Our Enemies Lie Before Us

by craig on October 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

William Wallace did not turn to Andrew Murray at Stirling Bridge and say “I am not fighting alongside you, I hear you’re hard on your tenants.”

A declaration of interest. At the SNP conference in Glasgow in March I was feeling very down. Having been rejected at candidate vetting by the SNP leadership, and the fact leaked to the press with resulting brouhaha, I was effectively cold-shouldered at what was a very managed loyalist mass rally. I spent a lot of time on my own and people I knew were positively walking away to avoid me.

As regular readers know I am bipolar, and I know that when I am severely depressed my perception can be wrong. But in the SNP club a few weeks later a very sensible gentleman told me he and his wife had been appalled at the way I was treated at the conference. I am pretty confident it was not a distorted perception.

Anyway, I was sitting on my own in the conference hall when Michelle Thomson came and sought me out, sat with me and chatted to me. I have no doubt that her motive was simple personal kindness. I should add that the next day Chris Law did much the same.

In Scotland we have had five days of Michelle being treated by the media as though she were the Yorkshire Ripper. The BBC, who never once managed to ask Jim Murphy about the Henry Jackson Society, have been on 24 hour Thomsonwatch, including aggressive doorstepping a la Sky News.

I am not going to set out the detail of the case here, but highly recommend that you read Wings on the distortion of the issues, and Lallands on the legal position. Both are excellent, but to me neither quite clearly delineates the most essential point.

To preface that point, let me restate that Michelle is not under investigation, and her own role is unclear.

The key point is that at no time was any vendor selling their house ripped off. This is not a case of distressed people dispossessed, and the attempts by media and politicians to make it appear that way are tendentious.

The worst that allegedly happened is this. A and B are in cahoots. Mr Smith sells his property to A for an agreed market price. A then sells to B for market price plus 20 grand. The bank gives a mortgage for this, but A quietly gives the extra 20 grand back to B under the table.

The fraud is on the mortgage company which has been tricked into giving a higher mortgage than it otherwise would have. The fraud in no way harms the original vendor. The fraud does not even harm the mortgage company provided the mortgage is paid – and there is no accusation of default. What the mortgage company has lost is that it has as security an interest over a property with a false value.

But again, unless there were a default, it has actually helped the mortgage company too as in the weird world of banking its larger loan is an asset not a liability on its books.

So it is a fraud, but not one perpetrated on poor vendors. It is a trick played on the ludicrous banking system. Clever, dishonest but not morally outrageous. I repeat again, there is no evidence or even legal accusation that Michelle Thomson was involved in any of this. But in any case it is nowhere near as immoral as starting an illegal war with consequent deaths of millions of people. Lets get a grip.

I have never claimed to be perfect. All of us have done things wrong in our past. For me the Independence referendum campaign transcended all that. It was a millenarian movement, a time when people envisaged a world renewed and more just. That phrase about living in the first days of a better nation carried enormous resonance. It was the defining moment of my own life despite coming in its Autumn. Those of us in the frontline of the Yes campaign underwent a kind of emotional rebirth. Sins were wiped clean. It was a sacramental experience, and will lead on to that better world in an Independent Scotland in short time.

It sparked England’s chance for change with Corbyn.

I don’t care what mistakes people made before the Yes campaign. By dedicating themselves to that social movement, they wiped the slate clean.

Which leads me on to Tommy Sheridan. Neither Tommy nor Michelle will thank me for lumping them together, given the very different circumstances. But the continued shunning of Sheridan by pro-Independence organisations from Rise to the SNP is ludicrous.

Most ludicrous of all is the language parroted by the left about Sheridan, that “A space containing Tommy Sheridan is not a safe space for women.” You find it here in the comment by Edward Bonobo. You find it in this article by Tommy Ball. I have had it repeated to me several times.

One answer to this is that it is even more dangerous to be in organisations that teach members to parrot catchphrases, as opposed to think.

In what way precisely is proximity to Tommy Sheridan dangerous to women? If it were true that he has a Svengali like irresistible sexual appeal – which appears to be the nub of the accusation as far as I can make out any sense from Tommy Ball’s article – then surely there is not a woman in Scottish politics not warned against it by now? Is it not rather demeaning to women to argue they would not be capable of protecting themselves from Tommy Sheridan? What precisely about being in the same “space” as Tommy Sheridan is unsafe for women? What does “space” mean in this context? Room, meeting, city? The argument about “safe space” is clearly a nonsense.

I do not know the truth about the sexual shenanigans of which Tommy was accused by Murdoch. Nor do I in the least care if they were true. I have done all that kind of stuff. Often before tea. I do know that Sheridan was jailed for perjury, and that Coulson lied in court at the same trial but the judges ruled that it was OK for Coulson to lie, but not for Sheridan. I know there are allegations that Sheridan pressured other people to lie for him. I do not know if it is true, but I have had so many friends – of both sexes – ask me over the years to give them an alibi for marital infidelity I am not shocked by that. I am afraid to say that in my younger days I have asked that myself.

