New Labour’s Britain and The Silencing of Dissent 142

We all need to take a step back and see what kind of society we have become; in particular the Stalinist silencing of voices of dissent – even within our universities.

I have seen my past server host pull this website and my publisher pull my book, in attempts to silence my dissenting opinions. We overcame those, but they should never have happened. Now I have been telephoned by the University of Cambridge to be told that security staff will physically prevent me from entering the University of Cambridge to give a talk there.

What have we become? I have responded thus and am now off to Cambridge.

Dear Dr Elliott,

As I told you on the telephone, I was invited some weeks ago to speak this evening in a debate on the merits of the Afghan War. I learnt this morning that plans had changed due to a student occupation of a university building over University policy towards Gaza, and as the organisers of my debate were involved in the occupation, I was requested to switch my talk to the Law Faculty. I agreed to do so.

I then heard from you that the authorities had decided to exclude non-University members from the law faculty, and should I arrive to give my talk I will not be admitted; and indeed be physically prevented from entering.

I have given this some thought, and I have decided that the threat not to admit me to the University building is unwarranted.

As you may realise, I am Rector of the University of Dundee (and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law). I am not personally intending to occupy your building for longer than it takes to give a talk, and certainly intend to cause no damage. I am not a health and safety risk.

I am invited to lecture at Universities and other prestigious institutions worldwide; normally universities are urging me to come, not seeking to turn me away! I understand that a number of people are looking forward to hearing me this evening. To threaten to exclude me is a denial of freedom of speech which I find very peculiar behaviour for the University of Cambridge.

Student occupations are hardly a new phenomenon, and normally can easily be resolved through amicable negotiation. I was quite astonished to learn that Cambridge University had responded by attempting to starve the students out. To try also to ban a guest speaker seems to me likely to inflame and prolong, rather than resolve, the dispute.

It seems to me that the easiest way out of the current difficulty of my visit is for you to extend to me an invitation to speak this evening on behalf of the Faculty.

With all best wishes,

Craig Murray

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142 thoughts on “New Labour’s Britain and The Silencing of Dissent

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  • MJ

    Writerman, you are such a Romantic and it is a joy to behold. A quiet word in your ear however about the French Revolution. It wasn’t quite the expression of popular power you think it was. It was engineered by the global financial elite in order, among other things, to facilitate the introduction of a Central Bank in France (ditto the Russian Revolution by the way). Robespierre got wind of this in 1794 but was assassinated the night before he was going to name names.

    Sadly, it just goes to show that even when we feel at our most free and empowered, we are still just pawns in someone else’s chess game.

  • MJ

    Eddie, it took me about 2 minutes to find the name of and reviews of Douglas Murray’s latest book. I just used google. I can’t be bothered to trawl through my history folder to find the precise pages. Since you’re so happy to call others illiterate, morons and idiots I take it you know at least how to use a search engine.

  • eddie


    Yes I do know how to use a search engine thanks, but I cannot find any of the things that you allege, i.e. that Murray advocates the extermination of Muslims. I see from your recent post about the French Revolution that you are a conspiracy theorist, so that probably explains everything. The “global financial elite” sounds remarkably like the kind of thing that 9/11 nuts would talk about, or those who believe that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is not a forgery. The odd thing about conspiracy theories, rather like UFO sightings, is that no one ever comes forward to verify them. Strange that so many people can keep a secret for so long don’t you think?

  • Mae

    God I hate you Craig…please close your blog so I can get some work done.(JOKE)

    Please correct me if I am wrong, I was not there, but is it not the case that it is the situation and not Craig and his views/lecture that are the problem.

    That is, if the building was not the subject of current occupation you would be free to speak?

  • Other John

    I’m having trouble posting. I thought you had blocked me from your site, but that isn’t the case.

  • technicolour

    I think ‘grandstanding’ is a silly comment.

    Re ‘Stalinist’: I think it’s kind to point out the population of this country are currently not being interned/murdered in significant numbers.

    Really, of course, ‘Stalinist’ is being used to denote a crushing, invincible power, against which the population are helpless. I think this is a strange way to describe our Parliament.

    In between some interesting points (what’s happening in China is corporate communism; see PJ O’Rourke’s horrified account in ‘Eat the Rich’), Eddie sounds quite scared of the kind of “sharpening my scythe for the revolution” attitude that Writerman expresses. And I think there is a problem. Other extreme views can rise alongside such waves of righteous, reckless rhetoric. Reading Goodbye to Berlin I noticed everyone seemed persuaded that the Communists would win, right up until the point that the Nazis took power.

