Scared of my Own Thoughts 351

In Doha last week I watched on TV an utterly contemptible speech by Theresa May in which she grasped for ideas to shore up the increasingly eroded Establishment control of the political zeitgeist. Yet more pressure would be put on the social media companies to curtail the circulation of unauthorised truths as “fake news”. Disrespectful questioning of the political class will be a new crime of “intimidation of candidates”. The government would look for new ways to boost the unwanted and failing purveyors of the official line by some potential aid to newspapers and their paid liars.

In short I did not merely disagree with what she was saying, I found it an extraordinary example of Orwellian doublespeak in which she even referenced John Stuart Mill and her commitment to freedom of speech as she outlined plans to restrict it further. I found myself viewing this dull, plodding agent of repression as representing a political philosophy which is completely alien to me.

I had a similar epiphany the week before watching the gathering at Davos. I have often been sceptical of the philosophy and motivation of the neo-liberal elite, but I have never before looked at them and seen them as the enemy. Yet after the super wealthy were rewarded for the financial collapse of 2008, by the largest diversion of ordinary people’s money to the rich in human history, as bailouts and QE, the steady but unspectacular economic growth of the ensuing decade has resulted in no significant real wage increases for the working person across the entire developed world, while the wealth of the 1% has more than doubled. There has been a curious but matching phenomenon whereby even the “third sector” representatives at Davos – the heads of universities and charities or the senior presenters from the BBC, for example – are themselves on over £300,000 a year and completely divorced from the lifestyle of working people, due to the abandonment of their institutions to corporate philosophy.

In short, as with Theresa May, I found myself looking at the inhabitants of Davos with utter contempt, as people whose philosophy and lifestyle I detest.

Then a couple of days ago I watched an uncritical BBC report of alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria based entirely on film provided by the White Helmets, which plainly had zero evidential value. Given that the origins and motivations of the White Helmets are today known to anyone with an internet connection, the continued retailing of this repetitive propaganda is extraordinary. I felt contempt for the BBC journalists who were retailing it. In the last 24 hours Israel has carried out large scale bombing attacks on Syria which are undeniably illegal, and for once has acknowledged them brazenly. There has been very little media reporting of this. In a two sentence report on BBC News as I type, the second sentence was that the attack followed the downing of an Israel fighter, without mentioning that plane was itself illegally attacking Syria. The Israeli statement was given verbatim and no balancing view from Syria was given.

I am not comfortable with thoughts of contempt, disgust or hatred towards anyone. I have always held the view that people are entitled to their political views, and having different views to mine in no way makes you a bad person. I have been known to suggest that anyone who has all the same views as me must be in dubious mental health. I have tried to acknowledge common ground with people where it exists – for example I have always admired David Davis’ commitment to civil liberties. It is not the case that some of my best friends are Tories, but I do have Tory friends.

I was for most of my working life a fully paid up member of the Establishment, and reasonably comfortable with that. Even bad governments do some good. I was a Liberal and fairly well on board with the prescriptions of the party in the time of Charlie Kennedy. I am, I hope, a naturally friendly person and have always considered myself gentle and kind. It is certainly true my political views are driven more by empathy with the suffering than by rigid systems of thought.

I therefore am not comfortable being so stridently opposed to everything that is happening in the UK political mainstream. I am scared by the prospect of being the extremist nutter who mutters on about a worldview entirely at odds with the accepted narrative.

Yet I look at the world with disbelief. I see an economy that gives little opportunity for secure and fulfilling lives to millions of young people. I see the obscene lifestyle of the super rich. And I perceive that, contrary to neo-liberal propaganda, that is not the natural order of things but a direct result of the operation of institutions created by government and their use to channel the flow of wealth to a tiny minority.I marvel at the continuing Ponzi scheme of the UK property market. I see Africa plundered for its commodities and deliberately kept poor.