None of which explains the sheer hatred and bile poured out at Sheridan. This is a man who liberated poor families from the destitution and humiliation of warrant sales, who led the anti-poll tax campaign, who sparked the Murdoch phone-hacking revelations and has been repeatedly arrested and even jailed outside Faslane – trying to make the world a “safer space” for everyone. This tribute is undoubtedly true:

You supported individuals in the community; both in parliament and in the street, you were able to use your undoubted powers of oratory to press home your cause; you led the Scottish Socialist Party to considerable electoral success; and your contributions to the anti-poll tax campaign and the abolition of warrant sales will become part of the fabric of Scottish social and political history.

It was said by Lord Bracadale as he sentenced him to three years in prison for perjury in the Murdoch case.

Tommy Sheridan proclaims his innocence, but in any event he has undoubtedly made mistakes in life. But his achievements are very important, and the continued vindictiveness of the sex-negative feminists and their followers on the Left is extreme. Tommy has been to jail. Is offender rehabilitation only something the political classes claim to believe in because they don’t actually expect to meet any ex-convicts in their sphere of life? The attempt to dress the vicious vindictiveness up as warding off a present danger to women from Tommy Sheridan is intellectually ludicrous.

I shared a platform with Tommy Sheridan at Caird Square, Dundee on Sunday. I was not asked to speak until the gloaming, when 95% of those attending had gone home, but I accepted that and got on with it because I will do anything, anywhere to promote the cause of Independence. The SNP boycott of the event because Tommy was there cannot possibly be helpful if Independence is really the aim.

The Independence movement has a vast and powerful army arraigned against us. The entire British state, their corporate masters, the transatlantic neo-cons, both state and corporate media, the security services. For God’s sake, we need to be absolutely united if we are to reach our goal.

We need all of us. We must value all of us; as people, not robots. We should not be trying to project some corporate media image of a totally fake and hypocritical groomed perfection.

We have tremendously powerful enemies. We only have each other.

Our enemies lie before us. We should not look askance at our allies.

NATO: Crazed and Dangerous

by craig on October 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Precisely why Russian action against Saudi Arabia’s proxy militias of fanatics is against western interests is something which nobody in the western elite seems to believe it is necessary to explain. That Russia is bad and evil and must be opposed is another one of those axiomatic beliefs of the governing elite, which they can’t bring themselves to believe the public do not wholeheartedly share. Equally they cannot quite understand why we the people do not see the necessity of backing the Saudi regime.

I am a stern critic of Russia’s democratic deficit, human rights record, and gangster dominated economy and government. But on all these counts it is still a thousand times better than Saudi Arabia, and I am quite certain that 99% of Europeans would be happier living in St Petersburg than Riyadh.

If the Russians turn back CIA and Saudi-backed rebels I for one shall be delighted.

Russian activity in Syria is nothing whatsoever to do with NATO. The Syrian rebels under attack by Russia are not members of NATO. Russia is not attacking Turkey and there is no chance whatsoever that Russia would deliberately attack Turkey. So the suggestion of NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg that NATO will send forces to protect Southern Turkey is absolute madness. In the Iraq War, two of the United States “pinpoint accurate” cruise missiles aimed at Baghdad actually hit Syria. At some stage Russia is going to accidentally hit something in Turkey, it is the nature of war. It is like playing football in the garden – it is inevitable the ball will go over the neighbours’ fence at some stage, however careful you are.

Increasing the amount of military hardware in Turkey – which is already extremely militarised and already full of US forces – just increases the political temperature and chances of something going disastrously wrong, with no possible gain except making the stupid western countries who messed up the Middle East feel less envious of Putin.

NATO countries have caused the crisis in the Middle East through their disastrous and criminal invasions. Russia is not and could never be strong enough to launch an actual attack on western Europe even if Russia wanted to – which Russia most certainly does not. Just like Trident missiles, NATO was no use to the United States on 9/11 and is no use against any actual challenge we face in the world. It exists to perpetuate the dominance of a neo-con elite and ensure massive income to the arms industry.

NATO’s attempts to build up forces around Syria and around the Baltic show that NATO’s over-activity poses the only viable threat of a disastrous world war. Ask yourself this question. Why does the USA, a country which faces no risk of invasion from anybody, account for 44% of the military spending of the whole world? NATO exists solely for client states to assist the projection of US military power abroad. Every decent European should be campaigning for their country to leave NATO.

Leon Brittan vs Julian Assange

by craig on October 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

Young children are unlikely to recognise senior politicians. When young children are living in institutionalised “care” and suffering traumatic physical, sexual and emotional abuse they are likely to have only a very fuzzy recollection of places to which they were taken or the identities of people who were hurting them there. Thirty years on recall will be even more difficult. On top of which, people who have suffered institutionalised abuse are likely to be emotionally shaky and easily influenced.

Those are my words but I believe them to be a very fair summary of the argument which last night’s Panorama on the “VIP Paedophile Ring” was attempting to make. It was very bad journalism, with little cogent argument, merely an attempt to build up a picture that those alleging abuse are flakes. One example was the treatment of retired social worker Chris Fay who is evidently elderly and struggling in a number of ways. The camera showed his tawdry flat and furnishings and zoomed in to a tight close up shot of an apparently filthy container in which tea-bags were stored. It was a classic propaganda technique to undermine the image of a man and what he was going to say. Just an old duffer who can’t even clean his flat.