    Thank you all for your interesting board.

  • Ruth

    I agree that most of the population of this country are currently not being interned in significant numbers. But I think it should be pointed out that there are some entirely innocent people who have been and some who still are incarcerated in this country to keep the lid on illegal government activities.

  • MJ


    ‘Strange that so many people can keep a secret for so long don’t you think?’

    When the stakes are so high then no, I don’t think so. In any case the history of banking is not so secret, it just doesn’t advertise itself particularly. Follow the money is my advice.

    Whether this makes me a conspiracy theorist or not I neither know nor care. Regarding 9/11 I suppose it would have been nice if there had been proper investigation, as there is with most crimes. Until then I suppose we have to rely on that passport found in the rubble and that holdall containing flying manuals and a copy of the Koran.

    Regarding the Protocols of the Elders of Zion I have to confess I am not familiar with them, but someone else pointed out recently on this site that they date from the 19th century, so that probably rules out the French Revolution. What are they forgeries of exactly: the real Protocols of the Elders of Zion??

    Regarding Douglas Murray try:

  • eddie

    Chris I accept your comment about trespass, but I do not believe that you can make a moral equivalence between women who fought for the right to vote (i.e they were personally affected by the issue) to people who are upset about something that is happening elsewhere and that does not personally affect them.

    MJ the Protocols is a forgery from the nineteenth century that has been repeatedly used as evidence by anti-Semites of a world-wide Jewish plot. Hitler referred to it repeatedly. More recently, for example, there are many web sites that claim no Jews died on 9/11 becasue they were telephoned beforehand and told to stay away. It is all part of the same pattern of lies. Perhaps you believe something similar? I have seen that Murray link, but I repeat that I cannot find evidence of your assertions anywhere on the web.


  • ingo

    The student occupation was used as an excuse to bar Craig. It has singled out Cambridge as a university that is under attack from a certain section within it.

    Ideally there should be a degree of equilibrium between staff, lecturers and student achievable, but this physical rejection, a last minute reaction to a talk on Afghanistan, not Gaza, is untenable for a university thats evinced to be tops, it is not.

    To make this interesting, how many university rectors have been barred by other universities in this country, ever?

    I think that Craig should sedn out a belated press release and stub the press/s nose into it.

    BTW. This issue is a good point one might want to spread on to other regional newspaper fora.

    And a big hallo to Eddie, so succinctly sent to offend.

  • George Dutton

    “Truth cannot be spoken in America. It cannot be spoken in universities. It cannot be spoken in the media. It cannot be spoken in courts, which is why defendants and defense attorneys have given up on trials and cop pleas to lesser offenses that never occurred.”

    “Truth is never spoken by government. As Jonathan Turley said recently, Washington “is where principles go to die.”…

  • MJ


    “…there are many web sites that claim no Jews died on 9/11 becasue they were telephoned beforehand and told to stay away. It is all part of the same pattern of lies”

    Thanks for the info. I’ve just found it on an Israeli news site ( Why are you so sure it’s a lie?

    You’ll be telling me next that it’s a lie that several Israeli Mossad agents were arrested in NY for filming the attacks and cheering as they did so! Lies? Anti-Jewish? Tell the FBI, they arrested them, not me.

    Regarding the Douglas Murray link, as I recall if you scroll down a bit you’ll find a comment from a rather erudite fellow familiar with all his work.

  • Shafiq

    Just to let you know, the talk did take place – Craig Murray had to stand outside and give the talk with security guards acting as a physical barrier between the students and Mr. Murray. There was also a full Q&A session over the heads of the security guards.

  • technicolour

    MJ: Really? Are you real?

    Authentic sounding answer on Yahoo to the question “How many Jewish people died in the World Trade Centre?”:

    “Let’s see, I personally knew three.

    I remember when this bit of dis-information got injected into the discussion: some nonsense about how jews were called and told not to go to work that day.

    I’ve never seen a single bit of evidence to support it. But meanwhile I have three dead jewish friends, for whatever that’s worth.”

    An earnest report on the subject, showing that 18 percent of the named victims were Jewish:


    A dissection of the “dancing Israeli spies” story, which in fact suggests that Mossad *were* tapping the hijackers:

    And. Yet. The idea that “all Jews” were warned about the attacks, and “all of them” stayed away from work, and kept quiet about it, and were so coldblooded and fanatical that they did not warn their “goyim” friends, or run to the press screaming, is crazy. It would almost seem to be a maliciously motivated attempt to conflate the actions of a secret service with the morality of a people.

