Free the Truth – A Short Speech 262

This is the speech I came down to London to give.

I have had a fascinating few days catching up on many people. It is an interesting fact that one of the suite of rooms where the great ones gather for their sparkling wine and snacks before and after the Cenotaph ceremony on Remembrance Sunday is literally my old office, from when I was Deputy Head of the Africa Department of the FCO. It has always interested me that the grand people of British society, particularly those born to it, overlook the “little people” and forget they have agency. People like Boris Johnson do not see janitors, cleaners, cooks, drivers and waiting staff as anything but cyphers. They however see him, and I can tell you with certainty that the reason he messed up the Cenotaph ceremony, starting backwards and forward at the wrong time, laying the wreath upside down and generally stumbling around looking like an unmade bed, is that he was drunk. You could smell it off him. He arrived in that condition.

I am working on a longer and more thoughtful piece about the morality of the use of force. I hope to post that tomorrow. Am on the train back to Edinburgh.

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262 thoughts on “Free the Truth – A Short Speech

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  • joel

    Re the p-head PM, the BBC has been supplying wall to wall coverage of his decade-late sudden ‘crackdown’ on freed jihadis.

    Unfortunately they have neither the time nor space in their coverage to even briefly mention Jack Merritt’s father condemning Bozo for manipulating his son’s murder.

    Simply no time or space regretably.

  • Rowan Berkeley

    The truth is, everybody is going for the asshole vote. Here’s one asshole ready-made, Len McCluskey:

    “I find it angers me that the very nation that defeated fascism at the end of the Second World War, and gave Europe all the freedoms that they currently have, everything that Europe currently has, we gave them. And yet, how is it right that German workers have got better protections than British workers? French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Belgian, have got better protections than British workers. It’s because since the days of Thatcher, a conservative governments and the establishment that they represent regard trade unions, as the enemy within. Which is completely different the way trade unions are treated in the rest of Europe, and all Labour is attempting to do is give us a level playing field and equality.”

    • Greg Park

      What point are looking to make? McCluskey merely states established fact. UK anti-union laws are among the most draconian in the developed world. One of the main reasons why wages have been stagnant for a generation and why inequality is back at Victorian levels.

      • Rowan Berkeley

        You consider this ‘established fact’?
        ” …. the very nation that defeated fascism at the end of the Second World War, and gave Europe all the freedoms that they currently have, everything that Europe currently has, we gave them.”
        Why don’t you change your name to Alf Garnett?

    • Peter

      Ok, Len is overdoing the ‘we won the war’ bit but that doesn’t detract from the fact that Britain did play a rather significant role.

      Len speaks more sense than most and should consider running for parliament at the earliest possible opportunity.

  • N_

    Most of the wealth from empire went into the hands of the rich, including in slaving centres such as Bristol, Liverpool, London, and Glasgow. It’s not as if the textile workers in Britain were living it up – many worked longer hours than when they were on the land before industrialisation. It’s true that many in Lancashire etc. were rooting for the South in the US civil war and that can’t possibly be justified. Being a worker bossed around by exploiters has never in itself stopped a person from being a fascist or other kind of scumbag. Meanwhile what do we say about British women who go to nail bars worked in by slave labourers today, or those who get their cars washed by slave labourers? Many of us don’t give as much spare change to homeless people begging as we could. We’re so far from a humane society worthy of the name, but we do what we can to try to achieve it…

    As for fishermen, life was tough and drowning in storms was common, but I doubt the casualty rate in a small fishing community over 50 years was anywhere near the average for a single transatlantic journey by a slave ship.

    • michael norton

      One of the worse,
      was Tasmania, the most equitable Antipodean climate for British people,
      by the interwar years, every last native Tasman’s life had been ended.
      Tasmania people were probably the most ethnically remote, they had walked to Tasmania in the last glaciation, then been cut off by the rising seas, I think it was said that they were isolated for seventeen thousand years, before the British came.

    • Hatuey

      N: “It’s true that many in Lancashire etc. were rooting for the South in the US civil war and that can’t possibly be justified.”

      Actually it can.

      • Squeeth

        The Manchester Guardian supported the slaving bastards but the factory workers didn’t.

