Edinburgh 2 November: A Day to Stretch the Intellect 136


There is a good double header of events in Edinburgh on 2 November, at venues 5 minutes walk from one another. At 2pm at the National Library of Scotland on George IV Bridge I shall be giving a talk on Alexander Burnes, followed by a book signing.

After retiring to Sandy Bell’s for a brief refreshment, at 6pm the W. M. Watt Annual Lecture is being delivered by Professor Nur Masalha at the Playfair Library, Old College, South Bridge. The Lecture is entitled Powerful Symbols and the British-Zionist Alliance: From Balfour to the Nakba . You need to book a place via the link.

This sounds very interesting and I hope gets a good turnout. It is excellent to see an official Edinburgh University function tackling this subject, when there have been so many attempts within other universities to repress free speech around it.

On a related note, I am delighted to say that I have received the first peer review of Sikunder Burnes, in Central Asian Survey, which is the accepted academic journal of note in this area. This is very important to me as, while Murder in Samarkand/Dirty Diplomacy is to my certain knowledge taught on university courses from Moscow to Rio De Janeiro and many points inbetween, it was shunned by British and US academia; an example of the systematic marginalisation of whistleblowers. Part of the plan of Sikunder Burnes was to produce such a volume of important original research it would be impossible for academia to ignore it.

Furthermore, Alexander Morrison of New College, Oxford is one of the few academics qualified in this precise area to pass judgement. Naturally his review is far from uncritical, but I would not have wished it to be. As stated in the preface, Alexander is one of the academics with whom I cooperated in the limited sense of swapping transcriptions, and I look forward to publishing a reply to some of the points in his review in a spirit of friendly discussion. I am sorry you can’t see the entire review unless you have access to academic library login credentials.


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136 thoughts on “Edinburgh 2 November: A Day to Stretch the Intellect

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  • Simon

    Review by an Oxford academic (publicly funded?), published in Central Asian Journal, edited by Routledge, subsidiary of Taylor and Francis, subsidiary of Informa, turnover £1.4 billion, its current CEO, Stephen Carter, was an unelected minister in the Brown government. Don’t read this blog. It makes you cynical.

    • Sharp Ears

      Why the acid?

      Lord Carter of Barnes. No party affiliation. He was made a peer when he was appointed as he wasn’t an MP. A minister for all of 10 months until June 2009 when he resigned on publication of his Digital Britain report.

      He does not participate in the activities of the troughers in ermine, as I call the members of the HoL.

      Category 1: Directorships
      Informa plc (Academic Publishing, Information Services and Events)
      Non-executive Director, United Utilities plc

      Category 2: Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.
      Group CEO, Informa plc (Academic Publishing, Information Services and Events)

      Category 10: Non-financial interests (c)
      Governor, Royal Shakespeare Company
      http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/lord-carter-of-barnes/3868

      So?

      • Stu

        Academic publishing is a scam which steals money from the many and funnels it upwards on an epic scale. It was basically invented by Robert Maxwell which tells you everything you need to know.

        All publicly funded research (ie all of it) should freely available in the public domain.

    • Ian

      This blog doesn’t make you cynical. Far from it. However, desperately linking disparate facts as if they constitute some terrible conspiracy, or undermine the contents of a well-researched book, and implying public funding somehow undermines an academic judgement, is taking cynicism to pathetically manufactured levels of hyperbole and hysteria.

  • Laguerre

    It’s a review, not a peer review. A peer review is when an article is sent to two experts in the field for evaluation of scientific validity *before* publication. The author is not supposed to know who they are, nor the reviewers who the author is. I do it quite often.

    The bit I’ve been able to read without paying looks very positive. I’ll have to see if I can get into the rest.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Congratulations, Craig on the academic recognition you have received re your historical credentials re Sikunder Burnes.

    Whilst waiting the outcome – pass or fail of my old banger (I dread the MOT test – but its compulsorary. It’s even worse than having a Medical – when they tell you, you should already be dead – take these drugs), I read more about your activities in the woods in the USA sometime last year. You have a lot to be proud about yourself.

    My car passed its MOT (scraped through – I think it may need a dose of Redex), and I stopped taking the drugs prescibed to prevent my death, 14 years ago, and I am still here. I am even older than my car. I’m almost certain the doctor was trying to kill me. He hasn’t succeeded yet, cos I haven’t seen him since.

    Meanwhile Putin seems to be the only head of state making any sense. He makes our Western lot seem as if they were accidentally given day release, when their psychiatrist could no longer cope, and took all their drugs himself.