The programme built up to a climax of bad journalism with an interview of a very obviously damaged abuse victim, his voice replaced by an actor. The victim was pushed by very leading questions to say that he may have been led falsely to identify Leon Brittan. The fact the victim had apparently correctly described the birthmarks on Brittan’s face, which had led to the production of the photo he identified, was skated over. What the journalist did certainly prove is that a vulnerable victim can be led to say anything: the victim was doing it before our eyes, pushed by the BBC. But the police are expert in questioning so as not to lead, and were not pushing an agenda.

Panorama however was pushing a very obvious agenda indeed.

What was most notable was what was missing from the programme. Not all victims are such poor witnesses. There are also some other very compelling witnesses – policemen who were told to drop investigations because of VIP involvement. Panorama did not interview any of those. Nor did they interview Tom Watson, despite continually referring to his “political interference” which they implied was the only cause of the accusations. There was also a peculiar absence of Greville Janner from the story.

Nothing can excuse this amazingly biased programme. But the BBC do have a point. Those accused of sexual abuse are entitled to the presumption of innocence, and those making the accusations should not be exempt from scrutiny of the credibility of their allegations.

Except that the BBC adopts the precisely opposite principle in the case of Julian Assange. The BBC believes it would be absolutely wrong, disrespectful of the “victims” and potentially prejudicial to a trial for there to be any questioning or scrutiny of the allegations against Assange. They take an absolutely opposite view of how to treat Assange and how to treat establishment VIPs.

Indeed, the BBC has decided that, given the accusations against Assange are so risible, it would be wrong for any detail at all of the accusations to be given out. Therefore the BBC has never reported the fact that the allegation they describe as “rape” is that, during the act of consensual sex, Assange allegedly tore a condom with his fingers whilst wearing it (of which I doubt the physical possibility). The second sexual molestation accusation is that again consensual sex took place, but after they fell asleep in each others arms, Assange awoke and initiated a repeat of the sex act without requesting permission again.

Despite the fact that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen have given press conferences in Sweden promoting their allegations, the BBC has made no attempt to interview them. The BBC has not reported that, the day after the condom splitting “rape”, Anna Ardin hosted a crayfish party for Assange and tweeted her friends from it that she was with the coolest man in the world. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin had invited Assange to share her flat and her bed. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin produced a torn condom to police but police found it had no trace of Assange’s DNA – a physical impossibility if he used it. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen only made accusations after the two of them got together and cooked up the story. The BBC has not reported that Stockholm’s chief prosecutor dismissed it as no case to answer, and that Ardin then took it, as Swedish law allows, to another prosecutor, Marianne Ny who has a campaigning feminist agenda.

The BBC has not reported any of that because it would be quite wrong to doubt the word of victims of sexual abuse. It would be wrong to put them under pressure, or look sceptically at the evidence for their stories, both direct and circumstantial. It would be quite wrong to prejudice possible legal proceedings.

It would be quite wrong if the accusations are against Julian Assange. But it would be absolutely right if the accusations are against Westminster VIPs.

I do so much look forward to the Panorama on the Assange sexual abuse allegations. When do you think we will see it?

The Disgraceful Far Right “Journalist” Stephen Daisley

by craig on October 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

I shall blog about last night’s Panorama shortly. But first I should like to draw attention to STV’s disgraceful Stephen Daisley, who I last mentioned joining in a mainstream media Twitter hatefest against me for revealing that MI5 were targeted on the SNP.

Well Daisley has been at it again, this time with a seriously nasty tweet about the mysterious murder of Hilda Murrell. It was sent to Murdoch shill David Aaronovitch, to whom Daisley tweeted

Yep. “Hilda Murrell. How the State silences dissent one elderly rose grower at a time.”

Whatever you believe about the Murrell murder, it is not something Daisley – a broadcast journalist – should be making jokes about. It is also fascinating that both Daisley’s tweet about me and his tweet about Hilda Murrell were both in defence of the security services and both sent to David Aaronovitch.

Aaronovitch found the Murrell joke so hilarious that he retweeted it at 3am on 25 September. Which is a pity for Daisley, as he apparently woke up, remembered he was a broadcast journalist, and deleted it. At any rate the retweet is on Aaronovitch’s twitter stream but the original not on Daisley’s.

It is however instructive to look at Daisley’s twitter stream. It is amazing to me that a supposed “journalist” working for a broadcaster would be so completely open about their anti-SNP, unionist, anti-Corbyn and far right agenda. Daisley is only very small beer, a stinking, sweating foot-soldier of the forces of reaction. But if you can stand it, the way the unionist establishment interacts and thinks is revealed very clearly from a study of his twitter feed. Messages are exchanged with Aaronovitch of Murdoch, Nick Cohen of the Guardian, with John McTernan of the Blairites and with J K Rowling of the 1%, and a great many others. The SNP and Corbyn are smugly derided by all. These well-paid state supporters live in a cosy Panglossian paradise and have contempt for anyone who is not “in”.

The other thing that comes out of the feed is this peculiar obsession with Israel. Of all the media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn’s “anti-Semitic connections”, Daisley’s attack is the most astonishing. STV should be deeply ashamed to carry this; it breaks every rule of good journalism. It is a bizarre hotch-potch of mostly deliberate lies and misrepresentation, and crucially there has not been a single attempt to contact any of the people named to obtain their side of the story.

