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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  • Peter

    On the topic of schools did you all know that these top Edinburgh schools, The Mary Erskine School, Stewart’s Melville and George Watson’s, are governed by a City Of London Livery company.


    I wonder if parents who support the SNP who send their kids to one of these schools are aware of this…

  • ricardo2000

    I sympathize with you, Mr. Murray. I’m an Albertan, one of the worst climate knucklehead states on the planet. My family has been part of the oil industry since 1930, and very highly placed too.

    So it makes my accurate points about the Tar Sands being a crime against the planet extremely unwelcome. To the point my own son now has revealed himself to be a violent climate Nazi, willing to commit any outrage as long as he can keep idling his Jeep. He even made national news in his Nazi regalia defacing a Greta Thunberg mural here in Edmonton.
    Had you maintained your employment at the expense of your principles, I doubt I would have had much sympathy for your struggles or your pain. It is refreshing to hear from someone who refuses to be a collaborator. So refuse the regret and the pain; remember the love and the respect for your self-defence. Honestly fight for the people and causes in which you believe. Live in defiance.

    • J Galt

      You don’t have to be a “climate Nazi” to know that Greta Thunberg is an unfortunate child being manipulated by some very sinister con artists.

      • pretzelattack

        or to know that the fossil fuel propaganda campaign against the science is all bullshit. i’m not sure how defacing a poster of an autistic kid helps deal with that problem.

        • pretzelattack

          try stepping off a tall building if you think science is all bullshit. oh wait, you just think climatology is bullshit. newsflash you don’t get to cherrypick–if the royal society doesn’t think its bullshit, and the oil companies scientists didn’t think it was bullshit, what you think about the matter is utterly irrelevant.

        • Bayard

          What other people think has no bearing on the truth. There are many scientific beliefs that have long been discarded, but at the time were believed to be the truth: look up “phlogiston” as an example.
          However, I am quite prepared to believe you are right if you can find me a scientifically coherent explanation of the link between CO2 levels and global temperatures that takes into account the relative concentrations of CO2 and the main greenhouse gas, H2O.

      • Mighty Drunken

        Galt there is zero evidence of that. You make that assumption because you disbelieve the 10,000s of climate scientists and every scientific institution of Earth that anthropogenic climate change is real and a threat.

        There are many political problems in today’s world. None are more important than climate change because it is very hard to reverse, whilst effecting the entire planet.

        Thunberg has the foresight to see through the crap of everyday life and do something important.

      • Mr V

        Yeaaah, just like people fighting against freons, DDT, nicotine, lead in fuel, thalidomide, and the rest of the similar stuff were “”manipulated by some very sinister con artists””. You know, the evul clear air and healthy environment conspiracy.

        Maybe you should take a long look in the mirror, lament your lack of education, throw out lying garbage propaganda paid for by fossil fuel industry, and actually educate yourself so you could contribute something meaningful instead of parroting vile slander thrown at someone who will actually need to live on the planet damaged by previous, careless generations?

        • J Galt

          Mr Drunken and Mr V.

          Gentlemen, it appears that even mild statements of climate change scepticism seem to be forbidden, as my comment on which you are commenting has been withdrawn, presumably by the mods.

          [ Mod: To clarify, your comment was unrelated to the content of Craig’s article and was removed for being off-topic. Comments about Greta Thunberg are on topic because she’s spearheading a political rebellion; however, your comment didn’t mention her: it was merely a series of smears about the scientific consensus: e.g. “the cartoon version of current events”, “goody climate scientists”, “the scam” etc. It was clearly intended to be provocative.

          Off-topic comments alluding to wide-ranging conspiracies are routinely removed from the BTL section, but you’re welcome to be as sceptical as you like in the discussion forum.

          Debates about climate change science and scepticism frequently interrupt and derail constructive discussions about political issues. As with 9/11 and other conspiracy theories, It’s one of those issues that tends to take over threads. ]

          I can only comment therefore that weak cases often lead to abusive comments.

          • J Galt

            Although we obviously hold very different views on this topic, I appreciate you taking the time to explain the reasons for the withdrawal of my comment.

      • ricardo2000

        My son isn’t a ‘Nazi’. He is an actual Nazi spouting all the buzz phrases in German no less.
        So hide behind a pompous reference to the worst author and book of the 20th century.

        • J Galt

          It took me a while to work out the “worst author and book of the 20th century” reference, at first I thought, given the Nazi theme you meant Adolf Hitler and Mein Kampf and I was puzzled as to how on earth I had made a pompous reference or indeed any reference to said author and work.

          However I now realise you were probably referring to Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged with it’s enigmatic character of John Galt – please correct me if I’m wrong.

          Awfully sorry to disappoint you however “J Galt” is my name, Galt is a Scottish name, not particularly common it has to be said, and I have no idea why Ayn Rand used it, oh and the “J” stands for James not John.

  • David

    hi Craig thanks for writing about these changes in the moral fibre of our political establishment. I think these things need to be said often.

    I’m on my way to see in the new year in a small independent country in South America. I have e a bottle of Lagavulin waiting for me in Montevideo and I will stand under the anarchic new year fireworks and make a toast to all those who keep their morality and support of human rights during these difficult times and I’ll also toast Scotland and the independence that I hope is coming soon. I’m often find myself thinking that if Uruguay can do independence then we really have no excuses.

