The Impossibility of Rest 105

I had almost brought myself to the point of formally announcing the closure of this blog.

I cannot explain to you why the trend of recent political society in the West depresses me to the point of introversion and withdrawal. Almost everyone else manages to get on with it. It is an accepted, even commonplace fact of political discourse that inequality is rampant, that the gap between rich and poor in our economy has been widening and the trend accelerates, that social mobility has been turned backwards and we have a government dominated not just by wealth and status but by inherited wealth and status. The state itself has become, ever more blatantly, a mechanism for funneling money from ordinary people and giving it to the very rich, be it in bank bailouts, quantitative easing doled again to the banks, private finance initiative payments (liabilities totalling over £200 billion in taxpayer paid interest in the NHS alone) or “market driven” takeover of public services, or a hundred more ways.

My own professional struggle, which focused on trying to block use of intelligence gained by torture, seems only an attempt to divert a tiny ripple within a tsunami of contempt for morality in public life. The practice of torture exploitation has not ended; the Gibson inquiry into official complicity with torture has been unceremoniously halted as the guilty and directly responsible polish the green leather benches of the House of Lords with their expensively suited rumps, or inhabit their offices as Permanent Under Secretaries, or command large offices in BP. The SAS, CIA and Saudis play at overmastering the Russians in a new proxy war in Syria that, yet again, thanks to foreign military interference promises to be a still greater evil than the regime that preceded it. The media propaganda is yet more cynically distorted to a simplistic portrayal of “our” good guys and the evil bad guys, when in truth, as nearly always, the leaderships in resource wars on all sides are bad and the interests of the people are far from their hearts.

Democracy in the UK has become almost meaningless. A monopoly of effective news flow by a deeply corrupt corporate media has crystallised the major party structures as the only real choices in the consciousness of the vast majority of voters. Those major parties have been so bought up by those same corporate interests that there is no genuine choice of policy on offer. If you were against the handing of untold billions of your money to the bankers, or the interminable and pointless Afghan War, you were one of a very large percentage of the population but had no mainstream party which respected, let alone represented, your view.

New horror after new horror representative of this dreadful state of affairs arises every day. The latest casualties in drone strikes, which kill 20 innocents for every alleged terrorist they succeed in executing without process of law. Three young British soldiers dead today for no purpose whatsoever. The first NHS Trust goes under because of PFI debt. This week the Bank of England is expected to print another £50 billion in quantitative easing and hand it straight to the banks to be eventually paid out in salaries and bonuses.

The extraordinary way in which the middlemen who facilitate financial transactions in trade, suddenly through distorted legal frameworks became the chief individual beneficiaries of activity in the physical economy, is revealed every week in more and more detail of horrific corruption. But nothing whatever is done to stop them, let alone punish the guilty. They own the entire political establishment.

Occasional shafts of humour penetrate the stygian murk. Chloe Smith is revealed as completely inadequate by Jeremy Paxman. We could have told him that – at the Norwich North byelection the Conservative Party were desperate never to allow her to face questioning, and on this blog I offered a cash reward to anybody who spotted her with less than five minders. It was never claimed.

What really made me laugh was the report in the Guardian that she was given her ministerial position in the Treasury by David Cameron in the mistaken belief that, as she had worked for Deloitte, she must know something about finance. Why this is really funny is that the only job she ever had at Deloitte was not, as variously reported in the mainstream media, in PR or human resources, but in fact to be seconded to the Conservative Party. Chloe never had any job except as Conservative Party staff. She was then taken on by Deloitte and instantly seconded back to the Conservative Party; her working for Deloitte at all was a fiction. Whether this was to evade political donation rules or just to burnish her CV as a parliamentary candidate, I have no idea.

That the experience Cameron thought qualified her as a Treasury minister was actually a secondment to the Tory Party by one of those lobbying major corporate financial interests – and Deloitte was the Royal Bank of Scotland’s auditors – is so rich it moves beyond satire. I can scarcely believe it myself. In fact it gave rise to such paroxysms of bitter laughter that I found the strength to blog again. Thank you Chloe and Dave for that, anyway.

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105 thoughts on “The Impossibility of Rest

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  • Paul

    I’m glad you chose to continue. Your hearfelt posts help me to know I’m not the only one that feels this way.

    Thank you.

  • Helen

    Please don’t give up. You know all the little drips will form the wall of water that will follow the first drip thro’ the tiniest of holes in the damn wall.

    Your clarity helps us think, and your knowledge helps inform us. We need that knowledge, the clarity to change the world. Of course it is slow. It’s one reader at a time. One, then another, and another until finally it is most if not all of us.

    Keep on doing what you do, Craig, please.

