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, January 15, 2015


So here they are. The heroic leaders of the Western World. This is what courageous, steadfast leadership looks like. This is what the free world got to watch on the evening news last week.

Let’s just run through the back story to the picture. Three deluded maniacs took to the streets and murdered a bunch of journalists for publishing cartoons of the Prophet and a bunch of Jews for being Jews. The world’s media went into 24/7 overdrive as the trio of  high rise Jihadists led 88,000 cops and soldiers a merry dance for a day and a half.

Soon the value of human life was being filtered by the media. Just under twenty innocent civilians lost their lives on the streets of Paris and they became the biggest news story of 2015. No doubt twenty similarly innocent civilians were murdered with equal brutality by similarly maniacal killers on the streets of Pakistan or Syria or Iraq  or Nigeria on the very same day. But these entirely innocent civilians don’t count as far as the rolling news channels are concerned. The viewing public are bored to tears with the sight of the corpses of Iraqi housewives littering the dusty concrete in bombed out market places. They are no longer newsworthy.

But dead French civilians are a different thing altogether. Well of course they are. They are close to home. And reporting the thing is just so much better. You can get yourself onto the very front line of the story by jumping onto the Eurostar complete with good coffee and excellent WiFi all the way to the Gare de Nord. And once you reach the new terror Ground Zero, the camera can frame your concerned expression with the Eiffel Tower in the background. So come on. Eiffel Tower or some godforsaken, dusty market place in the back end of Northern Nigeria? It’s a no brainer.

When nutters bring their psychotic war to the streets of a European capital, the media laps it up like nothing else. And once the the front pages and airwaves are filled to bursting point with shuddering outrage and horror, there is suddenly an absolute obligation for political leaders to step up to the plate and show…


....... Leadership.

And so they did. Once it became clear that over a million Parisians were hell bent on taking to the streets to let the Jihadists know in no uncertain terms that they were not about to be cowed, the democratically elected leaders of the West stepped forward with properly determined expressions.

We will lead you! We will march in the very front rank of your million! To hell with the risk! This is a time for your leaders to stand shoulder to shoulder with you all.

And so when we switched on the BBC news on Sunday evening, we were treated to glorious images of Cameron and Merkel and Holland and all the rest leading a million stubbornly determined Parisians on a march through their defiant city.

Except they didn’t.

And here is a picture of what they actually did.

As you can see they were taken to a sealed off street and lined up in front of a crowd of a a couple of hundred pretend civilians. The images were duly photographed and filmed and then grafted onto the pictures of the real crowd which was marching through different streets.

Did the BBC tell us about the fact that the whole thing was one big fat photoshopped lie? Did they hell. Did any of the mainstream media pull the curtain aside to reveal the fact that we were all being fed a pile of bullshit? Nope. Not one.

How ironic when you think about it. The reason a million Parisians were so hell bent on taking to the streets was to send out a clear message. We want free speech. We like free speech. We want to live in a place where our media can tell the truth or take the piss without the fear of being locked up by the secret police or of being mown down in a hail of bullets care of a madman with an AK 47.

We want to live in countries where the truth is allowed to be told no matter how uncomfortable that truth may be. So what do our so called leaders do? They concoct a big fat lie and somehow persuade the whole of the mainstream media to play ball.

The message they wanted to give us was simple. We believe Free Speech is vitally important. In fact it is so important that we are willing to put ourselves at risk and march in the front rank of the crowd to rubber stamp the message. We are your leaders. We will always represent you. We will ignore our personal safety in order to defend the right for the truth to be told!

Fine sentiments indeed. But they didn’t do that. Instead they hid in a sealed of street and made themselves a part of the kind of brazen propaganda exercise that Josef Goebbels once upon a time turned into an art form. And our so called Free Press signed on the dotted line to peddle the lie all the way into our Sunday night living rooms.

It is tempting to sigh and shrug and be resigned to the fact that our leaders have always been like this. But that would be wrong. Because they haven’t always been like this.

I am no kind of fan of the Royal Family, but it is worth remembering what they did when the bombs of the Luftwaffe were raining down on London in the summer of 1940. The security guys begged them to leave town and hole up in the country somewhere. Buck Palace was right up at the very top of Goering’s target list. Did they listen? No they didn’t. They made a point of staying home. They made a point of touring the wrecked streets of East London where there were unexploded incendiary bombs on every corner.

They showed leadership.

Four years later, Churchill caused a Constitutional Crisis when he was adamant that he would be the first Brit out of a landing craft when the D Day forces landed on the Normandy beaches. His stance was simple. I’m the Prime Minister. I an the man in charge. I give the orders round here and you lot can go and get stuffed.

Everyone knew that once Winston made up his mind there was no way of changing it. Everyone tried to persuade him out of it. Roosevelt tried. Ike tried. None of them budged him so much as an inch. In the end a smart constitutional lawyer found a few lines of small print which saved the day. It turned out that it was still legal for the monarch to give the Prime Minister a direct order in certain circumstances. Jumping out of a landing craft at sixty something years old was deemed to be one of those certain circumstances and so King George was able to summon Winston to the Palace and tell him he would have to stay home and watch things unfold from the War Room in Number 10.

A few years later the terrorists of the OAS were hell bent of assassinating President De Gaulle. They tried 31 times. The French security guys begged and implored their boss to avoid public appearances and stay safe. He told them to get stuffed. On one occasion when the sound of a sniper’s bullets snapped the air during a rally, every single person in the square hit the deck and prayed to their maker.

All but one.

One never moved a muscle and stood to attention like a statue.

De Gaulle.

Think Martin Luther King leading the march from Selma to Montgomery. Think Ghandi leading his salt march to the sea. Think Lech Walesa sitting in the front row of the Gdansk strikers. Think Mandela speaking from the dock before being sent to Robben Island. Think Jack Kennedy insisting on an open top car.

These were all genuine leaders who were willing to put their lives on the line for what they believed in. They didn’t pretend. They didn’t photoshop. They did what they said they would do.

If our leaders of today were too afraid to walk at the head of the march they should have said so.

And the media should have told them to go jump in the lake when they were asked to join in with the big lie.

Propaganda is at its most poisonous when the politicians and the media collude to sell a big lie.

If the media are really genuinely keen to carry a story about someone showing genuine courage and leadership in the face of Jihadist butchery, they should maybe try this on for size. How’s about giving up the front pages to the story of the Olympic medallist from Bolton who dropped everything to fly out to the Taliban haunted badlands of Pakistan in the wake of the recent school massacre. You would think he would ticked every required box. A celeb. A sporting icon. A bit of a lad. Oh, and a genuine down the line brave man from Lancashire.

A genuinely brave man who marched into the lion’s den and didn’t ask for any photoshopping.

This is what real leadership looks like.



  1. As usual, you've hit the nail in the centre.

  2. Mark this is brilliant as ever, and no surprise to find that our brave leaders and their allies in our celebrated free press have wilfully misled us, but I have not yet seen an example of a photoshopped image that show them leading the larger crowd. Do you have one or can you point me to one?

  3. The sad thing is, that even though I had seen the (fake) march picture it takes someone like you Mark to get people (like me) good and mad at their pretendy brave leadership, when oh when will the press stand up to these people and say ENOUGH?

  4. The sad thing is, that even though I had seen the (fake) march picture it takes someone like you Mark to get people (like me) good and mad at their pretendy brave leadership, when oh when will the press stand up to these people and say ENOUGH?