My blog existence has been almost nil for a couple of weeks due to a truly terrible internet connection here in Ghana (where I still haven’t got everything on the project finished to the state where I can fly to Norwich North).
I recall a speech Peter Hain gave about ten years ago to the effect that the adoption of new technologies could lead Africa to catch up with the rest of the world economy, bypassing the smokestack age. In fact of course the advent of new technology leaves Africa further and further behind. “Broadband” here is 512 kb/ps and costs US $300 a month. In fact it is giving me 7 kb/ps.
But not only my virtual existence is tenuous. I have been surprised to discover that it seems that I was mistaken about my physical existence too. Today The Guardian leads with the story that Tony Blair knew of a secret UK policy of receiving intelligence from torture. The Guardian goes big, with five follow up articles.
The strange thing is, I could have sworn that I had been a British Ambassador and had been smeared in a campaign orchestrated by No 10, and then sacked, for opposing this torture policy. I thought I had blown the whistle on this policy five years ago and published a number of government documents which proved the existence of this policy. I even thought I had written a book about it which became a bestseller.
I appear to have been suffering from this delusion over a lengthy period, because I also thought that I gave detailed evidence on all of this just six weeks ago to a parliamentary committee.
But all that cannot be true. For one thing, David Miliband gave evidence on UK complicity in torture two days ago to another parliamentary committee, and not one MP mentioned the eye witness testimony I had just given, which contradicted much of what David Miliband had said. For another, the Guardian’s survey of key points of evidence for the existence of a secret pro-torture policy, does not mention anywhere that it was denounced by a British Ambassador who was sacked for it and published documentary proof.
I cannot quite explain to you how unpleasant it feels to be written out of history before you are dead. Stalin of course airbrushed people out of the official photos all the time. At least he had the decency to kill them first.