        The Manchester Guardian was highly critical of US President Abraham Lincoln’s conduct during the US Civil War (1861–65), writing on the news that Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated: “Of his rule, we can never speak except as a series of acts abhorrent to every true notion of constitutional right and human liberty […]”[31]

        On 31 December 1862, a meeting of cotton workers at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, despite their increasing hardship, resolved to support the Union in its fight against slavery. An extract from the letter they wrote in the name of the Working People of Manchester to His Excellency Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America says:

        … the vast progress which you have made in the short space of twenty months fills us with hope that every stain on your freedom will shortly be removed, and that the erasure of that foul blot on civilisation and Christianity – chattel slavery – during your presidency, will cause the name of Abraham Lincoln to be honoured and revered by posterity. We are certain that such a glorious consummation will cement Great Britain and the United States in close and enduring regards.
        — Public Meeting, Free Trade Hall, Manchester, 31 December 1862.

        • Hatuey

          Well, first of all, it’s great to see someone who is willing to go beyond mere slogans. And anyone who does so will be faced with a few difficult truths in regards to both sides, north and south, and their views on slaves/manumission.

          Lincoln and the Union wanted to send them back to Africa and, so, they essentially wanted not only to abolish slavery but abolish slaves too which they understandably felt were undercutting the price of white labour. This was a huge issue for abolitionists. They were just as concerned about the likelihood that freed slaves would undercut the price of white labour too, incidentally.

          It would be difficult to say that was a principled position unless you were willing to subscribe to the same “send them home” principles that racists subscribe to today. And, to be clear, there was nothing humanitarian in the idea of sending slaves home — a good proportion of these slaves would have been born into slavery and had no concept of Africa being home. It was about getting them out, not freeing them per se, and it was essentially a racist position in itself.

          I read a book on this years ago that talked in terms of a split labour market that not only pitted black slaves against white workers — on the basis of competition and wage levels — but also pitted northern capitalists against southern capitalists in the economy…. actually here’s a link I just found, it’s a book by Edna Bonacich

          “Lincoln actively pursued a re-colonization well after signing the Emancipation Proclamation”

          Thus, both sides were essentially racist, for different reasons.

          Slave owners argued that they treated “their” slaves better than northerners treated their workers, btw — on the basis that norther capitalists didn’t care about the health and well-being of their workers whom they could hire and fire as they pleased — because they owned the slaves it was in their interests to take care of them, etc.

          Chomsky talks about this too, it’s well known and understood to be quite a compelling argument, although not an argument for slavery but an argument against treating workers and people like any other factor of production.

    • Laguerre

      The question is, in effect, “Did the empire benefit the working classes?” The answer, I suspect, is “somewhat”. Of course the owners, the industrialists, the merchants, presumed that it was their right to keep everything for themselves. But towards the end of the 19th century, there was a movement of generosity, and they built houses for the workers. Lines of houses were built to rent to the workers, no bathrooms and toilets at the end of the garden. My grandparents lived in such conditions. But it wasn’t “grab-all”, the spirit of 19th century capitalism as revived by Thatcher.

      The problem of Thatcher was that the working classes had to be beaten down, rather than cooperated with. Only a part of the 19th century experience, and quite different from the German experience of the industrial revolution, where cooperation between worker and boss was emphasised, as it is today.

  • Dungroanin

    During the last week a message has been circulated around a specific Indian Hindu community – very anti Corbyn; citing Kashmir. It is disturbing therefore that the ‘terrorist’ of London Bridge was almost immediately announced to be a Kashmiri muslim.

    I will say that Johnsons own seat (with a precarious 5k majority) has a high number of that ethnic hindu community that message has been spread to.

    It seems that the message attacks the Labour policies of nationalisation, public investment and raises fears of increased taxation and curbing private landlord profits.

    It could have been written by Pritti Patel!

    LBC all day on it and quacking at the prospect of Trump sinking Johnson ( tit fortat as far as I am concerned ), third weekend in a row where the actual manifestos are being ignored and Mair on now playing the deadcat terrorism sentencing card – especially when the parents of the victims have begged the tragedy doesn’t be used in the election. A caller tells him that, but Eddie just sighs and carries on! What a puece of work he has reveled himself to be!

    • Godolphin

      I’m also listening to LBC. I don’t get the same vibe but It wouldn’t change my voting intention, regardless.

