45 Years of Rebellion 409

Generally I manage to dig up some recent lecture or published work to post while I am on holiday, on a mission or indisposed. I have a video somewhere of a really stunning symposium on whistleblowing at the University of Newcastle, to which I made a minor contribution, which I intended to use for that purpose today. But out of the blue I received an email this morning which changed my plan.

So here is one I did earlier – 45 years ago.

Dear Craig

Many years ago, as a fellow schoolboy at Paston, I witnessed your remarkable stand against militarism when Gen Sir Ian Freedland (I think it was) came to inspect the CCF. I have vivid memories of you appearing on the top floor of the School House and shouting what seemed to us lesser mortals very daring anti-military views (“Troops Out of Ireland” was one) before your sudden and rapid transit backwards from our sight – due to unknown assailants – and the window being slammed shut. It’s only with the intervening years that I realised what an extraordinary event this was, years ahead of its time, and I have often wondered what became of you. A friend recommended your blog to me very recently and it was then I realised it was the same Craig Murray. I heartily agree with what I have read of your work since, and am very pleased to become a subscriber.

With kind regards, and every good wish for the success of your work in the New Year.

It is very hard to explain to a modern audience how very militarist our school was. The headmaster was referred to everywhere, in school and by wider society, as Colonel Marshall, even though I believe it was a rank he only held in the Cadet Force. My peculiar education was designed to teach you to strip down and reassemble a .303 rifle, whilst explaining the process in Latin.

Funnily enough, after I spoke at the recent St Pancras meeting for Julian Assange, a gentleman introduced himself to me who I did not at first recognise but was Merlin, my co-conspirator in that old school protest, who I was seeing for the second time in 45 years. That made me weep and I fear I looked rather silly.

But receiving that recollection of an event I had almost forgotten, is a reminder of how important it is to be true to your beliefs. Policy views may change with circumstance or experience, but I am delighted that my underlying principles remain constant after getting on for half a century of political activity.

It also made me realise how lucky I am. I have been a career diplomat, a British Ambassador, the Rector of Dundee University, a bestselling author and Chairman of a successful energy company. All that was possible on an entirely state education, including full maintenance grants. And it was possible without ever having dissembled or hidden my personal radical beliefs – including turning down three separate honours from the Queen on grounds of republicanism and Scottish nationalism.

I am not sure that would be possible now. In fact I am pretty sure it would not be possible now. The tolerance of dissent has radically decreased. It is worth saying that in 13 years of working as a civil servant for Tory governments I never had any problems, despite ministers like Malcolm Rifkind and Lynda Chalker knowing very well my personal opinions were very different from the official policy. I might give an example of Nicholas Soames, who when a junior defence minister attended a NATO exercise in Drawsko in Poland which I help to organise. I remember a very interesting conversation when I told him I believed that NATO had served its purpose, that there had never been any Russian intention to invade Western Europe anyway, and that the entire narrative was a device to bolster the profits of the arms industry and budget of the army.

Soames of course did not agree with me, but we had an extremely good and good natured discussion (alcohol was involved) and he did concede that the fall of the Iron Curtain had proven western intelligence estimates of Soviet military capability to have been vastly exaggerated, greatly boosting the interests of the western arms industry, the military and of course the institutional interests of the security services themselves.

But the important point is that while Soames did not agree at all with my broad points, he did not suggest – because he did not think – that it was wrong for anyone holding my personal views to be in an important position in the FCO, and he did not make any stupid jibes about me working for the Kremlin. I fear that kind of tolerance has disappeared from public life now – as indeed has the Tory party’s tolerance of the more broad-minded kind of Tory.

It was New Labour that was responsible for much of the change of culture. If you have read Murder in Samarkand, you will know that while Ambassador my dissent at the policy of obtaining intelligence through torture was entirely internal. I was trying to stop it through the correct Whitehall mechanisms, and all my communications on the subject were classified Top Secret. It was Blair and Straw who decided this internal dissent was unacceptable. I had neither leaked nor blown the whistle when they decided pre-emptively to fit me up with 18 major disciplinary charges.

By 2003 the Foreign and Commonwealth had transformed to a degree where it would not tolerate internal dissent. There is no serious civil service career open to a young radical today. The free education was destroyed long ago, also initiated by New Labour. Meantime, the last general election showed the horrifying unanimity of state and billionaire mainstream media in demonising even moderate social democratic thought.