    I sincerely hope I am wasting my time by pointing this out.

  • technicolour

    Oh goodness, this is so sick. The people who died are real people, not statistics.

    Ruth, I agree. I wrote that thinking about the people in Belmarsh. It’s not as if we don’t know about them.

  • MJ

    Eddie, I didn’t raise this matter about no jews dying on 9/11. You did. I had never heard of the notion until you raised it. I’m sorry you lost jewish friends. The link I posted simply demonstrates that at least one jewish organisation was indeed tipped off.

    The “dancing Israeli spies” story however has rather more substance to it. Because the agents were so well equipped, and because of documents in their possession (that the FBI referred to but has not revealed) it is difficult not to conclude that they had foreknowledge.

  • MJ


    Sorry, my last post was for you, not Eddie. Since you came in late you may have misconstrued what was going on. For the record I have never entertained the notion that no jews died on 9/11. It was a non sequitur raised by Eddie, I think because I had the temerity to mention banks in an earlier post. I am indeed sorry you lost jewish friends on 9/11 and have no reason to question the figures you provided.

  • john

    Eddie you are such a dynamo, but nonsensical as I may be you are still missing the point. The point is how laws & rules & regulations are being used to obstruct free speech.

    As for my point on control vs morality, sure we can cite examples, Tony Benn may be a moral man, Tony Blair certainly isn’t, but it is the duty of the electorate to keep them both in check, and if this means breaking a few rules, so be it. Otherwise you will find yourself in a stagnant and corrupt society. Oh, you already did.

    By the way, I left the UK 20 years ago, the writing was on the wall then, it is still there now, next to the camera. Residents don’t notice the slide, but infrequent visitors like me do, I don’t think you are aware how submissive you have become.

  • SX


    Am I alone in being fed-up with all the pandering and/or instigating that “eddie” generates here. You have a right to implement a policy of deleting “off-topic” posts, assuming you have time. They don’t have to be for posts disagreeing with your point of view, as you’ve disclosed many times, but eddie and the people baited by him is a real turn-off. Now they’re yelling across the room about who’s right re 9-11.

    By the way, hope all is well with Nadira and baby-to-be.

  • SLJ

    Maybe Cambridge have got enough to worry about and they don’t need you along to stir up brilliant but naive undergraduates? But that’s just the sensible explanation which is not laced with melodramatic cries of dissent.

  • writerman

    I should perhaps point out that I’m not actually advocating a bloody, violent, Revolution in the French 1789 style. I’m not even convinced that the concept of ‘Revolution’ is valid. But this is a big subject to get into here!

    Romantic rhetoric has its uses, its time and its place. I do think though that the pendulum has swung in favour of the interests of the ‘aristocracy’ for too long, and this hasn’t been good for society as a whole. I believe we need to inject far more ‘people power’ and revive the idea of citizenship as being the bedrock of democracy, and not just the ability to ‘choose’ in the marketplace, which basically means that access to ‘democracy’ is based on one’s ability to ‘buy’ it.

  • eddie


    Well, the topic is about freedom of speech, so Craig may wish to ignore you. I think the debate here has followed a logical course. It was MJ who raised issues of conspiracy theories, not me, and this led on to the Protocols and the lie that Jewish people were warned about 9/11. However, one key point that I raised has still not been answered – Craig’s assertion in his post that he was banned from the University of Cambridge and that this was a denial of free speech. Not true. He was banned from one illegally occupied building in Cambridge – the rest of the University estate was open to him. Apart from the 9/11 thing I don’t think I have ever strayed off topic.

    John you may be a right about your perception of the UK, but I am a UK resident and don’t see it. As for Benn being a moral man – I don’t agree with you. I think he is one of the most slippery politicians of the last few decades and as amoral as most. Who can ever forget him grovelling in front of Saddam? He has regulary fawned to dictators. He made Labour unelectable for a generation, he destroyed the Chesterfield seat for Labour and handed it to the Lib Dems. He is a thoroughly nasty politician who puts on the act of being a kindly old grandad.

  • seb

    This Eddie seems a cold fish. Petty minded, unsympathetic. Has he ever loved?Yacking on about health and safety and trespass. The students are presumeably moved by the atrocities committed by the jewish state of israel,crushed limbs, burnt babies, destroyed houses.Theft murdrer mutilation destruction terror. Obviously Craig Murray sometimes speaks in a colourful way in order to attract attention. Maybe he is sore at losing a good job for speaking out against acceptance of torture by the british government. He’ll always have friends amongst those with a heart. Imagine, concrete slab across your legs, never walk again Israeli soldier shoots into your wife children

  • Other John

    Eddie seems to have occupied this chat forum, so perhaps we should all evict him.