    All the best to you for the new year.

  • J

    I really enjoyed this glimpse into your past, thanks. And you’re right, it was the Blair years. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing sometimes, while all of my middle class, notionally left, friends upbraided me for having the temerity to attack a Labour government. After the blight of Thatcher we needed all the help we could get and for a while it seemed as though it might, but it never came and much worse was soon to follow.

  • Hatuey

    Not so long ago, before the internet, most of us subscribed to shared lies, served up to us by TV and newspapers. We had no way of validating, refuting, or deconstructing the lies, not really. The lies in themselves weren’t that important, though; sharing them was the important thing. Nobody who shared in the lies had any reason to doubt that there was an objective reality of truth in the world.

    Along came the internet and social media, resulting in more and more people realising that TV and newspapers had been filling out heads with illusions and junk. A million cats got out of bags, a million genies out of bottles, and those with a vested interest in hiding the truth of the world suddenly found themselves in a pickle; anybody who wanted to find out what they were up to could now do so with a few clicks on a computer.

    The trend towards post-truth is an attempt to re-establish order so that those with much to hide can get on with their grizzly (if profitable) ventures unencumbered by the truth of things. They might have cleaned upon their acts, or attempted to re-impose some new paradigm of lies, but no; the preference was to attack human understanding itself so that the very idea of shared truths and shared knowledge — the shared belief in objective reality — was to be destroyed instead.

    The questions we face going into 2020 and beyond must include the following:

    How do we respond to the post-truth onslaught?
    How do we defend and bolster the idea that there is an objective reality and that it matters?
    What sort of world are we heading for if we fail and the very idea of truth, shared or otherwise, in politics and everything else, is destroyed?

    • SA

      “Not so long ago, before the internet, most of us subscribed to shared lies, served up to us by TV and newspapers. We had no way of validating, refuting, or deconstructing the lies, not really. “
      Blissful ignorance and you were probably happier than you are now?
      But seriously if you grew up in real colonies you would have realised all the imperialist propaganda for what it is. This applied to all including the ruling classes who also knew how to exploit the vanity of the colonisers.

      • Hatuey

        I’d say it was less unsettling back then. We were swimming in a sea of lies, but most people believed them and even if they didn’t they believed in the idea that there was an objective reality. That’s all gone.

        In the colonies they didn’t bother much with propaganda. It doesn’t come up much. The response to the Indian independence movement, for example, was penal colonies and violent repression (terrorism).

        It’s hard to convince colonised people that the empire is good for them when the average life expectancy of men in India was 21 years (in 1905). Actually some say it was less.

        Propaganda is typically for the home market. It’s the same in the US. Trying to convince Iraqis or Palestinians, for example, that the US means (or ever meant) well by them would be a farcical waste of money and time — that’s acknowledged by the fact that nobody has ever seriously tried.

        • SA

          “ Propaganda is typically for the home market.”
          Please! You think the US spent a lot of time and effort to broadcast incessantly beyond the Irin curtain with radio free Europe if that was the case? Would the British Government not spend a lot of money on the BBC world service and in many different languages?
          Have you ever been to the real colonies?

          • Hatuey

            The US spent virtually nothing on propaganda aimed at soviet citizens. Voice of America etc. cost pennies compared to what was spent on the US home market during the Cold War. To suggest otherwise is just off the hinges insane.

            But that isn’t what we were talking about. We were talking about the role played by propaganda in colonies compared to its role in mother countries. The Soviet Union wasn’t a US colony and, so, your example in this case means nothing.

            The same is true of the BBC world service. It isn’t broadcasting to British colonies. When you get into the nuts and bolts of it, it’s really broadcasting to domestic (or friendly) audiences who happen to be abroad.

            Maybe you can come up with examples of British propaganda aimed at colonised people living in British colonies. I’ll refrain from suggesting that Scotland could be used as an example since the debate here (In Scotland) about independence to a large extent hinges on whether or not Scotland is or is not a colony.

            If, again, you look at India, you will struggle to find many documented examples of propaganda aimed at ordinary Indians by the British, even when ordinary people in India were increasingly interested and supportive of Indian independence. Interestingly, there are somewhat structural reasons for that — most Indians couldn’t read or write.

            I’d defy you to find one example of a British propaganda poster aimed at convincing Indians that being a colony was in their interests, though. You’ll find plenty supporting Indian independence. By the same token, you’d struggle to find examples of nazi propaganda posters aimed at placating or reassuring Jews. Propaganda doesn’t work like that.

          • SA

            What you say is all second hand and you have not answered my last question “ Have you lived in a colony” of course other than Scotland?
            I have and in my formative years and propaganda was not just the overseas service of the BBC but also in every structure left behind. The intelligentsia where and still are commonly indoctrinated to carry on the good work of the empire. Even history was taught with the imperialist point of view. Propaganda extends to selling a whole way of life and indoctrinating the enemy as well as your own population.

          • Hatuey

            Your question is inconsequential. And if you’re so keen on telling us about your worldly travels, please don’t feel it’s necessary to crowbar it into conversations like this.

            I think I’ve established that propaganda is primarily aimed at the home audience, and very rarely at those you colonise and/or brutalise.

            There are cases where it’s intended for a wider international audience but that’s more of a PR challenge and international audiences are much more able to see through lies and propaganda.

