Never Trust a Man without a Waistcoat 391

Contrary to the usual mainstream media inaccuracy, Sir Ivan Rogers has not resigned from the FCO as he was a Treasury civil servant. The clue is in the phrase “resigned on principle”. FCO people are not big on principles.

Indeed, the FCO was almost as strongly against the Iraq War as it is against Brexit. Yet the only two British diplomats who resigned on principle over the War on Iraq/Terror, those disastrous Blair/Bush policies which have devastated the Middle East and multiplied a hundredfold the terrorist threat, were Carne Ross and myself. We were also among the very few British diplomats I knew of at the time who always wore waistcoats. Which just goes to prove that the lack of a waistcoat is definite evidence of deficient moral character. (I have not forgotten the resignation of Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who was an excellent FCO lawyer but not a diplomat).

Brexit is a disaster for the UK, but probably will not spread as much harm across the entire globe as the invasion of Iraq. I do not expect to see any FCO resignations over it, much as they may mutter in the canteen. The government continuing to pay the fees for their children at the UK’s most expensive boarding schools, continues to be the main motive in life for the vast majority of British diplomats. It is strange to think that 15 years have now passed since my first Ambassadorial appointment, and had I not suffered from a conscience I would now be on my final, and probably very senior, Ambassadorship. Tim Barrow, who takes over as British Ambassador to the EU, joined the FCO two years after me and I knew him slightly. He was a very humorous though somewhat earnest young man. Crucially, I recall he wore a waistcoat.

My two autobiographical books, Murder in Samarkand and The Catholic Orangemen of Togo, rather give the impression that the FCO is full of nasty bastards. In fact this is not true at all. I was just extremely unlucky in my two last postings. Before that I had some really admirable bosses including Brian Barder, Michael Llewellyn Smith and Christopher Hum. Like them, many other prominent FCO types including Jeremy Greenstock, Christopher Mayhew and Charles Crawford (who turns up to criticise this blog from time to time) are among the nicest people you could wish to meet. I am pretty certain all of them are horrified by BREXIT, but I am equally sure the institutional culture is such that their successors will all work on at the FCO to try to make the best of an appalling job. It is rather like a determination to slit your own throat neatly and accurately.

Ivan Rogers’ strictures on the lack of government planning and preparedness are quite correct. Brexit is a seat of the pants exercise resulting from a ruse to hide political divisions in the Tory Party. The only definite principle appears to be that the preservation of a pure stream of racist thinking on immigration is sacrosanct, and every other interest or policy must be sacrificed to that. In Liam Fox and Theresa May, the political leadership lies in the hands of two people lacking totally in the required intellectual capacity, while all the senior civil servants who support them – including Tim Barrow – are engaged in a policy with which they fundamentally disagree. I think we are about to see a pig’s ear of a policy with a pig’s arsehole as a result.

I am now back from holiday, and starting working again, though as you may have gathered still in somewhat whimsical mood.


Signed First Editions of Sikunder Burnes are now available direct from this blog! You can leave a message naming the dedication you want. Sold at cover price of £25 including p&p for UK delivery or £29 for overseas delivery. Ideal Christmas presents!!


Signing Instructions

391 thoughts on “Never Trust a Man without a Waistcoat

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  • johnf


    What do you think of Theresa May’s Chief Advisor – Nic Timothy – who seems to have firm anti neoconservative views on foreign policy and on economic and social issues is a fan of Joseph Chamberlain?


    I was waiting for your comments on the EU ambassador’s resignation with somewhat baited breath.

    I am still skeptical the UK will exit the EU – when people find out what it will cost to do so and that they will not in fact be able to keep out the ‘floods’ of immigrants from outside the EU any more easily than they could before the appetite for self destruction will fade.

    Brexit is not even in the same league as the Iraq war or even the slow motion train wreck of current US politics, but it is a force for chaos and confusion. Effort will be squandered on it work to the detriment of more pressing problems that could actually benefit from those resources.

  • Clark

    Craig, good to see you back, and Happy New Year. Insanity prevails. Good luck; looks like we’re all going to need it.

  • John Goss

    “I think we are about to see a pig’s ear of a policy with a pig’s arsehole as a result.”

    Behave yourself. You’ll be turning David Cameron on.

    Brexit can only ever be a disaster. Europe is going to give the UK anything. We go to the table with a handful of deuces and threes. They are holding all the Aces, Kings and Queens. Giving anything to the UK is only going to encourage other countries to embark on their own exit strategies. Empty-handed is how we are going to come away. Whether it is Sir Ivan Rogers or someone else in the job only a prize Simple Simon would want the result is going to be the same. You can’t blame him for not wanting to be turning on the spit when they light the fires below.

    • Habbabkuk

      When one reads pro-EU posts from those whose posts normally show unremitting hostility towards the UK and its government, one has to wonder whether those posters are not secretly convinced that the EU is bad for the UK.

      This negative, anti-UK strain of thinking (actually, it seems to be an obsession) is well revealed by statements like the above : the UK is not going to “get” anything and it will walk away “empty handed”.

      Those statements would be more convincing if they were accompanied by some indications of what the UK has “got” from the EU so far and how its hands are “full” at present.

      Preferably on the basis of the basis of facts and figures (national, OECD, UN etc)

  • Sharp Ears

    Welcome back Craig. Your thoughts are always of value.

    You would also have had the KCMG tap on both shoulders by now and be driving around in a chauffeur driven car. All meaningless You have the moral high ground.

    • Alcyone

      “Welcome back Craig. Your thoughts are always of value.”

      Very interesting. Elsewhere as I noted on the last thread you were implying that Craig was lying about wikileaks source of the Podesta emails. Struggling to understand Craig’s emphatic statements which, in my opinion and belief are not theories. Not, because of his very actual personal involvement.

      “There have been so many theories on the leaks, I am past knowing. ”

      This thing about ” Your thoughts are always of value” strikes me as being a bit disingenuous?

      Just observing.