The panic-inducing correction in the world’s stock markets this week was triggered by news that unemployment was falling rapidly in the USA. That was “bad news” for the markets because it might result in workers getting better pay. There could not be a better illustration of the madness of the system. The world is suffering from a failure of imagination. Corporate ownership structure has developed in certain ways because of social conditions prevailing in the UK and Europe from the 16th century onwards. The development consists of the overlaid accretions of accumulated accidents of history. There is nothing natural or inevitable about current stock market models. The rational alternative – worker ownership of enterprises – is, however, not on any mainstream accepted political agenda.

Jeremy Corbyn and John MacDonnell are doing their best within the awful constraints of the Labour Party they inherited, but their economic proposals are nowhere near the radical change required. In Scotland, the SNP have put in place some commendable but very modest social democratic measures to increase taxes on the wealthy. But the SNP appears to have been seized by crippling timidity on the subject of Independence. There are worrying signs that Sturgeon’s evident lack of serious intent to push for Independence, is finally damping down grassroots activism, including on social media. Meanwhile virtually the entire political class of Europe has united behind the vicious suppression of Catalonia, with peaceful campaigners facing lengthy years as political prisoners. Those events, more than any, crystallise my understanding that a “liberal” political Establishment no longer exists.

In conclusion, either I am barking mad or the world is becoming a much darker place. As the position of the vast majority of people as helots to the super wealthy is further consolidated, the manufacturing of consent by the control of information becomes ever more crucial to the elite. I have never desired to stand outside society barking unheeded warnings. You have probably gathered that the last few months I have been inclined to succumb to the fact that my own life would be more comfortable if I stopped barking. But I shall continue – please feel free to warn me when I get over-bitter.

351 thoughts on “Scared of my Own Thoughts

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  • Sharp Ears

    Ref the so called Whiter than White Helmets, please refer to Robert Stuart’s forensic analysis and demolition of a programme put out by the BBC, the state broadcaster, and its operative, Ian Pannel.

    Fabrication in BBC Panorama ‘Saving Syria’s Children’
    Analysis of the 30 September 2013 BBC Panorama documentary ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ and related BBC News reports, contending that sequences filmed by BBC personnel and others at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on 26 August 2013 purporting to show the aftermath of an incendiary bomb attack on a nearby school are largely, if not entirely, staged.


    Craig wrote about it

    PS Where is Pannel now? Why! Working for the US state beroadcaster, ABC, in its London ‘bureau’, ie lie factory.

    Trump’s Fake News has nothing on the BBC and Ian Pannel.

    Jo Cox’s widower and others set up a Go Fund Me page. One third of £1.5million went to the White Helmets! and one third to the RVS and the remaining third to Hope Not Hate. £465,730 plus future donations (which are still being made) are going to a memorial fund. Her name will for evermore be used for government propaganda purposes.

    • Squeeth (formerly K. Crosby)

      Robert’s war of attrition with the state broadcaster COMbbc had been a joy to watch. Having grown up with TradBBC in the 60s and 70s, witnessing its decline from an establishment toady with some dissent allowed to a regime mouthpiece has been a great disappointment. Mind you, not having a telly eases the pain somewhat with the knowledge that I don’t pay a poll tax of £145.50 to enrich chateau bottled shites like Kuenssberg.

  • Tracy Burns

    Thank you so much for this. I feel such despair and fear for my grandchildren’s future. Where has our humanity gone?

    • Caratacus

      My thoughts too, Tracy. All I can do is prepare them quietly for a “challenging” future. They can ride a horse, shoot a bow (that they’ve helped construct), light a fire and find water and food where there appears to be none. Better to have these skills and never need them …

      No, I’m not a survivalist nut but I would feel that inaction would be a dereliction if I left them unprepared.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Caratacus February 11, 2018 at 20:27
        Make you right. But Tracy and your good self, this has been on the cards for yonks. It’s just become more obvious (but still, not to Joe Public). There lies the problem – the MSM are not just ‘Presstitutes’, but fully-fledged ‘enablers’ of whatever abominations our (B)’Leaders’ have in store.
        Thank God I don’t have kids (or at least, that I’m aware of).
        There’s a ‘Hard Rain Gonna Fall’.

