the SNP, Plaid and Greens, but it will not be allowed much time or given much publicity. The great question remains where the great mass of the abandoned people, with their left wing views, find political expression in England. I should love to believe that horror at Harman’s position will bring a surge of support for Jeremy Corbyn. But you only have to read Guardian and Labour List comments columns to see that the majority of Labour members swallow the line that you have to be right wing to win a general election – a myth carefully fostered by the corporate media but which I comprehensively demolished here.

It was at least as unthinkable that Labour would lose Glasgow as that they could now lose Darlington or Liverpool or Newcastle. But, with Clegg having moved the Lib Dems a long way right, there is still no sign of a challenging party that can emerge other than UKIP and their racist panacea. I find it hard to see what will happen in English politics. But Labour are going to wake up shortly and find they are facing a rapid and inevitable demise.

The SNP’s New MPs

by craig on July 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

There is a good and balanced article in the Guardian on the SNP MPs by Carole Cadwalladr. Thank goodness Severin Carrell and Libby Brooks must have been unavailable. I am struck that of those she chose to interview, Tommy Sheppard (my MP), Mhairi Black, Chris Law, Michelle Thomson, John Nicolson, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh are all people I am on first name terms with and almost all of whom I have shared platforms with. It is quite a small community (though until the selection panel I hadn’t seen John Nicolson for 30 years).

Cadwalladr’s worry that the MPs will become seduced by Westminster has worried me too. But I don’t think it will happen. These are exceptionally strong characters and there is a self-reinforcing group of them, and they have a very active base of supporters with eagle eyes.

Naturally Cadwalladr’s article relays as fact ludicrous Labour claims that the SNP in Scotland does not implement progressive social policies (ignoring no tuition fees, free prescriptions, free geriatric personal care, land reform etc). Given it’s lack of control of fiscal and benefits policy, they could hardly do more. But the general tone of the Cadwalladr article is so far away from the simplistic “SNP evil” line which we normally see from the Guardian, that I shall hope for a while that the departure of the Blair-worshipping clown Rusbridger and his wig may see the paper return to some kind of journalistic values.

Same as the Old Boss – Alexis Tsipras

by craig on July 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Alexis Tsipras, and we do get fooled again. If you will forgive me I should like to crow a little about the accuracy of my predictions on Greece in the last week or so. Now comes the bit where they stay in the Euro there is another fudge, the bankers get hold of more cash and more state assets, and nothing much changes.

We have to find what enjoyment we can in life, and I was writing yesterday about stuffing a duck. I give you another evocative little snippet from Sikunder Burnes which I rather enjoyed writing.

The next morning Burnes slept in late, hungover. Argoud woke up, and passed Percival Lord, who was sitting in the hall performing taxidermy on a duck. Argoud, still not sober, then crashed into Burnes’ room:

“That officer was not yet dressed, on which M. Argoud called out: “Why sare, the battle of Wagram was fought before this hour, and you are still in deshabille? Will you take wine with me?” “No,” said Captain Burnes, “I never take wine before breakfast.” “Then sare,” said Argoud, “You insult me and I demand satisfaction.” He ran out and soon reappeared with his small sword and asked Burnes to send for his rapier.”

The Attraction of EVEL

by craig on July 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

George Osborne has just proved that absolutely anybody can outflank the modern Labour Party to the left. Given that Labour were pledged to at least match Tory benefit cuts, Osborne’s raising of the minimum wage for over 25s, and tempering of the excesses of non-doms and buy to let landlords, make him look like Leon Trotsky when compared with Cooper, Burnham or Kendall. But then Donald Trump looks like Leon Trotsky when compared to Cooper, Burnham or Kendall.

As I hope I just made clear, I am not saying that this was a left wing budget. The continued wage freezes on low-paid public employees and the cuts and freezes to tax credits and other benefits (of which the details are smuggled in Sir Jasper’s cloak) will hit those already in difficulty hard. And if there is one thing of which we can be absolutely certain in modern Britain it is this. The cut in corporation tax will not result in increased spend on research and development or plant and equipment. It will go straight into executive salaries, perks and bonuses and shareholder dividends.

I am particularly sad at the final ending of student maintenance grants for the poorest. I was educated on a full maintenance grant, and would not have been able to write this blog otherwise. Of this I am sure. Taken together with the major reduction in inheritance tax, the abolition of maintenance grants is extremely retrograde and will help ensure that the poor are kept in their place and gilded youth, as Osborne, Cameron and Johnson were, well and truly advantaged through life, as though that needed further reinforcement.

When I was a very young man, proper socialists (of which I was not one) used to argue about palliatives a lot. Did measures like welfare benefits which apparently helped poor people, postpone the crisis of capitalism and the inevitable revolution? Should they therefore be opposed as unhelpful? Perhaps in darkest Salford there is an SWP branch still earnestly discussing this stuff.

