Blogito Ergo Sum? 236


I am afraid that the result of Norwich North by-election has severely dented my appetite for blogging. When I put my views to the electorate and asked for their support, I could hardly have been more comprehensively rejected. I was convinced we could get a respectable vote of 7% in Norwich North and have something to build on.

I am not interested in the smug self-satisfaction of believing I have access to a knowledge or analysis denied to the “ordinary” people. Nor do I think that people in the UK have lost their capacity for sensible judgement, or that political discourse needs to be dumbed down to try to achieve a wide appeal. The fact is that Norwich North showed that no significant minority of the general populace has any interest in what I have to say.

So the urge to give comment and information on the sick farce of the Afghan elections, the extraordinary and cynical charade over the Lockerbie “bomber”, or even the hope destroyed in University admissions this year, has been nullified by an awareness that what I think is of no account.

It is not a case of feeling sorry for myself. It is a long overdue hit of realism. I have frequently complained, for example, that the damning evidence I gave on the British government’s complicity in torture was almost totally ignored by the mainstream media. The reason is that the media is not manipulative, it is merely making a shrewd and correct commercial decision that almost nobody cares.

There are moments that change lives. I was fairly stoic at the Norwich North count. I was then struck by a catharsis. After the declaration of results, the candidates made their speeches from the platform. When it came to my turn, Chloe Smith walked off the platform and stood in front of me and the media pack noisily formed around her. The officials started chatting among themselves about what they were doing at the weekend. I was left in the position of having to make the customary comments to a noisy room in which most backs were turned on me and only a very few were politely pretending to listen.

I cannot get out of my head the idea that my blogging is but the virtual equivalent.


236 thoughts on “Blogito Ergo Sum?

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  • anne

    Craig, please keep going!

    You are such a bright spark of honesty and clarity!

    *Much* appreciated!

  • Abe Rene

    Looks like you’re on a temporary downer. A good meal (lucky you, that you have someone willing and able to provide that) and maybe a good film or meeting friends, and in a few days you should be ready to think about taking Norwich North next summer. but with more realism and planning this time.

  • technicolour

    I agree with Mr Rene. I would also add that you had access to professional, knowledgeable and inspiring human resources from this blog alone. And yet you ran pretty much a one man show, asking for help with your campaign, but not for input, feedback or opinions. Perhaps this was a natural result of time contraints. Still, the way the alternative functions, which is what makes it alternative, is by communal agreement from the grass roots; by consensus. I would suggest using this blog for a consulting period before you next run for election if, that is, you still see being a politician as your natural metier. Otherwise, of course your blog is important, in the sense that any writing is important. And the comments here surely represent a much larger, silent, readership. When the BBC receive one letter about a subject they take it for granted that 10,000 (I think) feel the same way but can’t be bothered/don’t have time to write.

  • Xanadu

    Craig,

    Keep on blogging-we need original,independent and visionary reporting.The electorate doesn’t care about anything -until stark reality hits them-then its too late.

  • dreoilin

    155 comments? Most of them saying “please carry on”?

    You must have got the message, Craig.

    BUT: If for various personal reasons, you don’t wish to carry on blogging, I think we should respect your decision. Just know that we’ll be disappointed. I’ll pop in in the morning to see if there’s any news … Be well.

  • manchedave

    I see Derek got there first at 1.41pm !

    You know about international negotiations on maritime boundaries, and it showed .

    So much for the “kidnapped” RN sailors.

    Seriously Craig, I mislaid my bookmarks , so re-created a very short list , and along with the indie, times , ft, ouestfrance, liberation, georgewashington2, there is craigmurray up there in the top eight .

    I physically printed out all your docs from “”” Samarkand””” , just in case my computer got ” hacked” and they got wiped.

    Blogging and commenting on those blogs is addictive, and I broke the habit by having a stroke 5 months ago and then spending 10 weeks in French hospital .

    In the UK it would have been 10 days, at most, and I dread to thnk on the outcome there.

    If you decide to drop off the radar , go and grow veggies or distill moonshine, the world will still turn,………………. But I would prefer that you share your experence and insights,

    and stay with us !

  • Jezebel

    Are the people who ignored you more important than us? We want you. Don’t leave us.

  • BGD

    One individual shouting in the wilderness gleans at best a shrug from the majority and a flicker of interest from the few.

    Four or more regular contributors to an online samizdat publication with insights not easily read elsewhere is more likely to get increased readership and punch above its weight..

  • Jason Kennedy

    I have a basic idea that would close the circle re: feeling blue over not being elected.

    Somebody should set up a shadow blog Parliament, with elections to it, and debates held online. It could parallel usefully the existing agenda in Westminster, along with broaching trans-party issues that are beyond the reach of our ‘democracy’ (which, to my mind, invalidate the idea that UK is a democracy. eg – is anybody in any doubt that all 3 main parties will enter next General Election committed to continuing military occupation in Iraq/Afghanistan)

    If sufficient quality could enter the debate, public submit questions, table bills, form committees and so forth, this could be game-changer.

    I thank you.

  • mrjohn

    So you gave up more than the big black car when you gave up the job of ambassador. Welcome to normality. You used to belong to the elite, now you are a pleb, and you are finding out what all plebs know, the odds are stacked against us.