  • vonstauffenbergers

    Craig’s discomfort is entirely understandable. Every NATO-bloc public servant who leaves and gets some distance on their job goes through the same throes. Paul Craig Roberts is just a bit further along. We are adjusting our self-image and even our identity to the reality that we live under a kleptocracy with impunity, a criminal state. You, like all us apparatchiks, like Eichmann, were button men in a criminal enterprise of unsuspected extent. Yes, actually like Eichmann. The NATO bloc hegemon USG is provably guilty of systematic and widespread torture and murder constituting crimes against humanity – in law, that means what Nazis do. The NATO bloc is provably guilty of the crimes against peace defined at Nuremberg and codified by the UN member nations.

    Luckily we caught on quicker than Eichmann did. As before, the hostes humani generis will be stopped and made to pay, with world war if that’s what it takes. Our role is internationalism from below in support of the three pillars of Implementing the Responsibility to Protect (A/63/677) in solidarity with the Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Venezuelan, Korean and other UN member nations. That of course is why your government doesn’t want you talking to Russians. We need their help to dismantle this state and reconstruct it under rule of law.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ vonstauffenbergers February 11, 2018 at 18:12
      I agree with your comment.
      I assume you are German; you also seem pretty proficient in English. Would you be able, and have the time, to translate a book in German into English (obviously it’s to do with the plight of the world – you may have guessed what it is).
      This is a very serious question; please start a new ‘comment’ (quoting my query) so I don’t miss it.

      • vonstauffenbergers

        Vor zwanzig Jahre hatte ich ausgezeichnete Deutsche Kenntnisse, aber jetzt vergesse ich jeden Tag noch ein Wort, so don’t assume I’m German.

        Can you put the book on a riseup pad? You can get a lot of bilingual eyes on it that way while restricting distribution to Tor users who know the link. You can edit/translate it on the pad, and with participants can discuss it free-form in encrypted chat or do pseudonymous project management.

  • Redshift

    I don’t worry too much about establishment totalitarianism. Instead all I see is increasing fear over the fragility of their own position. Whether its the ability of citizens to access foreign media websites and independent blogs or just interacting via social media/IM/email the establishment know its easier than ever to challenge their centrally planned fairy tales. The more people fail to vote as directed by the establishment, especially Brexit and Trump’s election, the more governments see the need to try and control the narratives under labels like preventing foreign interference, encouraging more women into politics (ie no criticism of candidates or their polices) or preventing terrorism. However these things have a way of backfiring as ever more people see these measures being used against “ordinary” people like themselves, their social circle or any wider groupings with which they share a viewpoint. In the Soviet Union few people believed anything in the official press and that was prior to the internet or electronic communications. I don’t meet many educated people who buy into mainstream media propaganda – that tends to be the tabloid/reality show class. Also in the UK May hasn’t managed to get her way with many things such as the mass data storage of everyone’s website metadata and her “Non Violent Extremist” label seems to have disappeared (possibly because she relies on ten of them from Northern Ireland to prop up her government). Laws to restrict fake news and criticising candidates will risk hitting establishment politicians or “friendly” foreign sources such as from Israel/Saudi. Or at least it becomes increasingly obvious that the laws are selectively applied against those who oppose the official fake narrative.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Redshift February 11, 2018 at 18:14
      Unfortunately I do meet ‘educated’ people who purport to follow the government ‘Narratives’.
      And the ‘Great Satan’ still continues it’s unaccountable {in this world} War Crimes, and rampages across the globe. It is NOT running out of steam – expect worse to come.
      Glad to note Craig is waking up more and more to the reality (not that he hadn’t already, at great cost, ‘woken up’ re Uzbekistan).

  • Runner77

    The rates of depression and anxiety have rocketed across the industrialised world over the past couple of decades, and psychiatrists are generally unsure why this is, the problem being that research looks for specific factors – family history, job loss, marital breakdown, etc – whereas I strongly suspect that the causes are much more general. One of the cornerstones of our mental well-being is the knowledge that whatever the depravity of individuals or the tragedy of particular situations, the world – and, to some extent, our society – are basically good, life-enhancing, morally admirable. Today, this is certainly not so.
    Because this sort of thing is invisible to research, being an almost universal ‘background condition’ that affects us all, it becomes psychiatrically inexplicable except as ‘depression’, rather than grief or feelings of loss, which have clearly identifiable objects. But although our loss may be less visible than that of, say, the Chagos Islanders, that doesn’t make it less profound, or less heartfelt . . .