To tackle just two of about sixty wild inaccuracies. Daisley accused Raed Saleh of a “blood libel” which Saleh has repeatedly denounced and stated that he has never said, and which a British court found there was no evidence that Saleh has ever said. Nonetheless Daisley regurgitates this Israeli propaganda.

Daisley quotes Paul Flynn as questioning the loyalties of Matthew Gould, appointed as British Ambassador to Israel. But this is gross misrepresentation by Daisley. What Flynn queried was Gould’s avowal that he was a “committed Zionist”, not his ethnicity. Would we appoint an Ambassador to Cuba who declared himself an avowed communist?

Daisley also perniciously omits what Flynn had said at the start of his remarks which sets the entire context, which was that Gould had held eight secret meetings with Liam Fox and Adam Werritty, of which the FCO refuses to disclose the subjects discussed and who else was present. Daisley knows that, and his censorship of that context is inexcusable as it completely distorts what Flynn was saying in order to portray Flynn as an anti-Semite.

The last few paragraphs of this attack on Corbyn beggar belief in their lack of balance. There is no nod whatsoever to the plight of the Palestinians, the illegality of the Israeli settlements he names, or the Israeli attacks on Gaza. The Israeli government itself would not dare publish anything so unsubtle and totally one sided. That STV should do this, in the context of an attack on Jeremy Corbyn, is absolutely incredible.

I know Daisley is a very, very insignificant figure. But the humdrum media enforcers of the establishment are vital to their ability to keep the 99% working for the 1%. That such a hate-filled and crazed right-winger as Daisley should be employed by mainstream broadcast media says a huge amount about the society we live in.


As if to confirm the thesis outlined below, at 10.57am today, Duncan Hothersall, Labour’s New Media Czar in Scotland, retweeted Stephen Daisley’s approving tweet of an extract from Tory Secretary of State David Mundell’s Tory Conference Speech:

Good Stat: More people voted No in Indyref than have ever voted for any party in any election in Scottish history.

The tweet carried the Conservative Party Conference hashtag, so there is no doubt Red Tory Hothersall knew he was spreading Blue Tory Propaganda. The seamless web of Red and Blue Tories and mainstream media functions as usual. It is delightful to be proved so completely right so quickly:

Racism Works In the Tories

by craig on October 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

In every Tory leadership election since Thatcher, the bookies’ favourite has lost. And while you cannot easily discern where the winner would come from on the economic left/right scale, the authoritarian/libertarian scale is absolutely significant. In every single case the winner has been the Tory of the most authoritarian views, and the losers – think Ted Heath, David Davies, Ken Clarke, Michael Portillo – have been on the socially liberal side of conservatism.

Our political “journalists” only think left/right. So Cameron’s victory was a Tory move to the “left”. In fact it was not about that at all. David Davies, the favourite defeated by Cameron, has described the new Tory anti-trade union bill as “Francoist”. He opposed control orders, stop and search, detention without trial and the banning of protest from around Westminster. That is why he lost – the Tories have a dog whistle reaction to follow authoritarian figures. Cameron’s Old Etonian patrician authoritarianism is what they wanted.

That is why Theresa May is going today to give a bloodcurdling speech attempting to stir up racism against immigrants by saying they are making us poor and making our society less cohesive. She will even pander to the ludicrous notion that an economy is of a fixed size no matter how many people are in it, with a fixed number of jobs, so “they” are taking “our” jobs. Doubtless she will also outline yet more definitions of thought crime and new reasons to lock up young Muslims.

She may be vicious and dangerous to our society, but she is not stupid. It is the way to become Tory leader.

Nobody ever lost money overestimating the viciousness of the Tories. In fact the arms and security industries and the bankers, the private health companies, the hedge funds and the private agencies enforcing government policy make fortunes out of it every day.

Death Race 2015

by craig on October 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Just between 2003-5, US forces killed 15 journalists in Iraq, the majority either Westerners or working for Western news agencies. The figure is from the mainstream American Journalism Review. 94 aid workers died in the Iraq conflict, according to Reuters. I don’t have a figure for how many of those were killed by the US forces, but many. Journalists and aid workers have been among the 2,540 people killed in “collateral damage” of drone strikes since Obama became President. Now the US has just killed medical staff and aid workers in Kunduz.

I do not want to downplay the horror and cold-heartedness of the grisly ISIL executions. But the United States military has killed more journalists and NGO employees than ISIL ever will. An inconvenient fact you will never see reported in the mainstream media.

Some of those US killings of journalists were not deliberate targeting. That is of little comfort to the dead people and their loved ones. Some were not accidental.

Off to Caird Square

by craig on October 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

I am off to speak at the Independence rally in Caird Square, Dundee this afternoon. (Actually I am assuming it’s Caird Square, but doubtless I’ll find it when I get there). It is vital that, amid the demands and distractions of humdrum everyday politics, we keep the goal of Independence to the fore in the minds of the people. I was disappointed the SNP MPs and MSPs all boycotted the recent Hope Over Fear rally in George Square, and hope that they will have some presence today in Dundee.

I am always willing to speak at Independence meetings and events throughout Scotland. You can contact me through the button at the top of the page.