    Step out of the big black car into the embassy reception and people want to know you, not because they care about your opinions, but because they see you as a rung on the ladder. Give up the big black car and you are no longer of any use to them.

    So you really have to ask yourself what your real motivation is ?

  • Frazer

    What is this crap ?

    Shades of Sinatra’s “My Way”

    Get off your bum and start blogging again.

    What the hell else Im I going to read over here in Congo ?

  • Eva Smagacz

    Please accept that the low like that is perfectly acceptable after difficult experience like a badly lost election.

    Not a time to make decisions about direction of your life.

    Your blog is extremely important. Democracy does not survive without variety of viewpoints.

  • ALu06

    He’s from the Congo, I’m from Germany, and I’m reading your blog regularly. Don’t let your locals’ indifference bring you down.

    Please keep going!

  • RICHARD

    Craig, you got 2.8%. If that’s national, you speak for a million people. OK, I don’t suppose you’re impressed by the comments that say the herd are rubbish and you speak for the intelligent few, because I don’t think you want to do that. But its an election. Even the intelligent and honest and reasonable people – a big majority, in my opinion – know that the electoral process is rotten, distorted by its own legal structure, by plain dishonest campaigning by a couple of big parties, and a very unbalanced Media. (Hey does it sound like I also lost an election in June? Well I did, actually.) The big story was always: Labour Lose Badly. The way to make that come true was to vote Tory or abstain. Would it have helped if I had come along to help? Yes, a bit, but you would still have been hugely outgunned by the money, workers and press that the established parties can call on, and above all by the negative voting assumptions that the electoral system imposes on the voters. If you want to vote anti-Labour, vote Tory. If you want to vote anti-Tory etc. The only weapon the rest of us have against the power establishment is information, knowledge. You’re doing more than just about anybody to provide that. Keep it up.

  • Philip

    The reality of our political system is that the majority of people vote for political parties and not for individuals. They do this for the very rational reason that a winning party might carry out the policies in their manifesto whereas an individual is a lone voice and has no hope of carrying out policy no matter how good or reasonable.

    You are capable of influencing opinion in your blog by changing minds and revealing truths. Commonly held views influence the choice of policy made by political parties.

    Yours is a successful blog. Do you really want to give up blogging and hand over opinion formation to the voices of unreason?

  • Chris Venables

    Craig,

    Both your books and your blog are sources of wonderful insight and inspiration. My brother and I always discuss your latest post with vigor whenever we find the time to speak to each other!

    I hope you’re well,

    Chris

  • Geoff

    Keep at it Craig!

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

    Winston Churchill

  • pureweevil

    My friends and I watched the Norwich North discuss Britain’s role in the Afghanistan disaster and cheered you for explaining the brutal facts behind the bullshit.

    You put the odious Chloe Smith party machine to shame. It really shakes my belief in democracy that anyone could vote for the Establishment puppets after listening to you.

    I always check your blog in the morning, it helps me articulate my anger and frustration over Britain’s political life and foreign policy.

    Blogitas ergo agnoscamus.

  • Jon

    Apologies for the off-topic post, but I post here as I think it would be of general interest, and – as an angle on news that to my mind has not been explored by the MSM – I’d like to hear Craig’s views on it, as I sure many of us would (hint, hint). It’s a letter that comes from the letters page of a recent issue of a certain British satirical magazine:

    “Sir,

    “In spite of reams of comment about Gary McKinnon in the Daily Mail, the real reason for US insistence on his extradition and the UK Government’s reluctance to accede to public pressure to refuse has never been suggested.

    “It is an absolute fact that a single individual of normal means, especially anyone ill or curious, cannot penetrate the computer systems of major American defence and security institutions. The combined or even splintered resources of NASA, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, CIA, National Security Agency and others are not vulnerable to an amateur, however enthusiastic, sitting in their bedroom with a laptop.

    “The reality is the same in all these situations. A foreign power or agency, and we can speculate as to which that might be in this case, recruits a vulnerable and unwitting stooge to act as a front for their carefully planned and highly resourced penetration. The attacking country or organisation provides their “agent”, through innocuous contact, with all the likely means to mount a remote attack.

    “When the penetration is discovered, as it inevitably will, the sponsoring organisation melts into the crowd, leaving the hapless individual to face the music. In Gary McKinnon’s case, the USA is desperate to interrogate him to discover details of his sponsors. The UK security agencies, fresh from embarrassment about their involvement in the rendition of terror suspects, will not be willing to undertake a sufficiently robust interrogation of McKinnon to satisfy the US authorities.

    “Yours faithfully,

    “SQN LDR J.N.Bennett (RAF Ret’d).”

    Searing analysis or elaborate hoax? I think we should be told!

  • Frank H Little

    I agree with the other commenters (E&OE – I can’t say I read every one in detail).

    As to not showing better in Norwich North, surely your international views overlap so much with those of most Liberal Democrats that the official party candidate was always going to do better?

  • mrjohn

    @mary

    my motivation ? I’d rather Mr Murray continued to blog on a range of issues, rather than belly ache over a blow to his ego.