But funnily enough I find myself continually rehearsing in my mind the same arguments in relation to Scottish Independence. I sometimes have to kick myself not to rejoice at the open cruelty of the Tories, which I have no doubt is making Scottish Independence not only inevitable but imminent. Real vulnerable people are going to be hurt by benefit cuts. We have to devise what mitigation through social action that we can. And in England, people don’t have the prospect of a different political system to anticipate.

My answer to the last point is that Scottish Independence will kick the UK establishment so hard that it is the best prospect of shaking up Tory domination of English politics. But the main point remains. I always predicted that the Tories would be back in power after the general election, though I expected it would be in coalition again. My wanting it or not was irrelevant to the fact it was pretty obviously going to happen. But I regarded the alternative prospect of a SNP/Labour coalition as a disaster, because it was the only outcome which realistically might put back Scottish Independence.

I was guilty of not saying that too openly during the election. Furthermore, English Votes for English Laws is entirely what I want to achieve, except that as a slogan it typically ignores the Welsh, Northern Irish and Cornish. The sooner there are no Scottish MPs at all at Westminster the better.

The incredible arrogance of the Tories in enacting EVEL, a major constitutional change, through amendments to standing orders is breathtaking in its audacity.

How far could they theoretically take this? For example, could standing orders say that male MPs can’t vote on certain issues? Or MPs under 50? Or urban MPs be excluded from voting on fox-hunting? The idea that fundamental constitutional change is simply a question of regulations on voting procedure is plainly intellectually indefensible. That it is happening is startling evidence our democracy is dysfunctional.

But it is all gryst to the mill of Independence. The more appallingly the Tories behave, the sooner Independence is coming. They could not possibly be doing more to promote Independence if they tried. I don’t think more than a tiny number of Tory MPs would like to see the back of Scotland, but I do wonder whether there is sub-conscious conditioning at work, as many of them believe England will be permanently Tory.

I don’t quite buy the SNP argument against EVEL that public spending decisions in England affect spending in Scotland through the Barnett formula. Or rather while it is true, I really can’t care overmuch. It comes back to those palliatives. I would much rather the Tories were just Tories, and isolated the Scottish MPs into the second class at Westminster. It will bring Independence sooner. When the Tories rejected every single amendment to the Scotland Act against 95% of Scottish MPs, solely by the massed votes of English MPs, while at the same time proclaiming EVEL, I was thrilled by their blatant hypocrisy. It will bring Independence sooner.

You see I don’t give a fig about the Vow or the Smith Commission. I don’t care who maintains the sewers or designs the road signs. I want my country to be free of weapons of mass destruction. I want my country to be free of the stigma of illegal wars. I want my country to be free.

Zionism is Bullshit

by craig on July 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Zionism is bullshit. Three thousand years ago my Celtic ancestors were casting sacred swords into the lakes of Switzerland. Can I go back and claim Switzerland? No. Of course not. It’s nonsense.

I am rather proud of that critique, which still seems to me a short and elegant refutation of the basis of Zionism. I have never seen it answered with anything approaching intellectual success. I am especially proud as it came to me in a moment of inspiration, in the final 12 seconds of an allocated three minute speech to a crowd that stretched further than I could see.

A Ghanaian came up to me in an Accra hotel yesterday and said “Craig Murray. Zionism is bullshit. I miss London.” He then dashed off. It reminded me what a small and interconnected world we live in, as well as leading me to dig out the reference.

I have another motive in posting it. This blog now has a much larger regular readership than it did a few years ago. In particular, following the referendum campaign, it has a much larger readership in Scotland. Since I returned to Scotland to campaign in the referendum and than decided to stay until we achieve independence, which I am determined will be before I kick the bucket, a number of voices have been raised to query who I am and where I come from, in the wider sense of the latter. Sometimes those voices have been hostile or suspicious. I shall therefore give the odd riffle through the back catalogue. You could of course buy my autobiography Murder in Samarkand, thus helping us to eat.

The Spiral of Despair

by craig on July 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

If somebody wishes to be a ghazi, I should much prefer them to do it in Tikrit rather than in Peterborough or Penicuik. To that extent I agree with Bob Quick. The periodic media scares about Sunni families going to Syria to “join ISIS” are very peculiar. We appear, with no public debate, to have adopted a de facto system of exit visas. Ronald Reagan famously said to Mikhail Gorbachev that we never had to lock our people in. It seems that now in the UK we do.

We have companies that recruit and control active armies of mercenaries, which are responsible for thousands of deaths overseas. I detest the violence of “ISIS” but it is not morally different from Executive Outcomes machine gunning villages from helicopters in Angola or from Aegis killing random vehicle occupants in Iraq who happened to be near their convoys. Yet Tony Buckingham and Tim Spicer became extremely rich after founding their careers on the latter killings, and now are respected figures in the London establishment. Apparently killing for money is good; only killing for religion is bad.