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/putin-to-western-elites-you-flunked.html

    Tony

  • Jon

    The question of whether British universities are generally too cautious in accepting radical material is an interesting one. A couple of years ago I was fascinated to find – on a university’s own website – a library catalogue of books and electronic teaching materials on the topic of the CIA strategy of promoting drug wars in Latin America, destabilising regimes thought to be inimical to US “interests”, and facilitating drug imports into the US. I forget which university it was, but I will post it if I can find it.

    Whilst I appreciate that university institutions (now businesses of course) have a number of staff not wanting to scare the horses, radicals are also well represented. Geography departments have a good number of folks in the Marxist tradition, for example. So, I wonder whether Samarkand just needs more time to “bed in” – and maybe a bit of extra cheeky promotion?

    • Anon7

      A bit more time to “bed in”???

      Our universities are already awash with Marxist thought, their students already fully indoctrinated.

      What need for this sub-academic work?

      • Jon

        Heh, well, your comedy rendering of Colonel Disgusted from Tunbridge Wells is spot on. Very good Anon!

        If you are in favour of academic freedom – and aren’t we all? – then you should be happy that universities still feature radical thought from all parts of the political spectrum. There are sure to be groups of conservative intellectuals too – I am mainly thinking economic departments here. I am reminded that modern neoliberalism was born in American academia, but I’d be surprised if those ideas did not reach departments in other countries.

        It seems academic freedom is prone to waxing and waning. Public lectures about Israel/Palestine have been cancelled in the past – Southampton I think? – on the basis of dangerous accusations of anti-Semitism. But, if Edinburgh feels free to go ahead, then perhaps we can assume that the intellectual capture of universities did not succeed.

    • Dave Lawton

      Jon “A couple of years ago I was fascinated to find – on a university’s own website – a library catalogue of books and electronic teaching materials on the topic of the CIA strategy of promoting drug wars in Latin America, destabilising regimes thought to be inimical to US “interests”, and facilitating drug imports into the US. I forget which university it was, but I will post it if I can find it.”

      Jon I can remember the time when the CIA was promoting drugs in British University“s during the MK ULTRA program.

  • Anon7

    Murder in Samarkand is not an academic work. It is the personal account of a disgruntled former employee of the British state.

    The only reason it is cited in Moscow and Rio is for the usefulness of its anti-Western content.

        • glenn_nl

          Of course it is. It’s his hobby to hang around places where he’s not welcome and he doesn’t like the company… go figure.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        Hot Dog,

        Don’t knock The whisky, but like lamb, it seems that if you live in England, you have to fly half way round the world to buy Scottish quality at a reasonable price.

        If Craig feels superior to you, its probably because in my view – he is.

        It’s O.K. to feel superior , when you obviously are.

        Tony

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I was more interested in learning about Burnes as a geographer, spy, and artifact and woman collector which can only be seen by me, if it exists in the review, by subscribing to the journal which I am in no position to do now, given my health and tax problems.

    • giyane

      Trowbridge
      Hi. Talking of tax, the UK government, which hates poor people evading it by claiming their rightful expenses, no longer allows agency workers to get paid through a private Limited Company, unless they are in charge of their own work, i.e.what they do and how they do it.

      Now, when you register to work for an agency as a Limited Company you have to sign this disclaimer:
      Dear Sirs
      I am a Director of The Company named above and I am writing to confirm that The Company operates PAYE on all employment income paid to its’ employees and Directors. In addition, The Company submits PAYE details to HMRC using RTI in accordance with HMRC requirements and makes payments of all tax, National Insurance and VAT (if applicable) to HMRC in a correct and timely manner.
      The Company fully indemnifies the recruitment company from HMRC in the event of any failure of the above named Company in regard to unpaid tax, National Insurance and VAT due to be paid by The Company.

      I don’t think these rules also apply to the rich.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I make no claims to be a student of history, except shortly after the end of WWII, my Dad gave me a metal globe of the Earth, and I asked him

    “Dad – what are all the pink bits?”

    “He said those are ours – they are British…”……”but Dad that is nearly a third of the Earth…

    We are just a little island off Europe.

    How did we do that?”

    Then my brother nicked my globe and made it float stably in free air using electro magnets, proximity detectors, and his own logic which he coded on a printed circuit board, which just had a couple of potentiomenters for adjustments and tuning.

    I thought that was pretty clever.

