Scruton and Soros 1161

One principle of this blog is that I give my views whether they will be welcome or not, either to the general public or to the portion of the public who regularly read this blog. Since we started accepting subscriptions to keep it going, almost every article causes somebody to write to me saying they are canceling their subscription because they did not agree with me. I would much prefer anybody who is kindly giving money in the expectation of agreeing with everything I write, to cancel now. The purpose of this blog is to be intellectually challenging and provide food for thought, with facts and viewpoints not readily available in the mainstream media. It is about intellectual inquiry, not followership.

This is one of those occasions when I know that a significant number of people here will not agree with me. I like George Soros and consider him to be a good man. I should declare an interest; he once bought me a pizza, over 20 years ago. But I considered then, and I consider now, that Soros is a man who has devoted huge amounts of his personal resources, in terms of time and in terms of money, to attempting to make the world a better place, from motives of altruism.

Furthermore I believe that a lot of the work of the Open Society Institute, which I witnessed first hand, in Poland and Uzbekistan and elsewhere, is good work, particularly in the field of human rights and media freedom.

I believe that Roger Scruton’s attack on Soros, particularly in a venue in Hungary where the far right Prime Minister has conducted a truly hateful, state orchestrated, anti-semitic and anti-immigrant campaign against Soros, puts Scruton totally beyond the pale.

Soros frequently is cited in comments below the line on this blog as the personification of evil capitalism. Let me address the obvious elephants in the room. The first is how he made his money. This I make no attempt to defend. He has simply managed assets and traded derivative products, particularly in foreign exchange markets, and either by brilliance or sustained good luck, become extremely wealthy from an activity that provides no societal good. Indeed derivatives trading is a cancerous growth on modern economies, where the financial flows vastly exceed the value of trade in actual goods or genuine first party services.

However, people live and work in the economic situation that exists; to condemn people for not dropping out and going off-grid is to adopt a purist and ineffective position. I do not know how Soros got into the business line he adopted, but I am not condemning every individual working in trading. It is also worth stating that Soros’ ethnicity is utterly irrelevant to his career, and those who hint otherwise are offensive.

The second elephant in the room is that Soros appears aligned to the global spread of neo-liberalism, and to the Clinton camp with its warmongering foreign policy. Leaving aside for two paragraphs the question of whether or not that is true, the most important answer to that is that the man is entitled to his beliefs. To condemn him because his beliefs are not all my beliefs would be wrong. That Soros uses so much of his personal wealth to try to make the world a better place, according to his view of how society might best be structured, makes him a good man and not a bad man. That I may have a different view of how society should be structured is not the test; it is whether somebody is genuinely trying to do good by others.

Soros’ view of how society might best be structured is coloured by his past experience of the Eastern bloc. It is natural that anybody from what was occupied Hungary looks at Russia with a wary and distrustful eye. It is natural that those who understand the real failings of Soviet style central planning are dubious of schemes of socialism. But Soros is in fact fairly mainstream European social democrat with very liberal societal views. I genuinely do not understand his demonisation by large sections of the left. Soros is anathema to the right wing nationalist parties of Eastern Europe.

It is also worth pointing out that Soros’ view of his own profession is by no means straightforward. He argued extremely strongly for greater financial regulation, publishing highly informative and reasoned books on the subject, at the height of the craze for deregulation. He was not a supporter of the Big Bang or of Gordon Brown’s market worship. His 1998 opus, The Crisis of Global Capitalism, argues that financial markets are inherently unstable and swing like a wrecking ball not like a pendulum, and that globalisation is in fact an extension of Imperialism. That someone made so much money, from rules he believed should have been altered to stop him doing it, is a conundrum; but he is altogether a complicated character.

Finally, that Soros is a warmonger and supporter of US military attacks on the Middle East is not true. He opposed the Iraq war, and is generally against military intervention. His funding reaches so many NGO’s, of diverse views, it is always possible to find a tweet by Avaaz, or a report on Syrian human rights violations by Amnesty International, and make the claim “that is Soros shilling for war”. But in fact his influence on the vast array of civil society institutions he funds is extremely light touch, and they encompass widely differing viewpoints. Soros’ strong support for the warmonger Clinton is something I do not attempt to justify, other than to note that many people of liberal views are taken in by the old “liberal” establishment. It is quite a psychological step to accept it has gone full neo-con.

I most certainly do not agree with all of Soros’ views, or actions. But I agree with more of them than you may suppose. That all of his actions are motivated by a desire to make more money for himself or to benefit the ruling class, I am quite sure is not true. That he is a hawk and a warmonger I do not believe. That his efforts do a lot of real good I have witnessed first hand. The demonisation of Soros is lazy, inaccurate and unfair.

1,161 thoughts on “Scruton and Soros

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  • Sharp Ears

    Top law firm linked to subject of UK’s first unexplained wealth order
    Mishcon de Reya advised British Virgin Islands company owned by Zamira Hajiyeva
    13 Nov 2018

    One of London’s most prestigious law firms and the Swiss arm of Barclays Bank provided services to an offshore company owned by a woman who has recently been named as the subject of the UK’s first unexplained wealth order, the Guardian can reveal.

    Mishcon de Reya ​advised ​a company in the British Virgin Islands owned by Zamira Hajiyeva, who is now under investigation by the National Crime Agency​,​​ on a mortgage provided to it by Barclays Suisse.

    You will have heard of Mishcon de Reya and their senior partner, Anthony Julius ref anti-semitism and as an ex chairman of the JC.

    Brave of the Guardian to highlight this. Hope they are not accused falsely of defamation.

  • Eva Smagacz

    I remember that there was a time, after perestroika, in Russia, when economy went into free fall and all the research institutes were at the point of bankruptcy and researchers were thinking of abandoning science and academia just to be able to eat.
    The tremendous wealth of human knowledge was threatened with disappearance without trace. Soros stepped in. Distributed the money. Small grants, few hundred dollars sometimes. Just enough to keep scientists from leaving their posts for a while, so that they could survive the crisis. I am still at awe when I think of knowledge that was rescued and brought back from brink of oblivion.