Lesson From Kunduz

by craig on October 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

The destruction by US bombs of the Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital in Kunduz – killing doctors, nurses and patients – comes as a stinging corrective to the media pretence that Russian bombs are somehow uniquely evil and destructive. The West has inflicted far more damage in recent years. But the Russians also showed just how ruthless they can be in their brutal suppression of the legitimate desire for national independence of the Chechen people. It is the Americans who today expose most starkly the evils of attempting to solve complex political questions by bombs.

Kunduz is ethnically Uzbek. I have written of it as the place where Alexander Burnes met the fierce Uzbek chief Murad Beg. Burnes was disguised as an Armenian, and would very probably had been killed if his disguise had been penetrated. Today it is very much the territory of an equally fierce Uzbek warlord, General Dostum, the narcotics kingpin, murderer and serial war criminal who has for decades been a key CIA asset and is now Vice President of Afghanistan. That Dostum can lose Kunduz to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, even temporarily, shows how weak the central authority still is. The decade long official western occupation has brought no significant progress, at a cost of billions in money and the waste of many young lives: except progress in achieving a 1200% increase in heroin production.

British State Viciously Abuses Child Fantasist

by craig on October 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

The sentencing of a 15 year old Blackburn boy – 14 at the time he committed his thought crimes – to life imprisonment is grossly inhuman. It is not quite as evil as the decision of the appalling Saudi regime to crucify and behead a child dissident, but it is recognisably a product of the same world view. History books will look back on this era as one of astonishing state cruelty.

As I have posted repeatedly, Islamic terrorism in the UK is virtually non-existent. It has killed precisely one person in the last decade. As a massive security industry employing many, many thousands depends for its very existence on this tiny threat, the work of the government, media and security services in exaggerating the “danger” is unceasing and increasingly desperate. It is based on an endless series of stories of thwarted terrorist plots.

The most famous was the liquid bomb plot which in fact had no bombs and no air tickets, and where the traces of “suspicious chemical” found in baby feeding bottles was Milton baby bottle sterilising solution. Then there was the ricin plot with no ricin, and the Manchester “Easter bomb plot” where the “bomb ingredient” found in a kitchen was an ordinary bag of sugar.

In the event of the absence of any terrorism, the focus has shifted to thinking about terrorism, and the result has been the conviction of a series of fantasists who can be held to “prove” the terrorist threat. Of these the very saddest is the State’s crushing of this young child. He had no bombs, owned no weapons, harmed nobody. He was however the “mastermind” behind the dreaded “Anzac Day Beheading Plot” where jihadists in Australia did… nothing whatsoever. Nobody attacked anybody. Some people texted about it.

Aha! But don’t we realise that, but for the tens of billions we lavish on the security services, somebody in Australia definitely would have got beheaded by someone? It was only the arrest of a schoolboy in Blackburn that prevented beheadings in Australia, just as it was only the execution by drone of two men in a car in Syria that prevented something absolutely awful from happening in the UK, somewhere by someone, somehow. “What they are yet I know not, but they shall be the terrors of the earth.”

I don’t understand how stupid you have to be to buy into this stuff. But then I don’t understand what a vicious callous bastard of a judge you have to be to sentence a child to life imprisonment. He is doubtless a very disturbed child and probably very unpleasant to deal with. But he did not harm anyone; pretending he could have is part of the charade of the security state.

I also do not understand why the child’s beheading fantasies get him locked away for life, yet it is apparently OK for the Saudis to behead and crucify anyone they like, and still be grovelled to by the entire British establishment, up to and including the monarch. So far as can be ascertained, the Saudis behead more people than ISIL and for identical reasons, yet I see no Conservative demands to bomb them. One interesting result of the Russian bombings in Syria is that the media are for the first time openly publishing that the CIA and Saudis are funding and arming some of the most dubious combatant groups in Syria.

The power players in all of this, on all sides, are cruel men. Justice Saunders in a British court has just proven that includes the British establishment.

T Without Clumpas

by craig on October 2, 2015 in Uncategorized


Someone has today amended the Wikipedia entry for T in the Park to reinstate Stuart Clumpas as co-founder with Ellis. That is still not quite true – Clumpas was the founder and Ellis worked for him – but it is certainly much better.

I appreciate this post is of limited interest to most people, but it is curious to me. There is currently a row about a decision to give 150,000 of Creative Scotland’s money to the highly commercial and profitable T in the Park festival. My take on that is that it was a bad decision within Creative Scotland.

The founder of T in the Park was an old university friend of mine, Stuart Clumpas. Stuart ran – with breathtaking brilliance – the entertainments at Dundee University students union while I was President. It seems incredible now, but we had the biggest bands in the country on a regular basis, including the world premier of a Mike Oldfield album, and the Pretenders while Brass in Pocket was number 1, Dexy’s Midnight Runners just as they hit, and much else. Stuart was truly amazing. With his collaborator John Reid he went on to establish an entertainments company – I used to hear these two students cooking up their plans over pints. Within six months they had the biggest nightclub in Dundee (Fat Sam’s), within a couple more the biggest in Glasgow (King Tut’s). Stuart went on to found both T in the Park and the V Festivals. I haven’t seen him since about 1984, rather to my regret. Last I heard, third hand, he sold his festival interests and retired down under.

