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.

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97 thoughts on “A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu

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  • amk

    “Psychotherapy is becoming increasingly difficult to get on the NHS”

    One of the few things Nulab has done right is invest heavily in CBT provision. The fruits of that should be available on the NHS in the next few years.

  • arsalan

    Anno look at your son and be grateful you have him.

    And Craig kick yourself up the backside and pull yourself together.

    No matter what you have been through know that others have been through worse.

    Be grateful for what you have been given and stop crying over the tests you have been through.

    Are some of you shocked that I’m not part of the St Craig gang?

    Craig you have children to look after and a Jihad to fight. Slap yourself across the face, and get on with the struggle. You don’t have time to rest, there will be plenty of time for that when you enter the grave.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    I am a lawyer Craig….and I know … am not, generally speaking, a loved breed.

    However, I believe, I do have a conscience ( impossible – you might say – a lawyer with a conscience…huh?)

    All to say, my interest in world affairs keeps me visiting your blog.

    Not knowing you, save and except by this medium, I feel in a funny sense that I do.

    Coincidentally, I have a close family member who is bipolar. So, I can relate to your situation.

    And, to top it off mate, I think you are a genuine and sincere person.

    So, before your ego gets too big. Just get back to the blogoshere a.s.a.p.

    Cheers and chin up ‘ol boy.


  • glenn

    arsalan: Craig didn’t say he was inconsolably blubbering and intends doing so for an indefinite period, he was saying about stuff dug up from the past. He didn’t say anything about resting up either, but rather that this was sorting out some outstanding administration duties. Not really sure where you’re coming from with your criticism – it certainly doesn’t appear to have much to do with the blog entry.

  • anno


    Arsalan’s invitation to count one’s blessings is always a valid comment and not a criticism. I think Arsalan was also recognising the vastness of the brainless destructivity of the powers that be, before sending us out ‘over the top’.

    A water-logged trench full of corpses is no better place to be, than facing the enemy. Given the powerless situation we are in, the struggle is its own reward. And if even if it sometimes seems daunting, getting out of the trench and facing the music is a triumph of free-will and an absolute refusal to be cowed into submission.

    Emphasise the positive, minimise the negative. Hey-ho!

  • anno

    Also Glenn, was it you that said you chatted sometimes with your imaginary Creator. What about the logic of, ‘communico, ergo est’?

    ‘I talk, so He must be.’

  • Richard Robinson

    “What about the logic of, ‘communico, ergo est’?

    ‘I talk, so He must be.'”

    Doesn’t the answer come into it, somewhere ?

    Now when I talk to God, I know he understands,

    Says “Stick with me, I’ll be your guiding hand

    But don’t ask me what I think of you.

    I might not give the answer that you want me to”.

    Oh, well …

    … cue some unmistakable guitar playing.

  • glenn

    Anno: Absolutely not me, my friend. I have no time whatsoever for sky-spooks and imaginary all–powerful beings in my own image. You must have me confused with someone else, because whenever anyone calls upon mystical mumbo-jumbo and “belief” to make an argument, you will find me on the other side of it.

  • Vronsky


    “the struggle is its own reward”

    Bloody well has to be, from the look of things. Vaclav Havel says “Hope is not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”

    He must have known our troll, for he also says:

    “The man who hates does not smile, he merely smirks; he is incapable of making a joke, only of bitter ridicule; he can’t be genuinely ironic because he can’t be ironic about himself. Only those who can laugh at themselves can laugh authentically. A serious face, quickness to take offence, strong language, shouting, the inability to step outside himself and see his own foolishness these are typical of one who hates.”

    ..hmmm…also sounds a bit like Gordon Brown..

  • Suhayl Saadi

    I think, therefore I may be… maybe.

    There was a good book written recently, critiquing the whole industry of ‘positive thinking’, a modality of ‘therapy’ which derives from late C19th fundamentalist capitalism and the ‘supermen’. It’s basically Nazi. These are not quotes from the book, just my phrases:

    “You’re in a crap job: think positive, think like a ‘Dragon’s Den’ entrepreneur”: In your world you have zero control there is nothing you can be remotely entrepreneurial about. It’s a great big lie.

