Former UK ambassador Craig Murray too has a sharp new website look. He goes from strength to strength despite some sad family news, and credit is definitely due:

We seem to be hitting peak Craig Murray. Before the hiatus of the last month or so, 40,000 people were regularly reading this blog and some entries were being seen by hundreds of thousands on this and other sites. My brief and simple demolition of Owen Smith is one of the posts that over a million people read, was massively retweeted and I think I can realistically claim had an early impact on the leadership contest. Indeed the general upsurge of interest in non neo-liberal thinking seems to have got me “discovered” by a whole new political generation and it has been an enormous pleasure to see evidence of people looking through the back catalogue of eleven years of posts on this little blog.

The film “The Killing of Tony Blair” turned out very much better than I expected. I really enjoyed it and have been very heartened by the large number of messages of congratulation I have received on my own contribution to it. Still closer to my heart, the documentary film “London Calling”, on the shocking BBC bias in the Scottish Independence referendum, has today been completed and I hope to have distribution information for you shortly.

The film rights to “Murder in Samarkand” have just been renewed, there is a new script and we now have very experienced and top rank producers, and while I do not wish to count chickens, we are closer to the film being made than ever before.

Elderly readers will recall that I have spent some time on this notably more modest website poring over Craig’s book about his bizarre spell as UK ambassador to Uzbekistan and his subsequent whirrings in UK politics. See eg here.

The key thing to grasp about Craig’s observations on the dismal situation in Uzbekistan and his own role in trying to address it is that he offers literally nothing by way of realistic deliverable suggestions. Instead he lambasts everyone for their ‘double standards’ while hooting his own High Principles.

Back in real life, there is a grim and genuine existential diplomatic dilemma in play. Do you best influence Bad Leaders by engaging with them, or by isolating/punishing them?

The arguments ebb and flow. But Peak Craig is unambiguous. He denounces engagement! Boo! The USA’s Democrats are as bad as the ghastly Republicans:

Hillary Clinton and John Kerry courted Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan’s brutal dictator, every bit as assiduously as George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld.

Yet … when he was HMA Tashkent, Craig had no doubt about the right way forward. Engage! Give the Karimov family British Embassy canapés aplenty and you will win them round:

“I led her out into the garden and, as she didn’t want to sit, we stood talking on the little wooden bridge over the stream. Then 31 years old, she was charmingly girlish, giggling delightedly at my light conversation…

“Do you think I could get a job as your interpreter?” She giggled.”Sounds like it might be fun.”

… It is of course a truth universally acknowledged that no woman can resist flirting with the man in a kilt. Nevertheless, how many presidential children would react so prettily to being pestered by a drunk? Her reaction did not fit with the stories I had heard about her. There didn’t seem to be obvious darkness behind her laughing eyes. Was she really behind the corrupt acquisition of all those businesses, the closing down of rival companies, the massive bribes from huge energy deals?”

No. Of course not. But had you not made such a flirty fuss of the lovely Gulnara Karimova partly at the expense of the myriad taxpayers who laud your website, we’d never have found that out.