Anyway, the point of that trip down memory lane is that the current controversy over T in the Park led me to look it up on Wikipedia. I found that, extraordinarily, the T in the Park page makes no mention whatsoever of Stuart Clumpas, and attempts to create the impression that it was founded by its current director Geoff Ellis, who it says “was involved from the start” and “organised the first T in the Park festival”. Well, he did some of the organisation, but only as an employee of Stuart Clumpas, who has been airbrushed from the T in the Park Wikipedia page as though he were a former Soviet leader taken out of the photo.

This is an interesting comment on the integrity of Wikipedia. But it is also an interesting comment on the integrity of Mr Ellis. That Wikipedia page had the unmistakeable feel of a promotional page which has been heavily written and edited either by Mr Ellis or by someone working on behalf of Mr Ellis. And if Geoff Ellis is the kind of shyster who would falsely claim to have founded T in the Park and edit out the real founder, does that cast a light on the morality of the rather dubious 150,000 payment?

Corbyn’s Scottish Dilemma

by craig on October 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

Jeremy Corbyn held his meeting with Scottish MSP’s, quite literally next door to where I live. I considered wandering down to see, but decided the rugby was more interesting.

Corbyn faces an unwinnable dilemma in Scotland. Kezia Dugdale is a standard issue Blairite, though thankfully too absolutely stupid to be dangerous. The advice Corbyn has been getting from Scottish Labour is to concentrate on attacking the SNP, and that is what he has been doing. On Andrew Marr on Sunday he really raised the anti-SNP rhetoric and hasn’t calmed down since. The idea of any kind of anti-austerity co-operation in opposition to the Tories has been drowned in an outbreak of high octane tribalism.

As Scottish Labour’s dwindling professional cadre has no thought but trying desperately to hang on to the jobs they have left, in coming Holyrood and Council elections (where they face massacre), it is unsurprising their line is so shrill. But Corbyn adopting it is going to alienate a lot of people, including me, who wish him well.

But Corbyn is stuck with the need to parrot the tired Scottish Labour lines that did for Lamont and Murphy. If Corbyn tries to impose a more thoughtful and more left wing agenda on Dugdale, and to tone down opposition to Independence, then Corbyn will stand accused of continuing to treat Scottish Labour as a branch office and of imposing Islington’s will upon them. Just as with his shadow cabinet, his problems with Scottish Labour will only be solved when the membership get rid of the Blairite troughers, and that isn’t happening any time soon. On top of which the Corbyn rising Labour membership effect is much more muted in Scotland, because the Left has already joined the Independence movement.

There is of course a parallel dilemma which I and others face. I want to see Corbyn do very well in countering the neo-con consensus in Westminster. But I don’t want him to be another block on Independence. I genuinely hope that England will recover from its domination by Tory politics. I want to see England, Wales and Northern Ireland as progressive neighbours and decent societies.

The most amusing effect of the establishment’s efforts to deal with Corbyn is that he is ridiculed and demonised in England while precisely the same media organisations in Scotland try to promote him as an antidote to the SNP. But Jeremy should realise that if he is getting the backing of the right wing media in Scotland, it means he is getting his line on Independence wrong. It is very disappointing that he did not use his visit to Scotland today to signal that an attitude to Independence other than outright hostility is possible for members of the Labour Party.

In short, no matter how much I may like Jeremy I can see absolutely no reason to vote for Scottish Labour.

Bombs Kill Shock

by craig on October 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

After UK and US bombs have been devastating the Middle East for over a decade, killing certainly tens and probably hundreds of thousands of people, including many thousands of children, the media have suddenly noticed this morning that bombs kill an awful lot of civilians. But only Russian bombs, of course. British bombs are cheerful, happy and their shrapnel and blast are brilliantly engineered only to go in the direction of bad guys.

The UK/US bombing of Sirte was approximately 500 times more devastating than the Russian bombings yesterday. Yet strangely there was not one single BBC report on the thousands of civilian casualties they caused in just one of many towns they bombed in Libya.

It is worth pointing out that whether yesterday’s bombing by the Russians was against ISIL or against a different bunch of crazed Islamist rebels, one still supported by the CIA and Saudi Arabia, makes no difference whatsoever to the legal position. It was at the request of the Government of Syria and thus legal. That is not to say I support it. I do not. Bombing kills civilians and just causes more hate.

I have the confidence in my fellow human beings to believe that a substantial number will see through the propaganda and realise British bombs do that too.

My optimism extends to the quite astonishing media attack on Jeremy Corbyn. The scorn and bias of the media in dealing with him has awoken many to the fact that we do not in reality live in a democratic society. People are not free to present alternative ideas to the electorate and obtain a fair hearing for them.

But still I think there will be some effect. For an entire generation, broadcast media and print newspapers had never given the slightest indication that there might be a moral dilemma involved in pushing a button to kill a billion people directly, and set off a chain of events that will destroy all human life. The spluttering fury by the establishment at the revelation that there are in existence the kind of people who would not do that, is a wonder to behold.

But all that rage is revealing the existence of the moral dilemma to people from whom it has been effectively hidden as a topic of legitimate and serious debate. People will start to think. That is why Corbyn is so dangerous to the establishment. He has opened a Pandora’s box of ideas.