    • bj

      Ah yes, very nice.

      But I’ve seen the interview with 60 Minutes (which suddenly turns into some moron’s crusade, but
      that’s for another time), and from it conclude mr. Soros is a heavily traumatized individual, and prob.
      as a result of it, has severe sociopathic tendencies.
      He cannot help himself doing what he does, and in that regard he’s deadly & dangerous.

      To all: that’s my opinion — as it happens, anti-semitism doesn’t enter into the equation.
      To Craig: and neither should pizza.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ bj November 13, 2018 at 21:45
        From my perspective, Soros has sold his soul. Just as have ‘virtually'(?) most other rich prats.
        Camels and needles?
        ”And the devil led him (Jesus) into a high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And he said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them. If thou therefore wilt adore before me, all shall be thine.’ Luke lV : 5-7′
        Eh bien, alors.

        • SA

          It is all this hyperbolic nonesense of a power that can give man power over others that is inherent in these religious texts that should also be seen to be what underlines this non egalitarian core of religion and transposed to the political world.

    • Matt

      Interesting. Do you have any news articles that report about this? They don’t have to be in English.

    • SA

      I also remember a time after perestroika when everything went into freefall engineered and sponsored by the Chicago school and executed by Yeltsin so as to steal Russia ‘s vast resources into the hands of a few oligarchs. Obviously these crumbs to save these individuals were part of the plan. The majors taketh away billions of dollars and hands over bread crumbs.

    • Akos Horvath

      This was not out of kindness. The Western world, especially its leader the US, had this paranoia that every Russian who could do college level calculus would leave for Iran or North Korea and help them develop nukes. This paranoid fear was also cited as justification for the International Space Station. You know, give some work, any work, to those scientists, otherwise nuclear weapons will proliferate.

  • Matt

    Well-reasoned blog post. My thoughts have always been the same. There are perfectly reasonable things to criticize Soros for – but that does not mean it’s OK to just make stuff up.

    Soros is a complicated figure, who made money through financial trading, but is now a heavy critic of crony capitalism, having written several books about it. He is a Social Democrat in every send of the word, not a “neoliberal”. I doubt most even know what that word means.

    Soros is also categorically not a warmonger. He opposed the Iraq war. ’nuff said. As for his comments against Russia, to equate criticism of the Kremlin to shilling for WW3, is ludicrous. As for Ukraine, his groups supported the pro-European factions. Not the neo-Nazis. There isn’t even a hint of evidence that Soros has supported “Nazis” in Ukraine. Where this conspiracy theory came from, I don’t know. I suspect it has something to do with the Russian media’s very successful smearing of the pro-EU faction in Ukraine as being “neo-Nazi”.

    Soros has spent huge sums of money promoting groups that promote democracy. That may sound cliche in today’s environment, but just look at the organizations he funds and the work that they’ve done. One such example is the OCCRP.

    Soros is a force for good in this world, hated by authoritarians like Putin, who direct their state propaganda organs to vilify and smear the man. Feeble-minded people then read/watch this propaganda, and you get the issue we have now.

    • SA

      oK let us take what you defend as social democracy in this case is true then there is one very big elephant in the room. Is social democracy what is practiced in Soros ‘s Home country, the USA? Does charity not begin at home? Are there organisations to foster the understanding and practice of true democracy in capitalist societies? Is the fact that big money, corporations or individuals, hold too much sway in running the world? Should this be a priority to be addressed?
      Your argument as well as that of Craig are centred on a fallacy. Someone is philanthrically trying to improve the world.
      The point here is that no single person should be in that position as we know from history that this trait of megalomania can turn very nasty. Secondly someone’s cause can be ‘good’ because it aligns with what you think is good and therefore has a personal bias.
      No I do not think that democracy can be achieved by propaganda. It has been tried before and does not work.

      • Matt

        Most of Soros’ philanthropic work happens in the U.S. That’s where most of the funds are spent. Technically, his home country is Hungary, but the rightist government there banned his NGOs and began a demonization campaign. Funnily enough, Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán was the recipient of a scholarship to the University of Oxford, paid for by Soros, in 1989. Now, he’s conveniently forgotten how the grant allowed him to escape his Communist Hungary and start a budding intellectual career. It’s quite sad. Soros founded the Central European University, based in Budapest, which has been targeted by Orbán’s government.

        A good article:

      • zoot

        soros exemplifies what harold pinter observed about mainstream attitudes to the hegemon’s practices and activities:

        “it never happened. nothing ever happened. even while it was happening, it wasn’t happening. it didn’t matter. it was of no interest.”

  • Sharp Ears

    Someone tell Craig that we are sick of Soros. New post please!

    Meanwhile the paramount war criminal who wants a second referendum has a go at Corbyn. He has never got over being thwarted in his desire to become President of the EU. The EU is the bee in his bonnet.

    ‘Tony Blair to criticise Corbyn for not leading calls for second referendum
    Tony Blair will hit out at Jeremy Corbyn’s “abject refusal” to lead the UK “out of the Brexit nightmare”.

    The former prime minister will say it is “gut-wrenching” that Labour is not leading the call for a second referendum.

    In a speech in London, Blair will repeat his call for a second referendum because Theresa May’s proposals, which he says are “Brexit in name but tied still to Europe in reality”, will disappoint those on both sides.

    “Whatever the people voted for, they didn’t vote for this,” he will say.

    “I know it is said a new vote of the people will also divide. But a reconsideration in the light of all we now know, accepted by all as the final word, especially if accompanied by a new willingness on the part of Europe’s leadership and Britain’s to deal with the reasons for the Brexit decision, is the only hope of unity in the future.

    “It is frankly gut-wrenching that this call is not being led by Labour as it should be.”’

    Within this link –

  • Sharp Ears

    Palestinian groups to respect Gaza truce ‘as long as Israel does’
    Factions in the besieged Gaza Strip say they have agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire to end flare-up of violence.