    Tony

  • giyane

    ‘Sufism, Panislamism and Information Panic’ from the extracts of work by Alexander Morrison.
    ” However the attribution of a peculiarly malignant ‘fanaticism’ to Islam, the thread which runs throughout the whole of the enquiry, was arguably more exaggerated in the Russian Empire than anywhere else.”
    I was interested in one Russian Governor general’s comment ( in 1898 ? ) that:
    “Mussulman Sufists are in many respects much more dangerous to us than Orthodox Muslims”’

    In 20 years of living in the Asian Muslim community, I have found that the rocky and superstitious foundations of the Sufis beliefs, make them good exaggerators. But when they come into contact with hardcore jihadist beliefs fostered by the MI6/CIA’s Muslim Brotherhood, they tend to over-compensate for their ignorance and become hardcore jihadists. The CIA, fronted by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have converted the Naqsabandi sect from Sufism to Jihad in preparation for their assault on the former colonies of the Soviet Union and China, starting with Myanmar in the last few weeks.

    Well the Russians have had plenty of experience in Syria with the CIA’s Muslim Brotherhood terrorists who have been fighting against the Orthodox Muslims of the Middle East. From now on the main actors will be ex-Syria jihadists and ex-Sufis fighting against the Orthodox Muslims of the Far East . Their ill-conceived purpose being to establish Anglo-Zionist hegemony in the whole of the Asian continent.

    The Middle -Eastern terrorists are proven liars, and they hoped their fake news would take root in the West. They have been defeated by Russia and Trump. It remains to be seen whether Putin will be like his predecessors and get panicked by the exaggerated untruths of the ex-Sufis when linked up to ruthless and outrageous liars of Saudi Arabia and USUKIS. Former Soviet colonies like Uzbekistan should brace themselves for immediate impact, starting with a Saudi/Turkish army assault against Myanmar Buddhists.
    How that fits in with a Turkey-Russia-Iran alliance in Syria, I leave to those capable of intestinal political analysis. My point is only that if you thought Syria was difficult to comprehend, watch out for the East.

  • Peter Beswick

    “Part of the plan of Sikunder Burnes was to produce such a volume of important original research it would be impossible for academia to ignore it.”

    Whilst psychologists may praise the lord for this type of thinking it generally invokes pity. Not by me. No!

    Craig does provoke tangential thought,

    The JFK files are about to be released. History in the making?

    No! Another version of the story to be told. The truth? No!

    History is not the truth, never has been, never will be.

    Dr David Kelly’s death was covered up and a lie was presented to the public.

    The people that presented that lie were on the surface decent people, they saw lying as acceptable for the right reasons.None of them knew the real truth, they didn’t want to.

    My extensive research has led me to the conclusion that Kelly was murdered by US agents, but the fact is it doesn’t matter because the State doesn’t care for us to know the truth.

    In my opinion Hutton believed (honestly and truly) that Kelly died from a cardiac arrest whilst being detained and interrogated in a “safe house” by US security officials. I believe his family believe (honestly and truly) that Kelly committed suicide in those same circumstances after being confronted with some horrible truths (all made up). The knife was not taken from a drawer in his home it was one he always kept in his coat pocket, he used to paunch rabbits with it.

    All parties who lied thought they were doing right, they convinced themselves it was their duty. They believed that the “truth” that they thought they knew was not for public consumption, only they could know it and deal with it.

    And that is history, that is what history is.

  • Stu

    Here’s something to sadden the intellect….

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/oct/25/russian-revolutionaries-children-read-classic-fiction-not-marx

    This is possibly the stupidest bit of propaganda i’ve ever came across. Children read light fiction and not economic history. Who knew!

    “He discovered that far from focusing on the writings of Marx and Engels for their reading, the Bolsheviks and their children preferred expressly anti-revolutionary works by western authors such as Dickens, Defoe, Shakespeare, Hugo, Balzac, Flaubert, Goethe, Kipling and Wilde.”

    After the bizarre list of apparently anti revolutionary novelists there is an incredible description of Tolstoy as a conservative reactionary. The article also pulls off the impressive feat of describing the reading habits of Russians in the mid 20th century without naming a single 20th century Russian author.

    • reel guid

      If Jared O’Mara is anything to go by then some of the male children of the New Labour revolution were brought up on reading Nuts and Zoo Weekly.

      • Stu

        Other than being grateful for Jared O’Mara beating Clegg I don’t know anything about him. There has been a massive sea change in what is acceptable speech in the last decade or so but it still seems strange to me that we have MPs who voted the Iraq War and MPs who supported Apartheid and that’s apparently fine but a few forum posts is a national outrage.