    • richard curran

      A Catch 22 of sorts: mental illness becomes inexplicable when it`s an inevitable consequence of the way our society is structured. One might even say that the truly insane are the ones that are not anxious.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ richard curran February 11, 2018 at 22:54
        ‘Mental Illness’ does not bother me; I spent three years in a mental hospital under section.
        I’m also an ‘acid head’, and continue to ply my trade (truth and Human Rights) regardless.
        !A Luta Continua!.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Runner77 February 11, 2018 at 20:17
      Have no fear, they ‘know’ what’s causing it, all right. But how to explain it, without exposing the true cause?
      They’ve got a ‘job’ to do. Upsetting apple-carts is a way to get on the dole, tout suite (or worse).

  • giyane

    Management as a profession and therefore government as a branch of management has just one focus, how to get round the rules which hundreds of years of human struggle have created. The most sinister one at the moment is the potential for the re-patriating of UK law from the EU being used to castrate all of it. Yes it is Theresa May who immediately after Brexit fulfilled the extreme fury of the 1% at our insolence of democratically challenging the status quo by indicating through clenched eyeballs that if that’s what the ungrateful people wanted , they would pay for it through a massive dismantling of all our civil rights.

  • BrianPowell

    “There are worrying signs that Sturgeon’s evident lack of serious intent to push for Independence”. Given the lack by many in Scotland to take any time to see what is coming and make any effort to protect themselves with their own actions, I wouldn’t blame Sturgeon for saying, “I’ve done everything to show you the alternatives and the way out, but you sit on your thumbs, so really, just piss off.”

  • timbastable

    I feel like saying “welcome to the club” – I think many of us, who have a long term engagement with politics and have had the privilege of living long enough to see patterns emerge that conflict with everything we’ve ever believed.

    I too “I have often been sceptical of the philosophy and motivation of the neo-liberal elite, but I have never before looked at them and seen them as the enemy.” and was “scared by the prospect of being the extremist nutter who mutters on about a worldview entirely at odds with the accepted narrative”.

    My own awakening came from tracking the roots of one of the great pieces of modern faith based irrational thinking, climate change denial. Researching for a website attempting to address sustainability in everyday language I became increasingly aware that climate change denial wasn’t just a matter of misunderstanding the science, or normal human “denial” of a phenomenon that challenged many aspects of the modern lifestyle.

    The extraction industry investment in propaganda is well recognised today, but ten years ago it was hidden. I didn’t dare write about complexity and sophistication of the denial operation or it’s cost and it’s motivation because of exactly that fear. Now I’ve reached a point where I don’t care if I am seen as a “nutter”. If we look at the climate change denial campaign we see a profound failure of moral and ethical values. This is a group of hugely powerful individuals and corporations who are prepared to see commit ecocide to sustain short term profit bases. They are only concerned about ensuring they accrue as bigger share of the spoils as they can.

    These are people who don’t give a damn about anything except power – they are on the path to becoming modern day global barons. Their agenda has been one of deliberate subversion of faith in government, collective action and democracy. The techniques they use to “muddy the waters” over climate change are identical to those used to spread disinformation about the links between smoking and tobacco. They’ve learned a basket of psychological tricks and applied them to pressing a radical libertarian agenda. Brexit and Trump are examples of just how sophisticated the tactics have become – disinformation, control of narrative, carefully targeted populist agendas – synchronised by a belief in a powerful ideology that at its heart is old age fascism.

    In the libertarian world there’s a vile hotchpotch ideology drawn from Ayn Rand, “Free Market” economics and social darwinism that means there’s no need for conspiracy. It’s loos frighteningly like a new age fascist ideology that wants to replace democracy with autocracy.

    There, I’ve outed myself now – nutter – or just recognising the bigger picture – I’m still not sure!