Grand Designs

by craig on September 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

I just watched an episode of Grand Designs, about a man with MS converting a cave home, which was the most uplifting piece of television I have seen for a long time – and thus naturally not on the BBC. I was particularly pleased as recent episodes had concentrated on rather unpleasant stinking rich people building luxury palaces, to the extent I was thinking of giving up on the series.

The connection is a stretch, but on the subject of homes, I am not surprised by the media witch-hunt against Michelle Thomson, an extremely effective new MP. The Police have confirmed that Michelle herself is not under investigation. As always, those who challenge the British establishment will come under every angle of attack that can be contrived. Michelle should resist the pressure being placed upon her by hypocritical unionist politicians and media, and everyone should calm down while the police inquiry into the other people involved is concluded.

Syria and the Law

by craig on September 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

The legal position is perfectly clear. Syria has a recognised government, that of President Assad, represented at the United Nations. That government is legally entitled to call on Russian military assistance. Russian military action against ISIL is therefore legal.

By contrast, US and French military action has neither the sanction of the Syrian government nor the sanction of the United Nations Security Council. It is therefore plainly illegal.

Neo-con propagandists have attempted in the last fifteen years to promote a new doctrine known as the “responsibility to protect”. This is identical to intellectual justifications of Imperialism from sixteenth century Spain through to Victorian England and Imperial Russia. It holds that misgovernment of less developed nations justifies military action against them by more developed countries out of humanitarian concern. It runs directly to the established international law of non-interference and the need for Security Council sanction of military action. The “responsibility to protect” is not enshrined in any generally accepted international treaty – certainly nothing that overrides the provisions of the UN charter – and is not accepted by the large majority of the countries in the world. It is not customary international law and remains a propaganda phrase, not a legal concept.

Finally, I should add that on precisely the same arguments, Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is, beyond any doubt, illegal.

UN General Assembly

by craig on September 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

It is a strange world where the passage I most agreed with came from the Iranian President:

Iraq, Syria and Yemen are all examples of crises being stoked through terror, extremism, violence, bloodshed, invasion and the indifference of the international community. They are similar examples displaying cases of displacement, homelessness and fleeing from the horrors of war and bombardment. Their problems have persisted because the international community has failed them and because of incorrect actions of newcomers to the region and naive trans-regional actors. Consequently, the wave of destruction has gone beyond the Arab world and reached the gates of Europe and the United States and has resulted in the destruction of the relics of civility and precious works of ancient civilizations and, more broadly, has resulted in the death of humanity.

We must not forget that the roots of today’s wars, destruction and terror, can be found in the occupation, invasion and military intervention of yesterday. If we did not have the US military invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the US’s unwarranted support for the inhumane actions of the Zionist regime against the oppressed nation of Palestine, today the terrorists would not have an excuse for the justification of their crimes.

A Woodworm Off the Old Block

by craig on September 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

I used to discuss foreign affairs with Tony Benn over tea in his kitchen in Holland Park when I lived a short walk away. I get a mention in his later published diaries in this regard. I was therefore saddened to hear his son, Hilary, at Labour Party Conference today align himself with the establishment in a way much more in tune with their aristocratic ancestors.

Benn was sending out neo-con friendly signals like there was no tomorrow. The first came from the very start, when he paid unnecessary and fulsome tribute to the really horrible wee Dougie Alexander who had “served his constituents extremely well”. That really was a pathetic lie. Wee Dougie paid no attention whatsoever to his constituents and took them entirely for granted. Labour’s lack in Scotland of any foundation in the people was what made it so easy for us to topple the Labour monolith.

Benn went on to advocate the “Responsibility to Protect”, the Blairite code for supporting United States military and especially bombing missions abroad. The thesis that Western bombing improves and stabilises countries appears tested well beyond destruction, but the neo-cons stick with it because of the corporate interests it does so much to boost.

Benn disgracefully then called in the body of little Alayn in argument for bombing Syria. He even noted that Alayn had fled Kobani, which “the BBC had reported as almost completely destroyed”, without mentioning – as the BBC did not mention – that some of that destruction had been caused by repeated American bombings of Kobani.

I am sorry that Tony’s son turned out to be a vicious, warmongering, lying, neo-con bastard.

Dreams of Catalonia

by craig on September 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Good luck to Catalonia today in breaking free from the suffocating grip of Spain. I hope that the Francoists in power in Madrid do nothing to provoke violence.

There may be an important precedent here on how to proceed in the event of the central government refusing to grant a referendum. I was pleased that Alex Salmond came out last week and said that a referendum is not necessarily the only route for Scotland. While that position is undoubtedly correct in international law, I had suffered pooh-poohing from Leadership Loyalists in Scotland every time I mentioned it. Hopefully now Salmond has spoken, the sheep will stop bleating. We do not know how things will pan out with Westminster and we must not close off our own options.

There is one interesting side issue in Catalonia. The astroturf anti-independence organisation Ciutadans (Ciudadanos in the rest of Spain) is a classic creation of Western security services. Its purpose is to counter both Catalan Independence and still more, Podemos, and maintain a secure right wing Spain in NATO. But unusually it is not the CIA that has been in the lead, but the BND, the German overseas security service. This is an outlier for a newly assertive policy by the BND, so the results will be watched particularly closely in the more obscured corridors of Berlin.