      • John Goss

        No idea why I read that as “Noddy’s thoughts are ‘always’ of value, Big Ears . . . ” Not woken up properly I guess!

        😀 😀 😀

  • Demetrius

    Aren’t diplomats supposed to be all buttoned up? Besides that when has any recent UK government been prepared for anything? It was not a lot better in the past, but then time scales did allow for a measure of changing of mind and decisions. Nowadays it is not diplomats leading the way, they must spend more time chasing the media.

  • Ben

    Prepare yourselves for a blast from the past with loads of Isolationism.. Perfect for those living on islands and Mr Trump wants to secure your future. He,Putin and Assange wish you a happy new year.

    • michael norton

      I think the E.U. was set up as a bulwark by the U.S.A. to counter the Soviet union

      • Habbabkuk

        It was certainly encouraged by the US but “set up” is far too strong.

        Given that half of Europe was under Soviet occupation, why in earth should the US not have welcomed – and encouraged – the setting up of a bulwark against the Soviets?

        After all, it’s not that the people of Western Europe objected, is it. Except for the Western European Communists parties, of course, but they were just stooges under the direction of Moscow.

        Hope that helps, Norton.

        • EAM

          I have read that the founding fathers of the European “project” were very close to Washington, and the “project” received significant funding from US government agencies. The communists and socialists came close to attracting the support of more than half the electorate in several countries. Again, I have read that the US put a great deal of effort into ensuring that they didn’t come to power (I suppose that makes the parties that did come to power stooges of Washington). Other than a once upon a time pawn in the Cold War, what is the EU for?

          • Habbabkuk

            You must have been reading dubious sources – welcome to the club. Would you like to tell us what they were?

            “..the “project” received significant funding from US government agencies.”


            What do you mean by “the project”? The EU originated in the ideas of various Europeans – are you saying that those with the ideas received significant personal funding? Or do you mean that the US paid for the Messina Conference and the subsequent Treaty-drafting exercise in Brussels? Explain your thought, please.

            “The communists and socialists came close to attracting the support of more than half the electorate in several countries.”

            Accurate but entirely misleading and irrelevant to the argument for the simply reason that in those countries the Communist and Socalist parties were at daggers drawn. As indeed they were since 1918 or thereabouts. Your are either ignorant or a twister.

            “Again, I have read that the US put a great deal of effort into ensuring that they didn’t come to power”


            You are right again provided you add that the aim was to prevent the suppression of democracy as witnessed in Poland, Czechoslovakia and other countries occupied by the armies of the Evil Empire, the agents of that suppression being the Communist parties of those countries.

            And, by the way, that happened in the late 1940s, before the Schuman Declaration and the founding of the Coal and Steel Community – hence irrelevant to the discussion on the EEC/EU.

          • EAM

            “I have read…” is indeed a slightly weaselly way to cover for my failing memory. One place you could start is with the Telegraph’s eurosceptic economics editor, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (worth reading even if you disagree with him). He quotes some of the sources. I’m sure you could go on to find historians who cover some of this, if you are interested in how the US looked after its interests in Europe and how it managed relations with its allies. The US has certainly had mixed feelings about European integration over the decades, but encouraged it after the War (there is a lot of scholarly work done on US planning during the War and in its aftermath). President Obama made the current US position insultingly clear to the UK during the Brexit campaign (mainly to do with TTIP, I imagine).

            I’m pretty sure advocates of integration have viewed it as a project and called it such, but again failing memory… Certainly, twenty odd years ago when I toured finance ministries to ask (middle-ranking) officials about the Euro, they had no problem referring to the European project.

            I’m not sure why conflict between parties of the Left makes me an ignorant twister (any more than the conflict on the Right would make you so). I do think using the Mafia and supporting dictatorships is a very poor way to promote democracy. (You also appear to say the US stopped interfering after the 1940s, but I’m sure you know otherwise.)

            If you talk of an “Evil Empire” you raise questions about how serious you are in studying the history. (President Reagan used the silly phrase, but his actions in the end were more sensible.) Russia’s post-War/Cold War defensive strategy was brutal enough for anyone who got in the way – as it happens, significantly less so than for anyone who came up against the Munro Doctrine – but there’s no need to try to spook us or stymie rational discussion with talk of an “Evil Empire”. This isn’t the movies.

            Still asking: what is the positive case for the EU?

        • Macky

          “After all, it’s not that the people of Western Europe objected”

          I don’t think the Greeks have forgotten how the US (&UK) armed & supported the extreme Right, many of whom were Nazi collaborators, during the 1947-49 Civil War, ensuring their victory.

          • Habbabkuk

            The majority oft the Greeks after WW2 certainly did not want a Communist government, which would have been as destructive of liberty, democracy and happiness as were the Communist govts of the Balkan countries to the north.

          • Macky

            “The majority oft the Greeks after WW2 certainly did not want a Communist government”

            They certainly didn’t want the Extreme Right with all their Nazi collaborators !!

            You really are extremely ignorant even about the most basic facts to do with Greece; educate yourself;


          • Habbabkuk

            It would be rather too” imaginative” to describe the post-War Greek govts as being of the “extreme right”, Macks. You can do little to remedy your general ignorance but you could try to work on your tendency towards exaggeration and mendacity a little.

          • Macky

            “It would be rather too” imaginative” to describe the post-War Greek govts as being of the “extreme right”

            The imagining, or more correctly, the whitewashing, is all on your part. The puppet government installed by the British signaled the start of 25 years of repression, and rule mostly by Right Wing dictatorships. Immediately following the Civil War, the Communist Party remained outlawed, and Resistance Fighters, Socialists, etc continued to be persecuted and sent into labor camps, while their children were designated as “orphans” and sent to church schools for “re-education.”. The empowered Extreme Right were given the right to intervene in the political arena, founding organisations for “protection of the country against the “Communist threat.” This continued right upto the 1967 coup and an ensuing 7-year right-wing dictatorship which was engineered & fostered by the U.S.