    “Personal development”: angels dancing on the head of a pin.

    If you want to develop your mind, read books and join a movement.

    “Everything’s working like clockwork, so let’s change it for the sake of change so that people can never have a sense of security and gang together against us. Then, when people can’t cope any more, let’s say simply that they had difficulty coping with change and if positive thinking doesn’t make them compliant, let’s just manage them out the door”. See through a glass, darkly.

  • John

    Welcome back Craig.

    God fled when he read that, men were created in his image.

    Can anyone say, why we still swear an oath on the bible to assert truth? It’s full of Judaical fantastical stories, which are now perpetrated by “The Sun” and other Murdoch productions.

    It should be known as “The First Book of Original Spin”.

  • mary

    ‘The government is being accused of dragging its feet over the publication of new guidelines for the intelligence agencies on the treatment of terrorist suspects held abroad. Gordon Brown signalled last week that the guidance would be released before a Commons debate on intelligence matters yesterday. Security correspondent Gordon Correra outlines the guidance, and Michael Mates, a senior Conservative MP on the Intelligence and Security Committee, discusses why the government delayed the report.’

    Radio 4 today – there is a link to the segment –


    PS No show without ‘I was there’ Frank Gardner or ‘I know eveything about terrrrr’ Gordon Correra. I looked the latter up once and there was a link to risk management/assessment within the likes of Price Waterhouse or similar (can’t remember which outfit).

  • mary

    A comment on the ‘interview’ with Mates from Badger on medialens.

    Water boarding is not torture

    Posted by Badger on March 19, 2010, 9:15 am

    according to Michael Mates, the Commons intelligence committee and the government. Most torture techniques are not torture but extreme forms of treatment, and so legal. Only the most extreme of these physical abuses cause concern, but not because they are torture. By definition (the definition was not supplied, but it is obviously: what we and our american allies actually do, but not what Moroccans, Pakistanis, Egyptians etc do) they are not, but they obviously make “civilised” men uncomfortable when confronted by their own hypocrisy and sadism.

    Michael Mates revealed all this to the Today (I frequently type that as Toady) programme, to not one murmur of dissent from the toadying interviewer.

  • ingo

    I heard that as well Mary, not surprisingly they are desperate to find reasopns to continue their war on terror approach.

    last nights news highlighted IED smuggled in from Iran, making out that they are fuelling our boys death, not the Taliban who use them and isntall them.

    This is spinning war with Iran and it is the BBC doing it. Should Israel, due to its diplomatic corner it find itself in, want to have a go at Iran, our election might be postponed.

    On the other hand, should it happen after an election that returns a hung Parliament, noLabour and Conservatives will support a war and try and brow beat the Lib Dems into it.

    Can someone translate sceptique’s post please, I’m partial to german Spanish and some portuguese, but not french, thank you. Something to do with modern communications.

  • anno


    Craig tried to convince the JCHR that our acceptance of material from torture creates a demand for it.

    The regimes in Morocco etc were put in place by us at the end of the last big thrust of colonialism WW2. So we had already made the supply end as well.

    The JCHR pondered and asked,’Does it really look that bad? What can we think of in our own defence?’ Answer1/ We were following George Bush who cancelled the Hunman Rights of the Muslims. Answer2/ It wasn’t really torture anyway. Answer3/ We won’t get any evidence if we decide to prosecute, so copy Obama and close the file. Answer4/ A bell has rung for a parliamentary vote, which we will lose our jobs if we don’t go and do. Answer5/ It’s time for a cup of tea anyway.

  • anno

    Ingo, I think they’re saying we all got out of bed the wrong side and don’t take life so seriously, but hopefully a more accurate version will materialise soon.

  • tony_opmoc


    Your honesty in laying out your most personal guts on here is most unusual and disarming.

    I went through a similar period when my life was falling apart in 1985, when I too wouldn’t open any mail and hid it from my partner.

    Whilst some of the stuff I write on here after drinking large quantities of alcohol undoubtedly gives the impression that I am insane and writing gibberish, most of it is actually true.

    For example at 2:10 am Yesterday morning someone did decide to have a bonfire in the middle of the road right outside our house.