Nor is there any official objection to the young Britons who go to Israel to fight with the IDF, and were involved in the war crimes that last year killed hundreds upon hundreds of little Palestinian children.

Terrorism is appalling. The desire by some of the inhabitants of the Middle East to establish a Caliphate run on what they interpret as theological lines is a legitimate desire, if that is the kind of society people want. We devastated Iraq: we bombed Iraq into a failed state. We we were part of the nexus of interests that conspired to arm and facilitate armed insurrection in Syria. In the Blairite creed, we apparently believed that unleashing death, devastation and destruction of physical infrastructure and social institutions, would result in an embrace of democracy and western values by the people.

You would have to be mad to believe that, but it appears to remain the guiding principle of western foreign policy.

Even the remotest claim to wisdom would lead to the embrace of two principles. The first is that we cannot dictate how societies very different to our own ought to organise themselves. We can try to encourage a dialogue leading to respect of universal human rights, and hope for gradual improvement in that direction. But the second lesson is stop bombing. It is plainly counter-productive.

Today the BBC is wall to wall 7/7 commemoration. The coverage keeps focusing on military uniforms, even though the military were in no capacity whatsoever involved in 7/7. It is inappropriate militarism, just as we saw with the return of the bodies of the Tunisian victims.

There is an elephant in the room. Nobody is mentioning the starkly obvious truth. If we had not invaded Iraq, 7/7 would never have happened. Let me say it again, because it is not sayable within the corporate media and establishment consensus. If we had not invaded Iraq, 7/7 would never have happened.

Our response to “Isis” illustrates that we have become no more sophisticated than the Victorian portrayal of the “Mad Mahdi”. The difference is that, due to globalisation, we cannot just pound foreign lands into submission without provoking the blowback of terrorism elsewhere. I detest terrorism and do not believe random killing of civilians can ever be justified. But it is not an inexplicable manifestation of evil. We are causing it.

It is a fact that ISIS was never implicated in any terrorist activity in the UK before we started bombing ISIS in Iraq. We created the appalling mess in Iraq and Syria. By bombing we continually make it worse. It will take some time for the Middle East to recover from the profound effects of the Western wars against Muslim countries at the beginning of the 21st Century. Our response to the provocation of Bin Laden has been so stupid as to attain most of his goals for him. We have of course also attained most of the goals of the armaments and security state industries, which have sucked wealth from the rest of us. A spiral of despair for us has made billions for them. When a policy is as obviously counter-productive as our continual Middle Eastern wars, then ask cui bono?

I am not claiming that if we stop bombing then terrorism will stop instantly. There will be a lag effect. And in even the most benign scenario, Iraq and Syria will take decades to normalise. That is our fault, but we can best now help by staying well away.

Bail-Out or Sell-Out?

by craig on July 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

The resignation of the Greek Finance Minister is the clearest possible indication that my last posting was correct and that Greece is ready to climb down in negotiations, in exchange for any sliver of a fig-leaf. The “Troika” is very keen that there will be another bail-out because of course the money goes to the bankers to whom the political elite are beholden. It is increasingly plain that Tsipras does not have the balls for debt repudiation. Yesterday’s choice was meaningless; debt repudiation is the only real alternative.

No bail-out will make any difference, we will be enmired in the same issues again every six months, but with less drama. The Euro will survive because it is the resilient currency of the World’s largest economy. Merkel will continue to manage it cleverly – she has just demonstrated that Germany can determine who is Greece’s finance minister. Greeks will suffer through more austerity, comforted by yesterday’s meaningless shout of defiance, and large corporations and banks will get their hands on Greece’s remaining state assets.

I think the lesson from this is that the 21st Century corporate and banking state is beyond amelioration. Any change needs to be a fundamental challenge to the system. It will seem strange to future generations that a system developed whereby middlemen who facilitated real economic transactions by handling currency, came to dominate the world by creating a mathematical nexus of currency that bore no meaningful relationship to real movements of commodities.

Beware Greeks Bearing Rifts

by craig on July 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

So far as I can follow, the Greek electorate now have the choice between voting Yes and agreeing to the IMF austerity package, and voting No and having their leaders agree to any “face-saving” variation, however miniscule, before accepting the IMF austerity package. You can be quite sure that the international elite will thoroughly humiliate Syriza by making abundantly clear that if they offer any change at all, it is absolutely miniscule. A change of nominal leader of Greece may result from the referendum, but nothing that changes the life of anybody who is not a politician. Either way in six months time we will be exactly back where we are now, only with opposition to the IMF broken as the next wave of pillage of the public sector comes.