          • Giyane

            Hatuey and SA

            One thing is clear to me, the colonised South Asians want to colonise us in return.
            My wife boss is a Sikh and he made the staff work on Christmas Day which last time I looked was a national holiday.
            I interpret that as meaning that he has no respect for the nation in which he is living.

            I also worked all summer with a Sikh who continually played little power games with alternate friendliness and abuse . I think his back biting has lost me that job which is a large chunk of my income.

            My Kurcish friend continues jointly with other extreme right wing Muslim elements to spy on me at home. I was brought up not in a military school but a highly political one and became accustomed to a high volume of political abuse from both teachers and fellow students. I count myself fortunate that I have outlived my persecutors.

            Because I perceive no difference between the proto-neo-liberals of then and the Caliban of their sister Islamism, I strongly suspect that Cummings has brought about a collusion between then in this election.
            Both groups , if they thought they could damage the interests of ordinary , decent , thinking Brits, would have no hesitation from doing so.

            Brexit has become a tool for very hard right wing thinking to grab power. An unholy alliance between British Tories who hate the lower classes, Asian blowback racism against the British, and yob xenophobia against Immigrants.

            Unfortunately in the stupid democratic system of this country, an alliance of hate can win. It did in Germany. All that is needed is for unelected and very unelectable fascists like dominic Cummings to coordinate the hate groups, with the zionist BBC cheering on , for Boris Johnson’s levelling down to begin.

          • Hatuey

            What SA fails to understand is that propaganda is an alternative to brute force. Once you resort to brute force, there’s really not much point in propaganda. Governments prefer to manage their populations with propaganda because it’s harder to justify using brute force on your own people; especially in so-called democracies.

            But, Giyane, there’s really no evidence that China or any Asian country wants to colonise us. I think they simply want to return to the pre-colonial equilibrium when India and China were the most dynamic and productive regions in the world. In the shorter term, I’m sure they want to modernise and feed people.

            China is quite unique, historically speaking; no country with such power (and we should be careful not to exaggerate that power) has ever been so “soft” and passive.

          • SA

            I fail to unnerstan nothin.
            Colonialism was not just brute force all the time, it also tries to win hearts and minds in between. Also in the post colonial era colonialism wanted to continue by indoctrination and by substitution with indigenous rulers who were versed in the way of colonialism. You view colonialism with a cosy stay at home prism not having lived it nor having travelled to it as you imply I did! Forgive me if I misspoke and you actually were a roommate of Che.

        • pete

          Re the Voice of America cost “virtually nothing”

          Wiki says:
          “VOA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and overseen by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, an independent agency of the U.S. government.[5] Funds are appropriated annually by Congress under the budget for embassies and consulates. In 2016, VOA broadcast an estimated 1,800 hours of radio and TV programming each week to approximately 236.6 million people worldwide with about 1,050 employees and a taxpayer-funded annual budget of US$218.5 million.”

          $218.5 million may be virtually nothing to you but this is considerably more than I get per month.

          • Hatuey

            Okay, compare it to the spend on propaganda in the news, etc., Hollywood, arguably the whole education system in the US, with all those networks and newspapers owned by arms manufacturers, the money spent on lobbying, etc.

            You’ve just revealed yourself to be a small minded idiot.

            The gun lobby alone in the US probably spends 200 million on propaganda.

            We haven’t even scraped the surface. How much do you think oil companies alone in the US spend on PR/propaganda? It probably runs into the billions annually.

            Craig should be filtering idiots out of the comments section. I can get this level of debate on the telegraph forums.

          • Magic Robot

            December 28, 2019 at 16:17
            “small minded idiot.”
            “..gun lobby alone in the US ‘probably’ spends..”
            ” oil companies alone in the US spend on PR/propaganda? It ‘probably’..”

            Ad-hominem, and too many ‘probably’s’.

            “should be filtering idiots out of the comments section.”

            I fully agree. Anything else we can help you with?

          • james

            c’mon hatuey… do you think all the money poured into hollywood is only for the home audience?? that is one of usa’s main exports! propaganda by any other name..

            craig murray – thanks for sharing.. i fully agree with your view here – “The tolerance of dissent has radically decreased.”

  • N_

    Election now won for the far right, their smears against their opponents are growing ever more dishonest and crazy: the Sun reports that while “Brits” are celebrating the Tory victory, the “far left” are daring to subject Tories to “racial abuse” all over the place. Oh silly me. I thought I was anti-Tory, whereas now I realise I am only opposed to Tories because of my wicked prejudice against their skin colours. But wait – what about the Tories with whom I share a skin colour? Am I supposed to love those Tories too or is it OK to despise them? Does it even matter, given that we who despise Tories can’t be “Brits” in the first place, from the point of view of the noble journalists at the highly illuminative “Sun”?

    • SA

      I particularly like this allegation:
      “ He said at one point police told him that a Labour supporter had been arrested for making a death threat via the party that Labour officials did not inform him about.”
      I would like to see this investigated and proven to be a lie. These allegations have been made often without any evidence, it is time for people who make these allegations to prove them. Does he have a police case reference?

      • George McI

        The bit that caught my eye was this:

        “Watson said: “Does the Labour party in its current form actually want power? The ultimate betrayal of working-class people is not to take power when you can, and if you are a party that believes in power through elections, then that requires pragmatism, prioritisation, compromise and collaboration.””