I would be unlikely to become Rector of a University now either, as UK universities have moved from being centres of free speech to the precise opposite. I very seldom get to speak in universities at all nowadays. Student groups label me a “rape apologist” due to my support of Julian Assange, and University authorities label me an “anti-semite” due to my support of the Palestinians. I am excluded from the places I would most like to discuss my ideas.

I hope you will forgive the rather rambling thoughts that email inspired. It was not easy to dissent then. It is still harder now.


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409 thoughts on “45 Years of Rebellion

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    • Ingwe

      @Fwl-I agree 100% with this. Even when I disagree with Mr Murray, he’s never rambling and his arguments always internally consistent.
      Best wishes for 2020.

      • Fwl

        Yes I often disagree, but even if I only agree with say 20% of Craig’s ideas that 20% I agree with makes a visit here or a read of his books more than worthwhile.

  • Jack

    Problem today concerning dissent is that it is kept altogether under the lid by the people with power in the media,
    there are so many great voices, so much news, reports, daunting information, world changing facts and so on but the mainstream media refuse to publicize dissent today
    Take the newest leak by Wikileaks below for example:

    “RELEASE: OPCW-Douma Docs 4. Four leaked documents from the OPCW reveal that toxicologists ruled out deaths from chlorine exposure and a senior official ordered the deletion of the dissenting engineering report from OPCW’s internal repository of documents.”

    Breathtaking exposure right, but is it reported in the mainstream media? No.
    Meanwhile the same mainstream media claim they are free and critical. It is such a bad joke and the worst censorship going on in liberal media.

  • david cox

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate and enjoy your blogs, the world need people like you, especially at this moment in time. Further, I have set-up a regular subscription albeit only £5.00 pm but I am sure that every little helps and I will also be ordering your books from our local bookshop.

  • Tatyana

    Mr. Murray, Mr. Murray… 🙂 gaining more and more points as he lets to know more about him. I suppose, Mr. Murray is able to reassemble Remington 700 and AK 47 too, no doubt commenting the process in Latin 🙂
    Thanks for this new blog, it’s revealing.

    • Ingwe

      @Tatyana 17:38. Very droll. I loved your cartoon that you posted yesterday. Thank you for the bit of cheer at a horrible time in our history. All the best.

      • Tatyana

        Thank you, Ingwe.
        When I came here for the first time, I was feeling like I enter unknown deep forest. I didn’t know if my English still good to express my thoughts. I believed that this site is about politics, it means POLITICS, you know, something that needs knowledge, and I knew very little of politics. I imagined that reverend British Sirs in wigs sit here and discuss VERY IMPORTANT THINGS, all with solemn faces. I tried to be very very cautious, but still felt like a Godzilla in a china shop. Then someone told me to relax, because there are moderators here, they will delete that what is improper for this place. The advice helped much 🙂

        I try to keep by me all the things that my imagination brings, e.g. I was thinking that rifle-reassembling skill is in fact very useful. If you saw “The walking dead” then you’ll understand. While somebody would google ‘how to’, Mr. Murray would be shooting zombies down, perhaps even commenting in Latin 🙂

        • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

          So that buckwheat shortage might explain the little twist in the Skirpal story of buckwheat groats for kasha being brought from Russia but then this being changed to import of oatmeal for porridge ,rather pointlessly.We still get excellent salmon from Russia in Korea along with buckwheat in Uzbek shops in Seoul.

      • Tatyana

        You see, Ingwe? That’s difficulty of being a russian housewife on a western politics site.
        Another commentator is having fun, and I don’t understand what is humorous, because I wrote very honestly that in my eyes this is an important skill.

        Me myself am able to … ok, just for example, I have a husband, and my son is 13 years old and already good 18 centimeters taller than me, so I cook pancakes more often than deleted by KGB. It’s like riding a bike, or milking a cow, you learn it once and KGB censored Graboids may arrive any time!

        • Muscleguy

          In terms of pancakes, of the blini variety, it is interesting that here in the West we make them with buckwheat flour whilst in Russia, at least when we were there in ’94 they were made just with wheat flour.

          This is because the Western recipes were handed on from White Russian emigrés while buckwheat as I understood it became hard to get in Russia. I still remember the disappointment at returning to our breakfast table with a plate laden with blini to taste them in that St Petersburg hotel.

          I was reminded of it since I have been cooking them, sourdough, with buckwheat over the festive period to top with sour cream and smoked salmon, the best toppings for blini in my opinion. I make them at other times since it’s a good way to use up excess sourdough starter and gives breakfast more variety.

