I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


‘Darkness at Noon’ by Arthur Koestler was published way back in 1940. I have never read it, but how can you not be grabbed by the title? In theory the book was a fiction. In practice it was a searing view of Uncle Joe Stalin’s brutal purges when millions were carted off to the gulags or simply dispatched by a bullet to the back of the head. When Koestler wrote the book, there were still many who bought into the propaganda from Moscow pretty well hook, line and sinker. Stalin had by and large kept the jaw dropping truth of his decade long genocide well and truly under wraps. This was the time when student idealists like Burgess, Philby, McLean and Blunt happily signed on the dotted line to betray their country in favour of the bright and shiny future promised by the men from Moscow.

Koestler was one of the first to pull the curtain aside and shine a light on a murder spree that even Hitler could never quite manage to match.

I got to thinking about it yesterday whilst walking the dogs and listening to a podcast of Peinaar’s Politics. There were interviews with William Hague and George Osborne. Both made a reasonable sounding and eloquently expressed case as to why hammering the poor is vital to the future of the Realm. Yeah, yeah. Politician speak. What was a whole lot more scary was an interview with an equally eloquent 19 year old Manchester University student from Chorley. She sounded a nice enough lass and yet her words were poisonous. She reported that the Tories were attracting more and more members at her university branch. Why? Because she and her friends were borrowing tens of thousand of pounds to get a degree which would open up a path to a well paid career and there was no way that they wanted their future taxes to fund the indolent lifestyles of the nation’s shirkers with their widescreen TV’s and drawn curtains. When asked what she considered the best bits of the Tory message to be, she replied without a nano-second of hesitation: immigration and welfare. She wanted a party that would be harder than hard on both. She spoke enthusiastically about her weekends knocking on doors in Chorley, hardly a Tory heartland. And she was delighted to report that many of the good folk of Chorley agreed whole heartedly with the poison she was peddling.

Hammer the immigrants.

Hammer the shirkers.

The only cloud on her horizon was the fact that many of the good folk of Chorley felt that UKIP would hammer them even harder.

The girl was clearly pretty smart and I guess the fact that she is willing to be fully engaged in street level democracy should be commended. Chorley is just a few miles from Blackburn where I spent my formative years. Believe me, you need to have a bit of bottle to knock doors in that neck of the woods wearing a blue rosette. As I listened to her, it hit me that Burgess, Philby, Mclean and Blunt were pretty smart as well. And yet they allowed themselves to be completely conned by the bare faced lies from Moscow.

David Cameron took to the stage yesterday with a consummately smug performance. He spat out the party line in the secure knowledge that his cronies in the redtop media would hail him as the man with the right plan. How utterly tragic that the likes of the Mail and the Sun and the Express now do the same job for the Tories as Pravda once did for Uncle Joe Stalin and Lavrenty Beria.

Buying into 24/7 propaganda doesn’t make people into bad people. The Russians were not bad people when they bought into Lenin’s Bolshevik dream. And the Germans were not bad people for buying Hitler’s honeyed, nationalist poison. And the Brits are not bad people for being duped by the brazen lies of Cameron and Osborne and the Daily Mail and the Sun.    

So many lies. Lies told with such convincing conviction. And they are the same old tired lies that people who are having a really tough time are always inclined to believe.

1928. A hard working Russian family from a town in the middle of nowhere where the tractor factory dominates everything. Mum and dad are working 50 hours a week and yet they can only afford cabbage soup. Sometimes. History has given us the reason for this. Russia was ruled by a paranoid psychopath whose incompetent cronies only cared for lining their pockets rather than putting food on the table. But that wasn’t what the media of the day said. Instead they towed the party line and blamed the Kulaks – small farmers. The papers were filled with stories about how the wicked Kulaks from the Ukraine were hoarding all the grain and eating steak every night and washing it down with litres of vodka. Soon enough just about everyone hated the Kulaks and nobody batted an eyelid when Uncle Joe killed them in their droves. To this day nobody really knows how many. Solzhenitsyn reckoned it was 6 million. But, hey. Like Uncle Joe so famously said, when one person dies it’s a tragedy. When a million die it’s a statistic.

1934. A hard working family from a town near Dortmund. Mum and Dad are working 50 hours a week in the locomotive factory but they can barely afford to put a dish of cabbage soup on the table. History again has clear reasons as to why this was the case. Germany was being run by a paranoid psychopath with a bunch of bloated gangsters who cared only for their bank accounts in Geneva. But that wasn’t what the German media said. They spent all day, explaining that hard working families couldn’t put cabbage soup on the table because the wicked, scheming, money grubbing Jews were salting away the nation’s wealth. And of course nobody seemed to notice when Hitler sent five million Jews up the chimney.

And so we arrive at today and our bubbly young student from Chorley so eagerly urging us all to vote Tory and enable Dave and George to beat the immigrants and the poor with a big shiny stick. For of course the reason why millions of hard working families can barely put food on the table has nothing to do with the fact that wealth of the nation is being drained off into the very same Swiss Bank accounts that Hitler’s henchmen used all those years ago. Oh no. Absolutely not. The fact that the richest 1000 people in Britain saw their collective wealth go up by £40 billion last year has nothing to do with the fact that millions are finding it hard to buy food. No chance. Just like the Nazis and the Bolsheviks were adamant that it wasn’t their fault back in the dark days of the last century.