    They took a kid’s plastic sledge from outside next door’s and got a mound of old clothing, doused the lot with petrol and set fire to it. Some of the charred mess and molten plastic is still welded to the road.

    They ran for it when little Wendy came out with a bucket of water (pity it wasn’t a bucket of piss).

    I suspect they were probably associated with the same group of people who stole my car several years ago. The police phoned me up the next day and said the good news is that we have found your car, the bad news is that you won’t want to see it as its been completely burnt out.

    I don’t get paranoid about such things, its just symbolic of the way our society is collapsing.

    I’m just glad there has been no personal confrontation that could have resulted in serious violence, but if lunatics are going round doing stuff like this you can’t just ignore it.

    Although I have no evidence, I suspect the culprits may live a few miles away, very near to the field where my burnt out car was found.

    The pub is about a mile in the opposite direction.


  • John

    So, there’s another thread of terrorism that leads back to Iran–and therefore a further move towards a threat to Iran.

    It is pretty-well, a certainty that Israel will do another cowardly pre-emptive strike, while the Zionist controlled western countries sit on their hands.

    I have not heard it explained, how Israel became a nuclear power through the 1960’s to the present, without some obstruction/objection from all the usual organisations and countries, interested in non-proliferation.

    I do not fear Iran with nuclear weapons, so much as I do, America and Israel nuclear armed. These are two of the most aggressive countries in the world at present and it is difficult to see, which is striving the more, for hegemony.

    So why doesn’t America and the western powers, demand Israel’s total nuclear disarming, in exchange for Iran’s renouncing of its alleged aspirations for nuclear weapons?

    Is this too simplistic–or does it interfere with a little Armageddon further down the line?

  • Clark

    Anno, Glenn, Richard Robinson, Suhayl Saadi,


    I’m the atheist that prays to a possibly imaginary creator – see the third paragraph of my comment, yesterday at 8:54 PM. It is something I have mentioned on a previous thread.


    I do not believe in a personal god, separate from reality, that intervenes in physical reality from ‘outside’. I’m not really sure about what I do believe on this matter, it is a ‘work in progress’ and I’m not sure that it could be described by words anyway. But I’m intrigued by aspects of relativity and quantum physics that enable the existence of free will. Remember Schrodinger’s Cat; it is conscious observervation that collapses the wave function!

    Richard Robinson,

    yes, the answer does come into it. There are only certain answers that a deity for everyone would give. Praying for my own advantage to someone else’s detriment is likely to be ‘answered’ with ‘NO’! The exercise consists of remembering that I’m praying to everyone’s God. This only works with monotheism, of course.

    Suhayl Saadi,

    thank you for your 7:54 AM comment. My vague ideas about reality may seem New-Age-ish, but I have noticed this ‘right-wing’ aspect to the individualist, ‘positive thinking’ approach, and I dislike it.

  • glenn

    Translation of Sceptique’s post : Roughly along the lines of…

    —Start quote

    Blaise Pascal said, “All our misfortune comes from not knowing how to remain quietly in our room. Obviously, with the modern means of communication and already with the simple daily mail, it is not enough precisely to remain at the house. It is still necessary not to take much too seriously these things.

    My best wishes with you

    —end quote

  • Arsalan

    Glenn they will show you a real gun, then when you give them your money they will give you a box with a water pistel inside it. Who will you cry to?

    The police?

  • A Weigh With The Fairies

    ‘I talk, so He must be.’

    I talk to an imaginary friend.

    Therefore she must be.

  • Anonymous

    Sorting out the mail.

    Sometimes i’m away from base for a month or so and there is an avalanche of mail to deal with on return.

    quickly put into three piles judging by the outside. 1 Junk, leaflets, free newspapers etc.

    2 Official looking stuff, brown envelopes, that kind of stuff.

    3 Personal looking items, cards, letters

    Look at 3 straight away and catch up on what really is 1mportant. look at items from pile 2 during the next few days.

    As for the first batch, straight in the bin with them or now back to the royal mail red boxes for them to deal with as they probably delivered it anyway.

    For items in 2 demanding money, reseal and send back saying opened in error , gone awa. will buy some time at least.

    paperwork is best done quickly and always remember the best filng cabinet is the rubbish can

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