          • Tatyana

            It’s amusing, Muscleguy.
            Buckwheat flour is rare guest in our shops, and salmon is not native to the most russian regions, except Northern. The most common breakfast is simple wheat bliny (milk/kefir+NaCl, instead of canonic sourdough) with butter or sour cream. But even more often you’ll find flakes, muslees or porrige for breakfast 🙂
            And for modern housewives, the very same American pancakes are popular, I know for sure, because I often cook and talk with other housewives.
            We eat boiled buckwheat as a side dish, it is super-useful due to the vitamins of group B and ferrum. Salmon is grown in fish farms, like chicken, nothing legendary about it any more like it was earlier “someone smoked it far away and sent me as a gift from another region”
            Classics for bliny was always caviar, but now we prefer it on a piece of buttered fine wheat bread. Good for breakfasts and for late supper too.

          • Tatyana

            Moderators, can we please put сода (Sodium hydrogen carbonate) instead of NaCl? If you do not mind, please, my stupid mistake. Sorry for the request!

        • John A

          Tatyana, your comment ‘salmon is not native to the most russian regions, except Northern’ is interesting, the madly russophobic Daily Mail, that has been chuntering about a Russian navy ship passing through the Channel ‘close to British waters’ over Christmas, ran a crazy story about ‘Russian’ salmon invading our rivers. Putin gets up to all sorts of evil tricks!

          • Tatyana

            Daily Mail didn’t like my AdBlocker 🙂 no chance to read the artickle, I’m not sacrying my cozy tuned browser even for chance to see another funny story. Sorry, John A.

            Salmon lives somewhere in the North and in the East of the country, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, Siberian rivers. We have retail networks selling fish, they bring seafod for us like this
            And salmon is grown in farms, I visited the nearest one in Sochi. Common fish in our shops, though not so tasty as wild Nerka
            but good for cooking too, if you know how 🙂

          • John A

            Tatyana, I too use an ad blocker with my main browser but use another browser that allows ads to read the odd article on a site that blocks ad blockers.
            But to give you a gist, apparently a Pacific species of salmon has made its way from the Pacific, along the arctic coast of Russia and then Norway and has now reached British shores. To fit the Mail’s Russophobia, instead of saying Pacific salmon invading our rivers, the rag called it Russian salmon to make it sound ‘scarier’. Similarly with Russian ships sailing through international waters between Britain and France that is very narrow at the point between Dover and Calais – you can see France from Dover, so easy to say ‘sail close to British waters’ as it is impossible not to.

          • Tatyana

            oh, John, of course they were the brave fearless Russian salmons, who had gone such a long way to invade your rivers, to f*ck your salmons, and to finally undermine British democracy! Because they are eeevil.
            You don’t think that other peaceful Pacific fish could do this, right?

        • Dungroanin

          Please excuse the intervention in this fascinating and educational side conversation.
          BUCKWHEAT is not actually wheat in anything but name.

          Infact it is free from gluten and as such very suitable for these who are intolerant to wheat based product. Coeliacs. While not being one myself it is a regular part of the diet. Pancakes are tops as well as home made blinis and cakes! I recommend it to all.

          Public service information over! Enjoy.

          • Tatyana

            With all my respect, Dungroanin, if you were a houswife, you’d know how hard it is to feed your family with healthy food, being surrounded by PapaJones, McDonalds, KFC and BurgerKing on every corner.
            It may sound funny, but it’s not.
            Big companies advertise it all in a very attractive manner. Even adults are stupified by colorful banners, and are manipulated very easily as if they never learned science in school or have no control of themselves.
            And my country allowed this and that to the supermarket, from abroad. I’m happy now there’re sunctions and counter-sunctions, we allow no more trash to the country. USSR had high standards for food and now they try to accomodate new food industry.
            Regarding my mother is engineer in the milk industry, I’m rather satisfied with current russian food.

    • nevermind

      Im site that Craig is able to operate a satelite ph9ne wh8lst being inebriated, not so aure about an ?AK47 or other amaments. How about you Taty? Are you able to shoot a peashooter?

      • Tatyana

        SA, if you mean ‘Vodka’ and ‘Na zdorovie’, then half the world speaks russian 🙂 Actually, noone says AK 47 here, we say Kalash (Калаш).

        Any knowlege is preciuos. Life is such a thing, you never know when it happens to use it.
        Even if you do not see zombies on the horizon, and graboids are sleeping… but it happens that you receive a custom order request, and there is no necessary mandrel in your workshop.
        Know your calibers, so you won’t miss the sale 🙂

          • Tatyana

            SA, I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know Mr. Murray and talk to him. Our only dialogue here was quite short, actually “f**king bullshit. you’re welcome”. All in English.