        Not to take power when you can is the ultimate betrayal! The “can” bit refers to “pragmatism, prioritisation, compromise and collaboration” …with who precisely? With the Blairites! Now what would that require from Corbyn? It would effectively mean his political annihilation. Even his attempts at accommodation would not endear him to the Blairites. No, he would have to go!

        Pragmatic compromise and collaboration …with Blair who, as she admitted herself, is Thatcher’s greatest achievement! Thus pragmatic compromise and collaboration …with Thatcher! There Is No Alternative!

        • Xavi

          Tom’s constant advocacy of a 2nd referendum was no betrayal of his working-class constituents in West Bromwich.
          No. For Tom, that was the most pragmatic means of taking power when 79% of the marginals Labour needed to win had voted Leave.

          No wonder the Guardian continues to represent Tom as a voice of reason.

    • Antonym

      Blair Labour was as totalitairian as May Tories, while Corbyn Labour is just clueless, even about its “own” blue collar voters problems.

      • Bramble

        Mr Corbyn’s Labour was far from clueless. Its manifesto would have set us back on track to complete the journey started in 1945 by Attlee’s Labour. The working class voted against it. Forty years of “TINA” rule by the “free” market, backed up by a totally sold-out media, accomplished that. Brexiters like to pretend they had no hand in this catastrophe, and to blame Mr Corbyn instead. Just another lie. Their hatred of immigrants was greater than their love of social justice (if they had any). Meanwhile nobody has to the guts to admit that a foreign power was also blatantly complicit: but its name must never be spoken.

        • Ken Kenn

          The irony of what you say for the likes of the BBC is that over the coming year(s) they will be describing the effects of this oaf’s policies and many a hand wringing Stacy Dooley type special will be broadcast to a temporarily disgusted nation.

          It will all be forgotten by Tuesday though as the many TV Charity ‘ events’ will attempt to make up for what the State should provide by law.

          In about a year and a bit’s time Johnson and his other circus clowns will feel the effects of negotiating with the world’s most experienced trade negotiators.

          He is after a clean break from the EU (non aligned) to please the US.

          Yet- this idiot thinks he can arrive at a halfway house ( the old chestnut that the EU need us more than we need them) and please both sides.

          The Brexiters won and it is now theirs to own and any mistakes errors -balls ups will be completely owned by them.

          There will be no one to hide behind – not the bogeyman Corbyn or the Remoaners.

          It’s all yours Johnson and he had better hope that Cummings doesn’t resign during this period.

          None of these ideas are Johnson’s – he doesn’t do ideas.

          He just does being PM as one of his things to tick off before he dies.

          My view is that these negotiations will soon go to cock.

          The UK has no senior trade deal negotiators so he may as well send Priti Patel or Matt Hancock so that at least the participants get a laugh out of it all.

          He can turn up himself to add to the laughter.

          Nice to see the BBC keeping up the good work over the Xmas period re-establishing the Establishment.

          Wall to wall Monarchy and patriotic tales of heroism and derring do.

          Notably I never saw a child unwrapping a present or any reports on the homeless and the helpless.

          Or the bombing of the same in foreign fields.

          Only Morrison in Australia not understanding what a child of seven would know:

          That when things dry out ( global warming ) a lot of things can catch on fire.

          I hope he’s got a grand kid who can become his adviser.

          The sad thing is that him Johnson and Trump are in charge of a great proportion of the world.

          Laura’s stopped Tweeting until New Year.

          Just sayin’

        • Royd

          Catching up with a friend over the festivities, we had a chat about our respective politics. She would not tell me for which Party she had voted. I assumed, given her views, that it was Tory. She just would not admit it. I asked her what was the basis upon which she had voted and she replied that it was to do with who she thought would best govern the UK post-Brexit. Then, and to keep Jeremy Corbyn from assuming power. She dislikes him intensely. I could not understand the intensity of her dislike. I asked her if she had voted for a ‘personality’ and she admitted that it was exactly that. I asked if she had considered respective manifestos and she stated that she preferred the Tory party’s over those of Labour’s. She is self-employed, takes all the risks – has no holiday pay, sickness pay or other ‘entitlements’. She sees the homeless, the foodbanks, student debt. Her children cannot buy a home. One is a military veteran who has been invalided out of service as a consequence of PTSD and was on a 12 months waiting list for help. When I pointed out that the Tory’s weren’t exactly managing the pre-Brexit economy all that well, she merely stated ‘well, there was no way I was going to help put Jeremy Corbyn in power’. I profess to be completely baffled. We are long-time friends but I had to move the conversation on to other things or I think the friendship would have been in jeopardy.

      • Jack


        Bingo, it was the same with Hillary lost against Trump, she couldnt understand why.

        Interesting article by Slavoj Zisek below on the failure of modern leftist parties – including Labour I am sorry to say:

        Slavoj Zizek: Liberals’ ‘humanitarian’ open arms is not a solution to migrant crisis; radical economic changes are needed

        It was partially this reason of mass immigration that turned people to Brexit and off Labour.

        • Mighty Drunken

          I agree that mass immigration is a big part of the Brexit story. What I don’t agree is that the mass immigration has done harm to the UK. Migration since 1990 has increased the UK population by about 5 million. Not a small amount but not nation changing either. The lack of housing, pay rises, infrastructure is due to numerous governments failing to put in the money or effort.
          The EU has been a scapegoat for decades by the right wing tabloids. They created Brexit conditions.