  • DiggerUK

    As a “fully paid up member of the establishment” it has been a long, slow, contemplative journey from the obscenities you witnessed in Uzbekistan, and the venalities you experienced of the government of the day.

    Your recent comments on another governments warmth for Apartheid, shows just how little difference there is between the morals of the Straws, Thatchers, and Karimovs of this world.

    Do you seriously believe that a self governing Scotland would not have such talents skulking in the heathers…_

    • Shatnersrug

      Moreover, the power of the uk establishment to control Scotland as a puppet regime – as they pretty much do now – sturgeon has been excellent as an establishment stooge.

    • jake

      It’s easy enough to flush them out. First deploy some hirelings as beaters to advance upon them noisily making a hullaballo about removing the farming subsidies. They’ll defend their cheques by feining injury. Easy enough then to turn the guns of land reform on them.

  • Ruth

    When there’s nowhere to go, we’ll have to fight. The more constrained we become, the angrier we’ll get. The angrier we are, the easier it’ll be to fight.

  • Bert.

    I doubt that – in the present circumstances- it is possible to become over-bitter.

    I have been railing against almost everything since about the 4th May, 1979.


    • Paul Barbara

      @ Bert. February 11, 2018 at 23:00
      ‘..I have been railing against almost everything since about the 4th May, 1979…’
      I never did take to Bridge (some folks tried to teach me), but I can trump you there – January 1972 awoke me.
      Since then, gradually, I have learnt a lot. I now know just how evil (as in ‘Luciferian’) our ‘Leaders’ and our ‘Institutions’ are.
      Not a lesson I’ll forget in a hurry.

      • Bert.

        Yes. Very much to the point.

        We are LIED to; LIED to; and LIED to by teachers then, somewhere along the line, we have to find out what unparalleled evil the psychopathic the scum of State are.

        What amazes me is that there are people so depraved that they will actually sink to the level of working for them.

        Just as the military; if there were not youngsters who will tote their guns for them we would have no wars; and if there were not those who will do the paperwork: bureaucrats; cops; lawyers; judges; prison officers; psychiatrists; etc., etc., etc., they would be not be able to function.

        It is wonderful how many people can be brought to act contrary to their own best interest.


  • Tony_0pmoc

    This is an excellent article, though some here may not like it, as it may attack their fundamental beliefs. I myself, was somewhat unclear of the term Crimestop, so I googled it. “It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.”

    Now be brave and read this, and you should no longer be scared of your own thoughts.

    “Denying the Obvious: Leftists and Crimestop”


    “I do not know the motivations or intentions of many prominent leftist intellectuals and publications, but I do know that many choose to avoid placing certain key historical events at the center of their analyses. In fact, they either avoid them like the plague, dismiss them as inconsequential, or use the CIA’s term of choice and call them “conspiracy theories” and their proponents “conspiracy nuts.” The result is a powerful propaganda victory for the power elites they say they oppose.”


  • Nigel D Lea

    Hi. Thank you for voicing my own concerns. I have a small business and enjoy working with our team. We all have different strengths and desires which should allow us to work and live without undue stress and hardship. I see this greed and corporate disease trickling down through all our social stratas. It seems that the fundamental desire is to criticise and be derogatory rather than supportive and encouraging. Very depressing for us all.

  • Martin

    It wasn’t only the wealthy that were taxed more.
    Surely having a smaller government would be better, perhaps only two chances to work as an MP (MSP) and no pension, make your own way like the great unwashed!

  • M.Marshall

    You should ask your tory friends why they’ve all supported the barbarous and truly sadistic benefits “reforms” that have inflicted genuinely fascistic policies upon Britain’s most vulnerable people. Then you should devote some time to researching the horrifying effects of these policies, because I don’t think you truly understand how viscous they are, and then finally, you should ask yourself if you’re still comfortable befriending tories.

    Personally, I would never lower myself to even speaking to such people.