    Eddie says:

    “You have not answered my substantive point about your inappropriate use of language. Anyone who has studied the Stalinist period will find your comments about the ‘Stalinist silencing’ of dissent contemptible in the context of this country.”

    Where was Eddie’s “eloquent voice” when Bush and friends – and that includes Tony Blair – were comparing the Venezuelan president to Hitler? The Iranian president has also been described as Hitler.


    “Rumsfeld likens Venezuela’s Chavez to Hitler”:

    “Hersh: Bush Calls Ahmadinejad Hitler”

    “Olmert compares Ahmadinejad to Hitler”

    Why was this acceptable, Eddie? These are high-ranking politicians behaving worse than children. Their words matter far more than Craig’s.

    Craig Murray has behaved far more responsibly, and not accused – or likened – any political leader to Stalin. He merely used a bit of hyperbole – a standard rhetorical device! – to make a point. Everyone intelligent understands this, Eddie, except pedants like you.

    However, there are some strong correlates to Stalin’s Russia. Stalin used torture to extract false confessions – exactly what the U.S. has been doing under Bush (the UK has assisted this process of “special rendition”) – and Stalin purged his party of dissent, which is analogous to what is happening in this country and the U.S.

    I could go on, but the intelligent readers get my point.

    Finally, this country will be moving closer to a Stalinist-like state when the government’s £12 billion project to build a centralised database on all our Internet activity is complete. NO OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, with, perhaps, the exception of China, is doing this. The people in government want our data to be accessible to government departments, local councils, health care providers, and the police.


    “Private firm may run UK spy uber-database” and “theregister”

    “Private firm may track all email and calls” and “Hellhouse of personal data will be created, warns former DPP”


    “…the notion of total security is a paranoid fantasy which would destroy everything that makes living worthwhile. We must avoid surrendering our freedom as autonomous human beings to such an ugly future.

    “‘…no other country is considering such a drastic step. This database would be an unimaginable hell-house of personal private information,’ he said. ‘It would be a complete readout of every citizen’s life in the most intimate and demeaning detail. No government of any colour is to be trusted with such a roadmap to our souls.'”

  • eddie

    Other John

    “Why was this acceptable, Eddie?” Did I say it was acceptable. Once again, someone putting words into my mouth.I condemn all extreme hyperbolic language whether it comes from the left or right. My point was that Craig used the example of the occupation in Cambridge and the fact that the authorities had stopped him from entering the building as an example of “Stalinist silencing of voices of dissent”. I think I have proved that it was no such thing – for a start, he was not banned from entering the University of Cambridge (a point he has not denied) and he did speak at the University on University land. The use of the word Stalinist in this context is a vile slur on the millions of people killed by Stalin and a misuse of the english language. That is my opinion. Your conspiracy theories belong to science fiction, not the real world. Perhaps you would tell me how we have less freedom now than thirty years ago. I grew up in the seventies and I can tell you, unequivocally, that I prefer now to then in many, many ways. So how exactly do we have less freedom in 2009 than in 1979?

    Actaully, you know what really scares me? It’s not threats to our freedom of speech and the paranoid fantasies of people like you. What really scares me is that elements of the left are willing to ditch all their principles of freedom, equality, democracy and civil rights and ally themselves with groups and countries that are anti-democratic, repressive, homophobic, theocratic and misogynistic. So when large sections of demonstrations in UK cities either start chanting things like ‘Baghdad, Beirut, Kabul, Gaza – victory to the intifada!’ or do nothing to protest at such chants (as has been witnessed at many recent rallies) it sickens me to the core. Do these idiots really support the Taliban? Do they really support the policy of strapping suicide bombs on chldren and people with learning disabilities? Do they really support fascism? Sorry but I grew up with the Holocaust and the notion of “never again” so when I hear Galloway urging a boycott of Israel’s shops and I see people destroying Starbucks or goods in Tesco I think immediately of Kristallnacht and wonder how far we have come.

  • MJ

    Eddie asks:

    “So how exactly do we have less freedom in 2009 than in 1979?”

    One obvious example that comes immediately to mind is that in the 70s we were able to move around in public places without being under constant surveillance by CCTV cameras.

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