            However going back to the people put into power by the British in the aftermath of the Civil War, a period that is known as the “White Terror” commenced;

            “The British – and that means Wickham – knew who these people were. And that’s what makes it so frightening. They were the people who had been in the torture chambers during occupation, pulling out the fingernails and applying thumbscrews.” By September 1947, the year the Communist Party was outlawed, 19,620 leftists were held in Greek camps and prisons, 12,000 of them in Makronissos, with a further 39,948 exiled internally or in British camps across the Middle East. There exist many terrifying accounts of torture, murder and sadism in the Greek concentration camps – one of the outrageous atrocities in postwar Europe. Polymeris Volgis of New York University describes how a system of repentance was introduced as though by a “latter-day secular Inquisition”, with confessions extracted through “endless and violent degradation”.

            Women detainees would have their children taken away until they confessed to being “Bulgarians” and “whores”. The repentance system led Makronissos to be seen as a “school” and “National University” for those now convinced that “Our life belongs to Mother Greece,’ in which converts were visited by the king and queen, ministers and foreign officials. “The idea”, says Patríkios, who never repented, “was to reform and create patriots who would serve the homeland.”

            Minors in the Kifissa prison were beaten with wires and socks filled with concrete. “On the boys’ chests, they sewed name tags”, writes Voglis, “with Slavic endings added to the names; many boys were raped”. A female prisoner was forced, after a severe beating, to stand in the square of Kastoria holding the severed heads of her uncle and brother-in-law. One detainee at Patras prison in May 1945 writes simply this: “They beat me furiously on the soles of my feet until I lost my sight. I lost the world.”


          • Habbabkuk

            “The puppet government installed by the British signaled the start of 25 years of repression, and rule mostly by Right Wing dictatorships.”

            That’s interesting, Macks.

            So Greece, from 1945 to 1970, was rule “mostly by Right Wing dictatorships”.

            I’ve heard of the dictatorship of the Colonels (1967 – 1973) but I wasn’t aware that there had been several other Right Wing dictatorships in Greece after the War and before the Colonels.

            Wold you care to name the dictators in question and state the periods during which they ruled?

            Thank you.

          • Habbabkuk

            I’m also informed by reliable sources that there were quite a few general elections in Greece after the War and before the regime of the Colonels.

            It would be interesting to hear how you would reconcile that fact with the existence of those alleged “dictatorships”.

          • Macky

            This exchange is a prime example of how you operate in “debates” here:

            The debate starts with the issue of whetever the creation of the EU was a US plan, somebody makes a point about the EU being used as a bulwark against the USSR

            You responded to this with “After all, it’s not that the people of Western Europe objected”

            I then reminded you that this was not true, especially for the Greeks.

            You replied; ““The majority oft the Greeks after WW2 certainly did not want a Communist government”

            My response; “They certainly didn’t want the Extreme Right with all their Nazi collaborators !!”

            Then your reply of; “It would be rather too” imaginative” to describe the post-War Greek govts as being of the “extreme right”,

            Obviously by “extreme Right” I was referring specifically to those whom Britain & the US had just ensured victory for in the Civil War; in whose immediate aftermath a host of right wing coalition governments ruled that tellingly filled the ranks of the 15,000 national guard, with 12,000 members of Quisling forces, including many officers who had served in the Nazi-controlled security battalions. So no, “extreme right” is not “too imaginative”.

            You not only ignore this refutation to your previous assertions, but you now divert to challenge something new that I wrote, namely my “ 25 years of repression, and rule mostly by Right Wing dictatorships”, with your latest two questions.

            Well, you may like to categorise the post war legacy period as a period of free & fair democracy, with fair elections etc, but in reality it was a period of political repression & repressive surveillance, more correctly pertaining to dictatorships rather than democracies; although the bloody civil war had officially ended in 1949, it was legally prolonged until 1962 through US directed juridical constructions, such as the McCarthy inspired “certificate of civic loyalty, which was used to blackmail the population; thousands of Left Wing activists remained in prisons for years, (and there was even executions long after the Civil War ended); many other thousands more remained in hiding for years, and yet more thousands fled the country all together.

            Anyhow I tire of revealing your ignorance, both real & feigned, and your disingenuously attempts at debate, so I’ll just recommend this book for anybody interested in this subject;


      • Dave

        I subscribe to the Yes Minister explanation by Sir Humphrey that UK joined the ‘EU’ to wreck it. It had always been British policy to oppose a United Europe as a threat to British independence. Hence we formed alliances against Spain, then France and then Germany. The policy was out of date before WWII, but continued afterwards with UK ‘joining’ to break up the Franco-German Union from the inside and helped by the fall of the Berlin Wall, UK policy encouraged an ever wider expansion of the EU with countries joining the Euro.

        Hence a disunited Europe with UK leaving the burning building.

          • Dave Lawton

            “Dave, you’re a scientist. ‘propagandist’ for whom?”

            Am not a scientist.I worked as an engineer,but I`m not an engineer if you get my drift.
            Propagandist for the establishment.

    • eldudeabides

      The EU most likely set out with decent ideas, and a proper innocent enough terms of reference (to bring the people of the continent more together).

      But IMHO, somewhere along the way (probably the mid to late 80s) big business hijacked the EU and turned it in another direction. A direction much more complimentary to maximising their profits.

      And since then, it has been a wonderful vehicle for neoliberalism.

  • Dave

    Institutions and the public will favour the status quo, that’s why Brexit was a remarkable, albeit welcome, vote for which the ‘State’ was unprepared and even staged an “event” to avoid, but unless we’re a failed state we should easily cope or are all those senior civil servants overpaid?

    It’s a puzzle why you think Scotland leaving the UK is a blow against the neo-con establishment and welcome but Brexit isn’t, when at the time the neo-con establishment included EU and US. Brexit has delivered that blow, and helped Trump and averted WWIII with Russia, which would have been worse than Iraq!

