The Lonely Liberal 38

I remain a liberal. As I have explained often with regard to my views on specific political questions, my political thought sits in a tradition handed down from Hazlitt, Bright, John Stuart Mill and Gladstone. That will always be the case. I joined the Liberal Party in 1973.

There is much to be said for consistency and for loyalty. But I really cannot with conscience look at the reforms to introduce private profit into the NHS and the state education sector, and remain a card carrying member of a governing party. These are not small points. So I have left.

I shall not back any political party in England. I have always supported Scottish independence, and I have now taken out a formal SNP membership. There is no perfection in practical politics and should be no idols. But Alex Salmond and his people are doing a decent job in an imperfect world. For reasons I gave recently, breaking up the British state and its resurgent neo-imperialism and neo-conservatism is a political priority.

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38 thoughts on “The Lonely Liberal

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  • Walk Tall Hang Loose

    Craig, I am with you on this. I have voted Liberal/Liberal Democrat since the seventies, and was a member for a while. Not next time.
    The crunch issue for me, as a former academic, was the commercialisation of university teaching. I believe Clegg could have stopped this if he had wanted to. I doubt Cameron would have risked a general election over the issue.
    I am English but lived in Aberdeen for several years. Many English residents supported the SNP when they realised the disdain with which the English ruling class regarded the Scots. If the Scots want independence (I am sure there are arguments against as well as for) good luck to them.

  • John Goss

    “For reasons I gave recently, breaking up the British state and its resurgent neo-imperialism and neo-conservatism is a political priority.”
    If it does that few commentators on this site will complain.
    Are you thinking of standing?

  • writeon

    I can appreciate Craig’s feelings and disappointment with the role of the “Liberals” inside the present government. I seem to remember mentioning that he was going to be, when he announced his support for the Liberals before the last election, if my memory serves me well.

    The break-up of the United Kingdom, reflects a deeper sickness at the heart of society and the state. After so many centuries of being “united” on these islands, I’m not sure why rival nationalisms have such a hold on people. If it’s really just a case of “rats” deserting a sinking ship, then I’m not sure it’s a realistic strategy, as one could find oneself hanging separately as opposed to together, and I’m not sure that I’d find that comforting. But then I’ve never been a great fan of nationalism, nations, volk/folk, people’s, or the “magic” of blood and soil. All of them, in my opinion, ultimately, dangerous and romantic fantasies or mythology. But then, I don’t have a country or a people anymore, and I probably never did. As my great, great, grandfather, a banker in Vienna used to reportedly say, my country and my people, are here, as he pointed to his bulging wallet.

  • jagsman

    I am Scottish, born and bred, altho` with an English mother who moved up when she was 9. I feel, “feel” as in the sense of what my guts tell me, Scottish: not anti- English, Irish or anything-else-ish, but with a strong affinity or tug to where I belong, much more so than to (going one way) being British or (going the other way) being Glaswegian. I cannot explain it, but over the last several years I have exercised my vote in that direction. Why might that have been? I think that the main factor driving me has been the “small is beautiful” factor: maybe within a sovereign state of 5m souls you will get to feel that your vote is having some influence. Perhaps I am just being naive, but when one votes in UK elections (or takes part in a mass gathering in Hyde Park to bring attention to one`s views on a particular matter) the feeling of utter futility leaves one bereft and anxious to try another way, and the UK professional politicans` response of scorn and scaremongering to such other way only serves to re-enforce one`s gut instinct that it`s worth a go.

  • arsalan

    Craig didn’t we all tell you this when you joined the bastards against your better judgement?
    I think you need to feel ashamed of yourself for helping them get elected, by doing your part in distributing their propaganda?

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Craig,

    Funny you say this Craig:-

    ” There is much to be said for consistency and for loyalty. But I really cannot with conscience look at the reforms to introduce private profit into the NHS and the state education sector,…”

    because – it is much the same point n Libya:-

    “I cannot see anytime in the near future much good, for the Libyan people en mass, coming out of the whole Libyan exercise to oust Gadaffi. With Western domination of Libyan oil, as with the US presence in Iraq, the future for Libya looks very bleak – IMF loans, World Bank indebtedness, privatization of the best sectors of the Libyan economy ( health care, education and its vast water supplies included ), McDonald’s galore and with Libya moving from a debt free nation to indebtedness to the West, a plethora of cultural, racial and tribal tensions unleashed such that Western backed leadership will prove unlikely to manage ( because the UK and France simply are not interested in) the best interest of the Libyan people. Will the rebel faction be able to maintain and control political power in Libya without NATO backing?”

    Which is what I said in teh previous post and elaborated on. Yet, you now see it on the narrow scale in the UK – while the process is being inflicted on the Libyans on a huge scale via military impostion and significant loss of life.

