BBC – ‘as democratic as a Dalek’

Tuesday, July 21 2009


Craig Murray outside Norwich Thorpe Station

(Still from Craig Murray’s Official Election Communication video.)

I have a soft spot for Norwich. The watergate to the former Abbey grounds in the early 1950s is one of my earliest childhood holiday memories. Last time I visited the city I arrived in unpowered gaff-rigged broads yacht, and considerably impressed the attendant in the Yacht Station who collected our mooring fee the following morning. (We had deployed one of the members of the crew as a human donkey to tow the boat the last mile or so and under all the bridges, but why spoil a good impression with too much detail?)

Now this quiet English backwater has become the front line of fierce battle for the hearts and minds of its citizens. A by-election is being held on 23 July due to the resignation of Ian Gibson after he was banned from standing as a Labour candidate in the next general election.

On one side is ranged the might and power of the mainstream political parties who are treating the Norwich North by election as the first skirmish in their campaign prior to the general election which must take place before 3 June 2010. On the other side stand a handful of independent and minority party candidates, all hopeful that they will benefit from the disgust felt by many voters about the MP’s expenses scandal – a malaise which many voters feel has touched all the main parties.

A full list of candidates is available on Wikipedia here. While it is not the purpose of Tunnel Vision to concern itself with party politics, I do feel that the adventures of one particular candidate deserve mention.

Craig Murray has campaigned consistently both against the use of intelligence obtained under torture and against Britain’s participation in the wars in Iraq and Afganistan. In response, the UK political establishment has tried tried to freeze him out: he was sacked as a result of trumped up charges from his position as Britain’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan; the parliamentary human rights committee initially refused to hear his evidence about Britain’s complicity in torture; a variety of obstacles has been placed to hinder his election campaign, including a ban by the BBC on his taking part in several pre-election programmes.

It is time to declare an interest. I have personal family reasons to find torture in all its forms and under whatever legal justification deeply repugnant. I have been the victim of a dirty tricks campaign when editors of railway magazines were briefed against me by the Department of Transport who described me as a ‘political huckster’ for fighting to save a railway line which had been earmarked for road improvements. I witnessed the editor of the BBC’s erstwhile Polish Service blackmailing the editor of the London-published daily, Dziennik Polski, to stop him printing an article about alleged bias in the BBC’s coverage prior to Poland’s first free parliamentary elections. I am deeply ashamed of Britain’s foreign policy stance and recent role in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

For all the reasons above I find myself developing an admiration for Mr Murray. As often at the end of these articles I am providing some links to some interesting information for those who would like to know more.


(Not only does Norwich Thorpe station appear as the second location in Craig Murray’s election communication video feature, but our sister blog, Behind The Water Tower, has linked to his blog in the past after he suffered from appalling customer service during a railway journey from West London to York.)



Craig Murray and a Dalek


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