    Be optimistic, look at Brexit as an opportunity not a disaster, particularly as there remains a lot of suffering due to the Euro in the EU!

    • Republicofscotland

      “Be optimistic, look at Brexit as an opportunity not a disaster, particularly as there remains a lot of suffering due to the Euro in the EU!”


      Yeah Dave, optimistic…hmmm, when the ECHR, that protects many of our rights will be replaced by the unknown British Bill of Rights.

      Optimistic…. knowning that our farmers will miss out on billions in EU farm subsidies, I’m sure the Tories will plug that hole, says I with tongue in cheek.

      Optimism positively flows through me knowing UK universities will miss out, on EU funding and technological advances, our young people will also miss out on important programmes syuch as Erasmus.

      Optimism is abound knowing our scientist probably won’t, receive funding nor info on groundbreaking advancement made in Europe.

      This is but the tip of disasterous Brexit iceberg, that will hole Britain and leave her floundering in a sea of political and economic disaster. Like the Titanic only the rich will benefit from the life boats, alas there will be no Carpathia to save Joe Bloggs and his family, from drowning in a sea of unemployment, poverty, low wages, inflation and strict intrusive laws, and diminshed human rights.

      • michael norton

        Every country has to be self sustaining – eventually – yes – even SCOTLAND

        You can’t remain in subsidyland for all of time RoS

        • kailyard rules

          If Scotland is such a “subsidy junkie” ( which I obviously don’t believe) why do Westminster unionists, British empire fantasists, and assorted others of the same collective ilk persist in clinging on to Scotland like some neurotic parent? Your “eventually” of course includes England with it’s share of massive debts? You say “every country” but “every colony”, in that first sentence, would perhaps better fit your jaundiced perception of Scotland.

          • michael norton

            Irish citizens are joining the British military in greater numbers, new figures indicate. While the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has framed the rise as a sign of new recruits’ urge for adventure, high unemployment is cited as a more likely cause.

            Figures seen by the Belfast Telegraph indicate that one Irish person is joining the British military every four and a half days.
            Russia Today

            What economic reasons are there for Scotland to split with the rest of the United Kingdom,
            answers on a post card please.

  • Noonereally

    Happy newish year to all. Anyone else noticed that Craig’s Facebook follower counter seems to have stopped ticking? And so soon after he called them out for suppressing shares of his posts – if I didn’t know better I’d think they’d started again.

  • Tom

    Interesting thoughts. There are a lot of parallels between Brexit and the Iraq War, not least that in that case another decent public servant, David Kelly, was thrown to the wolves because he told the truth. Here we again have the Americans and their media placemen such as Rupert Murdoch stirring up division both in Britain and Europe, so that the USA can remain top dog. We again have a prime minister who is frightened to stand up for British interests, and a Labour Party acting as an echo chamber to the Tories. We have the same kind of phony flagwaving from people who have lied to and betrayed the British people for money and power.
    You’d think we would learn. But sadly the rot set in decades ago when we allowed the country to be sold off to the highest bidder. I hope I am wrong but I fear the best we can hope for now is probably a quick collapse and then a rapid rebuilding once the rats have fled the ship.

  • Habbabkuk


    If you only knew Tim slightly then I probably know him slightly better than you.

    Which allows me to say that I wouldn’t say he was “slightly earnest” – serious certainly but not “earnest.

    He is unusual in always wearing a weskit but even more unusual for his facial hair. I cannot recall another serving British diplomat with not only a moustache but also a beard – and not a little Tritsky-type goatee by the way, but a full one.

    He always reminded me – only facially, of course – a little of both Tsar Nicholas II and King George V (not of course that I knew the latter two gentlemen personally. Having now seen a more recent photo of Tim – no that he’s older and his face has got “broader” (so to speak), he reminds me more of King Edward VII (whom I didn’t know personally either for that matter).

    But enough of these boring things – people’s appearances – so beloved of certain other “commenters”.

    What it is important to note is that one is unlikely to find any FCO man who is in favour of Brexit. That is because Brussels has become a welcome new playground for the diplomats of a once great power which is now only a medium- sized European power,

    Does any medical doctor wish for the disappearance of illness and disease? And any lawyer for clear legislation and the disappearance of misdoing?

    • Macky

      With the name dropping, it reminds us that how cretinous the political class really is; both you & Charles Crawford actually make Craig look like Einstein ! 😀

      • Sharp Ears

        Perhaps they are one and the same. I know Crawford does not like me since I called his blog ‘pretentious’. I was in his list of shame.

        • Habbabkuk

          I think Charles has better things to worry about – and even to notice – than what you call him.

          Who are you after all?

      • Habbabkuk

        I think Craig dropped more names in his post than I did in my comment.

        Lighten up, Macks, loosen that jockstrap! 🙂

        • Alcyone

          LOL x 2 Habby, glad to see you back! Do you have any theories as to why there is apart from you and a couple of others such a distinct lack of a sense of humour in commenters here?

          Talking of goatees, here’s something that’ll get their goats: I nominate you for consistently being the life and blood (christened the Adam Sam’s Award) of this growing blog for 2016.

          As feedback, the new format is working very well and it’s great to see many new commenters as a result. As a another result of Craig’s newly acquired fame for his clandestine role in conveying the Podesta leaks, I anticipate a further wave of new readers and hopefully commenters on this blog.

          So, Happy New Year Craig and wish you every success with the new book. Are you going to Jaipur?

    • SA

      “Does any medical doctor wish for the disappearance of illness and disease? And any lawyer for clear legislation and the disappearance of misdoing?”

      I think you may consider to restrict your comments on the machinations of politicians and the like as you obviously know next to nothing about real professionals.

  • Habbabkuk

    I do wish people would stop posting that the election of Donald Trump has “prevented WW3”.

    They know that that assertion is triple distilled piss because there wasn’t going to be a WW3 whoever got elected.

    There may well have been – and there still may be in the future under Trump – so called proxy wars, but hey, what’s new?

