Down Again 179

Sorry for the hiatus. I am suffering one of my periodic periods of self-doubt and depression. This was caused in part by my being very disappointed at the number of people who listened to my talk at Occupy London, and subsequently by my inability to get anyone mainstream to publish a major piece I have been working on. That has never happened to me before.

A little niche on the web helps you forget how insignificant you are; try to step outside that niche and you are brutally reminded.

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179 thoughts on “Down Again

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  • John Goss

    Mary, it’s very worrying that the UN Nuclear Agency continues to target Iran (one of the countries NATO has on its hit list). I am no more worried if Iran develops nuclear weapons than I was when Pakistan developed them. But I am worried that any country has them. Let it never be forgotten that the only country to have used nuclear weapons in a war is the US. Now that’s worrying! That’s where my main fear comes from!

  • Vronsky

    “Nul points?”
    Oh, don’t be so churlish. They’re terrifically better at singing than they are at reporting the news. They should do this all the time: C4News, a cute little foot-tapping number, not really to be taken seriously.
    I might have posted this before but no apology for posting again. Keep going through to the end to get the poem. It’ll make you wish you were in Glasgow.

  • nuid

    Glad you liked the song, Mary. One of my favourites, and I thought it might suit this thread of Craig’s.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    You’re definitely significant politically Craig. That doesn’t mean your side of the argument will always persuade the majority, or that governments will always listen if you do, but you are making a difference – lots of people, myself included, regularly read your blog for both facts you highlight and interesting (and often very persuasive) arguments you make – and for the jokes too. So you’re influencing a lot of people.

    Just don’t let the odd disappointment get you down – put it down to the fact that you can’t win all the time or in every area you’d like to and move on.

    I wonder if switching to listening to only upbeat music might help if you’re feeling down? I know you said previously you were listening to a mixture of upbeat and sad music to try to maintain a balance, but i find if i do that some sad song will stick in my head and depress me, while if i listen to only upbeat songs i feel much better.

  • rose

    Nul points cont – but didn’t this all start with Harold welcoming the Beatles to No 10 and then on to Angela Rippon flashing her legs on Morecambe and Wise? Politics as a branch of show biz. Twas ever thus.

  • simon

    There’s so much we could agree on Craig, but unfortunately you weaken many of your arguments by your use of unnecessary personal abuse.

    Just a couple of examples:

    * I’m no supporter of Polly Toynbee, but your characterisation of her as a ‘deluded old bat’ hardly smacks of serious commentating.

    * I think Liam Fox’s actions and those of his circle should be properly investigated (although of course they won’t be) but describing him as an ‘ odious little bigot’ just makes it sound as though you have an axe to grind.

    Of course, if you want to sound like the Daily Express, fine, but if you want more people to take you seriously, strip out the pointless vitriol and more of us might come to listen to your talks.

  • Greenmachine

    Just ponder the effects of your insight! All these replies often pre-date a letter to an MP/MSM outlet and discussion with many friends and colleagues. your influence is growing not diminishing!Keep it up Craig and best wishes.

  • Maidhc Ó Cathail


    You are having an effect. Have you noticed the Jewish Chronicle’s desperate attempts at damage control over the Fox/Werrity scandal?

    Fox donor alarm at Werritty cash trail

    Three senior figures in the Jewish community are known to have given money to Mr Werritty: Mick Davis, chief executive of Xstrata and chair of the executive committee of the Jewish Leadership Council, Poju Zabludowicz, the property billionaire who also chairs Israel advocacy group Bicom, and Michael Lewis, a former vice-chair of Bicom who heads Oceana Investments.

    The donors remain furious at the suggestion that they sought out Liam Fox’s friend in order to buy influence or access.

    Tories solicited cash for Werritty

    One senior community source told the JC that the Fox-Werritty story was about the Conservative Party raising funds, not about businessmen buying access.

    Pro-Israel? Time for a British media Fox hunt

    The British press no longer use the term “pro-Israel” descriptively – only ominously. To state that someone is pro-Israel is not to state a fact but to make a slur. It is to suggest dark and sinister dealings. It is as fine an example as exists of the moral inversion that now grips this country.

  • Komodo

    Agree with Simon, Craig. You’re rather lucky that this is the first time you’ve had trouble placing stuff. At ground level (mine), even a good writer is hard-pressed to sell stuff to the MSM, and this is quite an achievement in itself. The MSM ARE more likely to go for reasonably objective accounts rather than those flagging your own opinions. And if Toynbee is a deluded old cow, she is probably a sacred cow as well if you are trying to flog a piece to the Guardian…
    Mary: I’ve been interested in US-Israel organisations since 2001. Their main features of interest have been their complete interlocking with policy makers and their ingenuity in bypassing the constitutional chain of command. However, the names involved are changing with time and it is worth keeping up to date with them. They are NOT exclusively Republican-oriented any more, and Obama’s elevation to honorary Jewish status is significant…

  • ingo

    Agreed Komodo and Mary, what influence AIPAC is pressing home over there is once again interlocked with what the FoI do here in blighty, their influence in the respective parties, not to speak of their access to the highest circles of policy makers is ankered in the established political system.

  • Komodo

    The quote from the JPost illustrates something unintentionally:

    “Pro-Israel? Time for a British media Fox hunt

    The British press no longer use the term “pro-Israel” descriptively – only ominously. To state that someone is pro-Israel is not to state a fact but to make a slur. It is to suggest dark and sinister dealings. It is as fine an example as exists of the moral inversion that now grips this country.”

    Not the moral inversion that has gripped Israel for decades?
    Nope, it’s all our fault.