          • Tatyana

            Iain, I think you are joking.
            There’s something that makes the “core” of a person. I don’t know how you may call it, perhaps there’s a special name for it, I denote it as ‘core’ for myself.
            The “cores” of Mr. Murray and of that another person are different.

  • Mary

    Yes. Best wishes for 2020 to Craig, his family and everyone else on here.

    I am told that the Gaelic for Happy New Year is:

    Blwyddyn veryne Newydd DDa,

    • Brianfujisan

      Hi Mary

      yes that looks like Welsh Gaelic

      The Scots version is

      bliadhna Mhath Ùr

      And I hope you have a Good and Peaceful 2020

    • Yr Hen Gof

      Blwyddyn Newydd Dda = “Good New Year” in Welsh
      Welsh language = iaith Gymraeg.
      Not sure what the word ‘veryne’ is, there’s no ‘v’ in the Welsh alphabet
      Gaelic only applies to Scots, Cape Breton Island and Nova Scotia, never to Irish or Welsh, although all are members of the same family of languages..

  • George McI

    The big test facing the powers that be is the tightening up against dissent while maintaining an illusion of freedom of speech and democracy. Expect any number of hand wringing debates over the tension between freedom and “responsibility” for “hate speech”.

    On the other hand, consistency and logic were never major concerns for propagandists. Nor do they have any sense of shame or even absurdity. You’d think anyone could see that the rape claims against Assange are politically motivated lies. You’d also think that anyone would guffaw at the idea of Corbyn being anti-Semitic. And indeed perhaps the vast majority do see through this crap. But that doesn’t stop the MSM pumping it out and hitting the repeat button.

    • Dungroanin

      A fiend who is an self employed investigative journalist and researcher made a mistake by responding to me with that callumny and still believing that Sweden are seeking to press the charges!

      My fury at her self titled investigative & journalist credentials were muted by being in a public space. I referred her to the Consortium sites campaign.

      She also believed that Corbyn was AS!

      The otherwise incredulous who are currently belatedly getting worried about postal voting are calling for ‘investigative journalists’ to persue the subject; the person they mention almost unanimously to do that is – Cadwalldr!

      I mean the complete success of the DS advertising must be admired that they have induced such mental aberration in the social justice warriors of today.

    • Muscleguy

      Ditto, the injustice of the Palestinian situation has always struck me ever since learning of it as a child. I am always struck by Christian’s support for Israel despite many Palestinians being Christian. Yasser Arafat was married to a Christian woman (in a secular tradition).

      It saddens me greatly that even now at 54 that the situation has not been fairly resolved and thanks to Netanyahu and Trump it has in fact gotten worse.

    • George McI

      Just be careful. Unfortunately I can’t locate the source but Gore Vidal once noted that if he wrote (and I’m possibly paraphrasing):

      “ “All Jews must die!” screamed the Nazi”

      Then certain totally unscrupulous reviewers would take the first four words of that and claim that it was Vidal’s own honest statement that “All Jews must die!”

      Similarly with your own statement, the words “I am proud to be an ‘anti-semite’” could be taken out without the careful qualification and thus give the impression that you were just a straightforward anti-Semite. Yes that’s how these bastards work. I believe Mr Murray himself has had a scrape with the courts over calling another person a liar over words he (i.e. the alleged liar) claimed that CM said – and it turned out that CM HAD said the words – although they had been taken out of context.

      • bj

        I have never seen or heard an ”anti-semite’ howler make a distinction between ‘straightforward anti-Semites’ and any other kind.
        Have you?

  • Jack

    How dissent is carried out is also intresting to note these days. People in France have demonstrated for 60 weeks but they dont threat the power so Macron and his gang do not need to bother about the dissent from his people in the streets.

    • Laguerre

      Your counting is not correct. The gilets jaunes stopped six months ago, apart from one or two individuals. They even have reunion meetings on the tele telling us what a great time they had, and discussing the interesting people they met.

      • Jack

        Sure 59 weeks – I bet Yellow Vest could protest for 200 weeks, Macron and his supporters would still not care which was just the point I tried to make. Dissent doesnt matter for Macron/yourself.