      • Giyane


        Your use of the classification ” blue collar ” tells us you are a managerial type. I’ve absolutely no idea what that means. I work and then I get paid. If I don’t work I don’t get paid, just for breathing.

        Managerial types will never have a good word to say about Labour, so you haven’t explained your insult that Labour is clueless. Possibly their clues about the lives of working people might involve rights that you are paid to remove.

        I do think that the Blairites like to intellectualise politics but you are not talking about Blairites. In your view Blairites are correctly motivated by personal greed to vote for zionist wars and removing help from the poor and disabled in order to profit by revolving door sinecures of Thatcherised care provision.

        • Antonym

          Sorry, but my father was 100% blue collar and my mother was raising her kids full time, a Christian family. My wife is also blue collar but I am the odd one out to have studied and emigrated. Not a manager but DIY my free time.

          How about you?

    • Mary

      He voted for that other piece of s***, Owen Smith, for the leadership. Of course he did.

      What will he do next?

      Multiple large donations from the likes of Sir Trevor Chinn and Sir David Garrard and other pro Israel individuals and organisations such as Trades Union Friends of Israel.

      PS I have never noticed his cleft chin before. Guardian photo.

  • Ananna

    “I am excluded from the places I would most like to discuss my ideas…”

    If you’ve got an entertaining talk Craig you could take it round the country in theatres and event places like that – and charge for it. Can’t remember the exact nature of the event but saw Martin Bell give a talk in a theatre once and the place was packed.

    • Hatuey

      Was he wearing his white suit?

      Craig is going to be busy for the next few years, too busy to be doing talks.

      The SNP are preparing to disappoint the independence movement yet again — see Pete Wishart’s latest comments — and, as I have said before, that is going to lead to a collapse in SNP support and a gap in the market for a real Independence Party.

      Craig’s future is in politics. I pray that he, Wings, and others with integrity and determination, form a new party that injects some life into the debate and drives the country forward. And I believe that’s inevitable. There’s a good chance Salmond will walk free from court too and he could play a part.

      2020 is the year that the independence movement wakes up and we stop playing games with bullshit artists in the SNP.

      • Republicofscotland

        “see Pete Wishart’s latest comments ”

        I have read them in todays National newspaper, he asks for gentle persuasion, and not to frighten the horses so to speak.

        I don’t see much wrong with that, we’ll only get one more chance, for a while anyway so we must make sure we’re higher in the polls than no.

        I’ve commented on civil disobedience and UDI etc, but you need the bodies (a majority) to keep it up. We saw in London that the police managed to breakdown and arrest ER, I fear the same would happen up here with aid of the unionist army.

        We couldn’t even gain from police unionist, army, brutality via the media, the unionist owned media wouldn’t air it, nor would the unionist media or radio stations reveal it.

        In some quarters Scottish apathy is the norm, take for instance that the unionists drive nuclear weapons trucks through Scottish cities at night on a regular basis, and the only person willing to risk life and limb to halt this madness for years, is a pensioner in his 70’s Brian Quail, who lies down in front of the lorries carrying nuclear weapons destined for Faslane.

        • Hatuey

          Actually, ros, Quail isn’t the only one that protests against that stuff.

          And I have no idea who told you we only get one chance. Sounds like SNP spin.

          • Republicofscotland

            “And I have no idea who told you we only get one chance. Sounds like SNP spin.”

            One chance for a while I said, not one chance forever.

            Remember the British nationalists created this great opportunity via Brexit, austerity and their lies, I just don’t want us squandering this chance without having the numbers on our side which we need.

            I except though there’s a need for ugrency.

    • Republicofscotland


      Chomsky is booked two years in advance for speaking events, such is his popularity. I think he’s around 91 years of age now.

  • David

    Craig, upon reading your headliners for the July 2020 Doune festival(*), why was I not surprised that you, with your now-evident long rebel history, are associated with such a subversive act as appears on the Saturday.

    Browsing one of today’s newspapers of note, looking increasingly for anything resembling accurate news, I realised that they had an Edward de Bernays BBC censorship ‘nudge’-list, in its entirety – and a similar list from the USA. “Banned music” as being anti-war, anti-jingoistic, or simply too jolly.

    Banned: #22 “Forget me Not”, #34 “Dancing in the Streets”, #105 “Nowhere to Run” all by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas – hope that they are played with vigour in Scotland next year!

    In fact the rest of the banned lists make a pretty good playlist for the NY fest.
    More at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7647011/
    (How Phil Collins, Beatles, ABBA, [were] removed [from] radio [during or before] wars….)

    (*) https://www.dounetherabbithole.co.uk/day-by-day

  • Chris Barclay

    The question to ask is what information did the American government have on Blair (and perhaps also Straw) to force Blair, a man so cautious that he had failed to use his 1997 landslide for any purpose, to stake his political reputation on a war whose rationale he knew was based on lies.

    In the recent general election the English and Welsh electorate was not offered ‘moderate social democratic thought’. It was asked to choose between two groups of lying charlatans. The question is whether ‘moderate social democracy’ is possible within the EU, unless your government is prepared to crawl on its knees before the German Chancellor.

