In Safe Hands 898

I am in Tbilisi at the moment, where I spent this early morning drinking tea with some of the 2,000 strong Yazidi community. They see their religion as much more closely descended from Zoroastrianism than appears in most accounts I have read.

I very much enjoyed a visit to Tsinandali which was most useful for gaining a Russian perspective of the Great Game. I don’t have my books with me and am suffering a mental block as to whether it was Connoly, Abbott or Malcolm who visited Tsinandali. I had not realised that Griboyedov was married to a daughter of the house, Nina Chavchavadze. The murder of Griboyedov, Russian Ambassador in Tehran, by a mob rates little more than a footnote in British accounts of the Great Game, even though the British had bribed the religious authority to stir up the riots. What revisionist history there has been, has come from the Iranian side and falsely tried to obscure the fact that the refugees Griboyedov was sheltering were runaway slaves from harems.

This is a neglected recurring theme. When Shuja agreed the treaty already negotiated between Macnaghten and Ranjit Singh, the main stipulation he sought to add was that the British would return to him any runaway slave girls. The immediate motive for the ringleader of the attack on Alexander Burnes was that Burnes had refused to intervene to return a runaway slave girl who had sought the protection of another British officer. My fellow anti-imperialist historians have in general been guilty of emphasising rapaciousness by the British in these incidents and overlooking or excusing the slave status of the girls. Both aspects need to be faced squarely to write honestly the full facts of history. Tellingly, it is generally impossible to recover names of the girls involved.

Griboyedov deserves to be remembered for much more than his murder. An accomplished playwright and poet, he was a friend of Pushkin and had links to the dissident groups who attempted revolution in 1825. His murder left Nina a widow at either 17 or 19 by different accounts, and pregnant. She lost the child on hearing of her husband’s death, and never remarried. It is a tragic story which came alive to me in visiting the family home.

Griboyedov had fought Napoleon in the 1812 campaign, but had helped those Napoleonic adventurers Allard and Ventura evade a British blockade and go into service with Ranjit Singh. Griboyedov’s successor as Russian Ambassador to Tehran, Simonicz, had actually fought on the Napoleonic side against Russia, presumably in the Polish Legion. Nina’s sister was to marry a Murad nephew of Napoleon. The political elites of Europe melded quickly after the convulsion.

With which clumsy segue I shall note that the battle against the entrenched political elites of the UK appears to be going extremely well without me. I cannot express without a welling up of real emotion how happy I am that all I have been saying about the stultifying neo-liberal consensus and exclusion of dissent, and appalling burgeoning wealth gap between rich and poor, has found such massive traction between Jeremy Corbyn in England and the SNP in Scotland. I may have gone AWOL for a few days, but the cause of social justice appears in extremely safe hands.

898 thoughts on “In Safe Hands

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  • Mark Golding

    Ba’al Zevul
    13 Aug, 2015 – 1:31 pm – Perfect – luv the dry humour. Note the BBC keep quoting Blair on Corbyn – ‘annihilation’ is their key-word so I have ‘rapped’ the Big Battle Corps in slaughter.

  • Alcyone

    13 Aug, 2015 – 1:19 pm
    “gotta get out into the Garden .. But first…

    this is great from Chunky features..

    it’s also so Sad, that it’s all true – what he says Re Bliar’s Iraq, Annihilation…Cameron’s Libya Annihilation, his Syria Annihilation in Process.”

    This is the level you watch, Brian? …..Well, that’s even Sadder! Yes follow that ass if you don’t want to change the World/Your Self.


  • Ba'al Zevul

    TY, Mark.

    I’d like to be able to post a heartwarming update on Mr. Tony’s (and Cherie’s, and a couple of unidentified others*, and the security detail’s) £350 per-person per night holiday in Sri Lanka. From where the man who first wrecked the Labour Party and then abandoned it in the middle of a financial crash issues directives to all papers via his personal PR office, decrying a far better man than he.

    I’d like to, but I can’t. All outlets in Sri Lanka only carry the same bald press release describing his arrival two days ago. There is one other current article in Sri Lanka on the topic. It’s a good summary of the moral stature of the man. Though nothing new.

    For all their eagerness to print the Thoughts of the Dear Leader, none of the UK media has reported the Saviour of Gaza’s holiday activities, either.

    *I’m guessing Nicky and new wife on Cherie-funded honeymoon extension. Two-person chalets where they are right now.

  • Mary

    Bully @ 8.24pm Leave Brian alone. He’s a better man than you and has a kind and generous nature.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    ““Labour’s biggest individual donors have pledged to stop giving money if Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader in a move that could leave the party almost entirely dependent on trade union funding.”

    How’s that for blackmail?”

    Most people, Doug, would say that in a free country (like the UK), donors should be free to withdraw their personal funding if they don’t like the way the party’s going.