        For your information, Yellow Vest protested yesterday:

        ” Yellow Vests demonstrators are to hold their 59th weekend protest on Saturday and will join forces with trade unions in central Paris to condemn the French government’s proposed pension reforms. ”

      • Bruce H

        No, your wrong there, the gillets jaunes are still demonstrating, and getting beaten up by the police for it but there are less of them than at the beginning, which is hardly surprising, keeping such a movement going for so long, and under such a level of repression is very difficult. Don’t forget that many of the most active have suspended sentences hanging over them so next time they could find themselves in clink for real. This weekend they were associating with the trade union actions against the change in pension laws.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Mr Murray

    It saddens me to tell you this, but academic achievement is very low down the priority lists of anyone wanting to rise up in the Establishment.

    The top priority is becoming a pathetic little spy. Universities group together those who will spy on their colleagues for preferment. I know this, because I know who was deputed to spy on me and at least one of them had a career bump when I exposed their actions allegorically when pathetic security services attentions made me start to expose the UK for what it truly is.

    Blackmail threats are also a key feature, so is playing golf/cricket/rugby in many spheres of life, despite those sports contributing nothing toward higher plane academic/logical thought and a great deal in the areas of aggressive bullying, mind games and the like.

    MI5/6 enjoy recruiting those verging on alcoholism in their mid- to late 20s, as such folks are often belligerent, rude, unprincipled, biddable and corrupt. I know of three such folk they recruited and none should be in the positions they actually occupy, were competence and human decency the core characteristics sought. Clearly, they were not….

    The school I attended ‘apparently’ disapproved of competitive sport as an ethos, which made them hiring the Olympic canoe coach somewhat surprising. It just meant canoeists could be competitive but tennis players were limited to fairly meaningless friendly matches instead. It was one of many features of my childhood where the two-faced lying and bullsh***ing incompetence of authority figures left me lacking respect for authority, not due to a character flaw but due to those designated to be in authority being absolutely unworthy of having it vested in them.

    Schools claimed that certain things needed to be on CVs to get ‘a good job’. Reality was that precisely zero of them were considered remotely important by any employer, potential or actual, I came into contact with. I was completely bilingual in german as of 1983 and absolutely no graduate employer showed any interest in language skills. Not one. Why? I was doing a science degree, not reading German literature to write essays in English at university. Living abroad for 12 months did not count for anything apparently……so all the so called ‘authority figures’ were lying imbeciles who had done precisely zero research of reality. I could say similar things about music….

    If I were being nasty: I would list the following skills as critical:

    1. Being a skilled liar.
    2. Being a manipulative narcissist.
    3. Being the opposite of a team player whilst spouting claptrap about equality.
    4. Being a brilliant asslicker upwards and a sneering bully downwards.
    5. Joining the security services.

    • N_

      @Rhys – Nice post. A few comments…

      * One of the things SIS and MI5 will do with any applicant is ask them to grass up their leftwing contemporaries. For the uppermost quadrant of the school-university SIS-MI5 grid, which is to say among SIS (future) applicants at top private schools, the applicants (some of whom are keeping their options open) may already be spying on the lefty rebels when they are as young as 15 or 16 and in some cases from within their circles rather than outside. (One person who will definitely know about this is Seumas Milne.)

      * Have you looked at Gabbitas, formerly Gabbitas Thring? I doubt any other country in the world has an organisation that fulfils that agency’s function, which is to say to oil the wheels where SIS – and the neo-empire it maintains – meet the private schools. I see its website is now in Russian and Chinese as well as English – chortle!

      * See also chess, backgammon and bridge – encouraged in SIS families.

  • Davenport

    I for one really appreciate your insight and points of view.

    Blair does indeed have a lot to answer for including deregulation of the banks which has led us to the GFC.

    On media, he made daily use of spin and ramped up the frequency at which news is delivered. Remember the tanks at Heathrow? It was obviously we were being manipulated, but he got away with it.

    And it is he who encouraged enlargement of the EU to the East and did not make use of immigration controls like most countries on the continent.

    Of course, he illegally invaded Iraq too.

    I don’t really like Boris, but if he really wanted to stick the knife into Labour, prosecuting Blair as a war criminal would certainly make a mark.

    • Ingwe

      @Davenport-Oh if only Boris would prosecute Blair for war crimes, I’d vote for him. It would create a lovely precedent under which Boris himself could be prosecuted in due course. It’s good to dream!

  • Goose

    Both Blair and Obama really ramped up what some have called ‘the war on whistleblowers’. Could say, in Blair’s case it’s understandable, given what’s now known about the hundreds of cases of torture and abduction. It’s incredible there’ll be no Judge -led UK public inquiry into complicity (a decision currently facing judicial review). Blair and Straw may never to be cleared, this after loud protestations from both of non-involvement when the initial reports broke, neither man has demanded an opportunity to clear their names, bizarre?