  • Komodo

    Memory Lane post. Nothing like the warm glow of nostalgia for cheering us up during these gloomy times:
    “Pointing to a union chief’s observation at the weekend that Labour was “almost up for sale now to the highest bidder”, Dr [Liam Fox] added: “If they can’t be bought, it appears they can be rented.”

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Good one, Komodo! And ‘rent boy’ Liam Fox should know, right?!!
    Re. Melanie Phillips, while occasionally she does come up with good pieces, mostly one is drawn to wondering whether, at some point in her development, someone might have dropped her on her head. When she was Leftist, in terms of the temperament of her discourse, she was exactly the same (I hear, from people who worked with her). Having said that, she knows exactly what she is doing.

  • Komodo


    “I never dared be radical when young
    For fear I would be conservative when old”
    (Robert Frost)
    She’s pretty well universally known as “Mad Mel”-even by some of her colleagues on the Mail, I believe. Wiki has the following, and much more.
    “Phillips’s criticisms of liberal Jews who disagree with her positions on Israel have been condemned by Jewish writers such as Jonathan Freedland, Alan Dershowitz, and Rabbi David Goldberg. Freedland was “horrified” that Phillips labeled Independent Jewish Voices, a group of liberal Jews, as “Jews For Genocide”. He wrote in The Jewish Chronicle: “Now, as it happens, I have multiple criticisms of IJV […] but even their most trenchant opponents must surely blanch at the notion that these critics of Israel and of Anglo-Jewish officialdom are somehow in favour of genocide—literally, eager to see the murder and eradication of the Jewish people […] it is an absurdity, one that drains the word ‘genocide’ of any meaning.”[39]

    Alan Dershowitz has said that Phillips has committed lashon harah, a Hebrew term for spreading malicious lies, in her commentary about the Obama administration’s policies towards the Middle East. More generally, he has also stated: “I support its liberal policies… if Israel were to turn against these values—if it were to become an oppressive theocracy, like all Muslim countries today, that subjugates women, discriminates against gays and subjects science to religious censorship—I would become extremely critical of any such nation. Israel will never become such a country because, fortunately, the vast majority of Israelis reject the extremist views of Melanie Phillips.”[38]”

  • Komodo

    Why, thank you, OEMyibbleyibble. It is indeed rare to find a spambot attaching itself to a widely-read blog column in the hope of upping its Google hit count which exhibits such taste, discernment and general wikkidness.
    Craig: your blog is obviously a profitable place for a spambot. This means it is being read. Congratulations, but you need to use CAPTCHA or something similar for the authentication process. Basics here:

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Komodo, that’s interesting, thanks for the info., I didn’t know that wrt the various Jewish writers in relation to ‘Mad Mel’. Good quote from Robert Frost – a kind of antidote to the more famous one from Churchill.
    Yes, the smapbots are fun sometimes. For a while, before the site was moderated to any extent, I had some intriguing interactions with some spambots. Sad, I know.
    I’d like to see what might happen in Mad Mel were given LSD on-air, rather like Christopher Mayhew (later a Labour MP allegedly close to the security services) some 50 years ago. Now that would be one piece of reality TV I would watch!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    ‘it is an absurdity, one that drains the word ‘genocide’ of any meaning.”[39]’ [from Komodo].
    That phrase reminded of something… can’t think what… it’ll come to me, sooner or later.
    Here is a toast to the Year of the Dragon!

  • Tom Kennedy

    People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
    Love them anyway.

    If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
    Do good anyway.

    If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
    Succeed anyway.

    The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
    Do good anyway.

    Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
    Be honest and frank anyway.

    The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
    Think big anyway.

    People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
    Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

    What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
    Build anyway.

    People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
    Help people anyway.

    Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
    Give the world the best you have anyway.

    – Kent M. Keith

  • mary

    Ref Mad Mel
    Why is she allowed to spout her twisted views endlessly on Radio 4’s Moral Maze?
    I feel sorry for her husband Joshua Rozenberg! He is also a BBC regular when they require a legal opinion on a news item.

  • Sid

    As one of the few people who attended your talk at the Occupy camp, I’d like to tell you that it was excellent and eye-opening. I generally regard myself as quite well-informed, but felt some wool being removed from my wishful eyes. You did warn that the military-industrial machine needed another war, and likely it would happen with Iran before too long. When I got home I checked the headlines and it seemed that very day that the nuclear threat of Iran was suddenly resurrected! Keep doing what you do!

  • martin

    I’ve only ever had to pull over and just listen to the radio once in my life. It was your interview with John Humphries on Radio 4. Then I read the book. I wept very painfully after the R4 version of it. You’re a good man. I should be proud to call you a friend.

  • Daniel Rodger

    It may not be relevant, but I think I used to suffer from depression as a student. It was better when I found some work, first in market research. But i think what really cured it was picking up a gideon bible in hotel in cardiff, and puzzling over it. Then I bumped into Birmingham Chruch (oops, that was an unintentional slip of the key – I mean Church) of Christ, finally got baptised in 2002 after much deliberation, and finally being impacted by CS Lewis’s Mere Christianity, particularly the chapter on Pride. I think the only thing that saves me from depression when I am locked in a room on my own with my music and computer, are calls or texts from Christian friends. I might get sad, or lonely, or unhappy, or bored, but I don’t think I get depressed. In fact, I have probably fallen away a little,but God is quite amazing – I don’t think I believe in coincidences, everything is arranged by God. For example, I recently wrote to the HR department of my company to ask for a replacement Gideon bible for the one that had gone missing several years earlier. Low and behold, a few days later, 2 small brand new gideon were sitting in the staff common room. It turned out some guys had found them in a bin and brought them up!

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