A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu 97


I haven’t been taken ill, or shut down by unfriendly fire from governments or lawyers.

In 2003 my life collapsed around my ears; I was hopitalised several times and I had neither time nor capacity for personal administration. Over the next couple of years I lost job, income, home and marriage. I was simply unable to face the mountain of correspondence those crises generated. Unless the address was handwritten, I didn’t open it, and sometimes not then. Being bipolar, one of my problems in depressive periods has always been a terror – and I use the word carefully – of opening mail. Then I moved into a tiny flat with nowhere anyway to file anything.

The upshot is that 90% of seven years of correspondence lay in almost thirty cardboard boxes, perhaps a third of it unopened. Much of it is indeed very unpleasant. To give just the example of life insurance policies, 27 different letters saying direct debit payments were missed, and subsequent letters detailing the cancellation of these policies. Plus matching letters from the bank detailing payments not made and fines imposed for “administration”. 17 letters from British Gas threatening disconnection, 11 from Thames Water. 54 letters from debt collection agencies threatening court action. 62 letters from the Inland Revenue, who pursue me with a zeal they never display about Lord Ashcroft or David Mills.

Then there are the 48 solicitors’ letters about the divorce, the letters from the Foreign Office about my sacking, the letters from the Treasury solicitors trying to stop publication of Murder in Samarkand…

You will have gathered that, my life being very much together again, and finally having some filing cabinets and somewhere to put them, I have spent the last week ploughing through the whole lot, sorting it and chucking or filing it as appropriate. I shut myself off from the world and got down to it. It has been tough, as of course it evokes starkly some very, very hard times and difficult emotions.

There is of course also stuff which brings a warm glow. Memories of Nadira’s support in times of despair, little bits and pieces belonging to my children. The loving emotions are the most disabling of all.

Anyway, good news is I am almost finished. It will be a huge weight off my mind.

Most cheering of all were the over 400 letters of support, mostly from complete strangers, many of whom outlined their own experience of injustice and persecution. Many real apologies to the large majority, to whom I did not reply. They have all now been read.

Back to blogging by the weekend, I hope.


97 thoughts on “A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu

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  • Clark

    Anno,

    God’s work, or the product of evolution, whichever way you look at it, is more robust than you give it credit for. Psychological research across cultures has revealed an innate human morality. Computer simulations of “Game Theory” scenarios have revealed that morality can even be found in simple arithmetic! (See ‘The Origins of Virtue’ by Matt Ridley.)

    I was astounded and deeply moved when I learned this; even beneath the substrate of matter, deeper than the physical basis of the universe, there exist morals. Now that I’ve got used to the idea, it seems sort of obvious and inevitable, I suspect that a universe without a moral basis would cease to exist almost instantly, as the first acquisitive thing that arose would consume all else.

    I find this deeply reassuring. The universe has been improving for billions of years, and will continue to do so with or without humans. We can get our act together and continue on this great journey, or we can go the way of the dinosaurs. I doubt that the Creator, whether personal or just a principle, cares much either way, with two hundred billion other star system in this galaxy alone for entertainment.

    You are right, the JHCR were pathetic. Still, in the long run things will change for the better; they always have. So I suppose you could call that my faith. And my moral motivation: I wish to be part of the Great Improvement that I call evolution, rather than an eventual irrelevance, such as these insipid politicians.

  • anno

    The leaders of both the disbelievers like the JCHR and also the Muslims have causes which they believe in and for which they are both prepared to suspend morality. That is because they believe in themselves more than they believe in God. Belief in yourself is a delusion which we call politics, which is the promotion of yourself over others.

    The current wars are not one-sided. They are desired by the leaders of all creeds, who care nothing about the consequences of their lies and politicking. Like Tony Blair, like Usama bin Laden, they do not remotely care about the suffering of war. They care only about their own egos, and they admire eachothers’ egos on different sides of the ideological divide.

    All politics is the search of the ego for power. Morality is the search for helping and serving others and helping and serving God. The problems of our times are just as much caused by the dirty hearts of the Islamic leadership as the filthy hearts of the Western leadership. They are equally wrong, equally responsible and equally obsessed with themselves at the expense of the causes they pretend to support.

    Leaders always underestimate the intelligence and faith of their followers. They see our suspension of criticism of them as evidence that we are convinced of their integrity. I am neither convinced of the integrity of the JCHR nor the integrity of the Muslim leaders. If a human being chooses to appoint someone else as custodian of his soul, caveat emptor, buyer beware.

    My fiercely protestant, Huguenot origins refuse to appoint a mediator between myself and my Creator, which unfortunately is the tradition of both the Christians and the Sufis whose thinking still dominates Islam. Yes, Islam will eventually reform, when people realise that the leaders we have now are only interested in destructive power. Islam needs Protestant reform. Everybody reading the Book of Allah and making a direct connection with Him.

    Leaders are the same as us, but they have been convinced by Satan that they possess special power.

  • Richard Robinson

    “Leaders are the same as us, but they have been convinced by Satan that they possess special power.”

    In the secular sense, of course, they do have special power. It’s called the “monopoly of organised violence”.

    (“Satan” isn’t language I’d use, but I don’t think I’m disagreeing with you much).

  • anno

    “monopoly of organised violence”

    Democracy appoints a monopoly of organised violence, without consultation and without appraisal from the people. But this can be and was opposed by leaders like Saddam Hussain. It’s curious that the subjects of dictatorships try to subvert their tyranny while the subjects of democratic tyranny merely avert their eyes.

    We submit to totalitarian control ourselves but criticise others for having robust power structures. Of course I am in favour of Islamic jihad challenging the monopoly of organised violence that we should be challenging ourselves, by civil unrest and informed discussion. Our leaders have got us by the balls, by bombarding us with taxes from everywhere, but Islamic groups are not unknown to exert unfair pressure on their supporters.

    Why do we see fit to send our forces to Iraq and Afghanistan supposedly to break down their power structures, instead of challenging the steel grip of our own leaders?

  • Clark

    Hi Anno,

    two good posts here from you; as I expected, we phrase things differently but agree on much. It’s been a busy day here, and Craig has posted, so I may have to continue this discussion another time…

  • Richard Robinson

    “Why do we see fit to send our forces to Iraq and Afghanistan supposedly to break down their power structures, instead of challenging the steel grip of our own leaders?”

    Er. The forces are fairly clear who they take orders from, I think.

  • Jaded.

    Craig, replying to everyone is impossible. My advice is to knock up a letter template to send to those that write to you personally. Thank them for their correspondence and assure them you have read it. Then, explain that you are unable to reply individually to all the letters you get, but write something like ‘best wishes’ and sign them all personally at the end. Just my tuppence worth.

    P.S. Alternatively, you could hire Lamby and Soba to reply for you. They seem to have plenty of spare time on their hands. 😉

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