    So let’s have less of this piss about WW3, shall we?

    • mauisurfer

      hard to say if it would have actually led to ww3
      but a no fly zone imposed by usa in syria (as proposed by HRC)
      would certainly be a solid step in that direction
      usa shooting down russia warplanes in syria would certainly light a fuse,
      how big the ensuing explosion we are happy not to find out

    • Laguerre

      “because there wasn’t going to be a WW3 whoever got elected.”

      You only say that after Clinton lost. You wouldn’t have said it, if she’d won.

    • D-Majestic

      Habbabkuk-it may have escaped your vacant notice that Mr. Fallon was on the Bill.andBen.C. not too long ago averring that we would not have a war with Russia this year. Maybe they are waiting for the F-35’s to be delivered. (He sniggered knowingly).

  • Sharp Ears

    Some old saws.

    Never trust a man with a beard.
    Ditto with a cleft chin.
    Ditto with brown shoes.

    There must be more. Wonder how and when they originated.

  • Sharp Ears

    Wonders will never cease.

    ‘#BBC finds ‘journalist’ of 2016 Kuenssberg guilty of #fakenews – and challenges own decision.
    04/01/2017 · by SKWAWKBOX ·

    A slightly edited version of the BBC’s official announcement

    The BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) has upheld a complaint against the BBC’s own political editor Laura Kuenssberg that she misrepresented Jeremy Corbyn’s position on armed police policy – and then the Chair of the ESC immediately challenged the decision and asked for it to be reviewed.

    Ms Kuenssberg has a long history of nonsensically biased reporting concerning the Labour party and its leader – not to mention the small matter of being on record as co-ordinating the on-air resignation of a Labour shadow minister just before PMQs to maximise ‘impact’ – so the piece in question was hardly unusual – but for the BBC Trust itself to stamp its own journalism as, in all but name, ‘fake news’ is remarkable.

    Ms Kuenssberg was pronounced ‘Journalist of the Year’ for 2016 by The Press Gazette, a fact which beggars belief for anyone who’s watched her BBC performances with the sound turned on. For a ‘Journalist of the Year’ to be found to have faked news shows how bankrupt most ‘mainstream’ ‘journalism’ now is – even more so given that the fact will surprise very few people.’


    So …..Never trust what the BBC tell you.

    • eldudeabides

      I never turn it on. More real news in the Beano.

      Same as the UK press. Lord Haw Haw type propaganda rags.

      My connection with BBC news coverage, ended when Jeremy Paxman handed in his thumbscrews and left Newsnight.

      Ms Kuenssberg is a joke figure. She should be on the Harry Enfield show.

  • Blair paterson

    When will you people who talk about democracy and fair play accept that the people who voted to leave the E.U.won the vote they new exactly what they voted for it is called Freedom to run our own affairs as we want to big business is terrified it will have to the people of this country fair wages etc., and if the farmers want their fruit picked,let them pay the locals fair wages instead of bringing in cheap labour from the E.U.and puting up the demand on our schools hospitals etc.

    • Habbabkuk


      The reason is that the whingers are not democrats at all – they are in the main left-wing fascists.

    • nevermind

      BP, please stop talking platitudes other have induced into your ears.
      There are but a few ‘locals’ that are doing the same hard work immigrants carry out in the Fenlands were 1/5th of our fresh food supplies are from.

      To make out that they receive a lesser wage than their ‘local’ compatriots is wrong, UKIP rubbish that is being used to forward an anti immigrant agenda.

      When you ‘take back control’ and start turning over the beds of some lazy local arses, who can’t get up at five, to work in the fields by 6am.
      Putting up demand in our hospitals? you fool, planners are not allowed to plan for extra demand in health services, when asked, whilst sitting round the table deciding on a new ring road round Norwich, whether any of the land is earmarked for a new hospital, nobody seemed to believe that this impact will hit us, that was three years ago, now the NNUH is full all year round barely coping.
      Fact is that this Government promotes right wing skunks who come up with excuses like this, because they are running the NHS into the ground to then privatise the rest of it.

      As for schools, continued interference by moralist such as Gove, his poaching of a run down unpopular academy system from Sweden, to punish children teachers and gullible parents with the idea that teachers really don’t have to be educated, these are at the heart of dumbing down the locals.
      When nurses need university degrees when engineering is crying out for mathematically educated young apprentices, when apprenticeships are bringing back some value to a future workforce, when highly educated IT specialists have to be hired abroad for the lack of the expertise here, UKIP and this thumb sucking Government, as well as societies cheerleaders, are causing strife between educated teachers and some cowboys who have the gift of the gab but haven’t got a clue of what is required, changing and chopping, paying CEO’s vast sums for not very much at all and you dare to blame that on immigrants?

      what a gob shite comment! pure rubbish, the lot of it.

    • SA

      “…people who voted to leave the E.U.won the vote they new exactly what they voted for….”
      But they didn’t really know what they are voting for. To regain our sovereignty we need to change the system and by that I mean the neoliberal world system not just one manifestation of it. The proof is that our government has not been able to come up with this fantastic deal of being able to trade freely with the EU but not being bound to its rules.

  • bevin

    The EU which the electorate voted to leave no longer exists. That is the way that life works- change is constant and the effects of a decision such as Brexit (or the intention thereof) are both immediate and long lasting.

    This is evidently the case: there has been an enormous increase in support for EU sceptical political parties around Europe. It would be tedious to rehearse such recent developments. There have also been major developments beyond the EU- Trump’s election, for example, signifies a real change in the attitude of the US public towards foreign relations. And particularly trade matters.

    Then there is the attraction of the Silk Road idea and intra Eurasian trade patterns, land rather than sea routes and all that they imply.
    For my own part I am opposed to the EU because I am a democrat and a socialist and the EU is both neo-liberal in its socio-economic policies and, as we have seen by its behaviour over Ukraine and its slavish obedience to US imperialist policies, incapable of putting the interests of its members above those of its sponsors. The cases of Greece and Ireland are clear indications of this.