    On secrecy more generally. Blair now states the FoI Act was his biggest mistake, and even that was substantially watered down version compared to what was proposed by Labour while in opposition.

  • Ort

    Craig, your extemporaneous or serendipitous reminiscence and reflection is at least as interesting as recycling a canned commentary, and probably more so; thanks for the memories.

    However, I would’ve enjoyed a description of what actually transpired on the top floor of the School House on that fateful occasion, especially when you were suddenly whisked away from view by unknown parties. We know that you survived the desperate circumstances, but it would be nice to know more about them.

    Notwithstanding, best wishes for a Happy and prosperous New Year from across the water to you and your family (both biological and blog), if it ain’t out o’ keepin with the situation. 😉

  • N_

    @Craig – Did they ask about your rebelliousness at school during interviews for vetting or otherwise? There’s no way that would ever have been missed in respect of an applicant for SIS.

  • John Pretty

    “It is very hard to explain to a modern audience how very militarist our school was.”

    – What sort of school is Paston College? It doesn’t sound like a regular comprehensive of the sort most of your contemporaries might have attended. Is it a private school?

    I attended an inner city Roman Catholic comprehensive in the 1980s. It was full of angry young Irishmen desiring an end to the occupation of Northern Ireland by the army during the Troubles, but I have no recollection of any military types being there, either to visit or as teachers.

    I’m wondering why it would be an issue for a man of Anglo-Scottish heritage?

    I was always a bit of an outsider at my school having an English surname (and a silly one at that) and being of Irish descent on my mother’s side, but via Scotland rather than directly from Ireland. I can always remember going to my best friend’s house and his (Irish) mother asking me what my mother’s maiden surname was. “Quinn” I replied innocently. I think that satisfied her that I had the “right” credentials. I didn’t actually know then that it was an Irish surname.

    The sectarian divide was an issue still when my mother was married in the 1960s. She worked as a civil servant in Glasgow. When she announced to her boss that she was leaving Scotland to live with an Englishman (my parents married in Scotland) he asked her what her surname was going to be. When she told him he just replied, “Aye, well it’s better than the one you have now.”

    Hopefully, times have changed!

    • N_

      What sort of school is Paston College?
      Founded 1606, and in Craig’s day it was trust-owned though at least largely state-funded (nice trick if you can do it); boarding was at least mostly a thing of the past at the school by then; and I am not sure what happened to its close link with Caius College at Cambridge 🙂

      As far as I’m aware, few or no state-owned schools have a CCF and most who attended such schools have no clue what a CCF is!

      • John Pretty

        lol, N_ I don’t know what a “CCF” is either. My guess is that the CF bit is “Cadet Force”, but I’m not sure about the first “C”.

        I think the first time I came across military types was when I was at University and there was a posh student there who was in the Territorial Army (TA). His close friends called him “Captain Tim”. I think he became an accountant. 🙂

      • craig Post author

        It was entirely state funded in my day and functioned simply as a state grammar school, but still maintained the practices of a private boarding school. There were no comprehensives in Norfolk (or I believe most of the UK) in those days. My attendance there was not a matter of choice – it is simply where I was sent.

      • Mrs Pau!

        State schools certainly used to have a CCF in England. My brother attended one and was compulsorily signed up for it although he had similar views to Craig. As he could not opt out, he kept his uniform squashed into a very small kit bag, which meant it was horribly creased whenever he had to wear it on parade. Eventually he was excused parades and then membership altogether. My brother has always been good at subversion. ..

        • Mrs Pau!

          Actually CCFs still exist today. Mr. Pau!.went to a well known London boys (state) grammar school. Its Web site shows its CCF is still going strong today.

          • John Pillager

            Might that be Dulwich or Emanuel ?
            I remember Latin and .303s at Emanuel….1976-1981.

    • N_

      “Hopefully, times have changed!” They have since the 1960s, but in the part of Scotland where I live many still find it hard to cope with the combination in a single person of an English accent and a non-British surname. One guy recently told me with disgust that Boris Johnson’s greatgrandfather was a Muslim. It wouldn’t surprise me if he hadn’t been a great fan of Iain Duncan Smith either.