More Truth About British Torture

by craig on September 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

I am delighted that Shaker Aamer is finally to be released from Guantanamo. This is something I have worked, campaigned and spoken for, along with groups including Cage, which I am proud to support and which the government is attempting to ban.

We cannot give back to Shaker the thirteen years of imprisonment without charge, let alone trial. We cannot undo the physical and mental damage of all the torture. We can see him reunited with his family and demonstrate our support and affection.

Just as nobody has been charged over the illegal waging of a war of aggression against Iraq, nobody faces prosecution over the equally illegal policy of complicity in torture, to which policy I personally was an eye-witness.

The reason Shaker has been detained longer than any other British resident is that he was tortured with MI6 personnel directly in the room, as opposed to waiting outside. If the British establishment were not totally corrupt, his return to the UK would finally make it impossible to avoid prosecutions over torture, up to and including Dearlove, Straw and Blair.

The one thing we know for certain about the stinking cesspit of the British political system, is that justice is not possible.

Corbyn Kneeling Story A Media Invention

by craig on September 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

The media appears determined to narrow the Overton Window further to exclude republicanism, which would make the views of over 30% of the UK population unacceptable as a part of normal political discourse. The fascinating thing about the concept of the Overton Window as enforced by the UK media, is that some of the views not given media airing as being beyond the pale of “respectable” opinion – such as rail nationalisation – actually enjoy public support.

The media are currently intent on demonising Jeremy Corbyn as a republican by inventing conflict between him and the Queen. The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg asked him in a corridor whether he would be prepared to kneel and kiss the Queen’s hand as part of the ceremony of joining the Privy Council, and the media splashed his demurral as the lead broadcast and print story of the day. It subsequently became plain that Kuenssberg is a medieval fantasist and there is no hand-kissing involved.

Naturally no apologies followed. The Guardian is still attempting, even today, to milk the story with a front page article indicating Corbyn may not kneel. I should sincerely hope not. I kneel to nobody. Personally I find the idea of kneeling to another human being as weird as the idea of sticking my penis in a pig’s mouth. But apparently grovelling servility is the norm, and even thinking about not doing it makes you a weirdo.

The interesting thing is nobody has actually asked the Queen. I have met the Queen in public many times and in private twice, on both occasions to be thanked for my role in organising State Visits. I had explained I was a republican and Scottish nationalist (in those days small n) and was therefore refusing the offer of a LVO and a CVO respectively. I did not bow, or call her Ma’am. She actually asked me my reason for refusing the honour the first time, and was perfectly pleasant when I explained politely but straight. I received direct from her hands small gifts of an armada dish and a letter rack. I eventually auctioned the letter rack for the Julian Assange Defence Fund.

She showed no umbrage or concern whatsoever that I was a republican – I am sure she meets them all the time – and behaved towards me in an entirely normal fashion, not in any way noting my refusal to obey the court protocol. I personally witnessed a proposed honour to another person being downgraded because “the Palace” did not like them, but there was no question of any sanction on me for my republicanism. The proof is that there was never any question mark over my doing the job all again on a second occasion, either from the Queen or from her private secretaries.

If Jeremy Corbyn sticks to his guns, and just goes along and shows normal respect, I have no doubt at all the Queen will carry on completely unfazed. She is not stupid, is very well aware that a significant number of British people are republicans, and is not interested in making people uncomfortable. She will expect so long as she is monarch, Jeremy Corbyn to work as prescribed within the forms of government – just as I organised State Visits to the very best of my ability. But personal displays of obsequiousness are not of importance to the Queen; they are rather the obsession of the pathetically servile Guardian and other media.

Centralising Police A Crass Error

by craig on September 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

The tragedy of the elderly dementia sufferer in Glasgow would in all probability not have been averted if a report to police had been handled properly. It was one of scores of reports of possible sightings the police received from members of the public. Besides, lives come to an end and we have to face that not all can do so as neatly and pleasantly as we would wish. But still it is a mistake that should not have been made, and increases the pressure on Police Scotland.

Having created a unitary police force, the Scottish government will have to accept it will get blamed for every police failing, whether related to the reorganisation or not. But that the reorganisation has knocked police morale badly is beyond dispute.

Policing is best done locally. Call centres have been reduced and centralised, and that reduces the possibility of speaking to someone who knows a little of the location and circumstance you are talking about. That is relevant to the crashed car case, and is just one illustration that policing is best kept local. The culture of the Western Isles is different to the culture of Aberdeen which is different to the culture of Glasgow which is different to the culture of the Highlands which is different to the culture of the Borders. Cultural sensitivity is a key aspect of policing. Besides Police should, in principle, be a local service not a national imposition of governmental authority.

The concept of a national police force has implications from which anyone of a naturally liberal frame of mind recoils. Its imposition, along with the incredibly statist “named person” policy and minimum alcohol pricing, reveals that there is a powerful strand within the SNP whose instincts are highly authoritarian. That is particularly worrying when we have gained a position of remarkable political dominance in Scotland – because of support for Independence. Those voting SNP want freedom from Westminster domination, but it is not an excuse to impose a big clunking State in Scotland.

One key marker of authoritarian states is an implied claim that the state is perfect and never makes mistakes. We could gain a lot of respect, and dispel a lot of fears, by admitting the single national police force was a major error and reversing it.

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