  • Mike.B

    Craig, your sentiments are felt around the World. We plebs are in a totally helpless position. Unless a great philanthropist comes along and forms a ‘Keep The Bastards Honest’ party, we are sentenced to a life of watching horrific deeds that satisfy the perverse ‘greed is good’ syndrome.
    Have you noticed how quickly these events are unfolding? It seems those people now think they are unstoppable. Nothing could be further from the truth, we just need the right people to help us organise ourselves. THINGS CAN CHANGE!!!
    Your job in this this is keep writing, so don’t let us down.

  • fdsafda3534bsd

    I think you are too negative. There are many people who share your concerns and are actively working to deal with these problems in various ways. E.g. for example this website which has a lot of material on problems in banking and QE:
    Or see the website of this MP. He has some very strange and wrong views on a lot of issues, but he has been trying very hard to promote measures to prevent taxpayer bailouts of banks and also strongly opposes QE.
    There are many others out there who share grave concern over these issues, not just in the UK but internationally, so I think there are still grounds for optimism.

  • icare

    If you DO close this blog, I for one won’t blame you, but it’ll be a shame. Another decent man will have been worn down and there will be one less haven for people of principle.
    You give me hope that there are still a few honest people left in this stinking system. Your blog gives me respite from the insanity.
    Good luck and thanks, whatever.

  • edwin

    you were one of a very large percentage of the population

    Isn’t that amazing given the level of media manipulation?

    Paul took the words right out of my mouth. There are a handful of blogs I read daily because the authors seem to have some level of sanity.

  • Ken

    This evening I went to see:
    One Turbulent Ambassador.
    Go and See It!
    Powerful images from strong dialogues. A few surprises along the way.
    Craig, with your life now on the stage in this brilliant production, you just cannot close the blog.
    I can only second what has been written above – I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way.
    On the train home I chatted to an Australian – he’d been to Wimbledon. He asked where I’d been. I explained the play and that part of your life. He seemed hooked, wrote the details down, said he would see it.
    It’s so good I think I’ll go again too.
    Best of Luck to the whole Production.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Craig,

    If you are looking at a mere pat on the back for proceeding – you won’t get it from me mate.

    I would sooner give you a kiss on the cheek for doing the right and principled thing.

    You said:-

    “… tsunami of contempt for morality in public life..”

    Well swim against the tide and keep trying, as you have been doing, to bring some morality into public life.


  • Clark

    Thank you, Craig, for posting this. You wrote “Almost everyone else manages to get on with it”. Well, not me. E-mails from the various campaigns and pressure groups I’ve signed up to continue to arrive in my Inbox, but I can barely be bothered to sign them. There seems no point; I’ve been signing them and writing to my “elected representatives” for years, and everything just continues to get worse.
    Maybe we should reflect on what it is we’re actually trying to achieve. It can seem as though we’re opposing “The System”, but we’re not; we’re trying to save it from its own moral collapse. Like an addict in denial, it opposes our attempts to help it and it denies that its problems exist at all. Like an alcoholic parent, permanently drunk on the family’s money, insensible to the squalor and misery its behaviour is creating all around it, its reply to concerned neighbours who try to help is “Fuck off and fuck you”. It blames everyone except itself as it becomes increasingly violent and irrational.
    Maybe it is time we stopped trying to help, and started building an alternative instead. This system seems utterly determined to destroy itself and all it has achieved since the end of the Second World War. Well, if it won’t help itself, there is probably nothing that anyone can do for it. But we do know the principles that support a decent society; we’ve seen them work, no matter that our “betters” now hold them in contempt. These principles will never be forgotten.
    Thanks for posting, Craig, and Best wishes to you and your family.

  • Rich

    I see I’m not alone in being very glad, you decided to keep blogging.

    You’re a good man who cares, and a superb writer. I hope you continue for many years to come.

  • crab

    That whole post was particularly great, even from thee. Dont stress to blog or not Craig, leave it on and write as you do. The comments by sometime do fill up with news of woe, but its around a rare flame.

  • James O'Neill

    Craig, the alternative is to just give up. That would represent a victory to “them”. That is too horrible to contemplate. Therefore we must continue the struggle no mater how difficult and dispiriting it may seem from time to time. Welcome back.

  • Methuselah Now

    Dear Craig,

    what everyone else just said, but most importantly, even in this post, I learned something that I would not have known if I wouldn’t have come here to read it because you’d written a new post.

    I’ve discovered that the way most people cope in our ever so advanced/”Progressive” part of the world is by being proudly ignorant of the real news because it depresses them and they have no power, but they aren’t the change-makers, they aren’t the kids in the Squares of the world, but those people do exist, they’re interested and curious, and they need you for your insight, humour, knowledge and wisdom.

    So keep going.

    Remember, in December 2010, the landscape of the middle-east looked one way, and before you could blink, turned on a penny. Yes, there’ll be manipulations and distractions, but ultimately, at least the truth[/public] will win.

    Yours kindly,


  • Chrestomathy

    It’s tough being a lone voice but vital that there should be someone to reveal the state of the Emperor’s apparel. Keep going Craig.