    The frenzied enthusiasm for the EU, which seems to be as much a characteristic of the liberal intellectual as what the Americans call ‘vest’ wearing is of the occupier of cold and drafty housing, is rather like that of the Owl of Minerva which takes to the air when the light fails. The EU is Yesterday’s Project.

    • Laguerre

      That’s bizarre, bevin, if it’s really you.

      The recent eruption of popular nationalism is simply a reaction to globalisation. No-one wants to be globalised. Let’s go back to a familiar mythical past. Unforunately these myths don’t work. The world is globalised. We have to adapt to it.

  • Habbabkuk

    I think I shall be off for the evening. This thread is developing in exactly the same silly way as previous ones : rants, obsessions, misleading statements, just let it all hang out, a total lack of seriousness. Conspiracy theories will inevitably follow, there will be more cut-and-pastes and insults will flow as the pack quarrels.

    Go to Brian Barder’s blog to see what a serious comment looks like!

    • RobG

      Habba, don’t forget to head butt the foreign waiter before you leave, and on your way out of the blog doorway don’t forget to kick the homeless person sleeping there.

      • michael norton

        RobG most funny.

        What is your take of The State of Emergency in FRANCE.
        Will another lorry attack cause the Socialist government of Hollande / Cazeneuve
        to proclaim, “Oh dear so much terror, not a time for elections, we better keep the government we have”

        • RobG

          Michael, I’m sad to say that in my opinion it all depends on what happens in the USA over the coming weeks. I’m sad because France, Britain, Germany, etc are all just vassal states of the American empire. For those that share this view, Brexit really won’t make much difference to people in the UK; in fact, as the premier poodle of the USA and fascism, if Brexit does happen things will only get worse for the plebs in the UK.

          People will know that I’m no fan of Trump, but if he does survive the coming weeks and becomes President there’ll probably be a slight change in things, although I don’t think it’ll be much.

          I suppose Trump, however obnoxious he is to many, is the last gasp of those who still believe that things can be changed through the ballot box, as opposed to those who believe that the rot is now so bad that only outright revolution will bring change.

          We certainly live in interesting times.

          As for France, it’s been in an almost state of revolution for the last year or so, and there’s no way Hollande & Co will survive, even if there’s another ‘terror event’. I’d still lay my money on Jean-Luc Mélenchon for next May’s presidential election. Mélenchon barely gets a mention in the MSM, for the same reason that the presstitutes never talk about Jeremy Corbyn’s policies: both men have policies that are widely popular amongst the public. Both men are described by the presstitutes as being ‘far left’, whereas three decades ago they would have been seen as centre left, which was the foundation of the modern state of France and the modern state of Britain. Both men also want to get out of the American sphere of influence.

          I believe the Roman empire had similar problems during its collapse.

          • Iain Stewart

            RobG : “As for France, it’s been in an almost state of revolution for the last year or so”.
            You have often reported this, no doubt based on your own close observations. Living and working in a city which I cross at least twice daily all I have seen so far was a boisterous “Loi travail” demonstration before the summer holidays. Where can I see some of this total chaos to which you allude so frequently?

          • RobG

            Iain, France is the largest country in Europe and I live in a very rural corner of it.

            You didn’t mention the name of the French city you travel through daily, so I can’t comment on that.

            The most obvious demonstrations have been in Paris. Here’s a mega one during last summer’s 2016 Euro football tournament…


            Some say (unconfirmed) that up to a million people were on the streets. It was mega stuff, which the presstitutes completely ignored at the time, then later said it was football fans rioting. If you look at the banners in the above video you’ll see that this has nothing to do with football fans.

            Likewise, there were major riots in Nantes…


            And Rouen…


            … and many other French towns and cities.

            If you’ve traveled in France recently you might have noticed that there’s far more than the normal number of strikes.

            Things have quietened down of late, while everyone awaits what’s going to happen in next May’s presidential election. One thing you can be certain of, don’t believe anything the MSM (in France or Britain) tell you about this.

          • Iain Stewart

            Rob, thank you for taking the time to reply. Unfortunately I have had no total chaos or “almost state of revolution” to report from my own travels over the past year or so in France (including Paris, the Bordeaux region, the Massif central and Lyon). As I said, all I saw was some police over-reaction looking for a dispersed pre-summer demonstration in Lyon, which claims to be the second largest city. As for the strikes, the métro closed for an hour every day in December but nobody really noticed. Could you be exaggerating a little or do you have a special source of information?

    • D_Majestic

      Habbakuk, you sound exactly like Graham Chapman as the Colonel in certain Monty Python sketches. He turns up from time to time and says “Now-no more of this-it’s just getting silly!” Well-if the caps fits etc…..

  • Sharp Ears

    Old Crawford gets another mention in this flowery piece on Sky News. My word. He’s becoming famous!

    ‘With his bushy white beard and taste for flamboyant waistcoats, he (Sir Tim) even looks like a Russian. You can almost imagine him knocking back vodkas with the Russian president in late-night negotiations.

    If true, that could come in handy, since Jean Claude Juncker is said to drink Cognac for breakfast and it’s reported Sir Ivan Rogers occasionally used to enjoy gin and tonics with Theresa May in her hotel suite.

    There are also suggestions that earlier in his career Sir Tim might have been a spook. He worked at the Moscow embassy in the early 1990s and was then head of the Foreign Office’s Russia Section.

    :: New UK envoy to EU revealed after Brexit furore

    A former boss from his early days, fellow diplomat Charles Crawford, claims Sir Tim – currently political director at the Foreign Office – is “fearless” and won’t be Theresa May’s “patsy”. ‘

    Sir Tim Barrow profile: ‘Fearless’ diplomat who stood up to Putin
    A former boss says Sir Tim Barrow, the UK’s new top man in Brussels, will not be Prime Minister Theresa May’s “patsy”.