        • bevin

          It actually means Farmer or even village headman. Which is to say ‘inative person smiled upon by East India Company.”

          • Laguerre

            Many Gujaratis migrated to east Africa, the origin of Pritti. Do you think that only those of the name of Patel were privileged?

          • andic

            Whatever it does or does not mean and may or may not indicate about some ancestor I find your comment sinister and unpleasant.

            If my name is Smith do I carry a kind of guilt by association because some forbearer might have made swords for the crusaders? And anyway are you going to get me and all the Smiths and Patels for it?

      • Dungroanin

        That Seems to be the origin but a version I am informed about was in the Gujarati language – which apparently translated into a specific call to stop a Labour government on other issues:

        ‘…Jeremy Corbyn has openly proven in a television interview that the safety of British citizens will be at risk if he comes to power.
        The economic policies of the Labor Party are also harmful to our Indian-origin people who are hard working and honest.
        Their manifesto has provided all the free features that will require a huge amount of funds. All its burden will be on the taxpayers.
        In addition, the Labor Party wants to re-nationalize the Royal Mail, British Telecom, Gas and Electricity supplier companies, etc. It will also require a lot of money.
        All that burden is on us.
        The Labor Party’s policy on reducing refugees from the Middle East is reminiscent of refugee riots in Germany.
        If such riots occur in Britain, the victims will be the hard-working property of our temples and social institutions. How can we celebrate religious and social festivals if our temples and social institutions are not safe?
        If we want to avoid all these problems and protect our interests, the Labor Party will have to vote diligently to ensure that the Labor Party does not win this time of election and all members of our family and friends and other well-known people must vote.
        All you need to do is to be aware of the need to give your vote in the interest of our Indian society and religion.
        If we want to avoid all these problems and protect our interests from the Labor Party, we will have to vote diligently to ensure that the Labor Party does not win this election and all members of our family and friends and other well-known people must vote.
        etc ‘
        (Machine translation explains the english)

        Pretty rum in my opinion and sounds like could have been co-authored with the board!

        It was the Friday attack where the attacker was quickly identified as Kashmiri Pakistani and from Stoke (which has been a kipper hot bed and was expected to be lost by Labour when Tristram Hunt bailed to have a byelection that would have piled further pressure on JC – but was won by Labour) which raised the suspicion that it was about more than just a inter communal issue and more like a general anti Labour attack.

        The way Bobo jumped on it – seems pre planned – as i say his seat has a large number of that voter demographic, and it serves to distract them from the third runway u-turn by him and has the Brunel Uni candidate beavering away to overturn Johnsons 5k margin!

        It is the dirtiest election ever.

        • George McI

          The middle link I included has this:

          “On 10 October, the National Council of Hindu Temples (UK) and the Hindu Forum of Britain wrote an absurd letter about Kashmir to Corbyn claiming that Labour had become “anti-Hindu” and accused him of trying to “appease the Pakistani vote bank”, and therefore “becoming direct supporters of Islamist terror organisations such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS”.

          Both groups are close to Bob Blackman, the Tory candidate seeking re-election as an MP in Harrow East. London Hindus like to joke that he hangs out at their temples more than they do. At a meeting of Conservative Friends of India earlier this year, a source told me Blackman urged the Tories to work more closely with the BJP to defeat Labour. I was told that some audience members raised their eyebrows at that comment.”

          It’s that bit about this Tory candidate hanging around at Hindu temples that gets me. Yes they crop up everywhere. I am currently making my way through that Al Jazeera docu about the Israel Lobby and it all seems so cute and chummy and you think these are just regular folks having little reasonable sounding discussions about swaying opinion. And they say everyday things like, “There may be an opening for you” etc. But then you realise that it’s through seemingly harmless little interactions like this that all that vicious smear campaigning starts.

          Another bit from the link spells out the effect of all this:

          “I’ve been shocked by what I’ve found. The impact of all this may not be widely felt in this election but it will resonate for years. It is polarising and dividing Hindu families across the UK. It is causing tensions between communities and those divides may get worse.”

          Tearing communities apart is all in a day’s work to these manipulative Tory vultures.