    See Gideon Levy –

    ‘Gideon Levy, a columnist at Haaretz and member of the newspaper’s editorial board, said unless Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended the siege, the violence would continue.

    “Both parties are not interested in a war, but both are not doing enough to prevent one,” he said.

    “Netanyahu has no intention to put an end to the siege, so as long as it continues, we will, again and again, witness one violent action leading to another violent act.”

    Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the group seized control of Gaza after it won elections in the enclave in 2006.

    In the most recent one in 2014, more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed – the majority of whom were civilians – and tens of thousands were left homeless. Seventy-three people, most of them soldiers, were killed on the Israeli side.’

    • Sharp Ears

      The Short War With Gaza Exposed Israel’s Weakness
      13th November 2018

      Last week a ceasefire was agreed upon between Palestinian factions in Gaza and Israel:
      The aim of the change, in a plan mediated by Egypt and with money supplied by Qatar, is to provide much-needed relief for Gaza, restore calm on the Israeli side of the border and avert another war.

      On Sunday night Israeli special forces broke the ceasefire by invading Gaza under disguise. Such incursions happen quite often but are usually left unreported. The invaders wore civilian clothing and some were cloaked as women. Their cars arrived at the house of a local Qassam commander but suspicious guards held them up. A firefight ensued in which 7 Palestinians and 1 Israeli officer were killed. It is not clear what the intent of the Israeli raid was. A car left behind held what appeared to be surveillance equipment. The intruders fled back to Israel.

      It is likely that rivalry within the Israeli government was behind this provocation:

  • JohnPerth

    I fail to see any attack on Soros in the article, which I have just read carefully through. Scruton disagrees with Soros, clearly, but makes no comment on his motives.

    I’m glad to hear good testimony regarding Soros. The demonisation of him by some has always felt a little forced.

      • Mathias Alexander

        I briefly wore a poppy. Not so much of it about this year. Perhaps its weaponisation is having an effect.

    • bj

      From reports I’ve seen it appears the dude that organized the fundraiser lost his house in the raging fires of Malibu.

      A bit of Schadenfreude will be forgiven me.

  • John

    Well you’ve just show yourself to be the controlled opposition an ex mp can only be! Like the swp who claim to be revolutionary socialists (Trotskyists are frauds) you’re controlled opposition until crunch time when you’ll have told us all to revertvtontype for the sake of….something or other

  • Sharp Ears

    Apparently the emoji of choice today in Tory cabinet circles is the one showing a zipped mouth. 🙂

    This is Maitlis on Newsnight last night with Grieve, Ree-Smog and Chuka doing her bit for the state broadcaster and its propaganda department.

    ‘John Spiers
    ‏9 hrs ago
    Last night Andrew Neil tried to discredit a journalist that broke the Cambridge Analytica story and is holding power to account. Tonight #Newsnight host Emily Maitlis states that putting Jeremy Corbyn in power would “fail the country” … do you still think the BBC isn’t biased?’

    The whole segment is @ 9 mins in on the iPlayer

    • Jo1

      Maitlis was at it again last night. I was agog as she practically shouted at a Labour guy that if Labour voted against May’s latest proposal they, Labour, would be wrecking the economy and would be blamed for the “crash” that followed.

  • Steve Steglitz

    This leaves some serious questions. Renowned geopolitics experts such as Stephen Lendman, William Engdahl and Michel Chossoudovsky all believe George Soros financed the Arab Spring and colour revolution uprisings, the purpose of all being to oust legitimate governments and install US puppet regimes.

    Are they wrong? We need a follow-up article from Craig to explain.

    • Radar O'Reilly

      I tried to comment accurately, not maliciously, several times, posting some links about a host of asian countries (ex-soviet states) that all of a sudden dropped their S***s linked NGO that was apparently doing benevolent things within their nations. NGO staff were expelled, round the 2005’s, and I’m limiting what I write as it was drastically disappeared when I tried last time.

      of course it could have been multiple national counter intelligenc departments pulling a fast one, for propaganda reasons, decades later or not . . .

      is this minimalistic enuff, look no links?

      [ Mod: None of your comments were deleted, and none were tagged as spam. In fact there’s no record in the logs of any attempt by you to post such comments. You might have a problem with your browser or your connection. ]

      • Radar O'Reilly

        Kind thanks Mods: the way my previous post attempts disappeared was admittedly highly unusual. It reminded me of how someone with mastery of the internet might intervene. I tried several times on Sunday 11th November finishing at 16:07GMT, I keep copies. I’ve been posting on Bitnet/nntp since the early 1980’s ( TimBL wrote the WWW in my living room (partly, sometimes at his lab in the ‘DD’ building) I think this following seminar was the first time I heard him mention Remote Calls at work, all the previous occasions were in my Ferney-Voltaire apartment, as he was typing his amazing ideas on his Compaq-286. Seminar 31 years to the day It’s nice to see that the rest of you have caught up! Some netizens are being naughty as always.

        Quoting Fleming as I do at these times ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action’

        I repurposed Researchgate as a novel honeypot to geo-track my trackers for one week, which resolved 4 individuals in the UK and 2 in USA, suprisingly none at that time further east or south. Having established the extant shadow, I’ll still leave my previous post unposted and maintain a calm ‘co-incidence’ level of mild paranoia, time for a cup of tea. (it was research about I.A.Karimov, which isn’t a nice subject)

        • Deb O'Nair

          “TimBL wrote the WWW in my living room”

          That’s stretching it a bit.

          TBL defined HTML tags, and whilst an important concept, is just one of many elements that came together to create the WWW. One often hears that TBL invented the WWW, which is like saying Gutenberg invented books. Also HTML tags were based on existing SGML tags, so it’s arguable that he invented anything.

          • Dungroanin

            Are you gaslighting TBL or RO’R?