    You may find my words a little harsh, but you must remember Mr Murray gave up a position of influence on a moral principle, now he must find if those principles will carry him through even after he has lost his momentum.

  • tony_opmoc

    SQN LDR J.N.Bennett,

    I have previously worked and been trained in the area of computer systems security, and become aware of extremely lax standards. This is both in large organisations I have worked for – and insisted to Senior Management that they be resolved – and also having become aware of extremely lax standards in other organisations including the Military. This was as a result of meeting other computer systems security professionals who related their experiences whilst withholding any sensitive details.

    I would not be in the slightest bit surprised if “a single individual of normal means, especially anyone ill” (I believe he has Aspergers – which often means an extremely highly intelligent and obsessive individual) “or curious”, could penetrate the computer systems of major American defence and security institutions”

    However, so far I am aware, there is no suggestion that this individual broke through the security in order to cause any damage or to personally benefit in any way. The only suggestion – which he has denied – is that he deleted critical files. All organisations must have multiple secure backups of all critical files – or they are not secure (files can be deleted by human error or hardware or system failure)

    As such rather than him being prosecuted and extradited, he should be congratulated and employed to find all the holes and to fix the security properly – and indeed employed to test the security of other systems.

    Complacency and lethagy are endemic in the very senior management of many organisations. They simply do not take computer security anything like as seriously as they should. Often the weakest point is not the physical, nor the systems security, but the staff employed who use the system on a regular basis.

    The amazing thing is that security breaches don’t happen far more often than they do. Often organisations go to great lengths in an attempt to hide such infiltration for fear of loss of confidence or major embarrassment.

    The high level of publicity over the prosecution of this individual is probably more of a deterrent nature to other hackers.

    Whilst such activity is not as much of a problem as it was 10 years ago, the alleged offenses were deemed to have taken place nearly 10 years ago.

    Whilst I have not followed this case in any detail, I feel it would be outrageous if he was extradited to the US. The UK Government should instead give him a token slap on the wrist – and give him a job

    Tony

  • MJ

    “I feel it would be outrageous if he was extradited to the US”

    Under the provisions of 2001’s US Patriot Act the US may hold foreign nationals suspected of a criminal offence indefinitely, without trial and without legal representation. On these grounds alone the UK should not be extraditing anyone to the US for any reason. It certainly would not have done so in the 1930s.

  • dreoilin

    A relative of mine is an experienced network security professional, and would agree with every single word Tony has written above. To state that “a single individual of normal means … cannot penetrate the computer systems of major American defence and security institutions” is, I’m afraid, a nonsense.

    The USA should be thanking Gary McKinnon, pinning some metal on his chest, and offering him a job.

  • dreoilin

    “Under the provisions of 2001’s US Patriot Act the US may hold foreign nationals suspected of a criminal offence indefinitely, without trial and without legal representation.”

    And if the UN was working half-properly (instead of being a vehicle for the US to throw its weight around) there would be international condemnation of this and a refusal to allow it to continue.

    (sigh)

  • Carl Eve

    Bollocks to Norwich and bollocks to you giving up blogging.

    I read your stuff Craig because I beleive you have certain insights on certain subjects which I’m very interested to hear.

    I don’t come to you for entertainment news or cookery lessons, I go somewhere else for that and if those people or places decided to shut down I’d be equally miffed.

    Your “community” do not live in Norwich North, they live everywhere in the UK and abroad. Frankly, you’re one step away from “I don’t like America because I got mugged when I was in downtown LA”. Just because the gurning farts in Norwich don’t want you to represent them, doesn’t mean your shouting into the wind.

    Bugger Norwich, as opposed to Bognor. Keep on blogging ffs. Otherwise you leave us with the witterings of Dale and Staines and frankly I’d rather piss in my eyes after eating a dozen Scotch Bonnets than do that…

  • anticant

    Craig, I come late to this thread because I’ve been off line for four days, thanks to the incompetence of BT.

    In the 1950s and ’60s I played a leading role in reforming a cruel and unjust law which criminalised gay sex. When we set out on our campaign we optimistically thought it would take ten years. In fact, it took nine years and eight months. So I can feel pleased at the outcome. But if I’d lost heart at the early setbacks – the hostile publicity, the scurrilous personal attacks, and lost parliamentary votes – it wouldn’t have happened when it did.

    All public work calls for patience and stamina. You are a key player in a far more important struggle against injustice, hypocrisy and lies than I was. You mustn’t give up. The past ten years have been a nightmare for anyone who truly loves our country and cares about its reputation. If I were younger, I would be back on the campaign trail too. All I can do now is a bit of supportive blogging now and then.

    You must keep going. Every individual counts. “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

    Keep steady. All power to your brain and pen.

  • tony_opmoc

    As Craig Murray is being discussed on another blog – largely favourably I should mention, and the discussion drifted such that someone posted this…

    “I am an Augustinian, and therefore a Christian. I don’t think of Communism or Objectivism as political. They are pagan cults.”…

    I recommended he/she should watch Zeitgeist – and so should you. I don’t agree with all of it, but its truly a fascinating movie

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-594683847743189197

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