  • eldudeabides

    “Yet the only two British diplomats who resigned on principle over the War on Iraq/Terror…..were Carne Ross and myself. We were also among the very few British diplomats I knew of at the time who always wore waistcoats. Which just goes to prove that the lack of a waistcoat is definite evidence of deficient moral character.

    Brexit is a disaster for the UK”

    I don’t see too many folk in waistcoats, walking past the beggars/homeless that I now see in every major city in Britain. This summer, I saw ever more homeless in Edinburgh city centre, as well as over in Belfast.

    I don’t see too many folk in waistcoats, with less than a hundred quid to their name (like 16 million in the UK – some 25 % of the population).

    I don’t see too many folk in waistcoats that are working for the same wage that they were 10 or 20 years ago.

    I haven’t seen too many folk in waistcoats, that are now working 70 and 80 hour weeks. i.e. twice the hours they worked 20 or 30 years ago.

    The EU has been an unmitigated disaster. Massive inequality. And let’s not even dig into TTIP, and other clandestine stench-laden trade deals, as well as the war crimes (e.g. those dark prisons in Eastern Europe, the facilitation of torture, and the permission to fly rendition flights over European air-space.

    But I do accept that not all remainers are racist (i.e. exploit/abuse cheap immigrant labour, and refuse to pay local folk in the UK, a fair wage, all in order to maximise corporate profits). But 2016 has definitely shown up their pseudo liberalism. One couldn’t meet more intolerant folk.

    • RobG

      You make very strong points, eldudeabides. The way that Merkel, Hollande & Co are now parroting the ‘fake news’ meme show that they are total puppets of Washington, and have sold-out their own people in the most disgusting way. Likewise with the American-led sanctions on Russia, which have hurt Europeans just as much as Russians.

      However, with regard to Britain leaving the EU, which I’m in favour of (mostly to give the finger to Washington), I feel we need to be careful with the totally inept/corrupt UK government we presently have, who are like Mussolini on steroids.

      Britain in 2017 is already turning into a Dickensian theme park. Britain in 2020 could well be a serfs and slaves theme park.

      • eldudeabides

        Absolutely, RobG.

        The entire first world, does not have democracy. Big business, neoliberalism, runs the entire show.

        Nor do we have a free press. That has been increasingly obvious in the last few years – and most clearly in 2016.

        Russia is a country that we need to be close to, and building bridges with. Instead the neoliberalists crave to bully, encroach, and eventually bring Russia into it’s corrupt fold. IMHO America has to be disentangled from our nations’ affairs.

        I agree totally re we have to be careful now with our stench in Westminster.

        For me, it was one battle at a time. Get out of the massive EU project imitially.

        And then secondly, on winning that battle, try and re-establish democracy and a free press in the UK.

        I have no doubt, that the UK regime will try and sell off our NHS to it’s US corporate pals. This is a massive priority for every man and woman in Britain. No more privatisation/hiving off.

        • Laguerre

          “The entire first world, does not have democracy. Big business, neoliberalism, runs the entire show.”

          Do you think that BREXIT will resolve it?

          • eldudeabides

            Not initially.

            But the nemesis of big business and neo-liberalism, is local accountable government.

            The establishment of national governments again is key……i.e. the setting up of democratic institutions and a free press.

      • Babushka

        RobG Your comment referring to Dickens reminds me of a most graphic “prediction” made by @A. Deist on a US blog, around 2012, when the Australian Yahoo Finance comment board was shut down due to vicious trolling. The way I see it, the vicious trolling was intended to stop intelligent enlightening discussion on the very real concerns expressed by whistleblowers, academics and bean counters, on the machinations underlying the unravelling of our society under PM Gillard.

        Back then A Deist used the horror scenes of A Tale of Two Cities to describe our current unravelling western civilisation.

        Funny that Craig whimsically writes about waist coats to generate this discussion, although I’m aware that Craig knows how it feels to be hard up.
        I genuinely admire and respect Craig’s resolve to carry on regardless ?

        • michael norton

          RobG I expect it is all about political correctness, shame, in old Blighty, we did not put up with this shit.

  • Republicofscotland

    “had I not suffered from a conscience I would now be on my final, and probably very senior, Ambassadorship. Tim Barrow, who takes over as British Ambassador to the EU”


    I believe Sir Tim Barrow was until recently the British ambassador to Russia. Just think Craig, if you’d have turned a blind eye to the cruelty in Uzbekistan, you could’ve been the ambassador to Russia.

    As for Sir Ivan Rogers, all manner of creatures have come out of the Tory woodwork to have a go at him now he’s gone, including ex-DWP hatchet man Ian Ducan Smith, whose policies on welfare killed more people than the Zika virus.

    • Alcyone

      In Russia, he almost certainly would have had to turn two blind eyes!

      Anyway these could’ve, would’ve’, should’ve mind games are childish in the least and delusory at best. I’m surprised that Craig still clings on to these notions, in public at that.

      • Republicofscotland

        “In Russia, he almost certainly would have had to turn two blind eyes!”


        Is the above some kind of astro -projecting meditative state, that you gleaned from messer Krishnamurti’s numerous books?

  • kerdasi amaq

    It would be a bigger disaster to remain in the EU. Anyway, how are you going to stop the Islamic takeover, by population replacement and displacement, of Western Europe?

    Are the Tory Remainers sorry that they won the last general election?

    • Alcyone

      Good point.

      “Population of Britain is set to overtake France within 13 years: Impact of high immigration will make the UK the most populous European country by 2050
      Eurostat predict UK population in 2030 will be 70,4m – and 77.1m by 2050
      German population set to continue to fall despite high immigration levels
      UK already has the highest population density in Europe, ahead of Holland
      Predictions do not take in to account the political impact of Brexit

      Read more:

    • Republicofscotland

      “It would be a bigger disaster to remain in the EU. Anyway, how are you going to stop the Islamic takeover, by population replacement and displacement, of Western Europe?”