    But you don’t really believe in freedom very much, do you. You once expressed a desire that the press should be obliged to be even-handed as between political parties and now you seem to be suggesting that donors should be forced to continue funding a party even if they no longer want to.

    I think you live in the wrong sort of country – have you ever considered emigrating?

  • RobG

    13 Aug, 2015 – 5:05 pm

    I’m going to have to be a bit mysterious about my correspondent.

    All that can be said with certainty is that the British Establishment is rotten to the core, and as such I wouldn’t put anything past them. A prime example of this corruption is the Westminster child sex abuse scandal, which is almost completely buried by the media. By that I mean that the media do report it, but they don’t give it the prominence it deserves, and they don’t go into the ramifications. A good example of this is the recent reporting of allegations against former prime minister Edward Heath (the police investigation into Heath started more than 10 months ago).

    Westminster is a cess pit, and anything is possible.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    “Just when the US clients of Craig are looking at his blog, our ‘Steh auf Maenchen’ cyber stalker Habbakuk appears, ready to divulge irritate and bore the tits of us with his mate Fred”

    An a very good evening to you to, I hope you and your good lady are well!

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)


    “I’m going to have to be a bit mysterious about my correspondent.”

    Ooooh, you’re such a teaser! I won’t be able to sleep tonight for wondering who your source is.

  • RobG

    John Spencer-Davis
    13 Aug, 2015 – 4:49 pm, said:

    “Seems implausible to me that it was rigged. Why would anyone in a position to do that have cared whether or not Ed Miliband replaced David Cameron?”

    I agree with your premise, apart from the fact that if the Tories didn’t get a majority it would, arguably, have meant some kind of deal between Labour and the SNP (because Labour would have never been able to form a majority government).

  • Mary

    The members of the Board of the new Scott Trust Ltd, the present owners of the once decent Guardian. Viner is now the editor, replacing Rusbridger.

    Neil Berkitt – a former banker (Lloyds, St George Bank) who then helped vulture capitalist Richard Branson with Virgin Media.

    David Pemsel – Former head of marketing at ITV.

    Nick Backhouse – On the board of the bank of Queensland, formerly with Barings Bank.

    Ronan Dunne – On the Telefónica Europe plc board, Chairman of Tesco Mobile. He has also worked at Banque Nationale de Paris plc.

    Judy Gibbons – Judy is currently a non-executive director of retail property kings Hammerson, previously with O2, Microsoft, Accel Partners (venture capital), Apple and Hewlett Packard.

    Jennifer Duvalier – Previously in management consultancy and banking.

    Brent Hoberman – Old Etonian with fingers in various venture capital pies including car rental firm EasyCar.

    Nigel Morris – chairman of network digital marketing giants Aegis Media.

    John Paton – CEO of Digital First Media – a very large media conglomerate which was sued successfully in the U.S. for rigging advertising rates.

    Katherine Viner – Startlingly not a banker, in marketing or venture capital. She is I gather (gulp) a journalist.

    Darren Singer – formerly with BSkyB, the BBC and Price Waterhouse Coopers.

    Plus a company secretary.

    The article lists just some of the stuff they have been pumping out against Corbyn.

  • RobG

    Habba, my source is, let’s say, someone in a position to know such information; although I repeat I still haven’t seen any hard evidence as of yet.

    It sounds like you’ve been having a good day, kicking heads around on the beach.

  • doug scorgie

    13 Aug, 2015 – 5:25 pm

    “More of the vile stuff being thrown at Corbyn on the Guardian. Freedland is working hard.”

    “The support for the Palestinians is the main reason for the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. This Bloodworth (unfortunate name) evens brings the Rev. Sizer into the picture.”

    The slyly worded title is:
    Why is no one asking about Jeremy Corbyn’s worrying connections?

    James Bloodworth

    Corbyn may not have an antisemitic bone in his body, but he does share platforms with people who do

    Yes Mary that article is a classic case of guilt by association. He is probably an ardent Blairite.

    James Bloodworth is the current editor of Left Foot Forward a “centre-left” political blog in the UK, established in 2009 it was created by Will Straw, the son of Jack Straw. {Nuf said).

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Saint Fred works for Private Eye?

    Doubt it very much. Like it or loathe it, PE has high journalistic standards and fact-checks its stories. Ian Hislop is very much in the tradition of Auberon Waugh, Willie Rushton et al, and the line is faintly obsolete British Empire-lite. It also breaks stories about the great and good that the jackals of the MSM won’t touch, frequently leading to public scrutiny of shameful deeds. Hislop is an avowed unionist, possibly Tory, redeemingly witty, and fair play to him. He’s not pretending to be impartial, and he usually gives right-of-reply. I shall not be cancelling my subscription…it’s IMO the best print outlet we’ve got.

    End of plug.

