Peak Craig Murray 157

My mother, Poppy Catherine Murray, nee Grice, passed away on 19 August aged 85 after a two year fight with multiple myeloma cancer. She had maintained herself in her own home until the last six weeks, and when she was eventually in hospital my brothers, sister and I took turns and were able between us to make sure that somebody was always with her. I last saw her on 14 August, and she never regained consciousness after that.

We faced the agonising decision of whether to come up and run the Doune the Rabbit Hole festival from 19 to 21 August. My son Jamie is Director, I run the bars and my brother Stuart supervises security. The festival is on a shoestring anyway and would genuinely have difficulty coping at if we dropped out at the last minute. It sounds a cliche, but we had no doubt Mum would have wanted us to go ahead with it, and we did so, leaving Neil and especially Celia to look after Mum. She finally passed away at 4.15pm on the Friday and we got the news literally as the gates to the arena opened.

I am sure many of you know from your own experience what a staggering blow it is, no matter how expected. Jamie was particularly struck. But the intensity of working through the festival was helpful – as usual I got a total of 7 hours sleep in 72 and Jamie probably less. The build, festival and takedown are extremely intense and this blog always disappears for ten days at this time.

Despite appalling weather, the festival was an enormous success and extremely well reviewed. I have always described it as life-affirming, and I could not have been surrounded by better people at a time of loss. The Scotsman review I think summed it up very well:

There is little doubt that Doune the Rabbit Hole is something special; a festival which is family friendly, extremely well-programmed and bearing a strong sense of localism in terms of its suppliers and its responsibilities.

And I was glad that the Herald noticed this:

Most mainstream festivals come under fire for routinely male-dominated programming, and could take a leaf from DTRH’s Sunday night line-up alone.

After two days assisting with the takedown, I left to go down to Norfolk again to make funeral arrangements and start to sift through my mother’s things. There can be no more lonely task in life, and the pain of looking through literally thousands of photos still lingers. A mother loves unconditionally. There were moments of joyous celebration brought back to life, wonderful times with grandparents and others long gone. There was a brilliant photo of my grandfather aged six, in an extravagantly braided costume, standing proudly with his drum in a Salvation Army band, his father beside him with his cornet. There were several photos of my mother’s beloved elder brother, who died aged just nineteen fighting against fascism. But most heart-wrenching were the photos which meant something to my mother but nothing to me, long ago people and places I did not recognise, memories now forever gone. And of course I was faced with my own life, stark and unedited, detailed minutely in 57 years of lovingly collected photographs. Neglected relationships, half forgotten friends, ex partners and so many people to whom I should have been nicer or whom I could have helped more.

I think I now have got to kick on with life.

We seem to be hitting peak Craig Murray. Before the hiatus of the last month or so, 40,000 people were regularly reading this blog and some entries were being seen by hundreds of thousands on this and other sites. My brief and simple demolition of Owen Smith is one of the posts that over a million people read, was massively retweeted and I think I can realistically claim had an early impact on the leadership contest. Indeed the general upsurge of interest in non neo-liberal thinking seems to have got me “discovered” by a whole new political generation and it has been an enormous pleasure to see evidence of people looking through the back catalogue of eleven years of posts on this little blog.

The film “The Killing of Tony Blair” turned out very much better than I expected. I really enjoyed it and have been very heartened by the large number of messages of congratulation I have received on my own contribution to it. Still closer to my heart, the documentary film “London Calling”, on the shocking BBC bias in the Scottish Independence referendum, has today been completed and I hope to have distribution information for you shortly.

The film rights to “Murder in Samarkand” have just been renewed, there is a new script and we now have very experienced and top rank producers, and while I do not wish to count chickens, we are closer to the film being made than ever before.

On Friday I am giving a talk to Edinburgh West SNP at 19.30 at Munro Community Centre, Clermiston and I am happy to say that this is just the start of what looks like a busy autumn of campaigning for independence.

Over seven years of effort came to an end on Friday when I signed off the final map for my new book “Sikunder Burnes – Master of the Great Game”, which will now be published on 22 September. It is being printed right now, which is exciting.

I never did get a chance to expand as promised on my thoughts about Chilcot, but this interview in Jacobin magazine did an excellent job in bringing out the observations which I was uniquely qualified to make from personal experience. I do urge you to read it.

On 24 September I shall be in Washington DC to present the annual Sam Adams Award for Integrity to John Kiriakou. It is typical of Obama and Clinton’s America that despite all Obama’s false election promises, the only man to go to jail over the CIA’s acknowledged torture and extraordinary rendition programmes was the whistleblower John Kiriakou, jailed for revealing state secrets.