        This is all irrelevant. It’s not going to win the Tories any votes as they only people who genuinely care about hateful speech will never vote for them. They went all out on the anti Semitism smears and it got nowhere. The Right have no positive case they can make for their program so they are left with nothing to do but smear alternatives. It’s not going to work and it’s likely Universal Credit and the recession which is clearly coming next year will be the final straw.

        • Xavi

          Well said, Stu. We’re living in strange times. These smears and slurs are similar to the “Putin wants so and so to win ..” line employed by liberals on both sides of the pond. No matter how many times it is proven to have no effect on elections, they keep on being offered as surrogates for attractive policies addressing real-life concerns.

          • Geordie Bordie

            These guys have done some excellent work analyzing the current political discursive matrix, the real, the fake, the controlled, the confusing:

            https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMf1qGR8km1c8vg_dtpzzVQ/videos

            Lots of good work being done in this area.

            We do this kind of work when looking at history, so such a shame mainstream media have a problem believing it still goes on today.

            They do a poor soap-opera version of it when they pit political personalities, their alliances and feuds, against one another.

            But they don’t do the deep discursive analysis, and rarely notice the elephants partying in the room.

      • graph

        Seems to be a manufactured campaign against Jared O’Mara, possibly attempting to engineer a bi-election for a return of Nick Clegg. Something he said 15 years ago of no consequence followed up by a woman complaining about being rejected in a nightclub. Oh the humanity. Now which lobby has a strong beneficial relationship with NC?

        Interesting ‘take’ on the affair and O’Mara in the JweishChronicle.

        https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/labour-mp-jared-o-mara-under-fire-over-homophobic-comments-is-far-left-israel-obsessive-1.446522

        Take note of the ‘far left Israel obsessive’ headline – ”One online critic labelled the disgraced MP a “far-left Israel obsessive””. An online critic lol. Its like quoting Michael Norton or Anon1 on Craig Murray. Poor standards of journalism there, no?

        The writer seems to be more outraged that O’Mara has asked a few questions regarding Palestine than the alleged ”misogynistic and homophobic comments ”.

        reel guid – I briefly read a couple of O’Mara’s comments and could not see anything misogynistic or homophobic. What am I missing? Could you help out and post them here as you seem to be the most outraged by them? thanks

        • Ba'al Zevul

          Well, it is the JC. Which could be described (no doubt antisemitically) as ‘a grovellingly pro-establishment antisemitism-obsessed’ paper.

          At least until it becomes illegal to disparage anyone, anywhere…that day can’t be far off now.

        • Stu

          “reel guid – I briefly read a couple of O’Mara’s comments and could not see anything misogynistic or homophobic. What am I missing? Could you help out and post them here as you seem to be the most outraged by them? thanks”

          He seems to have made a few homophobic comments about Morrisey and racist remarks about international football. Not great but the sort of thing you would see on TV or in the tabloids in the 90s. One of the most quoted comments is definitely a stitch up as it’s a review of an Arctic Monkeys gig using their lyrics but being reported as his own opinions.

          As I said before it’s desperation and it’s not going to work. The economy going tits up is an inevitable effect of the austerity project hastened by Brexit. There IS an alternative.

          • freddy

            I bet Angela the Eagle is completely beside herself, hearing the remarks attributed to O’Mara

          • graph

            yeah It smacks of faux outrage and mob rule via social media platforms. 15 years ago. Pathetic stuff. Ask random people (random not bbc stooges) what they think and they’d laugh at the comments. Zero context to where and when he said these things also distorts the whole episode nicely.

            Hopefully he learns a lesson – its less offensive to dress up as an SS officer, sleep with a married woman or joke about dead bodies in Libya than offensively reject a women in a nightclub.

            Apparently DUP members moo (cow noises) at Foster at party gatherings when she speaks as most of the rank think a woman’s place is in the home. Perfectly OK to rely on these folk to prop up the Con party in government though……………

        • Geordie Bordie

          So, Feminism and its activists function as a cover for political point-scoring in other areas.

          Areas that couldn’t otherwise defend themselves publicly because they’re indefensible in the public mind.

          The Assange case should have taught us that.

          It’s not just Feminism of course, all sectarianisms are used in this fashion.

          And well-funded they are too.

          Hard to change your mind when you know funding will suddenly stop.

