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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  • Paul Barbara

    I also offer my condolences. By pure ‘coincidence’, I was posting on the 9/11 thread, and broke off to look through a drawer for a picture (an acquaintance of long standing is in St. Joseph’s Hospice, and I wanted to find a picture where he was having a good time, helping me build a raft on the Thames foreshore in the ’80’s.
    I didn’t find the photo, but I did find pictures of my mother, and of her funeral; I’ve been going through several hours of roller-coaster emotions as I read through old letters, cards and sorted photos. She died in the States in 2009 (I believe she was 86) and when I got there, she had just gone into a coma a day before I arrived. She only lived a few days after I got there, but a number of people said they believed she could well have known I was present, even though in a coma.
    I had a short break, then returned to your blog, to find that you had lost your mother.
    Again, sorry to hear of your loss.

  • Alan

    You have my sincere condolences Craig. Your Mum no doubt passed away feeling very proud of her son.

    • Sanjeev

      Yes Alan, my thoughts too, a mother goes “home” satisfied that she has not spawned a criminal politician, but a principled man. My best wishes to you Craig.

  • Brianfujisan

    Yes Photos are a very emotional Time trip.. Memories too.

    Peak Craig you have the Largest family of humanity… Glad to see you back …Strength to you all

  • fedup

    My sympathies, and I wish you patience and fortitude, bearing the loss of mother, is never an easy chapter of life.

  • mike

    Sorry to hear that, Craig.

    I hope your interviews with the corporate media lead to a little truth leaking out. Maybe that’s the best you can hope for.

  • Nor

    I am so sorry for yours and your family’s loss Craig. I’m sure your Mum will never be far away.

    I hear DTRH was great yet again, some friends were working directing traffic in the rain with much hilarity. I will make it one year as I’m a local.

  • fwl

    Craig – I obviously don’t actually know you or your mother, but nonetheless please accept my best wishes for you and your family at this time. I wonder what your Mother thought of you when you were little.

    Keep up the good work with the Overton windows. There is more than one its – like Play School:

    a Square one (THE Overton window),
    Arched (high church elite view not for the masses, but select parts of the view may be glimpsed through the Square window) and a
    Round Overton window, which offers an alternate holistic view, but which some say lacks an edge.

    These days there are also Oriel Overtons etc…

  • alasdair galloway

    Really sorry to hear about your mother Craig, but you made her a very proud mother.

  • Salford Lad

    A wee piece of useless information.
    The term Sikunder is a term of respect used in the Pashtun language and is a corruption that derives from the name of Alexander the Great and his conquests in that area,
    Condolences on your mothers bereavement Craig.

  • DavidH

    Welcome back, Craig, and so sorry for your loss. Doune the Rabbit Hole sounds a wonderful event and hope to make it with my family some time.

    I liked your interview in Jacobin: supremely rational and well spoken, as you very often are. One point that could be stressed more about torture is that, as well as being very wrong and illegal, IT DOESN’T EVEN WORK.

    I know you’ve said this before about the “intelligence” you saw coming out of the Uzbek torture, that with certainty you knew much of the information was untrue. This is important when countering less liberal arguments, when people will dismiss you as a bleeding heart and say if it was your family members’ lives that depended on the torture then you’d change your tune. That’s a false argument. The choice is not between keeping to the rules and using torture for the greater good. The choice is between taking the quick but ineffective route of torturing people for bad intelligence, and the more difficult and time consuming route of developing real intelligence sources and the people who can analyze them properly.

    Of course, using torture might be the best option if you need to quickly confirm information that you already want to believe. If you’re not actually interested in the truth of the matter anyway…

    • Clark

      Oh, torture works very well if the objective is to secure false confessions to justify predetermined policy, and permanently corrupt the evidence.

  • Steve P

    I don’t know you personally Craig, but I offer you my sincerest condolences. Your life sounds extremely hectic and I am sure at times you might wish you were just an average Joe doing the 9-5 to make life a bit easier. But, I am sure, I am one of many thousands who are glad that you are not. All power to you, Craig, keep doing what you are doing. You are making a difference and I firmly believe that you will play an important part in Scotland’s future.

  • Jane Robertson Gaoua

    First of all my sincère sympathy on the death of your Mother. Sounds like a wonderful family she must have been proud of, and definitely felt cherished by.
    I was very touched reading this and very surprised as well. I am afraid that I had never taken the time to delve into your various activités, and I am in agreement with the stand you take on absolutely everything mentioned here!
    I always read your posts on face book.
    We are on the same page on multiple causes, domestic and foreign, not the least of which is Scottish Independence. Keep up the fight.
    My dream is to have Scottish nationality (UK nationality has made me ashamed on so many occasions) and a Scottish Passport before I no longer need one!!

  • Habbabkuk


    What you wrote about your mother was very moving. It is as correct to say that a mother loves unconditionally as it is to say that one never really gets over the loss of one’s mother. But you have the comfort of knowing that in her last weeks and days she was surrounded by those who loved her.

    Does anyone die who lives on in our memories?

  • j.harrison

    Sorry to hear of Poppy’s passing Craig. I remember her being very kind to us children. I’m travelling to Sheringham today to see my parents both of whom are ailing. And so it goes. Be well. Toff.

  • Bhante

    Dear Craig,

    I offer my deepest sympathies on the passing away of your mother. But she will always be with you, for so long as you remember her. Remember the happiest moments you had together, that will make her happy. Remember everything you have learnt from her, then she will be fulfilled. Remember all the things she did for you and your siblings, then she will live for as long as you live or longer. Everything is impermanent, forever changing. Nothing stays the same for even a moment, yet nothing can vanish or disappear – it can only change into a new manifestation.

    With my best wishes

  • geoff cowlyn

    With both of my elderly parents currently in “end-of-life” situations, I feel for you Craig regarding the death of your mother.
    The concept of “Peak Craig Murray” has helped to cheer me up enormously, because I look in most days and I always find your writing interesting and often inspirational. Thanks Craig!

  • DeeDee

    Craig. Since discovering this blog during the Scot Ref its on my daily checklist. You have informed my thinking and improved my understanding of so many issues. For that I am eternally grateful. There are many many decent people in this world but their voices and opinions are, at best, muted by the MSM. WHich is why the MSM is sowing the seeds of its own demise.
    I have an elderly mother who I love with all my heart. I know that sooner probably rather than later I will lose her. I can only hope that I can honestly say she was proud of how I lived my life. I am absolutely sure that your mother would have been extremely proud of you.

  • Pete

    I’m sorry for your loss, Craig.

    Having lost both my parents many years ago, I have this advice for you. Keep all those pictures you mentioned, even the ones you don’t recognise. And the ones you do recognise, take the time to write on the back who they all are, not just first names but last names also, and dates if possible. Because many years from now your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren may be looking through them and wondering who any of them are.

  • Clydebuilt

    Just heard you on John Beattie’s show. You sounded good Craig. Couldn’t help think you were biting your tongue. Ironic to be talking about the totalitarian Karimov regime on our state broadcaster unable to speak of your past experiences with our rulers.

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