  • Annie Revie

    I am a Scot living on a small island in Australian waters. I agree with your thinking. The same thing is happening here in Australia. We live in very challenging times. Keep barking. Annie Revie

  • Hieroglyph

    Craig is being reasonable. I however have gone fully off the deep end, to the point that I begin to sound like Rob G. Eugenics and mass-depopulation are on the agenda of ‘Davos Man’, it seems to me, and I’m not even sure they are hiding it. Yup, in the imaginary world of Davos whack jobs, the population should be fixed at around 500 million, with a small percentage of ‘Gods’ in charge, and the rest used for manual labor, technical work, and (for the very bright) research and development. Oh, and a fair few slaves and whores. The Gods can do as they please, naturally, and any and all abominations are permitted as they seek the holy grail of immortality.

    Quite serious. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at some of the conversations of billionaires, where they discuss killing us all (allegedly). It would be enlightening.

  • DavidH

    Yes, Craig – you are getting over-bitter. Chill and take a load off and look a little closer to home for things that may make you feel better.

    The world never was and never will be a perfect place. It doesn’t even owe us that. And the people in power, almost by definition, are assholes. Are things getting better or worse? Who knows how to compare, even. People have come through world wars, slavery, the imminent threat of nuclear war. The industrial revolution and medieval times didn’t sound like a barrel of laughs for most folk. I’m just saying it’s not that bad, despite the internet keep serving you up all those stories that make you so angry, exactly the stories it knows you click on every time which means it serves up more of them, which means you get even angrier and your whole f***’ed up view of the world is just reinforced with every news cycle.

    What the world does happily give us now is some kind of space to be good people. And we can look around us and see other good people, our friends and family, if that’s what we are looking for. And we can try to be better people and more useful people and more successful people, if that’s what we want to be.

    • joel

      “Are things getting better or worse? Who knows how to compare, even?”

      Anybody who knows modern history can compare. For a brief few decades after WWII, western governments actually became functioning democracies, responding to the wishes and needs of ordinary working people rather than dancing to the tune of big business and the super rich. Lessons had been learned from the previous culmination of untrammeled global capitalism. But they were quickly and conveniently unlearned.

  • alex mckechnie

    not barking at all we need your outlook it helps fill in the gaps left by the WeeGinger Dug

  • Susan

    Thank you, Craig, for yours. I’m in agreement with everything (am I of suspect sanity, perhaps?) but though I share your hopelessness on some days, on other days I know I can only do my bit and have to hope that it’s making a difference. I believe commentators like you make a difference, and your articles help to keep people, like myself, believing that we aren’t wrong, we aren’t going senile and we must keep caring. Because if we don’t care for each other, what are we?

  • fred

    I see the inquiry into why the Edinburgh tram system was over budget and behind schedule is now a million pounds over budget and behind schedule.

  • Sharp Ears

    Also recommended. Mark Doran’s transcript of a conversation on Radio 4 Today between John Humphreys and a Ms Karin von Hippel, DG of RUSI, ex US State Dept.

    An excellent parsing of the propaganda.

    BBCHumphrys Hippel Syria 9 Feb 2018

    PS In 2017, Humphrys earned £600,000 – £649,999 as a BBC presenter. In January 2018 he took a voluntary pay cut to the £250,000-£300,000 range in the light of the gender pay gap controversy.’ Still excessive, even for a shill for the New World Order.

  • Jonk

    Thank you for expressing many of my own thoughts. I wish to state that we are not barking mad.
    It seems to me that the degeneration of awareness of the political processes that support an unjust status quo has been incredible and I can only hope we have reached the low point.
    I wish you the very best in turning us away from that depth.

  • Alex

    Thank you, Craig. I suspect many of us have to wonder whether we are seeing these things straight. It is reassuring to know that others that see a corrupted system but also have the humility to critically question their own impulses.

  • Robert Goodall

    When even the E.U. can’t or wont collect taxes from multinationals, then national governments tax base is reduced to looking at the populace to pay for big ideas. All these decisions are taken behind closed doors, and when ‘discovered’ there is obfuscation and deceit. No taxation without representation was good enough 100 years ago, but maybe the converse should equally apply. No representation or presence without taxation. Let’s face it if they are doing business here and not paying tax they should piss or get off the pot, or you end up with piss poor countries.We are heading for latter day feudal system, we are just decided who our lord’s will be. Greece is coming here.

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