        • giyane

          Islam is a homophobic, anti-Semitic, an misogynistic religion, in the terms of its critics.
          The sexes are unable to procreate without eachother. Fact.
          The decendants of the prophet Jacob peace be upon him were at one time the custodians of the religion of Islam. Fact.
          There were no women prophets. Fact.
          So one is forced to conclude that Islam’s critics don’t like Facts.

          This reminds me of those who belong to the religion of Market Forces. By their doctrine, if a particular policy failed, and in 2007 it totally failed, it would automatically get scrapped. but instead of being scrapped it was amplifies, increased and forced upon the electorate with the cry from its purporters that we had not practised the religion correctly and with enough conviction.
          We hadn’t gone far enough. After all the real money in the economy had been stolen by greedy bankers, a lustier, superman, more virile form of greed called destroying any country that refused to submit to the will of Washington, London and scoobydoo, would now be proven to work. The proof is always in the pudding. Is Europe now safer? Apparently not. Is the Middle-East now safer? Apparently not. Is Africa now safer? Hmmm.
          Russia and China do seem to be on the up, but the medicine of Thatcherism doesn’t seem to be working in our neck of the woods. When are we going to give it up?

    • Geordie Bordie

      “He discovered that far from focusing on the writings of Marx and Engels for their reading, the Bolsheviks and their children preferred expressly anti-revolutionary works by western authors such as Dickens, Defoe, Shakespeare, Hugo, Balzac, Flaubert, Goethe, Kipling and Wilde.”

      Oh good Lord.

      “anti-revolutionary works”

      These are the most revolutionary of writers, excepting Kipling, but the rest obviously so in their radical critique.

      This writer is superficial in her understanding

      Revolution to her is but an iconic thing: The Che, the Marx, the Engels, I’d imagine. But isn’t Darwin revolutionary.

      It’s a personality cult view of politics.

      Anyway, the reason any sensible person reads these writers is that it’s a such small investment for very large returns.

      Good old vicarious compound empiricism.

      All elitists, including Bolsheviks, understand this.

      That’s kinda why they rule the world.

      And public discourse is being dumbed down to competing symbolisms.

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      Two great favourites in USSR among the cognoscenti.
      1. Winnie Poogh ( Scottish ch sound rather than ch as in chat). This was made into a very famous and very popular television series of the adventures of the bear.
      2. Sherlock Holmes

      I, too, thought the article was ludicrous, although i probably wouldn’t call it propaganda. It was just too stupid to qualify as propaganda, but there are many PH.D theses that are deviously spun out of the pungent gases and flatulence generated by sitting overlong on the thinking organ of many a committed academic.

      Das Kapital (and Marx in general ) is not a very easy read and even university students need some guidance to get through it in a worthwhile way so it isn’t at all surprising that most people didn’t read it .
      The education system in the USSR reflected Marxism, and the analysis of it, which in the case of the academically inclined, was sophisticated and rigourous. That is not a value judgement, or a sympathy for the thinking/ideas thus propagated- but I want to resist the idea that Russian/Soviet people slavishly followed some pre-digested rigourously enforced Marxist ideology.
      There was also a fascination in the thirties for science fiction, just as there was in the US.
      My impression of the Russians I have known well is that they were able to enjoy and appreciate the classical “approved” canon and were not dissuaded from reading established classics outside this. Indeed it was regarded as essential reading. For instance -Goethe.

      The other factor is that 99% of reading is probably done for entertainment whether Russian, Chinese or British. And quite right too.

    • Jon

      I second this question. I kept meaning to make a donation, but never got around to it. I am hoping a generous and left-leaning benefactor decided to make up the entire shortfall, upon hearing of Craig’s legal plight!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Looks like A+ for research, but C for contemporary political point-making…

    Maybe you wouldn’t have been motivated to do the research without the political grievance, though?

    Not clear what you mean by your books not being ‘taught’ by universities. The most I would expect would be for a book to figure on a reading list, students being free to accept or ignore the well-meant recommendation of the academic who put it there. Would you expect any university to dedicate an entire undergrad module to Sikunder Burnes?

    Perhaps you could tear out the contemporary political parallels, remodel it as pure research, and submit it to (say) Dundee as a PhD thesis. Which, if successful, would give you the basic street cred as a historian to influence the way the subject is taught.

  • graph

    freddy Rudaw news is as accurate as Fox. Best not referencing its nonsense.