    • N_

      @John – I’m sure times have changed since the 1960s, but in some parts of Scotland today the combination in a British person of a non-British surname and a British but non-Scottish accent is considered by some to be an untouchable mix. In the part of Scotland where I live, a neighbour told a guy who was born British and who is as British as she is and who has such a combination of surname and accent that she could understand British airport security wanting to search HIS bags before they allowed HIM to fly somewhere, but she couldn’t accept it was justified when the passenger was her Mac-surnamed self. And she wasn’t trying to be nasty or arch. He is regularly an invited guest in her house and she had served him tea and cake. She simply believes that any British person with a bit of “not from here” in their background shouldn’t mind being treated with suspicion. In her mind, they shouldn’t expect to have the same right to walk down the street as a person all of whose ancestors were (supposedly) “from here”.

      Meanwhile many independence enthusiasts keep to the “independence first, everything else later” and “don’t do Scotland down” mantras. God help us if they’re successful.

      Where I live, the “Boris Johnson has Turkish ancestry, nudge nudge wink wink” meme seems to be as widespread as the idea of the towering greatness of “a Rhodesian-style an Australian-style immigration points system”. The idea that a proportion of even the “all ancestors from here” (as if!) population will inevitably be “rebels” who need to be kept an eye on is also often a given. One could write a thesis on the influence in Scotland of the perceived connection between Irishness and Catholicism. Which isn’t to say the Chuch of England isn’t seen by many as a bunch of incense-swinging bishop-followers who occasionally wave a toe outside of Rome but not so convincingly as to fool the eagle-eyed Calvinists who are so pleased with themselves after completing their latest grant applications. (Perhaps if something happens to the Netherlands, an independent Scotland could take over as northwest Europe’s leading pragmato-Calvinist narco-state?)

  • Ruth

    ‘But the important point is that while Soames did not agree at all with my broad points, he did not suggest – because he did not think – that it was wrong for anyone holding my personal views to be in an important position in the FCO, and he did not make any stupid jibes about me working for the Kremlin.’
    That was you but look at his disgusting jibes at Corbyn since the time he became oppostion leader. No tolerance there.

  • Frazer

    Aye..I was there in Tashkent..there in Ghana…there in Doune…read all your bloody books..even bought one for £25 quid …and you still owe me £11.50 for that double Whisky I bought you 5 years ago…Keep fighting the good fight pal !! And a Happy Hogmanay tae yours and all.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    We like Paul Weller round here, and also Piers Corbyn. They have both been giving speeches on step ladders, recently in Hyde Park. Craig Murray tends to get a much bigger platform, but they all have the courage to get up, and say what they think. I like people like that, regardless of their political or religious views.

    I also really like Jams, where anyone confident enough to turn up, with their own instrument, and ask, if its O.K. to get up and play? I reply yes – the guy over there is running the gig – go and talk to him, and he will put you on the list to play tonight, and also work out, who can bring the best out of you – and nod in their direction. It has nothing whatsoever to do with race, skin colour, politics or religion, it is just a quick look at you, and what you just said you can play – live for the first time in front of a public audience in a pub.

    For Tatyna, cos she is a very clever Russian girl, who writes here, she adds an interesting dimension, and everyone here on Craig Murray’s blog has great respect for her.

    “The Jam – The Eton Rifles”


    Thank You,


    • John Pretty

      Sweet. Tony, I have heard it said that some would pay good money to see a performance of “Craig Murray and the Moderators”.

      Craig’s backing band the Moderators think they are really cool with their wrap around sunglasses, but quite honestly I think they’re just a bunch of jumped up amateurs. IMHO they haven’t got a clue what they’re doing! They can’t play their instruments.

      Craig, I have heard it said by contrast is an accomplished stage performer, but I’m not sure he would quite be in Freddie Mercury’s league, somehow … 🙂

    • Tatyana

      Thank you, Tony, I greatly appreciate all the kind attitude. I understand more, than I can express. It’s good that memes exist, one can clearly explain emotions with them.
      I feel like a half talking human, half inarticulate animal.
      I try to read all the comments, and sometimes it puts me in a stupor. E.g. “extemporaneous or serendipitous reminiscence” above. Are you native speakers really able to pronounce it? I tried to say “extemporaneous or serendipitous reminiscence” with my mouth, and it looked like this
      It’s a miracle that you understand me and still think I’m clever 🙂
      Happy Holidays, Tony!

      • Ingwe

        Tatyana-your posts are a joy on this forum. With the unrelenting anti-Russian trope of almost the entire media (apart from a few sites such as this), where there isn’t even the pretence of any real analysis that gives rise to the anti Russian bullshit, your posts not in your first language always pull us up sharply and the smug belief some have, that we should let Russia sort out the West’s problems.