  • Mary

    I concur. And the dreadful British summer weather doesn’t help the mood.

    This yesterday from Professor Francis Boyle.
    In the Introduction to his latest Report that Falk is personally presenting to the UN Human Rights Council today, Falk mentions a Mission he undertook from February 10-20, 2012 “to assess the degree to which conditions of life for {Palestinian} refugees residing in neighboring countries are relevant to the realization of the right of those subject to the occupation regime within the territory occupied in 1967.”
    “This encompasses their efforts to realize the Palestinian right of self-determination. The Special Rapporteur believes that it is vitally important to assess to what degree refugee rights are relevant to any negotiated peace arrangement reached between Israel and the designated representatives of the Palestinian people and to any other internationally sanctioned effort to realize Palestinian rights.”

    Notice Falk never mentioned the Palestinian “right of return.”
    Instead, he referred only to “the Palestinian right of self-determination.” And this despite the fact that UN General Assembly Resolution 194 guarantees the Palestinian Right of Return. And this despite the fact that the UN Human Rights Council to which Falk is reporting and which appointed Falk its Special Rapporteur for Palestine, is a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly and thus bound by Resolution 194– as is true for Falk. It is imperative that the UN Human Rights Council reaffirm the Palestinian Right of Return under Resolution 194!

    Professor Francis A. Boyle

    Author, The Palestinian Right of Return under International Law (Clarity Press: 2009)

    Francis A. Boyle

    Law Building

    504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.

    Champaign, Illinois 61820 USA

  • Mary

    Breaking news. The Diamond geezer has resigned. One down. Thousands more to follow.

  • larry levin

    Mr Craig Murray,I have loved this blog, and look forward to many excellent articles,

  • Mary

    As the Beatles said

    Get back, get back
    Get back to where you once belonged
    Get back, get back
    Get back to where you once belonged
    Get back Jojo
    Go home
    Diamond is a Republican[30] and an advisor to Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson.[31]
    Diamond is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Colby College in Waterville, Maine; Chairman of Old Vic Productions Plc; Trustee of The Mayor’s Fund for London; Member of the Advisory Board, Judge Business School at Cambridge University; Member of International Advisory Board, British-American Business Council; Life Member of The Council on Foreign Relations; and Member of the Atlantic Council.[13]

  • Mary

    The remains
    The current members of Barclays’ Board of Directors are:[70]
    Bob Diamond (Chief Executive, Barclays PLC);
    Chris Lucas (Group Finance Director);
    David Booth (Non Executive Director);
    Sir Richard Broadbent (Non Executive Director);
    Alison Carnwarth (Non Executive Director);
    Fulvio Conti (Non Executive Director);
    Simon Fraser (Non Executive Director);
    Reuben Jeffery III (Non Executive Director);
    Sir Andrew Likierman (Non Executive Director);
    Dambisa Moyo (Non Executive Director);
    Sir Michael Rake (Non Executive Director); and
    Sir John Sunderland (Non Executive Director).
    What a litany of evil and corruption within this page.

  • Komodo

    ^What Barbara said.
    Keep buggering on, as the fellow-depressive sometime MP for Dundee remarked. It’s all you can do, really.
    My bitter laughter for today was at the thought of politicians calling financiers to account for their antisocial actions.

  • Tom Welsh

    C.S. Lewis foresaw a lot of what has developed since his death. As early as 1959 he declared that “The devil about writing satire now-a-days is that reality constantly outstrips you”. That was 14 years before Tom Lehrer, informed that Henry Kissinger had won the Nobel Peace Prize, concluded that satire had died.

    Or take this remark:

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences”.

  • Tom Welsh

    Anyone else stunned and flabbergasted by hearing reporters on the BBC Today programme this morning tell us how the Syrian government was practicing systematic torture, which put it quite beyond the pale?

    Naturally there was no mention of Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, waterboarding, or for that matter Uzbekistan.

    “We have always been at war with Eastasia”.

  • Komodo

    So there are no alternatives to robber barons and omnipotent busybodies? Just another bogeyman argument.
    How about applying the common law to everyone? If I obtain money by fraud or deception, I will rightly be prosecuted. If someone in a major bank earning more in a year than I would see in several lifetimes obtains money by fraud or deception, he gets a bonus. It’s that simple. One law for all: its precepts to be agreed by all.

  • Banksie

    Craig, I understand your pain and frustration but that is the lot of someone who really cares and wants to do something about it. Without focal points like you, the bastards will continue to get away with it. Please carry on doing what your doing, you have so much support.

  • Mary

    This ardent Zionist supporter John Mann Lab Bassetlaw has just been on BBC News making caustic remarks about corruption in the banking system and saying that more heads should roll. There was great irony in hearing his words and seeing the source of some of his donations.
    Followed swiftly by empty words from the talking heads of Danny Alexander and Lord Oakeshott.

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