The Euro project will continue to be extremely strong. New money will be funnelled into the pockets of bankers. It is important to recall that 100% of these bailout funds go to bankers, none of it goes to the Greek people and none of it stays in Greece. The same bankers will become the beneficiaries of servicing of new loans provided to vast corporations to buy up Greek public assets, cheap.

It would require a particular heartlessness to be indifferent to the demise of the idealistic hopes that backed Syriza. But in the end it proved they did not offer any actual choice of any significantly different outcome. There is no real choice on Sunday, no difference in outcome from which way people vote. Beware Greeks bearing rifts.

Wha Wad Be A Traitor Knave?

by craig on July 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

I was called a traitor by a Conservative MEP in a committee meeting of the European Parliament to which I was giving eyewitness evidence on the UK’s complicity in torture and extraordinary rendition. Doubtless that is recorded in the minutes of the meeting, which means I am marked down on a forest of European Parliament paper as a traitor in each of the European Union’s 24 official languages.

Nobody turned a hair, least of all me. There were some giggles as the Tory MEP immediately walked out of the meeting, which was viewed as childish. But nobody thought of it as way outside the normal levels of political discourse. Indeed it was quite mild by European parliamentary standards. It is, of course, perfectly true that I used to represent the United Kingdom and now it is my dearest wish to destroy it as an institution. It is therefore arguable that I am technically a traitor. I am not scared of names.

My Scottish readers will have realised that this disquisition on treachery is a reference to the Labour Party’s published dossier of evil cybernats. The majority of those cited qualified as evil because of use of the word traitor. I am devastated I did not get included. I am unsure that my ego will ever recover.

It seems to me that, in an argument which revolves around what constitutes a nation, the idea of treachery to the nation is one that logically is bound to intrude, on all sides. Indeed it can be shown to intrude into the entire discourse around unionism and nationalism over centuries. I have used the term myself.

It seems to me context is important. There is a legitimate discourse on whether treachery to either the United Kingdom or to Scotland is involved in the independence conundrum. To make plain that some consider a position or act as traitorous has a place in robust political debate. I deplore the idea that politics must be reduced to genteel commonplaces over tiny areas of disagreement. Passion is important. But to imply violent retribution is different, and comes under bullying and threat.

“Traitor” should not be shunned like a racist epithet. It carries a meaning which is important.

Kirsty’s Story

by craigmurray.org.uk on June 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

This post and its comment thread have been removed at the request of family members.

Comments are off

Destruction of Evidence

by craig on June 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

This Greville Janner interview has simply disappeared from the website of the Holocaust Educational Trust, “founding patron” Greville Janner, and from other such websites which used to host it. I can only now find it on my own blog and on a few places which copied it from my blog. It is an important interview for reasons which are very obvious if you read it.

I was taken up to the Kinderheim, to the Children’s Home, where there were some sixty orphan children, most of whose lives had been saved by monasteries, by being out in the woods or by miracles in each case and they all spoke Yiddish and I didn’t speak Yiddish and it was very difficult to talk to them but we knew some of the same songs so we sang together in Hebrew they knew and I knew the songs and then one of them said to me the first Yiddish words I’ve ever learnt , he said “Gavreal”, which is Greville in Hebrew and (he) called me “Gavreal spishtie ping pong, ping pong” and he pushed back and forwards as though he was holding a ping pong bat so my first words in Yiddish were “ping pong” and I played Ping Pong with them and they taught me a few words of Yiddish and I found it such a moving experience that for the next eighteen months I went back to them every weekend

The deletion is not acknowledged – the evidence has simply been quietly expunged. The irony of the Holocaust Educational Trust, which exists to keep alive the evidence of a dreadful crime, expunging evidence of crime which it finds inconvenient, does not need to be emphasised by me.

Janner’s being Jewish was irrelevant to his being a paedophile. So was his being a Zionist. But he was not just any old Zionist. He was the acknowledged leader of Zionism in the UK. He was President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, he was Vice President of the Association for Jewish Youth, Vice President of the Jewish Leadership Council, President of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, on the Advisory Board of the Community Security Trust, Chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust and Director of the United Jewish Israel Appeal.

These organisations were led by a man who was a predatory paedophile, yet they apparently feel no necessity to condemn his activities or to acknowledge what has happened, merely secretly deleting any particularly embarrassing references. It is like the attitude of the Catholic Church on paedophilia thirty years ago.

David Cameron, echoed by the corporate media, calls upon the millions of law-abiding Muslims in the UK to denounce and distance themselves from a few terrorist nutters with whom 99.99% of British Muslims have no connection anyway. That apparently is acceptable. But to ask that the Zionist and Jewish organisations denounce the long term criminal activities of the man who actually led those organisations, is portrayed as unacceptable racism.

This is a stinking double standard.

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