Then on 20 October I have been summoned to appear before the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee to give evidence upon the same subject.

Finally, the apparent demise of President Karimov has meant that temporarily even the BBC has had to acknowledge my existence and I have a whole raft of mainstream media interviews lined up for tomorrow.

It has been a very difficult period for me and I am rebounding from it straight into peak Craig Murray. I would like to reiterate once more that everybody who participates in commenting on this blog is equally welcome and valued, and those who disagree with me are just as welcome as those who agree. The whole reason I do this is to stimulate thinking outside the Overton window, not to attempt to impose my own ideas.

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157 thoughts on “Peak Craig Murray

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  • Alan

    I noticed that:

    Expressing his condolences in a statement (in Russian), Russian President Vladimir Putin described Mr Karimov as a statesman “who had contributed to the security and stability of Central Asia” and who would be a “great loss for the people of Uzbekistan”.

    Putin in his true colours. LMAO

  • michael norton

    Ms. Niocola Sturgeon said: “Before we start talking, we must listen. So today we are launching, as the first phase in our new campaign, the biggest listening exercise in our party’s history.

    “It will run from now until St Andrew’s Day (30 November). We want to understand in detail how people feel now about Europe, Brexit and independence.

    “We want to know the concerns that people have and the questions that they want answered. We want to build, if we can, a consensus on the way forward”.
    ‘Hitting the doorsteps’

    Ms Sturgeon said members of the public could take part through a dedicated website, and all 120,000 SNP members would be sent a “pack of survey cards” which they would ask five people a month for the next three months to fill in.

    All of the party’s MPs and MSPs have been instructed to hold town hall meetings, and the SNP will establish a growth commission headed by its former MSP Andrew Wilson, who is a founding partner of the Charlotte Street Partners communications agency.

    Sounds quite intimidating, having the SNP thugs on your doorstep, demanding to know why you did not vote for independence.

  • Gerry McGhee

    My condolences on the death of your mother. Having a 95 year old mother who has had serious health problems over the past few months your comments are especially poignant. I’m sure you must take some solace in what seems to have been a rich, full and long life.
    It is heartening to see that your work is receiving some positive interest on a wider level and long may it continue.
    I confess to being somewhat relieved when you weren’t picked by the SNP as a candidate. I honestly believe your role is for more important than that.

    Kindest regards

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Seems British diplomats are so unreliable these days that the FO has to give them new email addresses and phones when they go anywhere, particularly G20 summits in China. fearing that they will just engage in drunken orgies which spies, especially beautiful Chinese ones, will exploit.

    Can’t HMG provide them with safe ones in London before they go anywhere?

  • Velofello

    Stay safe Craig, I enjoy articles. Not so much a few of the pseudo- smarties who comment here.

    There are those who cherish life and contribute to humanity, and there those who place no value on life.

  • GregLBean

    I rarely comment here as I prefer to share your posts with my Facebook friends then get involved with largely anonymous strangers.

    Whwn sharing on Facebook I often just state, “Craig Murray nails it again”, as you do, time after time.

    Keep up the good work, keep nailing it. It’d be nice to think one day your marathon effort will be fully rewarded but until then know that you’re a hero in so may people’s eyes.

    I muse on what reward or award may be appropriate and can only think of a new one, maybe called Thor’s Hammer, but am sure others can suggest better.

    Hammer on Craig, hammer on!!

    Your Mother must have been very proud of you.

  • nevermind

    The 19th of August was a day when good people died. RIP also to Donald Henderson, a larger than life epidemiologist who for over a decade, fought and eradicated small pox in the world, against all odds, colleagues who said it can’t be done, suspicious Governments who thought he was interfering in their health affairs, trouble and strife, but he carried on with a small team and vaccinated millions against this horrid disease and in 1979 the WHO announced that small pox were gone forever.

    When you ask people whether they know Joey Essex or Katie price its very likely that they might have heard of them, for whatever reason, but then you ask whether they ever heard of Donald Henderson, a determined and straight talking guy who got on with his important task until it was done, you get blank eyes.

    And then you realise that we are promoting popular, pretty, young people, not knowledgeable or able people, we are feeding dross to the masses and keep them fed with nothingness.

  • Bhante

    Craig, your interview on the Jacobin site is excellent, very important and very worthwhile, and as you say it needs to be disseminated widely – but for that very reason I think it deserves a mention in a thread of its own! Maybe you can write a post with a few key punches, and maybe add a few points that might not have made it to the interview, and of course another link to the original interview – it would be good publicity for the interview, and at the same time will certainly generate discussion here which will also be worthwhile.

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