            The World Wide Web which sits on top of the internet (a lot older) was put into the public domain by TBL. Much like Marconi invented Radio . Or any scientist who has ‘invented’ a ‘real thing’ not just discovered a theory.

            Thanks to TBL we don’t have to wait for tomorrows paper to get todays news. And that we can directly engage and subvert the propaganda we are fed; as well as set each other right.
            (And these bloody things too;-)

          • Deb O'Nair

            “Much like Marconi invented Radio”

            The analogy you raise is very apt. Marconi brought together a number of different inventions and patented a system. There were no new inventions in Marconi’s patent, and he obviously did not invent radio. Much like the WWW is a collection of different technologies, as you say, such as DNS, TCP/IP etc. including HTML, which is based on SGML.

            “And that we can directly engage and subvert the propaganda ”

            Before the web people were communicating political views, directly engaging in current affairs and subverting propaganda through other internet technologies such as newgroups, IRC and email etc. I am subverting the propaganda that TBL invented the WWW.

          • Dungroanin

            DebO you can’t have it both ways!

            If you accept that Marconi invented Radio , Bell invented light bulbs, Watt invented the steam engine … etc then you HAVE to accept that TBL ‘invented’ the World Wide Web.

            If you don’t think the web was new and useful and worthy, then I suggest you stick with your IRC and newsgroups where everyone hangs out.

            Just accept it, write to TBL with an apology for traducing him, and move on like the rational grown up that we all know you really are.

          • Deb O'Nair

            “If you accept that Marconi invented Radio….”

            But I don’t. because he didn’t.

            If you read my post correctly/properly you will see that I am not trying to have it both ways.

            You are being deliberately obstinate and obtuse in defending an incorrect point.

            BTW emoticons were around in emails and newsgroups well before the WWW, just to correct the assertion in your post of 23:13; “? (And these bloody things too;-)”

        • Philip Cross

          huh, at least you get a response, all my comments ‘disappear’ from here whether ‘controversial’ or ot….in fact, you won’t even see this comment unless you’re quick….freedom of speech eh…..Craig’s mods ain’t no better than FB

    • Glasshopper

      If that was the plan it didn’t go too well in Egypt, which started and ended with a puppet regime, with the Muslim Brotherhood sandwiched in the middle. In fact it’s been a failure pretty much everywhere.

    • philw

      Could be that Soros was the ‘useful dupe’ in the Arab Spring and Colour Revolutions. Certainly Tunisia and Egypt uprisings had widespread popular support, but basically created power vacuums into which the NeoCons could insert their favoured protegees.

      • J

        I’ve wondered the same thing at times, it’s a reasonable hypothesis but surely he’d have noticed these, er, coincidences and act to counter them, not least by ceasing to meddle?

  • MaryPau!

    The “cum-ex” financial scandal is a typical example of how international bankers and financiers play the international money markets solely in their own interests. The perpetrators have extracted large sums of money from the treasuries of several European countries using financial sleight of hand. You can read about it here.

    The fact that such deals are not usually technically illegal, as the perpetrators find a way to wriggle through loop holes in the regulations, as they did with derivatives, to make themselves large amounts of money at the expense of Investors, does not stop them being both unscrupulous and by most people’s standards, immoral.

    Such considerations do not bother the big hitters in the international money markets, who seem to have long ago lost any moral scruples they may once have had about exploitation of more vulnerable or indeed unwary victims. It may be that some of the big players resort to reputation laundering after the event , using some of their ill gotten gains on worthy causes but that does not justify the original actions. Their activities in the financial marketplace remain entirely parasitical.

    Recently the peretrators of the “cum-ex” financual trades have extracted large amounts of money from the treasury systems of several leading European countries by financial sleight of hand. This is the sort of market place in which George Soros operates. In 1992 he made a great deal of money trying to bankrupt the UK government.

    The German Green Party is campaigning for the systems which enabled the “cum-ex” trades to happen, to be stopped.

    • nevermind

      Thanks Mary, I suppose that the EUs financial regulation act passed 2014 was designed to stop these unamed US pension fund(s) siphoning off monies that did not belong to them.

      No wonder the city of london corp. Wants us to run away from regulation and a Tobin tax.

    • Paul Greenwood

      I work on the basis that if Governments want to take money off people they should do so with clear regulations and proper enforcement. the truth is they develop huge cumbersome outdated tax systems causing most businesses and people to flounder in paperwork and exercises in futility yet permitting the sharp-witted and Artful Dodgers a free-pass to rip off the system. That it is so conveniently structured suggests Insiders looking after their own. You can very easily deal with such matters.

      Dividend-Stripping was being addressed back in 2007 in Germany but they still had enough loopholes for Banks to play the tax difference between overseas investors and domestic for tax credits. Simply making Dividends tax-free and taxing the company more would obviate the problem

      • uncle tungsten

        Thanks Paul, loopholes always exist but for my money a tobin tax on every movement below say $500 or its equivalent calculated over a fixed time period might solve a lot of issues. Where money is hard at work, tax it!

      • Molloy


        In my long and self-entertaining experience (both sides). . . . as with the so-called justice system, the tax system is deliberately, repeat, deliberately bent and corrupt.
        (Take a moment to consider the ar$$sewipes at the top of these systems. Both systems denied decent resources = impossible to act in public interest, the 99% who matter.)

        To imply anything else (as it appears), well, to me indicates falling for the confidence trick/psyops.
        Am sure this not intended by Paul G.


  • Republicofscotland

    Banned Russian presidential candidate, Alexei Navalny, has been refused permission to travel. Navalny, who was sidelined from running against Putin in the Russian elections on dubious charges of corruption, has been told he can’t leave Russia to attend a ECHR hearing in France.

    Navalny has been stopped from leaving Russia in the past, last year he was refused permission to attend a urgent medical appointment in Spain.

    • laguerre

      As far as I’ve always understood, Navalny is far less significant in Russian politics, and indeed less popular, than the Russophobes in the west like to make out.