  • Jack

    My late father, a lifelong socialist but no pushover for any party line, used to characterise the Liberals as “Without the conviction to be socialists or the balls to be Tories – neither flesh nor fowl!”

    Unfair, I used to think at the time (my own leanings then being in that direction.) But perhaps less unfair now. Today I hold the Liberal Party in less regard than the Tories – and I never thought that possible.

    Look on the bright side – after decades since Liberals held any sway, Clegg has personally ensured it’ll be a century before they ever do so again. If indeed there is a bright side, given that Tories and New Labour are indistinguishable and the Liberals offer not the slightest hope of opposition to either. I can see why Craig is attracted to the SNP – no offence, Craig, but there’s not much else left, is there?

    I’m English by birth but have lived in Scotland most of my life and wouldn’t move south again for anything. I have to own up – a decade or two ago I found the idea of Scottish independence risible. I was wrong – roll it out – if England has little to offer its own, it now has precious little to offer the Scots.

    That said I currently live only a few miles north of the Border. After independence, things ether side of the line could get quite interesting, I think. Just bear in mind I’m retired – don’t go forcing us all into 2nd mortgages to get the new passports.

  • TP

    ‘…the disdain with which the English ruling class regarded the Scots.’
    Walk Tall Hang Loose

    What English ruling class?

    It is, has been since the sixteenth century, and sadly will continue to be for some time, a British ruling class, made up of an elite from all the British nations and even some ex-colonies.

    Note, too, that, especially under New Labour, there was an over-representation of non-English ministers and MPs in Westminster. My local MP in London, a Tory, was Scottish, and the Tory MP next door was also a Scot, even though there were few, if any, Tory MPs in Scotland itself.

    The unfairness of the British union works both ways and I remind you that the majority of us in England are ordinary working people, often descended from migrant labourers from Ireland, Scotland and elsewhere, and who have had nothing to do with empires and elites, or the supposed oppression of Scotland.

    The sooner this now dysfunctional British union is ended, and replaced with a looser association of independent nations on the Scandinavian model, the better.

  • Ruth

    Unfortunately, all UK parties now have the same agenda. I’ve always thought the last election was fixed to bring in a coalition government. When unpopular measures are brought in the flack can be taken by just one of the leaders leaving the other unscathed so the government remains in tact to carrying on cutting. I don’t know but I wouldn’t be surprised if Clegg works for the intelligence service.

    I don’t think Scotland will get its independence because I see Salmond as one of the Establishment. He was invited by Blair to become a privy councillor soon after Blair’s visit to Libya to set up the prisoner exchange agreement. I have little doubt that Salmond was involved in the shenanigans that led to Megrahi being released.

  • Tris

    Ruth: I think you’ll find he was made a privy counsellor because, as first minister of Scotland (which he had JUST become) he needed to be a PC so that should there be matters which he HAD to know for security or other reasons, he could be informed on the basis of a PC to a PC. That means that it is impossible (or as near to it) to use the information for political purposes.

    It also means that the Queen can tell him things in utter confidence.

    You seriously think that a UK bauble would tempt Salmond to be as corrupt as Blair and Brown…? You definitely don’t know the man.

  • Hydraargyrum

    Craig, I was Convener of Dundee University SNP coincident with when you were President of the Student Association. We talked on numerous occasions back then. You were always very fair, open-minded and sympathetic. I don’t know if you have intentions to stand for Westminster but it would amuse me no end if you were able to contest Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath!

  • Vronsky

    Welcome, Craig – I’m so glad. It takes a great deal of physical and intellectual courage to change parties. I think you will be a positive influence on matters in Scotland and I share your hope that positive developments here will help to bring change elsewhere. Let’s build a good example.

  • alan campbell

    Signing on to join political parties is so 1980s.

    Far better to follow the apocryphal lead of the Irish immigrant who when asked who he would support in an election: “Who’s in power? Well, I’m against them”

  • James Chater

    I think it was only a matter of time before you left the party headed by the turncoat Clegg. Let us hope the SNP don’t also turn out to be a disappointment. I am English and live outside the UK but if I were to return I would seriously think about settling in Scotland whether or not it breaks away from the UK, for at least 2 reasons: affordable education for my two children and greater likelihood of being looked after in my old age.
    The exit of Scotland from the UK would leave the rest of the UK with a permanent (so it seems) Tory majority, but that is not Scotland’s problem. It could provide the UK with the wake-up call it needs. I see no hope of change coming from anything the UK parliament could do or from elections alone. Only a long period of direct action, such as strikes and disruption, will, it seems to me, lead to profound or significant change. And unfortunately change that comes too late is not always for the better, as shown by the French and Russian Revolutions .