        Keep reading, Tatyana and please keep posting.

  • bevin

    “It was New Labour that was responsible for much of the change of culture.”
    It was New Labour-avant la lettre- in the shape of very right wing enemies of socialism in the Party, who gave us the Cold War. Only they could have.

    • SA

      It was also labour that started serious steps for preparing the NHS for privatisation, it was labour who together with Clinton continued the starvation of Iraq even before 2003. It was Labour that then went on to support US in Iraq. It was new Labour that bailed out the banks without control or restraint. It was new labour that was cool about people getting filthy rich. Not surprising really that the fifth columnists put the knife into Corbyn and preferred a right wing Tory government to one led by Corbyn.

  • kashmiri

    Hi Craig, For years you remained a leader of independent thought. You consistently exposed all bullshit, deceipt, shady deals in public life. But I will be frank. Lately it felt as if you were losing your insight. Instead of offering fresh analysis, you appear more and more frequently to take fringe positions. For instance, well before getting to the bottom of the Skripal affair, you argued hard that the Russian duo were innocent tourists and that their photo from a military academy must be a fake (despite hard evidence to the contrary). It was obvious that you tried to decry Bellingcat’s investigation – not because it contained errors but because “everything Bellingcat is bad and false”. Similarly – when an editor tendentiously edited a few articles on Wikipedia, you argued that this was a conspiracy by UK/US secret services and Jimmy Wales, quoting Wales’ connections with the Conservatives. Unfortunately such things contributed to the gradual erosion of your credibility.

    What is worse, you seem to lose (or intentionally ignore?) the broader picture of what politics is all about. Politics is about wielding control of the country / society. Period. It is not and has never been be about honesty, transparency, fairness, respect for human rights, and so on. Several paragraphs of indignation that an official wasn’t transparent or that a candidate lied – well, does it add to credibility?

    It may help if you re-read some of your best posts from the past and try to carry on in the same spirit consistently.

    I apologise if it sounds too frank.

    • Mighty Drunken

      A strange message considering recent events Kashmiri.

      The numerous leaks/whistle-blowers from the OPCW report on the Douma incident blow apart the authority of the OPCW and Bellingcat.

      The Skripal affair is bizarre, whatever the truth it is not what we have been told by the authorities. What can be said about Bellingcat’s contribution is, it is not open source and it is not verifiable.

      “Period. It is not and has never been be about honesty, transparency, fairness, respect for human rights, and so on.”

      Well you are an idiot. Politics is about reaching agreement between multiple parties about the best course of action. If that course of action ignores fairness, honesty and human rights it is not the best course of action. Transparency is required so politics can be “audited” by the voters. Otherwise you will end up with a system that benefits no one but the politicians.

      It seems the media has done a great job of demeaning politics so people will accept any old crap.

      • kashmiri

        “Politics is about reaching agreement between multiple parties about the best course of action.” My best or your best?

        Dream on.

        I don’t give a damn about Skripals. I don’t know the truth and I won’t try to second-guess. I wrote about speculation driven by confirmation bias that’s seen more and more in Craig’s writings. I agree with his Douma analysis and conclusions. But again it’s not about where the truth is but about more and more bias.

        Oh, and you certainly are not an idiot. Congratulation on positive self perception, keep on!

  • Brianfujisan

    ” I hope you will forgive the rather rambling thoughts that email inspired. It was not easy to dissent then. It is still harder now.”

    I don’t think it’s Rambling at all. It’s good to some of the Human side of a Life in Politics.
    And I best all of us here would appreciate an Email out of the blue from our old best friends at School.
    Rekindling Fond memories.
    Looks Like your Friend will read the Blog often

    Well, all best For 2020 Craig to you and the Family

    And all the best to everyone here..have a peaceful 2020. .

  • Athanasius

    One could argue that the decrease in tolerance for dissent is actually a good thing inasmuch as it means you’re winning. Dissenters in the past could be tolerated because they were no threat to the established order. Now they are.

  • djm

    “My peculiar education was designed to teach you to strip down and reassemble a .303 rifle, whilst explaining the process in Latin”

    Utter & complete bolox

    Craig, you should be ashamed of yourself

    But never the less HNY

    • craig Post author

      I take it you were there? In which case you will doubtless recall we were taught both to strip down a .303 and speak Latin?

      I accept that I left out a lot for the sake of an aphorism. The teaching of history was exceptional.

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