      You mean the displacement of fleeing refugees/immigrants from their home countries, due to the West razing them to the ground, whilst sending in proxy fighters to slaughter those who remain, then blaming the atrocities committed on terorists.

      Which inturn allows more bombing and killing in the name of freedom. Europe’s influx is the fault of the European British and American governments. They created the mass exodus, and now they’re demonising those who’ve fled to Europe, by carrying out dubious attacks to create a atmosphere of tension and loathing, towards immigrants and refugees.

      You have bought into this along with millions of others, hence the rise of right wing parties across Europe.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Astonished to see your comments on Charles Crawford. Personally pleasant he might be, I wouldn’t know, but what I’ve seen of his pisspoor blog (that nobody ever reads) demonstrates an ugly combination of extreme complacency, pure establishment servility, and venomous contempt for contrary opinion. His criticism of you borders on the hysterical. Please yourself, if that’s the company you wish to keep.

    He is, however, a Greyfriars fan, his one redeeming quality.

    • Alcyone

      He’s certainly not doing it to please you JSD! Do you seriously think he needs your approval and since you are not his wife, disapproval? Try to be more rational.

      • Habbabkuk

        Wel said, Alcyone.

        Spencer-Davis’s characterisation of Charles Crawfords’s blog and tone is a travesty of the truth. If that is Spencer-Davis’s level of honesty then I feel sorry for the people he deals with professionally.

    • John Goss

      Yes, I agree John S.D. He drops in once in a while, drops a dollop of dung and disappears, until he arrives with the next dollop. Unfortunately you get his creepy sycophants encouraging him to drop more. If he never came back the world would be none the poorer – a sad indictment for a diplomat.

  • Peter Beswick

    My mate used to (probably still does) would travel in a 3 piece, he reckoned it saved the creases. I would travel in jeans, sweat shirt and trainers. I was happy to travel upstairs but he always wangled a turn to the left (up-grade) when he got on the plane.

    Its not what you feel comfortable in, its how people perceive you, if you find that important.

    Now lets get down to how outsiders see FCO diplomats but more importantly what the public think they do.

    My entire experience is they are an expensive luxury that telephones made obsolete some time ago. Except when brown envelopes are passed out to agents (required) double agents (odd) triple (wtf), the fun is working out what level is being dealt with, the answer is often answered in how much is in the envelope when its passed back. And stuff shipped in the sac diplomatiques can sometimes call for local ingenuity.

    So where do they come into the picture with Brexit? They don’t!

    Triggering Article 50 doesn’t need them, nor does the 2 year period for it to become absolute.

    However the ones with egos that they can keep in their trousers would have a useful role in the 24 month period to help form post Brexit alliances.

    Do you want your people to stay and work in Britain? Good so Brits will stay and work in yours’

    Do you want a zero trade tariff deal? Good so do we.

    Now the rest of you kindly fuck off!

    I’m no diplomat and don’t wear a waistcoat but I think I might excel at this, When do they start start recruiting?

    • John Goss

      Well Sir Ivan Rogers has resigned. Why not start at the top. It matters not an ounce who’s there at the end. The result will be the same. If you’re cynical, like me, the chances are this brexit will be more punitive than it was getting in in the first place and that cost us an arm and a leg because in penalties because we had not joined at the start, if I recall correctly.

  • Andrew

    “…we have at present the Means in our Power of treating with the Northern Potentates of Europe on very advantageous Terms: That is, we may signify to each of them (as we did formerly to Portugal) that in what Proportion soever, they will favour the Introduction of the English Manufactures into their Territories by the Repeal or Diminution of Taxes; in the same Proportion will we admit their Bar Iron, Hemp, Pitch, Tar, Turpentine, etc. into Great-Britain.”*

    Quoted in Michael Hudson’s Super Imperialism (The Origin and Fundamentals of US World Dominance), first published in 1972, 2nd edition in 2003 – highly recommended for anyone interested in international financial history.

    Hudson provides a detailed account of global financial developments between 1914 and 1971, focusing on the rise of the US as the leading world power and how it brazenly used its position to dominate Europe, Japan and developing countries and finally forced the rest of the world to pay for its wars and underwrite its living standards.

    In particular, Hudson describes how the US set out to strip Britain of its empire after WWI, demanded much harsher financial terms from Britain after WWI and WWII than it did of defeated Germany and Japan, stole the UK’s export markets after WWII and much else – all with the acquiescence of a weak British ruling class (and FCO) apparently in awe of the US.

    One of the US aims was “to keep Britain dependent on the US Treasury so that it would be obliged to follow policies desired by the US government,” Hudson writes. A real eye-opener – should be required reading for history students in the UK.

    * from Josiah Tucker’s ‘A Series of Answers to Certain Popular Objections against Separating from the Rebellious Colonies, and Discarding them Entirely’ (1776)

  • giyane

    I supported NEXT recently and bought a much reduced in price blue waistcoat. I suppose that makes me one of the bad guys.

    I love RobG’s evening kicks in the gonads to deserving targets. Gérard Depardieu has described France as becoming like a theme park for stinky cheeses. Good I will go there and let whoever likes Victorian poverty come here in exchange.

    It might have been more productive for his cause if Craig had allowed a discussion here about Brexit prior to June 23. In some strange way his refusal to discuss it mirrors the PM’s refusal to discuss it afterwards.

    Are commerce, foreigners and sex so shameful to the British people that they must never be openly discussed in cheerful intellectual exchange? Or was it the idea of a Federal power usurping Victorian Imperial pretensions? We kick above our weight because we kick wogs below the belt, harnessing criminals to destroy their homes and political institutions so that we can rise above the shattered ruins.

    We Europeans installed the dictators of the MIddle East to bully, spy, imprison and torture, and we will never give the Muslims a lesser pain, before admitting them extremely grudgingly into the free world. This is what I suspect Craig wanted to conceal , by disallowing discussion of the Brexit vote, the EU’s hidden role in prosecuting the US global ambitions in the Middle East. It is an abscess of unmitigating poison which will take centuries to heal.

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