  • anno

    Why resign from the liberals because they are not being socialist?
    Why not resign because they are not being Liberal? viz they have un-Liberal pressure groups like the Liberal Friends of Israel.
    or, They back a foreign policy which is motivated purely by greed at the expense of other nations.
    or, They condemn rioting instead of trying to address the grievances of the young people who rioted.

  • ingo

    Whilst agreeing with Beeston Regis that political parties are pants, dogma and false agneda’s, I welcome your membership of the SNP, Clegg’s Con/demning party coaltion has never deserved your honesty and fervour for human rights and openess.

    Although quiet a stalk away from Norfolk, I would support any campaign by you with my usual footwrenching work, as long as I get fed and watered.

    All those in Scotland who yet do not know you will be pleased and hopefully eager to do likewise. Find the right constituency and go for it, hell for leather, I would love to hear you in Hollyrod.

  • lwtc247

    Well done Craig. You were far too good for PARTY Liberalism which was always way, way below you. I applaud your act immensely. I do however feel sorry that you may now feel ‘lonley’, but you will actually never be alone as most of what the man Craig Murray stands for has garnered real friends from across the globe. It matters not that you may not see their faces. The world needs More Craig Murray’s. Tell Nadira 😉

  • Wikispooks

    Alex Salmond’s biggest problem is that he is neck-deep in the gross Machiavellian dishonesty – the Deep Black Lies – of the al-Megrahi Lockberbie conviction and its continuing absurdities. His utterances on the subject – post Megrahi release – are a study in complicity with the Establishment ‘Official Narrative’ (and I include both Westminster and Holyrood establishments since, in matters of SIS/foreign policy, they remain joined-at-the-head with no realistic prospect of successful surgery to separate them).
    That narrative grinds the Scottish legal establishment in the gutter and Salmond ought to be ashamed of himself for being party to it.

  • craig Post author


    Trying to wrest Scotland out of the grip of the UK establishment is a gigantic task. Salmond can’t fight every single battle simultaneously. Letting Megrahi go was a courageous call. There are centuries of injustice behind us – Megrahi’s conviction was just one example – all of which have legacies that need to be righted. I honestly don’t blame Salmond for looking to the goal of independence first, to start to get that ability.

  • Wikispooks

    Releasing Megrahi is not the problem (except in so far as the release was part and parcel of preventing the details of the SCCRC recommendation for a retrial becoming public.
    It is his complicity with the Scottish Establishment’s (legal and higher) maintenance of the fiction that Megrahi had a fair trial and in continuing to hide the evidence that would clear him that is at the heart of Salmond’s problem. That, together with maintaining the fiction of his guilt and emphasising his compassion – together they leave a nasty taste. It is evidence that he himself is compromised. THAT is the real problem IMHO.
    I have no problem with his seeking independence because, sure as hell, without it Holyrood is a triviality

  • mike cobley

    I understand your resignation, Craig, and support it. That said, I’m keeping my LD membership for now. Why? – well, because I’m an SF writer with an abiding fascination for politics; I want to be around when the Clegg experiment finally comes crashing down, and the awful realisation spreads through the party like seeping dread. Ahem, or so I imagine it might do. In any case, I`ll be reporting on it in due course.

  • Vronsky

    “Megrahi’s conviction was just one example”
    Unfortunately so, and we’re just talking about Scotland. Get yourself up to date at and the ‘Recommended Scottish Justice Websites & Blogs’ linked there. You might also drop in to Ian Hamilton QC ( and feel the indignation of an old lawman. It will be good to have a fresh pair of eyes on all this and I look forward to seeing your reports here. Ruth perhaps goes too far with the Privy Council stuff (though I’m not sure) but certainly there is a can of worms needing opened.

  • Derek Martin

    Dear Craig;
    I have your books and am a regular reader of these essays, but have never corresponded before. Your situation is very much like mine when I left the Labour Party thirty odd years ago. Full of lament for going, because of what the Party had been, and also lament for what It had become. Now I think parties are not such a good idea -Shaw had his doubts too, though I don’t see how you can work together without something of the kind. Anyway, I’m sorry for you it had to go, but I’m very glad for the rest of us because now we can read you without the underlying ‘but’ because of the company you were keeping.
    All the best to you. Many thanks, and do keep going. Derek Martin.


  • joe kane

    Glad you’ve seen the light Craig.
    The anti-neoliberal SNP is where it’s at.
    There are decent people in the Lib Dems, which goes without saying, and it’s great to see the Lib Dem conference vote to do something about the Westminster Government’s truly evil welfare reforms for instance.
    Here is the lovely Sue Marsh on the matter, along with the Lib Dem’s who seem to care about the most vulnerable in our community and what this depraved government is doing to them –

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