    Have you come across UA live maps? The Ukrainians who operate it also have a serious agenda thats clear to see when following events day to day and their spin on whats happening on the ground so bare in mind when reading their selection of updates in the side bar. An eye open on the conflict though and how Russia and Iran have turned the tide (and how the US is determined to prolong conflict with the SAA).

    If you select the USA you will also be shocked at the day to day gun carnage that occurs. Mental stuff.

    https://mideast.liveuamap.com

    https://usa.liveuamap.com

  • reel guid

    Durham Labour MP Laura Pidcock missed the universal Credit debate because she was celebrating her birthday with a trip to Venice.

    She had permission from the whips (why?) for leave of absence She is claiming she was only away a couple of nights but there is some doubt it was that brief.

    Anyway, next year Laura can ask the Labour whips for time off to attend Venice Miner’s Gala.

    • Republicofscotland

      Meanwhile.

      London Labour’s branch manager contest in Scotland, has gone from the farcical to the downright surreal.

      With supporters of independence and opponents of Labour, somehow registered to vote, for the next Westminster puppet to lead the Scottish branch office.

      This on top of the ridiculous block group of voters, who miraculously all had the same email address.

      http://www.thenational.scot/news/15619373.Scottish_Labour__farce__after_socialist_who_claims_she_didn_t_sign_up_appears_on_leadership_voting_list/?ref=mr&lp=3

      • reel guid

        Also in the National there’s a story about Anas Sarwar’s campaign team sending out a mass e-mail in which Anas says he favours “redistributing wealth from the many to the few”.

        Think Anas was getting Labour’s slogan and the wealthy Sarwar family’s philosophy a bit mixed up.

        • Republicofscotland

          “Anas Sarwar’s campaign team sending out a mass e-mail in which Anas says he favours “redistributing wealth from the many to the few”.

          “Think Anas was getting Labour’s slogan and the wealthy Sarwar family’s philosophy a bit mixed up.”

          reel guid Sarwar’s so dumb he probably thought it was right way around.

          Sarwar was comprehensively rejected by his constituents, yet he squirmed and crawled back into the trough, through the back door list. I hope he wins the puppet race.

          Meanwhile the BBC’s propaganda radio station in Scotland, supposedly a “Scottish” station, believe that at your peril, is losing listeners at an alarming rate.

          https://mobile.twitter.com/WingsScotland/status/923484925709504512/photo/1

          • reel guid

            Ros

            Yes. Mundell’s such a drag artist.

            Now over live to Sheffield to get Jared’s views on drag artists.

          • giyane

            “redistributing wealth from the many to the few”.

            There are two disturbing worries about Anas Sarwar, The first is the charge of nepotism, that he tried to get the same position in politics that his father had occupied before him. When the Prime Minister of Pakistan was ousted recently for financial misconduct the courts replaced him with his own brother. Most Muslim leaders genuinely do not understand how nepotism looks in a democracy. Erdogan, Barzani, the Saudis, Saddam,Hussain, and Gaddafi all surrounded themselves with nepotist appointments.
            One has to conclude that they believe democracy leads to autocracy and they will be able to draw up the ladder of democracy once they have established power.

            When I wanted help in my career as a book conservator I was refused help by two separate family members solely on the grounds of the appearance of nepotism. It is an extremely serious charge in any walk of life, and it should be outlawed in socialist politics

            The second worrying point is the ‘vicar of Bray’ charge, that a member of a wealthy family sees the local business opportunity of standing as a Labour candidate and adapts their politics to the opportunity. An aspiring politician should surely test their mettle on a level playing field in a constituency where they are judged on merit rather than ticking the right boxes for a particular constituency. Admittedly, few politicians do.

            Anas Sarwar is obviously not ‘dumb’, but demonstrating against the Iraq war in 2003 is a very low bar. I’d want some very firm proof about his attitude to SIS’s use of Al Qaida and other Islamist terrorist groups in Libya and Syria before I signed him into Jeremy Corbyn’s party. In Birmingham the Asian Muslims all support Taliban and Islamic State, and are ready to drop the charade of English decency to destroy the orthodox Sunni Muslims of Palestine, Jordan, Libya, Iraq and Syria. And I’m not talking about just the disaffected younger generation. The elders are staunchly behind what they call jihad, but which is in fact terror against the Muslim civilian populations of those countries.

    • Laguerre

      Normally MPs who have to be absent are paired. Why was this not mentioned in the story?

      “She had permission from the whips (why?) for leave of absence”. That means she was paired, but the story failed to mention it. A Mail/Express story?