    • Tony

      They did not necessarily have anything.

      Nevertheless, blackmail is used. In 1960, JFK chose Senator Stuart Symington as his running mate. However, before the announcement could be made, he got a visit from LBJ armed with a blackmail dossier supplied by J.Edgar Hoover.
      In his book, Counsel to the President, Clark Clifford recalls how JFK called him up to tell him that he had decided to make LBJ his running mate because he now felt he had a better chance of winning with him. He was then asked to pass on the message to Symington.

      By becoming vice president, LBJ would succeed to the highest office if anything should happen to Kennedy

      • pretzelattack

        well yes, that’s what happens with any vice president. they become president if anything happens to the president. lbj was felt to be a benefit in the democratic but anti catholic south, which is why he was chosen.

      • Republicofscotland

        Oh I don’t know domestically LBJ brought in his Great Society act, and his War on Poverty act then there’s his Voting act that banned Southern states from disinfanchising African Anericans from voting.

        • Republicofscotland

          I should add that POTUS JFK, brought us closer to nuclear war than any other US president with the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

          • pretzelattack

            absolutely correct. immense risk, and for what? as far as i can see, domestic political gain, building on the missle gap nonsense that helped him win the 1960 campaign.

        • pretzelattack

          those weren’t acts, they were bundles of policies, but agree lbj was good on domestic policy. but then there was the horrible foreign policy. at the time the right wing kennedy chose him, it was a standard electoral vote calculation–the civil rights act hadn’t been passed yet, and lbj was the strongest member of the senate.

        • Tony

          LBJ consistently opposed civil rights. His U-turn is explained by the need to broaden his support in order to secure the nomination in 1964.
          He continued to use racist language well into the 1960s.

      • Dungroanin

        Catholic JFK was paired with southern wasp democrats by the Kennedy machine – the old man bootlegger nazi Joe. The gangsters of Chicago did the rest. JFK and Kruschev had direct communication lines to bypass the insane caesar generals planning to actually instigate a nuclear war. The Old man was mighty pissed at his actual war experienced son’s failure to bring about the armeggedon. A very greek tragedy ensued.
        The very public pantomime of the Cuban crisis allowed the world to appreciate MAD and instigate the treaties that were eventually signed. JFK & Kruschev actually saved the world from the dumb generals and their empire backers.
        There were numerous instances of getting to defcon5 and bombers in the air which were never made public at the time.
        History written by the killers is never truthful.

    • Giyane

      Chris Barclay

      No doubt by complying he got whatever it was , shredded.
      Meanwhile in my new year resolution not to listen to BBC commentary after the election bias , I’ve been tuning in to Radio Cymru all in Welsh . Very beautiful Welsh folk music, except when the lady presenters go for tea.

      • pretzelattack

        i’m sure kennedy had no problem whatever complying with right wing smears, he was a great friend and supporter of joe mccarthy, after all. but there’s little reason to believe clark clifford, any more than the apologists for the obama or clinton administrations.

  • remember kronstadt

    Thank you for the memoir Craig. It brought back the weight of the .303 with it’s slightly tacky well oiled woodwork. The stripping order of the bren, piston, barrel, butt, body, bipod and the lords prayer all etched. And the wait for If.

  • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

    “‘And today we have the naming of the parts’ (Harry Read’s war- poem)would translate well into Latin but my Latin and rifle are far too rusty.Perhaps President and poet Bernard Higgins who reportedly competed in quoting a Greek poem with BJ might be prevailed upon.
    Your account of buckwheat shortages/falling out of favour in Russia might clear up a odd bit of the Skirpal story about buckwheat groats for kasha being brought over from Russia , but their then being changed in the story to oatmeal for porridge.

    • Tatyana

      Kerch’ee Kerch’ee Coup
      there’s no shortage of buckwheat as a whole grain for каша, we just rarely grind it into flour for baking, that’s what is a rarity.
      Well, long ago we have already discussed Skripal’s gift from Russia. Our journalist came to Salisbury and took a photo – you have Russian food shops there, buckwheat is on the shelves, it makes no sense to bring it from Russia.

      btw, I learned Latin too, but today I’m afraid all that I can recall is the phrase “Taurus habet cornua” and exorcism formula. Weird vocabulary, huh?

      • Giyane


        Tories have horns ??!!

        If I knew it was that easy to get rid of them I would have taken my incense and popped them all into oblivion before the election.

    • Republicofscotland


      Westminster allegedly campaigned hard to have restrictions on arms sales in conflict zones, that could be used in serious violations of international human rights or humanitarian law.

      However UK arms sales to the coalition currently destroying Yemen and killing thousands of its citizens in the process is supplied by the UK to the tune of £6.4 billion. In addition, the UK also granted 385 open licences to coalition members between January 2015 and December 2019 which allow the holders to export an unlimited quantity of goods.

      The coalition members comprise Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Senegal and Sudan.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    ” I was trying to stop it through the correct Whitehall machanisms,…”

    N.B. ” machanisms” [ Now corrected; thanks. ]

    So were you doing it through the mechanisms; or were you reliant on the machinations?
    Being pedantic of course – and not in the least too clever by ‘alf.

    The two(2) observations I make about militarism:-

    UK – conformity to the dictates of authority become deeply ingrained in the collective psyche over time – with many deeming it treasonous to hold strongly opposing views outside the mainstream orthodoxy of public opinion.