        • Paul Greenwood

          In the German State of Hesse CDU and SPD votes were allocated to the Greens. Other votes were “estimated” and not even counted. That is of course Frankfurt am Main – a small village with communal politics in the insignificant state of Hesse with €260 bn Gross Product. No-one seems unduly worried at electoral fraud in Germany

          • nevermind

            Hessen is an indicator , not at all insignificant.
            And thanks for congratulating the Greens that have at least been elected by proportional means, your such a chum Paul.

        • uncle tungsten

          In the US elections are only kosher if you can get on the roll, stay on the roll, not get trapped by a section vote at the last minute, not have some election clerk deny the vote and no appeal. You cannot allocate a preference order for your choice. There is no hand counting of votes in many places unless there is a mighty low threshold of difference between candidates AFTER the machine count. In some polling booths in US the voting machines were delivered without power cords and the batteries died after an hour or so. :))

          In the UK elections are only kosher if you are prepared to accept a system that disallows a preference order for your choice and undoubtedly a few other minor hurdles.

      • Glasshopper

        Next you’ll be telling us Pussy Riot aren’t bigger in Russia than the Beatles and Stones combined!

        • N_

          🙂 The day that Pussy Riot become that big will be the day that Russian state TV broadcasts a discussion with them that’s similar to Mick Jagger’s with William Rees-Mogg (editor of the Times), Frank Sostice (former home secretary), John Robinson (bishop of Woolwich) and Thomas Corbishley (Jesuit priest) (July 1967) (here‘s Part 1), or a big international spectacular such as the “All You Need is Love” show with the Beatles, broadcast the previous month to try to pacify Da Yoof.

          Pussy Riot and Navalny’s respective markets are miniscule in comparison.

      • SA

        The western media are fixated on Navalny, a minor figure and ignore the fact that the main opposition to Putin is probably the communist party.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile the UK’s International Development secretary Penny Mordaunt, has come in for a fair bit of stick for suggesting Britain withdraws from UNESCO.

    Mordaunt an ardent Brexiteer wants to save £11.1 million pounds by dumping UNESCO, but her cabinet colleagues, turned on her when she made the silly proposal. Thankfully some political ministers appear to have some aspect of cultural naunce, Mordaunt obviously has none.

    A trait she shares with President Trump, and Prime Minister Netanyahu, who both withdrew their countries from UNESCO last year, claiming anti-Israeli bias, the US hasn’t paid its UNESCO dues since 2011.

    Trump decided to take the US out of the Paris based UNESCO, after it designated the Old City of Hebron, and the Tomb of the Patriachs, as Palestinian heritage sites, contrary to Trump wanting them designated as Israeli sites.

    • Sharp Ears

      Mordaunt is not a member of CFoI apparently.

      However there are some blots in her copybook. Note her work for Bush. Shame on her. She has also been at the HoC trough.

      She voted against investigations into the Iraq War. – (TWFY – Voting Record)

      ‘She then worked as a communications specialist for the Freight Transport Association before, in 2000, working briefly as Head of Foreign Press for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign. She was director of communications for Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council between 2001-2003, before leaving to set up a new Anglo-American website called ‘virtualconservatives’. She worked for the Bush campaign again in 2004.’

      ‘In 2015, it was revealed that Mordaunt had the tenth highest expense claims for the 2014/2015 year out of all the UK’s 650 MPs. It was noted that the majority of the top ten expenses claimants were from Scotland – and thus understandably had high travel expenses as they had the longest distances to go to get between their constituency and Westminster. She defended herself from criticism that she had claimed 90p in expenses to visit a charity-run swimming pool, less than a mile from her constituency office, by pointing out the petrol cost related to one of her members of staff, who was trying to help them with recruiting lifeguards.

        • Sharp Ears

          BBC Live Politics

          Mordaunt ‘favourite’ to quit
          Bookmakers Coral have Penny Mordaunt as the favourite to be the next cabinet minister to resign from government.
          Esther McVey and Dominic Raab are next in their list.


      • Rhys Jaggar

        Plenty of the Tory MPs think she has great tits though, apparently that can go a long way in Westminster circles….

        • N_

          @Rhys – Have you watched Penny Mordaunt’s famous “c_ck” speech to the Commons? She did it for a forfeit or dare or similar for a steamy group of male Royal Marines of her acquaintance, so the story goes. That’s not the only time she’s alluded to genitals in the chamber either, having once bemoaned being thought to have been “issued with the incorrect kit”. If talking dirty could make someone prime minister, she’d probably be in Number Ten already. As things stand, she’s likely to be out on her ear’ole and forgotten about quite soon.

          If she walks today, her diving photos will be likely to get another airing though. So get yer blue-tak ready.

    • laguerre

      I’m sure Israel didn’t go to war in Gaza (or at least prolonged fighting), because Netanyahu was warned by the military that the poor state of the Israeli ground forces would be shown up. As indeed the botched raid illustrated – the car used by the IDF special forces troops was captured with all its equipment. As a result Liebermann resigned, because he did want to go to war. Netanyahu would have gone along with him no doubt, but must have been held back by high-level advice.

    • Jack

      The arab leaders must be the most perverted world have seen yet in terms of treachery, no wonder the same sleazy people never intervene when Israel bombing palestinians.

      • SA

        One of the most glaring proofs of this is that the Egyptian authorities collaborate with the apartheid state to keep Gaza blockaded.

  • Sharp Ears

    The MPs, including May, Corbyn. Blackford et al have nothing better to so than to make obsequious speeches on the occasion of P Charles’ 70th birthday. Crawlers.

  • Sharp Ears

    Another failure for the current Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to apologize for.

    ‘More than 40,000 women in England have not received information regarding cervical cancer screening after a failure to send out letters by the NHS. The errors were made between January and June.

    Around 4,000 of them were results of tests, the remainder were letters inviting them for screening or reminding them they were due. Between 150 and 200 of the test results that were not sent out were abnormal results.

    Nearly half of these have since been chased up and no harm has been caused, an NHS England source said.