      • reel guid

        Laguerre

        It was The Sun actually. I know. But it doesn’t mean it’s a false report. She’s admitted having been in Venice at the time of the Universal Credit debate. And yes, The Sun did report that she had been paired.

        The thing is the MPs were only back from the 8 week summer recess in early September. They were back for a few days and then the Commons was in recess for nearly a month for the Conference season.

        No sooner were they back than Pidcock was away for a few days holiday in Venice.

        • laguerre

          if she was paired, so what was the problem? All MPs are absent for whatever reason. Making a case against a Labour member, because she was one of those is totally absurd.

          • reel guid

            What I’m on about is not whether she was paired or not. It’s the fact that after 10 or so weeks of accumulated parliamentary recess between late July and early October Pidcock goes off on a jaunt to Northern Italy. When there’s an important welfare debate taking place.

          • reel guid

            The pairing system is only for MPs to be excused from voting – especially late night votes – or if an MP has a legitimate need to be away from London during votes. The pairing system is not meant to be there so MPs can go away to Venice on holiday.

            Besides, if a member is paired with someone for a vote they can still speak in the debate. Still be present to give their side moral support.

            Why did Laura Pidcock not go to Venice during the very lengthy summer recess? Why did the Labour whips agree to her going on holiday so soon after many weeks of holiday from the Commons? Taken with everything else it looks like a comprehensive moral decline in the Houses of Parliament.

  • Republicofscotland

    Not content with 71 useful idiots at the propaganda office, Fluffy Mundell is looking to add another lickspittle, at £30 grand a year to add to the £8.8 million bill since 2010.

    Here’s part of the job description.

    “Provide creative and considered communications.”

    I’m sure those who lived throgh the 2014 indyref vote, will know exactly what that sentence means, with regards to Scotland.

    https://justicejobs.tal.net/vx/lang-en-GB/mobile-0/appcentre-1/brand-2/candidate/so/pm/1/pl/3/opp/13575-13575-Scotland-Office-Media-Officer-London-based/en-GB?utm_source=Indeed&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=Indeed

      • Republicofscotland

        Yes reel guid.

        Also they must pretend a whole plethora of powers are coming to Scotland, after Brexit when pressed on the matter. ?

  • graph

    O/T

    Came across a docudrama type TV series retelling the story of Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) and how how an FBI agent came to figure out who he was and how they caught him, aptly named Manhunt; Unabomber, on the History channel recently.

    Its an average watch but the one thing that jumped out at me was the psychological experiments Kaczynski was subjected to as a 16 year old student at Harvard under the stewardship of Prof. Henry Murray. Crazy stuff. An IQ of 167 turned into a pre-programmed one man terrorism machine. One wonders were these Harvard experiments a precursor to state controlled ‘lone wolf’ attacks?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Kaczynski

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Murray#Harvard_human_experiments.2C_1959-62

      • graph

        Ye Stu, poorly worded above.

        The FBI agent devised a plan to publish the ‘manifesto’ believing someone would recognize the rather unique style of writing that Ted used. His sister-in-law read it and raised concerns with the brother (concerned the linguistics were similar to those contained in a letter they had previously received from him attacking the brother for marrying her) who contacted the FBI (anonymously). The FBI initially dismissed him as a suspect put the agent (relying solely on the linguistics) was convinced, breached the anonymity and tracked the brother down.

        Trailer for the series – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsd_LMDlzhI – it was on discovery not history channel.

        I talk the series down too, its worth a watch.

        I think there is a hole episode on his time being a guinea pig at Harvard, having his mind warped (the experiments were conducted to try and form a strategy to break Communist agents in the US) and the mother and brother mentioning he returned from Harvard a ”different” person. I think the wiki link above on Murray also mentions his involvement in the MK ultra drug experiments. Dodgey bloke to say the least.

        • graph

          Today’s release of (some of) the JFK files got me thinking about the allegations contained in the Unabomber case regarding Harvard, the psychological experiments conducted by Prof Murray on behalf of the US government, that drove a man with an IQ of 167 to murder, and the defense of the man held accountable for the assassination of JFK’s brother Bobbie Kennedy.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_F._Kennedy#Assassination

          Sirhan Sirhan

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirhan_Sirhan

          His defense at the trial and his subsequent appeals was brainwashing.

          ”The defense moved for a new trial amid claims of set-ups, police bungles, hypnotism, brainwashing, blackmail, and government conspiracies”

          I wonder did he ever attend a Harvard open week?

  • freddy

    Seems not everything is rosy in Germany, Deutsche Bank
    is deep in the SHIT.