Blame the Kulaks.

Blame the Jews.

Blame the shirkers.

Blame the immigrants.

It is the most evil of records and it is well and truly stuck in the same well worn groove. The politics of hate and blame and lies and lies.

In times when rulers and a compliant media join forces to tell lies on an industrial scale, the truth tends to emerge in dribs and drabs. Thankfully we still have plenty of free media here in Britain. The problem is that they are constantly shouted down by the strident voice of the tabloids.

Here are three stories from yesterday, two from the media and one from First Base.

Story One. The Daily Mirror. Westminster City Council is about to pass a resolution making it a crime to give free food to the poor. Honestly. No kidding. Here’s the link.


Because the good folk of Westminster in their multi million pound houses don’t want to see their pampered world polluted by homeless people sleeping in doorways. Feeding these dreadful people will only encourage them to stay where they are not wanted. By threatening to fine the misguided communist types (churches!) who are giving free soup to these awful poor types, the council is taking steps to get the streets cleared of this unwanted rubbish. Will the policy be popular with the good folk of Kensington? You bet it will. They’ll love it to bits. I mean when you shell out £5 million for a nice town house, the last thing you want is to have to see nasty poor people in doorways when you take a nice morning stroll down to the delicatessen.

Have a read of the article. And then pinch yourself. And look at the calendar. This Britain 2013.

Story 2. The BBC. A woman in Hull has done exactly what it says on the Tory tin. She has given up a dead end job, taken on board a tonne of student debt and taken three years to get a degree onto her CV. She has bettered herself. Improved herself. She has bought into the Tory idea that we should morph ourselves into a well educated, highly skilled workforce capable of slugging it out in a global economy dominated by those super smart Asians. Duly armed with her degree, she set out on the task of getting one of those well paid, skilled jobs that will make us just like Germany or Singapore.

She couldn’t find one.

Instead she signed on. And as a part of the Work Programme she was given help with preparing the kind of CV that was most likely to find her work. And her Job Centre Plus advisor told her to remove the degree from the CV. Because having a degree would put off prospective employers offering the only kind of job she was going to get. Like shelf stacking. Like cleaning. Like bar tending. Such employers don’t want smart people. Smart people harbour ambitions to move on and better themselves. Smart people raise awkward issues about health and safety and employment law. Smart people are a pain in the neck. Stalin used to send smart people to Siberia. Hitler used to send smart people to Buchenwald.

What do we do?

Nothing quite so drastic, thank Christ. The woman was given a choice. Remove your degree from your CV or we will take it that you are not serious about finding work. She dug her heels in and told them she was really proud of her degree and refused to delete it. Her Job Centre Plus worker sanctioned her for 13 weeks.


Pinch yourself. And look at the calendar. This Britain 2013.

Story 3.

Just another day in the First Base Agency

Just another guy coming through the door for a food parcel with his head down.

He’s about fifty with a face hard weathered by a lifetime in the salty air of the high seas. His life story? A Thatcher child who once upon a time had the choice of the British Army or a YTS scheme. He chose the Green Machine and got a front of house view of two great slaughters. First came our slaughter of Saddam’s conscripts in Desert Storm and then came Milosovic’s slaughter of the Kosovo muslims. A serious head injury saw him invalided out of the army and he spent the next 20 years on the fishing boats. His time on the trawlers saw him collect a growing number of injuries until his body could take the hard life no more.

So he gave up the boats and came back to town to seek work more appropriate for his battered body.

So he signs on and he fills in over fifty job applications in his first month of being on the dole. It is his first month on benefits in fifty something years on the planet.

He goes into the Job Centre to sign on. And they inform him that he has missed an appointment. They tell him that they have sent out a letter and he has chosen to ignore it. Nonsense he says. Of course I haven’t ignored it. I never received a letter. Obviously I check the post. Every morning I wait on the postman. Wouldn’t you if you had written out over 50 job applications in a month? Of course you would. Of course I did. But none of it makes a difference. They accuse him of lying and sanction him for a month and all of a sudden this proud, proud man is standing at our counter needing a food parcel to eat.

He served his country for eight years. He witnessed sights and events from the bottom levels of hell in our name. And by way of payment, some lackey in the Job Centre casually tells him he is a liar and takes away every penny of income for a month.

Do I believe him? Too damn right I do. Just like I believe the fact that if First Base was based in Westminster we would be facing fines for giving out food to people who have nothing to eat. Just like I believe that a woman from Hull was sanctioned for wanting to put her degree on her CV. 

But the bright eyed student from Chorley is a long way from being ready to believe these truths. Instead she is still completely brainwashed by all the anti immigrant and shirker rhetoric.

In the end, the era of Stalin and Hitler passed and history lifted the lid on the vile truth about what they did. And this nasty, vicious little era will pass as well, and eventually the truth will become widely known. And then maybe the bright student from Chorley will feel ashamed that she was hoodwinked into spreading poison with such enthusiasm.

But that day seems far away right now.

Right now we are still groping around in the ‘Darkness at Noon’

Take a look at the calendar

This is Britain 2013.


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