    US – the elites have now successfully convinced a majority of Americans that militarism = patriotism.

  • Greg Park

    Blair and Straw have so much to answer for but unfortunately never will. Nor Rifkind or Soames, who both brayed loud approval for all the worst excesses of Blair and Straw. All four of them will be at liberty to lend support for whichever pointless war Washington next tells us to participate in.

  • Douglas

    ‘It was not easy to dissent then. It is still harder now’
    I think it is a sign of British weakness and loss of self confidence

    A strong stable (!) regime tolerates, indeed sometimes welcomes dissenters. They are the antidote to ‘Groupthink’ (Janis 1979) and guard against false assumptions.

    Weak organisations feel that they cannot afford difference or dissent.

    They are doomed to make errors because of their narrow view

    • remember kronstadt

      I think you are right. A society that produces things, tangible and otherwise real have a confidence. The UK is increasingly a corporate services/finance economy and ‘cheap’ import lover where previously productive towns have become hopeless zombie zones. The trenches have been filled in, entertainment and individuation rules.

  • N_

    According to Britain First, 5000 of its members, two-thirds of the total, have now joined the Tories. So has Tommy Robinson, former leader of the English Defence League. Meanwhile Tory leader Boris Johnson, who before the general election promised an inquiry into Islamophobia within his party, has now dropped the plan.

    I haven’t seen a single newspaper say they have contacted the Tory party about this story, whether they extracted only a content-free “We receive many membership applications and consider them all on the same basis”, a simple confirmation such as “We can confirm that Mr Robinson is now a member”, or a “Yes” or “No” to whether the views held by members of Britain First and the English Defence League are compatible with membership of the Tory party. It would seem that MI5 have the “updating” of the British political spectrum, and the reporting of it, well under control.

    • remember kronstadt

      It’s existential musical chairs frenzy time with people left and right signing up to join anything they can spoil or pin hopes. Low cost entertainment.

      • John Pretty

        Found on Google:

        “Tomorrow has no reality, since every day is experienced as today.”

        (I prefer optimism in the face of adversity.)

    • Michael

      The Tories and MI5 might be thinking this far-right group could supply foot soldiers to augment decreasing police and army reservists in the expected civil disorder, brought about by their own cruel policies and authoritarian behaviour (death for 130,000 and being sanctioned into destitution for over two million more). Police and other reserve forces were at least held to some form of law but you can bet their Nazi boot boys won’t be. Today private security wear white shirts so maybe that’s who this paramilitary force will become, the whiteshirts.

      • Michael

        I think the attraction for the state will be many of those who would otherwise join in the riots may join a group of enforcers who have immunity for thuggery against “Muslim sympathisers, commies and other malcontents.” Things are heading that way.

  • Jones

    ”45 years of rebellion”. We are told we have the right to protest, you’ll be allowed to protest as much as you like providing the protest is ineffective, when the protest becomes effective it will be stamped down on hard.

  • N_

    Meanwhile, the gangster-connected horse-racing enthusiast and former Tory party leader Michael Howard (at least that’s the surname he’s using now) gets “government” confused with “parliament” (no, Mikey Boy, a prorogation is obviously not a “proceeding” of Parliament, you idiot), but he doesn’t half know that no stinking courts should tell the government what it can and can’t do. Anybody would think they had something up their sleeve.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    The thread is certainly better than the wild rants you have engaged in recently, prodding Nicola Sturgeon to legislate UDI, helping Boris Johnson achieve a massive majority by predicting unprecedented voting cooperation by his opponents, resorting to your usual Russophobia in attacking Stalin who did for once the wise move by getting the Krim Tarters out of the Crimea in the face of the Nazi onslaught, and acting as if UDI has` no hidden risks.

    Write more rambling self-promotion pieces.

    • John Pretty

      So how has your Christmas been Mr Ford? Did Santa not bring you what you wanted?

      “helping Boris Johnson achieve a massive majority”

      – Well, I know Craig is to some degree influential, but I hardly think that his predictions would result in handing Boris a massive majority in the UK parliament !

      I do sometimes disagree with Craig, but I do try to respect his views and those of others on here as far as possible.

      My own view of the recent election is that the main (not the only) reason Boris won was because Labour failed to guarantee Brexit, which although not desired by a majority in Scotland, is desired by a majority in England. (Rightly or wrongly). People who wanted Brexit did not trust Jeremy Corbyn to deliver it. That is the view of (Scotsman) George Galloway on RT and I agree with him.

      And I think that Craig is on the whole Russophilic. His generally positive stance towards Russia is one of my main reasons for coming here.


      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        My criticism of Craig had nothing to do with how I experienced Christmas. Though recovering from the side effects of my cancer treatment of my right lung, I had a nice but lonely holiday, turning down two invitations to visit the young families of two of my nieces, and my brother taking me out to Xmas Eve dinner at one of New Haven’s best restaurants. The families of my siblings have been most supportive during my ordeal.

        Craig, as f`ar as I can recall, has never said a nice word about Putin’s Russia.

        And he helped Johnson get elected by getting his supporters to do exactly what Murray was recommending his opponents do.

        • John Pretty

          Thank you, I posted my apology before reading your reply.

          I am pleased to hear you are recovering from your surgery. I was too quick to judge and I again apologise.