    • Nick

      Thanks for providing that article Anthony.
      Should be essential reading for all
      You can tell a person by the company they keep

    • N_

      Thanks for that link, @Anthony. I didn’t know about the Johnson-Taki link. I knew Taki was far right, but not that he was, well, a Nazi – praising the south in the US civil war, espousing extreme racism, praising Enoch Powell, and (at this point I went back and deleted the word “fascist”, replacing it with “Nazi”), employing Richard Spencer, the man who greeted Donald Trump’s election as US president with “Hail Victory!” (here’s a video of him doing it), an English translation of “Sieg Heil”.

      Another pal of Johnson’s is Darius Guppy. Guppy, it seems, has been writing for Richard Spencer’s website.

      There are nine campaigning days left and nobody should make this complicated… Labour need to do two things:

      1. Go big on abolishing tuition fees. Get older people to suss why this is important. Should education be free or not? France and Germany don’t charge their own citizens to go to university and neither should Britain. For a government to encourage young people to get into enormous debt is a filthy disgrace. Personal debt is, what, maybe three times higher here on average than in those two countries? How about installing a British government before Christmas that is NOT a bunch of bankers’ runners? Two years ago 61.5% of people under 40 voted Labour (source). Only 23% voted Tory. Any of the 61.5% who switch to the Tories need their heads tested. Young people are the future (often a trite observation, but it is true) and it’s up to any of their mums and dads who are old gits putting their xenophobia above their own children’s concerns to wake up and smell the coffee…especially if they don’t want to have to sell their houses to get health treatment, US-style, because that’s what they’re looking at if they help the Tories stay in office.

      2. Attack the sh*t out of Boris Johnson. Personalise as much as possible. Put the boot in. The bourgeoisie don’t like it up them. This is especially true of Tories. Johnson is a sitting duck. Play the violence-planning tape. The man is a violent thug. Go big on his friendships with Nazis, his racism, what he has said about black people and about gay men, his dishonesty, his laziness, all his absolute crap about how making the ultra-rich even richer helps everybody, his drunkenness, his cocaine addiction, his Trumpian attitude to women and his forcing the signing of “non-disclosure agreements”, etc. etc. This man patently obviously isn’t fit to be a government minister. (Here is the “Warbook2” about Boris Johnson for whoever hasn’t already got it.)

      Meanwhile…apparently Prince Charles wants to “sack” much of the royal family, more or less everyone except himself, his now wife, and his offspring. That’s another way of saying he wants the monarchy to continue, which is hardly surprising. I wonder how much success he’ll have with that. Five more women have come forward againt Prince Andrew. All it needs now is for French intelligence to “surface” the Fiat Uno tape from 1997 and the monarchy is finished.

      • Dungroanin

        Ah the Guppy resurfaces! Another Bullindon boy from the infamous portrait!

        Where are they all now…?

  • N_

    This is a beautiful video by Jeremy Corbyn, addressed to Trump personally. Brilliant script, great boards and clips, fine delivery. A joy to watch! It’s beautiful in itself, and obviously it’s meant to provoke Trump into disgracing himself and harming his favourite side, namely the Tories, led by his pal the non-disclosure agreement thug boy with the haircut. I imagine it probably will succeed in the latter aim, but even if it doesn’t it’s still a wonderful piece of work. Keep on like this and Labour will win.

    Excellent, dignified handling by Labour of the response to the London Bridge attack too. BBC radio ran away from the fight tonight and started firing arrows from far away: they covered a case where a man was found not guilty of three murders by reason of insanity, killings he had committed after he was released from police custody, the BBC message being it was all Labour’s fault, hint hint. Probably music to the ears of convinced Tories, but ain’t going to win floaters – and let’s remember Labour scored 40.0% two years ago.

    At the back of my mind there’s the possibility that the latest Prince Andrew story – the broadcast of the Virginia Giuffre interview and the five other women coming forward – is meant to swamp out the Labour message, rather as his own interview went out to coincide with the launch of the Labour manifesto.

    “Get Brexit Done” could actually be dead. The Tories are going to throw everything at immigration and Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour message is let’s actually stop the country hurtling down this sh*tty slope – let’s renationalise, bring back free education, etc. As for “trust the Tories on the NHS”, the Tories seem to be going too far in underestimating British people’s intelligence and memory and understanding. Education and health are related issues because they are about socialised provision, the first mainly to the younger generation, and the second especially to the older generation. Make them into a single bundle and that’s it, the Tory epoch that started in 1979 and continued throughTory Blair is over.

