Craig Murray is the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan.
He suffers, so he claims, from a medical condition called “hypersexuality“, which causes him to behave badly towards women while making him a little bit like Winston Churchill:
When I see a young woman, my mind instantaneously runs a sexualised check on her physical appearance and, if I find that appealing, I start acting in the way I can best calculate to enhace my chances. All that happens more or less subconsciously, or at least without any need for conscious initiation on my part.
I always rather presumed that all heterosexual men went throught the same process all the time. Apparently I may be wrong.
In a less clinical way, the process is described several times, sometimes more and sometimes less fully, in Murder in Samarkand when I describe looking at various girls, most notably of course Nadira. Plainly many people find this off-putting.
I would say this.
I accept that it may appear that I pay more attention to sexual attributes than is the accepted norm.
But I do not accept that this in any way means that I undervalue women’s other attributes.
I may find a girl very sexy. But that does not mean in any way that my perception and appreciation of her intelligence, determination, work-rate, courage, dignity, humour etc is any less. Or their opposites if appropriate.
In short, I do not acept the thesis that it demeans women to fancy them. It demeans anyone if you only fancy them.
None of which addresses the issue of my tangled love life and the infidelity which has brought much pain to many people, most of whom did not deserve it. I also have to face the fact that I have told many lies to people in my love life, yet I am almost pathologically honest in any other context. What is that about?
I do not give the following as the answer. It is neither explanation nor excuse. It is, I think, nonetheless interesting.
My entire adult life I have suffered from what used to be called manic depression, and now is known as bipolar disorder. By and large I have struggled against it very successfully, and really major depressive episodes have only kicked in when there is a very big real world problem to act as a trigger. But there have been plenty of very bad days over the last thirty years, at both ends of the swingometer.
I took lithium as a student for a short while, but I felt that the changes to the chemical balance of the brain were making Craig Murray disappear, and were replacing him with someone much too bland. The outbreaks of incredible energy and capacity for work, of wit and intellectual vim on the highs were invaluable. I am NOT trying to put myself in their league, but if I give Winston Churchill, Spike Milligan and Stephen Fry as examples of famous manic depressives, you will get some of that feel of genius bordering on madness. A famous psychiatrist (whose name escapes me at the moment) said that if Churchill hadn’t been manic, he would have known the situation was hopeless after Dunkirk and sued for peace. Instead he had that vision and energy to lift a whole nation.
Anyway, it is probably because of this avoidance of the medical profession that I was told this week for the very first time that my behaviour was subject to “bipolar infidelity” and “hypersexuality”. Apparently this kind of sexual behaviour is so very frequently part of bipolar disorder, that it is actually one of the diagnostic tests as to whether you are bipolar or not.
It will therefore surprise you, not a jot, to discover that he is an outspoken defender of Julian Assange from the allegations of rape that he refuses to face in Sweden. Indeed, he regards the allegations as a conspiracy, orchestrated by the United States.
In yesterday’s Newsnight, Craig Murray expounded his theories at length. He was challenged by the journalist Joan Smith, who advanced a simple thesis:
There are a lot of people on the Left who are unable to separate political conduct from personal conduct. … The problem on the Left is that, if you admire somebody politically, then their conduct is always exemplary and is beyond criticism: and it’s not.
In response, Craig Murray named one of the rape complainants. The naming of rape complainants is not permitted in England, and newspapers in this country have been scrupulous in refraining from doing so. Craig Murray’s argument is that she has been named in newspapers abroad, where there is no such injunction. It was a particularly unpleasant and vicious thing for him to do, and was completely unnecessary.
Yesterday’s interview on Newsnight threw a harsh spotlight on the nature of Assange’s core support. Misogynists, bigamists, paranoiacs, and a President with a shameful record of suppressing freedom of expression. All of them, slapping each other on the back.
Perhaps Craig Murray’s “hypersexuality” goes a little way to excuse his conduct. What is everybody else’s excuse?
Also worth reading is this piece on Labour List by Tom Copley, formerly of Searchlight and now a Labour member of the London Assembly:
Let’s be clear; Ecuador’s government is no friend of freedom, democracy or human rights. For anyone on the left to defend it because it dresses itself up as left-wing and anti-American is fundamentally wrong. As for Assange, those who so readily jump to defend the right of a suspected rapist to evade the legal process need to take a long, hard look at themselves.
From last year, here’s another great hero of progressive politics (at 3:10):
“The charges of rape simply don’t stand up to examination.
First of all, the charge is that it was a ‘non-consensual relationship’. Well, that’s very different from rape, which most people would understand to be the seizure by force of a woman for the gratification of a man’s need, and all that is said of Julian Assange is that without using a condom he was guilty of rape, and if that is the charge then I’ll tell you a lot of people in this country would be guilty of rape on a daily basis
That’s a Stop The War Campaign video.