    +++It is thought+++ many of these women had already got back in touch with their GP and gone for further testing after acting themselves when they did not get the result, or the abnormal results were subsequently found not to be concerning.

    The remainder are being contacted, the source said, with the risk of harm considered to be low.’

    From the link ‘The service is provided for NHS England by Capita.’

    Last January, Hunt had to apologize for the fact that 450,000 women missed out on breast screening.

    ‘Breast cancer screening: 450,000 women missed out on checkup invitations due to IT error, Jeremy Hunt admits
    Up to 270 women may have died prematurely and ‘would still be alive today’ if failure had not happened, says health secretary

    ‘Outsourcing giant Capita, which provides support to GPs, said it was “an isolated incident”. All women were contacted later.’

    Over and over. Outsourcing failures. C(r)apita. Carillion. Who next? Kier? Skanska? Mitie? Compass? G4S? There are dozens of them.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Surely the CEO of NHS should be apologising ? Simon Stevens In 1997 was appointed policy adviser to two Secretaries of State for Health (Frank Dobson and Alan Milburn) and from 2001 to 2004 was health policy adviser to Tony Blair. He was closely associated with the development of the NHS Plan 2000.

      From 2004 to 2006 Stevens was president of UnitedHealth Europe and moved on to be chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement and then president, Global Health, and UnitedHealth Group executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group. During this time he also served on the boards of various non-profits, including the King’s Fund; the Nuffield Trust; the Minnesota Historical Society; the Minnesota Opera; the Medicare Rights Center (New York); and the Commonwealth Fund (New York). (wikipedia)

  • Sharp Ears


    I wrote to my MP and received the usual anodyne answer.

    ‘A planned reduction in the top wager on the machines from £100 to £2 will happen in April rather than October after widespread opposition.

    The Government is to make an embarrassing U-turn and reduce the top wager on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2 in April rather than October, following widespread opposition.

    The reduction is being introduced in a bid to combat problem gambling, and will now come into force in April, after more than 70 MPs set out to sabotage Treasury plans to push it back to October.

    That delay sparked the resignation of sports minister Tracey Crouch as well as condemnation from MPs who believed that the cut was vital to protect vulnerable people and families.’

    This still gives the betting crooks five or so more months to profit from the misery they cause with their damned machines.

  • Sharp Ears

    @Craig Murray
    ‏3hours ago

    ‘It may seem they have lost their marbles, but actually rather fitting the crazed Tories spend PMQs discussing campanology, as the bell tolls for Theresa May.’

    Craig refers to this ridiculous exchange in PMQs.

    ‘ Kwasi Kwarteng (Spelthorne) (Con)
    Q14. Will the Prime Minister join me in paying tribute to my constituent Dennis Brock, who will celebrate his 100th birthday next week? Uniquely, he has been ringing the bells at St Mary’s church in Sunbury-on-Thames for 87 years, and we confidently believe that he is the oldest bell ringer in the world. [907608]

    Mr Speaker
    I call the Prime Minister. [Interruption.] Order. I want to hear about the bell ringing situation.

    The Prime Minister
    I am very pleased first to wish Dennis Brock a very happy 100th birthday, and secondly to pay tribute to him for his 87 years of bellringing. As my hon. Friend has said, that is a considerable and significant record, and I think the support he has given, the work he has done and his commitment to St Mary’s in Sunbury-on-Thames are truly inspiring.’

    Kwasi, of Ghanaian parentage and ex Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge is a recent visitor to Saudi Arabia with ten colleagues –
    ‘In April 2016, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs paid for Kwarteng and ten other Conservative MPs to visit Saudi Arabia on a “parliamentary fact-finding” mission. The Saudi Arabian government paid between £1,500 and £3,700 for each MP.’

    He doesn’t appear to have risen very far in the Tory ranks. He is now the bag carrier (PPS) to Spreadsheet
    Phil, having been first elected in 2010.

  • N_

    The cabinet meeting may go on to 6pm or 7pm. Never mind that Theresa May’s press conference was scheduled for 5pm. But the 1922 Committee meets at 5pm. Goodbye Theresa May.

    Who said senior Tories weren’t specialists with the stiletto and the garrotte? This is masterful media handling. Never underestimate someone whose dad was editor of the Times and who has 7 members of the cabinet in his private political party-in-all-but-name.

    • N_

      The government now says there will be no press statement this evening. (The leaders of all the opposition parties wrote a joint letter demanding that Theresa May make a statement to the Commons before she gobbed off to the press.)

      • N_

        Nick Hurd said no press statement. What he meant was no press conference. IF (and that is a massive Spartan if) the cabinet approve the draft deal, then Theresa May will go to the Commons and reveal what it contains. If it doesn’t, there surely won’t be much point and in any case she may resign or get told that 48 letters are in.

  • Piotr Berman

    “In opinion pieces prior to his piece on Brexit, Soros outlined a strategy for the EU to fund Ukraine and jumpstart its economy. He also made investments in the country and pledged to invest $1 billion more into the Ukrainian economy if the West made more of an effort to support the struggling nation in its clash with Russia.

    It is tempting to see all of Soros’ actions through the lens of investing. Buying Ukrainian IT, agriculture and energy assets on the cheap will pay off if the country emerges from this conflict and joins the EU, something the current Prime Minister of Ukraine clearly wants. However, the explicit support for the Ukraine by Soros and his continued calls to make Ukraine the EU’s top priority likely owe more to his philosophical and political leanings than his portfolio returns. Sometimes it isn’t just about the money.”