    • SA

      Someone should ask Boris Johnson whether he has also signed a non-disclosure agreement with the p***y grabbing president on the sale of the NHS.
      Someone also should ask him about importing radicalised jihadis in the form of the white helmets to the UK and what precautions he has taken to ensure that they do not re-offend.

  • SA

    Accusations now that the leaked documents on trade talks proposing the privatisation of NHS (actually the whole transfer of U.K. plc to US corporations including GM foods unlabelled in our markets) originates from Russia to smear Labour by associations.

    • Laguerre

      I couldn’t understand how the Russians were supposed to have got hold of those trade talks documents. why we were supposed to think that it was any more likely to be the Russians who got access to the docs than anyone else, particularly when other sources for a leak are far more plausible. Evidently those Russki chaps are devilishly clever, running rings round the poor, innocent Tory government.

      • SA

        It really does not matter what the veracity or even the likelihood of this being the case, the damage is meant to be done by the allegation itself by association. The crudeness of this tactic is so obvious as the supposed beneficiary from the Russiagate was Trump who is a great pal of Farage and Johnson and not Corbyn.

  • SA

    Rogue states enrol international bodies and convert them to Rogue international bodies. Such a fate befell the OPCW which is now completely dominated by two rogue states and headed by an appointee that comes from a third rogue state that is a NATO member.

    It is interesting that it falls to Hitchens to write about this in his blog and the DM whilst it is being ignored by the media. If we cannot trust international bodies where will we get our truth from?
    b in the MOA has also written on several occasions about this:
    But even more sinister in all this whitewash is the fact that the UK has allowed an undisclosed number of radicalised White Helmets to settle in the UK. If members of the Muslim community in UK can be radicalised and remain radicalised after 8 years imprisonment in UK, I wonder what risk assessment has been carried out that these WH, radicalised in Idlib, Aleppo and East Ghouta and Douma directly by AQ, will now be reformed and deradicalized. Should this question be addressed to Boris Johnson?

    • Republicofscotland

      As French president Macron said Nato is braindead, and even though Stoltenberg in now harping on that Nato has a purpose, in reality it no longer does.

      Russia is no longer the global threat that is was once perceived as, however the arms manufacturers and Trump want to see more military spending from Nato members.

      Why waste money on a now obsolete organisation.

  • Hatuey

    All momentum has been lost since Friday. People were starting to talk about important stuff like the economy, health, jobs, etc., and Labour were reaping the rewards and closing the gap, and now we have everybody distracted by insoluble crap.

    The left can’t resist the temptation to tell us about their lofty principles and elaborate theories.

    Idiots. Vanity. Self-defeating.

    • Nick

      I would slightly amend that. Since Friday the msm has used the incident to block these discussions we should have. We can talk amongst ourselves,friends and family about the things you (rightfully) say matter more.
      But ultimately we don’t control the narrative.
      What can be done to get it back on track?

    • SA

      It could also mean that they do not want to discuss the issues that matter because Labour is picking up. It is the equivalent of kicking the ball in the long grass. It means that the Tories, not having any policies to discuss are resorting to fluff and distractions and are scared.

  • Republicofscotland

    So Trump can’t help himself (nor can the Great Satan in general) when it comes to interfering in foreign elections. First saying he told us so about Brexit happening, then saying he’d work with Johnson, and if need be Corbyn.

    If Johnson wins the GE we’ll get an even worse one than he brokered with the EU, if at all, than we’ll get with the US, which is now fully protectionist under Trump. Trump’s America First policy will see Johnson and the UK virtually take whatever deal Trump has in mind.

  • Gibby

    Could that information be given wider publicity before Thursday 12th? If corroborated, it would seem like a dreadful smack in the face to some of his most likely supporters (apart from everyone else with personal connections with the World Wars).

  • Ingwe

    Not striclty on topic but I hope our indulgent mods will allow the post here if only to provide a little cheer in these dark times.

    A federal judge in Brazil has acquited both Luna and Roussef of the trumped up (no pun) charges brought against them by the Rightists controlling Brazil. You can read the details here:

    Who knows; the pendulum may be swinging back in favour of good as opposed to evil.

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