    They really can’t being doing with Spain defaulting.

    • freddy

      Earnings fall for first time in three years BBC

      I think the collapse, is on the way.
      Oil at the highest rate for more than a year.

      The E.U. is looking into a loaded, multiple barrel shotgun

    • Laguerre

      Most banks are in shit, as little was done to regulate banking after 2008. It’s still far too easy for a young punk banker to bet millions, and lose. It seems to be covered mainly by states creating new money

      • freddy

        Just heard on the radio that currently Spain is the fifth largest economy in the E.U.
        So if/when the U.K. exit, that should bump Spain up to Fourth, behind Italy/France/Germany
        but Italy is not doing too well, if Spain is split, Catalonioa exits the E.U.
        So the E.U. would have lost the second largest economy the U.K. and Catalonia, maybe reducing the rump of Spain to a par with Poland, however, if the situation in Spain turns NASTY
        your guess is as good as mine for the future of the economy of the European Union.

  • reel guid

    Scottish Tory carpetbagger Luke Graham asked May at PMQs to agree with him that the SNP weren’t doing enough about superfast broadband rollout. She agreed.

    Except superfast broadband is a Westminster reserved power. What chumps.

    It really feels like fin-de-siècle time for the union.

  • Sharp Ears

    Ref 2nd November

    ‘Balfour Merrymaking a Potential PR Disaster for the British Government
    Stuart Littlewood / October 25th, 2017

    The extraordinary programme of centenary celebrations in the UK to honour Lord Balfour and his lunatic Declaration — and the British Government’s continuing part in it — is an affront to citizens here and to countless millions abroad. And many a sharp pin is waiting to burst the pretty Balfour balloon being desperately inflated by Israel-firsters at Westminster.

    Balfour’s 1917 pledge and its consequences, played out over the last 70 years, ride roughshod over Christian values and humanitarian law. Rothschild replied to Balfour’s letter saying that “the British Government has opened up, by their message, a prospect of safety and comfort to large masses of people who are in need of it.” Well, it also opened up the prospect — and the reality — of a lifetime of abject misery for millions of Palestinians who had no need of it and certainly didn’t deserve it. It also helped to plant in the most sacred part of the Middle East an evil regime that shows contempt for human rights and international law and is bent on creating instability all around and confiscating every acre of land and every natural resource to aid its expansion.

    /..
    https://dissidentvoice.org/2017/10/balfour-merrymaking-a-potential-pr-disaster-for-the-british-government/

    I imagine much funding and energy has been expended on founding the Balfour Project referred to in the above link.

    http://www.balfourproject.org/about-2/

    Its patrons and trustees are:

    Patrons
    Rt Hon Tom Brake MP
    Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark
    Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich
    Rt Revd Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton
    Baroness Morris of Bolton
    Dr Philippa Whitford MP

    Trustees
    The Very Revd Nicholas Frayling
    Professor Mary Grey
    Dr Imad Karam
    Peter Riddell – Secretary
    Dr Peter Shambrook
    Dr Monica Spooner – Chair
    Professor Roger Spooner OBE

    Geoffrey Craig – Treasurer
    John Bond – Media [email protected]

    Note the number of Christian Zionists there. It is a Scottish Charity No SC047090
    Very little information ref accounts as it was formed in January. Handy that.

    • Laguerre

      Of course, if the Balfour Declaration had actually been obeyed, the situation today would have been reasonable. However the second phrase was conveniently forgotten: “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jweish communities in Palestine,”

  • Stu

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/26/schedule-7-terrorism-act-2000-activism-civil-rights-ethnic-minorities

    A worrying story about Owen Jones’s sister being detained and interrogated by Police Scotland while trying to fly from Edinburgh to Berlin.

    MI5 seem to be better at harassing activists at our borders than they are terrorists. Salman Abedi was known to have terror links yet entered the UK without any issues to carry out the Manchester bombing. As far I can tell no public inquiry is planned into Abedi or either of the other two Islamist attacks from earlier this year.

    • Laguerre

      Inevitable, given the obsessive mania of the security authorities. They would do much better to tackle the problem at source, i.e. Saudi Arabia.

  • Laguerre

    “So the Iraqi forces are not just targeting terrorists or warlords,”

    You mean you actually believe what rudaw.net says? It is evidently in their interest to present the Iraqis as going too far, in order to get the US to come in with air strikes. Everything I heard says that the Iraqis stopped strictly at the KRG border.

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