    Read more: Why Soros Says “EU’s Biggest Asset is the Ukraine” | Investopedia

    I agree that vilification of Soros is simplistic and lends itself to cheap and toxic trends that all all to real, but Soros did not help himself by embracing “liberalism”, wart and all, with its plentiful warts. And the Ukraine is an example of liberalism at its worst. Economically, it reduced Ukraine to a hopeless backwater of Europe. Ukrainian economy was in large part complementary with Russian economy in various ways, food, energy, industries relying on parts from the other side of the border etc. and the economic divorce driven by nationalistic passions costs it dearly. In the same time, this economy is a very bad match for EU, with surpluses where EU has surpluses — steel, agriculture, hence no ready market for Ukrainian goods, in the same time, nationalistic fervor empowers very backward elements that resemble Freikorps in Germany after WWI, and corrupt tycoons that fish in muddy water, making Ukraine unattractive to investors that lack ideological motivations to loose a bundle of billions of euros.

    In the same time, Ukraine has complex mix of ethnicities and traditions and forced change of alliances creates a zero sum game in which people inspired by not-so-liberal tradition of Stepan Bandera bash and murder people inspired by not-so-liberal tradition of Soviet Union. In liberal mythos the West is morally obligated to support native anti-Russian forces, regardless how they lament the defeat of Nazi Germany by the “atrocious communists”. So we see an ideological construct of “enemy of liberalism”, Putin/Russia, and “friends of liberalism”, Bandera epigons who managed to infiltrate almost all legal parties in Ukraine (Communists and “pro-separatists” being outlawed).

  • German Girl

    ” He has simply managed assets and traded derivative products, particularly in foreign exchange markets, and either by brilliance or sustained good luck, become extremely wealthy from an activity that provides no societal good. Indeed derivatives trading is a cancerous growth on modern economies, where the financial flows vastly exceed the value of trade in actual goods or genuine first party services. ”

    Dear Mr. Murray,

    I am sorry to read your VERY simplistic and simplifying take on how Soros made his money. It is simply hardly believable that you wouldn’t consider that Soros “good fortune” relied on corruption and immoral and often illegal speculation. Soros lobbied (blackmail and bribes) hard to make those laws which enabled the very kind of financial speculation that made him rich. And the very kind of financial speculation did drive a lot of people into misery. It is simply not justifiable to participate in that just because it was/is legal.

    Soros “philantrophic” motives are hardly morally justifiable. Basically he abuses his open society foundation to overthrow governments and attack sovereign rights in order to overthrow governments or shape sovereign laws according to his own ideas.

  • Twostime

    Wow Craig,

    sorry I haven’t the time to review a thousand plus posts to such a contentious post.

    I think a contentios Soros quote might be:

    “Well actually in a funny way it ‘s just like in markets that if I werent there, of course I wasnt doing it, but somebody else would be taking it away anyhow, in other words, whether I was there or not I was only a spectator – the proprerty was being taken away, so I had no role in taking away the property, so I had no sense of guilt”

    Interesting context (not sure how old he was at the time) and to understand whether anyone else has a more current / liberal interpretation of this interview.

    Loved the last page of thoughtful posts on “The Price of Peace” (until things fell apart).


  • Sharp Ears

    Soros features in this Guardian article.

    How Trump’s presidency has divided Jewish America
    After the Pittsburgh shooting the divide in America’s Jewish community is in ever sharper focus. At the heart of that divide is President Trump
    Ed Vulliamy

    14 Nov 2018
    ‘Nowhere is this phenomenon more starkly illustrated than in the vilification of the Jewish liberal philanthropist George Soros, for years a target for virulent attacks in the American (and British) fascist netherworld.

    Then Trump accused Soros of orchestrating protests against him, and the caravan – the “invasion” – of Central Americans.

    Then came what Trump called “this bomb stuff”: pipe bombs to Soros, also CNN, Hillary Clinton and other targets of the president’s – and the neo-Nazis’ – ire.

    “What really shocks me about this revival of antisemitism”, says Weisman in conversation, “is that it uses the internet, in a kind of tech-hip way, yet has repackaged the stereotypes of classic Nazism, so that Soros becomes the new Rothschild – the perfect target: secluded, invisible, funding liberal causes – the intelligent Ashkenazi Jewish puppet-master orchestrating the ‘white genocide’. It’s packaging the exact same hate as that of the National Socialists in Germany … and what is so shocking is that Trump had picked up on this with Soros.”’

    • Paul Greenwood

      How Trump’s presidency has divided Jewish America

      How Netanyahu has divided Jewish America

  • N_

    Not many cabinet ministers have rushed in front of cameras to extol the virtues of Theresa May’s draft “deal” yet, have they? Shades of Chequers!

    The reason the cabinet meeting was extended was probably so that it would still be happening when the 1922 Committee meeting finished. My feeling is that cabinet resignations will come, they will come soon, they may well be orchestrated, and they may even go higher than the level of the three witches Leadsom, Mordaunt, and McVey. It is quite interesting how Rees-Mogg still even at this stage appears to be pulling his punches, writing to Tory MPs to tell them that His Moggness will be voting against the draft deal in the Commons. If this is not a leader in waiting, I don’t know what is.

    Curiously, this guy who is usually so careful with his English uses the Americanism “differently than”! What a waste of an Etonian education, huh? Get some help from the embassy, did you, Jakey Boy, or was it from Stephen Bannon?

    • Blunderbuss

      TM has got her deal through the cabinet but I don’t see how she can get it through the House of Commons because there are too many opponents on both sides.

      • N_

        Agreed – it will fail. But the cabinet doesn’t vote. The position so far is only that in the five hours since the meeting finished no member has resigned. Neither Gove nor Javid, nor even Brexit secretary Raab, have praised the draft deal since May’s short announcement.

        I interpret Rees-Mogg’s letter as meaning that any Tory MP who votes against it in the Commons, if it comes to that, can expect to be considered favourably for a job in his administration.

      • Paul Greenwood

        She has basically taken dictation like a good secretary. The document is ridiculous and makes the independent nuclear deterrent a sick joke and the whole Defence posture especially antagonising Russia. The UK is incapable of negotiation. In 1973 UK joined an EEC focused on Goods and it is still a Goods=oriented market. Yet by 1980 Thatcher was using N Sea Oil to deconstruct British industrial entities to break unions and consequently a country focused on Services was stuck in a Goods Market.