  • RobG

    Mary, it’s really sad what’s happened to the Guardian in recent years; and I think even people who hate so-called lefties might say the same thing, because there’s now no real opposition voice in either the mainstream media or politics.

    The corporate coup d’etat is now almost complete. It all hinges on what happens on 12th September, when the result of the Labour leadership race is announced.

    If Corbyn doesn’t win it will people still call me a conspiracy theorist for muttering about rigged elections?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    “Monsieur Hollande, late of the Charlie Hebdo anti-Muslim rallies, has his sun lounger booked on ‘la plage de Tel Aviv sur les bords de la Seine’.

    Armed police braced for protests as they man security checkpoints all over central Paris to protect a hugely controversial ‘Israeli beach’
    Armed police drafted in ahead of protests against ‘Israeli beach’ in Paris
    Fake beach on the banks of the Seine is used to promote Israeli capital
    Controversial move has seen city of Paris accused of being ‘pro-Israel’
    Protesters seen holding Palestinian flags and images of Gaza casualties

    13 August 2015

    I had mentioned its planning before but now it’s there. It was obviously designed to provoke and that is happening.”

    An exceedingly silly article in the Daily Mail and an equally silly “comment” to go with it.

    “Paris Plages” (plural)have been going since 2002 and are intended for those in Paris who for one reason or the other (including financial) are unable to get away from the capital in August ( I believe there is now something similar in Brussels along the canal/former docks).

    You cannot “book” a sun lounger at “Paris Plages”.

    The French police are armed all year round.

    A reinforced police presence seems like a wise precaution given the slayings in Paris a short time ago (and also in Tunisia) – we don’t want some fanatic killing innocent people, do we (some of whom may well be French people of North African heritage).

    The “isareli beach” is not “hugely controversial” in Paris; it is hugely controversial only with those whose speciality is Israel-baiting.

    Jerusalem and not Tel Aviv is the de facto capital of Israel.

    Naming one of the beaches (plural, again) after Tel Aviv was not “obviously designed to provoke”. Please produce evidence that this was the intention of the (Socialist) administration of the city and offer your thoughts on who the city administration should have wished to provoke and why.

    You see – a typical Daily Mail piece of rubbish. No wonder the rag’s the flavour of the month on this blog. 🙂

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    “Yes Mary that article is a classic case of guilt by association”

    And yes Doug we NEVER see that on this blog, do we.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    re Ba’al-Komodo on “Private Eye”

    Yes, that was really quite a plug. One has to wonder whether there isn’t a connection of some sort there.

    Not too sure about the fact-checking of its stories, though – it has a bit of a track record of publishng corrections and apologies. This is inevitable, however, since some ( I repeat, some)of its sources use it as a means of settling personal scores or pursuing vendettas.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita e' bella)

    Well, I suppose some people find the very existence of Israel provocative and some of them are prepared to use violence as a means of expressing their sense of having been provoked.

    That’s all you get from me this evening, Transatlantic Sage. 🙂

  • doug scorgie

    13 Aug, 2015 – 7:34 pm

    @ Doug Scorgie
    “Labour’s biggest individual donors have pledged to stop giving money if Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader in a move that could leave the party almost entirely dependent on trade union funding.”

    “That would be a good thing wouldn’t it?”

    “Or did you think we could have a truly socialist party funded by capitalists?”

    Party funding is an issue yet to be tackled by all parties Fred.

    My point, as you no doubt knew and avoided, was the undermining of democracy through blackmail, lies and scaremongering by rich individuals and corporations.

    I’m sure you believe in democracy Fred – if you get the result you like.

  • lysias

    Hasbara: Anyone who objects to the Tel Aviv Beach in Paris must object to the very existence of Israel.

  • fred

    “I’m sure you believe in democracy Fred – if you get the result you like.”

    It’s my belief in democracy which makes me think parties should be working for the people who vote for them not the people who pay for them.

  • Mary

    If Katherine Viner was so exercised about the death of Rachel Corrie (which she was obviously) why is she tolerating/contributing to this disgusting output against Jeremy Corbyn who has supported the Palestinians and spoken out on their behalf for a long time.

    Rachel Corrie RIP lost her life when standing up for the Palestinians in Gaza.

    Viner has sold her soul to the advertisers and to the Zionist supporting power groups in the US where she set up a division as she had done in Australia.

  • Republicofscotland

    “This is the level you watch, Brian? …..Well, that’s even Sadder! Yes follow that ass if you don’t want to change the World/Your Self”

    Alcyone, I’ve tried following an ass, but unfortunately you don’t post enough sensible comments to be interesting.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Monsieur Hollande, late of the Charlie Hebdo anti-Muslim rallies”

    I am not sure who Mary is insulting the most – those who objected to the mindless terrorism at Charlie Hebdo or Muslims as a whole?

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