          We will have to disagree on the election of Boris Johnson though I am afraid !

        • Ken Kenn

          Do you not think that Farage had any input/effect into the English ( and I use the word carefully) election?

          Namely – that those ‘ working class ‘ Tory lender voters who couldn’t bring themselves to vote Tory took votes away from Labour could quite happily vote for the ‘ Clean Break ‘ Brexit Party with a non guilty conscience.

          Scotland was always going to get rid of some Tories – I had hoped for a wipeout but am grateful for small mercies.


          The Russians it appears failed spectacularly to get Corbyn into number 10 despite their alleged efforts.

          But America’s man scored spectacularly and his new sidekick will try to out do Farage on the most currying of favour with US Presidents act which has continued probably since Suez.

          These are dangerous times to come.

          The fact that the BBC hasn’t spotted it yet doesn’t make it not so.

          Unsurprisingly the Scots don’t like where this is all going.

          Neither do I.

          Let me put it starkly:

          It will not be long before the English Nationalist Tories and those to the right of them will want to send the Scots ‘back home. ‘

          Ironically it was a Scot (Brown ) who coined the phrase ” British Jobs for British People ”

          He got 29% of the vote with that catchphrase.

          But times have changed.

          And my – how times are going to change and the Centrists of the Guardian and elsewhere will have no answer to these changes.

          In fact the real Centre lost 7 MPs and a leader.

          So that’s the Centre out of the game and the Russians.

          Which leaves only the right and the left.

          We can only watch on and see how it all pans out.

          I may live in France but if it cuts up rough with the EU all the residence rights could be torn up.

          There are many here who think they are fireproof.

          That may not be the case in the future.

          The stakes are high this year.

          June the 30th is the next deadline for MPs.

          We shall see how they react to a Clean Break Brexit.

          Once the proper firms start moving production to the EU of course.

          And now the weather…………………..

          • John Pretty

            “You are mired too low, believing UK government lies, injustices and cover ups.”

            I’m not sure how you get to the above assertion Mr Ford. I was defending Craig Murray, who is no friend of the UK government.

            And just in case it is not clear, I do not vote Tory and I do not like Boris Johnson or his government.

            Nor do I like the intrusion of the security services into our media.

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            Craig Murray is mired too in government lies, injustices,and cover ups, and so are most opponents of the Tories.

            And I didn’t have surgery, as most cancers now are treated with cimo-thearapy and radiation.

    • Brianfujisan


      All Stats indicate that that the Biggest Risk of NOT doing UDI are Far worse for Scotland.. We have had enough.

      Hope you can still make it across the Atlantic for your Project.

      Stay well.

  • pasha

    A very resonant piece, which chimes with my own school experience. Mine was a grammar school, though it thought very highly of itself. We had a CCF (combined cadet force) that taught us to march around in uniforms every Wednesday afternoon, shoot rifles, man boats, fly airplanes, and other essential skills. We had visits from mustachioed representatives of the press (the Telegraph and the Times) and solemnly told how important a free press was, while being assured that we could aspire to the highest corridors of power–as assistants to the public school toffs who actually ran things, you know, the Empire, the Civil Service, and so on. We were only grammar school types after all and were supposed to know our place. If you called yourself a Liberal you became the focus of staff jokes and hatred. Nobody ever described themselves as a socialist (except me, but I was a rebel, suspended for smoking while in school uniform, hit with a hockey stick for answering back, and so forth.) Ah, happy days.

  • Dungroanin

    I appreciate that CM turned down the various gongs with the word Empire in their titles.


    The lists if these getting their top of the range ‘Call Me God’ and God Calls Me God’ gongs are predictably Aristos from martial families.

    There are a few from the FO which are absolutely hilarious. It is a sick list when you read some who are there being rewarded for British ‘Interests’ – whatever that may be.

    • Dungroanin

      By the way I learned to strip and reassemble 303’s blindfolded against a clock, as a skinny small Air Cadet! Hell of a collar breaking kick when actually firing it. Had to use my beret as cushioning to stop damaging myself and they were LOUD. No health and safety ear guards in these days. You should have seen my skills at rifle dancing and twirling – won some prizes!

  • Bill Reeves

    Why cannot the powers that be understand that supporting the rights of Palestinian people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness does not stop you also supporting the rights of Jewish people to the same thing. Being Jewish is not the same as being in favour of all that the State of Israel does nor supporting Palestine mean that you support all that Arab militants do.
    Thank you.
    I hope your daughter is enjoying her new school.

  • SA

    “Johnson is reportedly staying with the Von Bismarck family – descended from the first German chancellor, Otto von Bismarck – in a £20,000-per-week villa which The Times said they had accepted as a gift.“

    Am I alone in thinking that this iOS a form of bribery and corruption. Who gives their friend a 20000 pound gift with no strings?

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      One expecting a quid pro quo not yet specified.Tony Blair and family were similarly and more munificently feted in Tuscany and elsewhere, as was George Osborne ion Ionian yachts,costing us poor sods many quid for their quos.

      • SA

        In public service you are supposed to declare all presents below a certain value and decline presents that are above that value. The least reform we should require is that those in receipt of such high value presents should pay tax on them. But probably what happens now is that Von Bis gets this ‘loss’ against tax liabilities. So basically the tax payer is paying for Boris to be beholden to Von Bis.

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