        May has a Draft that does nothing for Services and gives Fishing the prospect of Tariffs on exports until the UK opens the Fishing Grounds to EU operators.

        May should be impeached. She has laid the ground for the next European war

    • N_

      He also writes “For these reasons I can not support the proposed agreement in Parliament and would hope that Conservative MPs would do likewise”.

      That is bad English. I’m quite sure that Jacob knows the difference between an omission and an action.

      Why does the .pdf have “SBannon” in its Properties? (Joke! I just made that up!)

  • N_

    Sammy Wilson, spokesperson for the Democratic Unionist Party, today declared “We are not going to let the EU break Northern Ireland just like we didn’t let the IRA.”

    What a f***ing nutcase.

    I have already posted here about why the DUP hate the EU so much, even though they want to retain free trade and free movement across the Irish border, a goal that the two obvious ways to achieve are 1) unite Ireland and 2) keep Britain inside the EU.

    What if EU27 now have a meeting with (Saint) Theresa May in ROME? As if having an agreement on Good Friday wasn’t provocative enough!

    • N_

      And talking of provocation, the British government first revealed the existence of the draft agreement to the Republic of Ireland media, before they said anything on an attributable basis to the British media!

      Are they trying to get Arlene and company to get their flutes out or what?

    • nevermind

      There seems to be a nasty black and tan rash running through some ardent Brexiteers and the DUP ‘s blackmailers. They want to wreck the internationally agreed Good Friday Agreement and replace it with another period of violence, smuggling and fence building, just as that orange haired guy further west.
      The Union has been truly busted by the Tory’s and those who keep them breathing power for money.
      And what are leavers to make of these temporary decisions that will let us leave but not direct which way we are going?
      Both sides are not happy with this piecemeal last minute take it or leave it option, it will not pass muster in the House.

      Further, noises from France are voicing objections less than 24 hrs. into this ‘keep the Tory’s in power by any means’ exercise. What if this Parliament passes this fudge and some of the EU 27 reject it? where does that leave us?
      One can almost expect/smell that the House will be directed to ratify this quick fix, but not be allowed to abstain or vote against.

      Quick, bring on a Westminster knife amnesty before they stab her in the back. GE coming up soon.

      • N_

        There’s a lot to happen before a GE but it could happen very fast. It would be the Brexit GE, and yet it’s not clear what the Tory and Labour manifestos would say about Brexit. Which is a crazy combination, but that’s how it is. The Tories will have a problem writing a manifesto and then getting all of their existing MPs to stand on it. Labour will be scared of backing a people’s vote with a Remain option for fear of losing the 1 in 4 of their 2017 voters who came from UKIP, and also of going too far in the other direction which could lose them middle-class votes to the Liberal Democrats.

        Rees-Mogg was brought up on the inside… He knows far more about the state and the City than people like Raab, Mordaunt, Davis, May herself.

        As for the DUP, some Saudi money backing Leave may have been channelled through them.

        • Dungroanin

          No point publishing a manifesto until the election is called.

          NuLabInc CEO Blair put his handwritten executive summary out in 3rd April 97, exactly 4 weeks before the election.

          Funnily having looked at that it contained this among many promises made and not kept.
          ‘The Labour party’s 1997 general election manifesto New Labour: because Britain deserves better criticised the Conservative government’s internal market reforms, suggesting that the result was an ‘NHS strangled by costly red tape’.’

          The rest of it is a hoot, worth a re-read (err I’m sure we all did a the time) to remind ourselves of how we were sold a centrist nu-con pig in a poke.

  • Sharp Ears

    The Rohingya people are being ordered to return from Bangladesh to Myanmar. They are refusing as there are no guarantees on their safety.

  • Sharp Ears

    The appalling Mundell is signing up to the ‘deal’.
    ‘Brexit: Scottish Secretary David Mundell backs Brexit deal
    Scottish Secretary David Mundell has backed the draft Brexit deal despite concerns about its impact on the fishing industry.
    Emerging from a five-hour cabinet meeting, he said the alternative of a no-deal would be “appalling” for Scotland.

    He is not leaving his place at the gilded trough.

    4th January
    David Mundell slammed over Scotland Office’s 585 per cent budget rise

    14th November
    Mundell caves as Cabinet back May’s Brexit deal

  • Les Toolish

    Why not just admit you are funding your home time and travels with Open Societies money and that while you have sold out on Soros, you will continue to exercise your insightful, critical mind unfettered on other matters?

    Nothing in the way of justification or analysis here, just “he’s a good man because that’s what I believe”. Many would have said the same about Dick Cheney, Jimmy Saville, and Bebe Netanyahu. Forget his role in the bloody and divisive color revolutions, the deadly and divisive “Arab Spring”, his role in the demolition of Libya, his role in flooding Europe with war refugees and others, his funding of violent, disruptive AntiFa riots that also serve to desecrate the flag of libertarian socialism and the symbols used by labor to alienate Americans from safe harbor alternatives. Soros is also financially connected with multiple “false flag” events throughout the west that engineer a fraudulent reality where the truth just wasn’t doing the trick to advance the agenda of neoliberal plutocrats.

    Indeed, where one man lazily concludes beneficent intentions, another can take the same data and make a more coherent and compelling case that the grand design of Soros’ efforts all somehow work to divide the underclass to make them more manageable as wage and debt slaves. Western monarchs and other plutocrats have long-employed desperate war refugees and other oppressed immigrants to destroy domestic labor movements, the middle class (politically and economically) and the vital consensus necessary to fund the social programs that most benefit the masses. These cynical, destructive tactics save the capitalist class large wads of money that would otherwise be taken in taxes and eliminate additional encroachment by the masses against the neoliberal order that overindulges the ruling plutocracy.

    Murray would have us believe that this is all somehow coincidental though “divide and conquer” or “divide et impera” has long been the golden rule of both hegemon and capitalist, where Soros is both.

    Like most, Murray does good work and bad. This is not to be counted among his good works.

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