Craig has a particularly frank post up today:
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.
So I have lived on willpower my whole life, a feeling of intense concentration like permanently walking a tightrope of mental stability. You get tired.
I have also avoided psychiatrists as much as possible. Doubtless if I ever have to ask for unemployment benefit, I will therefore fall foul of Purnell’s reintroduction of the concept of the undeserving poor. 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.
Good for Craig, for being open about his mental illness. Very many people suffer from mental illness of one sort of another. There can be few families or groups of friends untouched by difficulties of this sort, and the more matter-of-fact people can be about mental illness, the better.
Mental health problems – like other health problems – may well disqualify you for some forms of work but not others. My cousin is a leading securities lawyer: but as he has Parkinsons, he would make a poor surgeon. I have terrible hayfever and so I function better in air conditioned offices than in rural settings.
Likewise, a person suffering from hypersexuality and bipolar disorder may well excel at entertainment or perhaps even acting as a war leader. However, they might not be well cut out for a career in diplomacy.
What is interesting about this story is how badly it sits with the claims that were made on behalf of Craig Murray at the time that he left the service of the state.
In 2004, however, it was suggested that Craig Murray’s depression was the consequence of unfair treatment by the Foreign and Commonwealth Officeand that the investigation into his erratic and hypersexual behaviour was:
aimed at discrediting him because of the unwanted attention his public comments was bringing to Uzbekistani human-rights abuses.
In reality, Murray has fought serious mental health issues since his youthwhich have plausible manifested themselves in his conduct, in office as Ambassador, and thereafter. It may well be that being investigated for behaviour inappropriate to an ambassador toppled him from a “manic” phase into a “depressive” phase. However, that does not mean that the FCO was wrong to investigate or should be blamed for Craig Murray’s ill health.
That appears to be an organic condition, for which he was refusing medication, and which appears to have had some bearing on his capacity to perform his job.
I’m very interested in this. I too have a lot of sympathy for Craig Murray as my own circumstances were very similar (20 years FCO, bipolar disorder – though I do take my meds, I’d fall apart without them) and eased out for being a stroppy bugger (anti-appeasement Sinologist) under the pretext of sexual irregularities (though I wouldn’t claim congenital hypersexuality, just the sort of thing that blokes in collapsing marriages tend to fall into – it’s not been like that before or since). I’ve also read Murder in Samarkand, and give it three hearty cheers. Obviously Craig was riding for a fall taking the line he did about Uzbekistan, but – as he makes clear – there was still no good reason to back that up with a lot of personal smears, as I have seen and experienced far too often. I know almost as well as Craig does just how vicious they can get when you cross them. There’d have been a perfectly good case for redeploying him somewhere where he wouldn’t be confronted quite so clearly with the dark side. But no, they had to saw his legs off.
The background is that the Murray affair coincided with a decision to slash the senior cadres by at least 20% to save money. This was too much to be resolved by natural wastage, so a deliberate policy of driving out the mavericks was decided on. Fortunately for Craig and me, they were so keen to achieve this that there was some serious money on offer. But this is why stories surface regularly about the low quality of FCO people these days, mindless apparatchiks for the most part. Not so long ago British diplomats were regarded by our counterparts as top class – not because we employed a lot of chinless morons, but because we were bright, independent-thinking and classless. (French, German and Italian diplomats all come from the very best families.) Now I fear it’s different. Anyway, I gather that Craig has spent all his dosh on campaigning, and I’ve lost mine on the markets, so best of luck to you, Craig.
And Felix says:
Bipolarity – as opposed to schizophrenia – is ingrained in our civilisation There has always been a dichotomy between reason and nature. It is the Ayatollahs and moralists who persuade us we are ill.
Craig Murray’s sexual impulses were a a healthy manideìfestation of his sexuality, driven into a purgatory which was not of his making but of a repressive society. Healthy sex driven underground and conveniently labelled as bipolarity.
He says his work as Amabassodor was not diminished, but there were other reasons for using them as a weapon against him. Who of us is not bipolart in a similar sense. My love of poetry, music, largely ignored by most people are a source of depression. Iwould not dream of going to a psychologist whose aim it would be to make me adapt to a world without poetry. I will go straight on being ill, and see my illness as a force for good.
The only problem I can see in Craigs hypersexulaity, is the tangles he gets into and the women he hurts.
I know a man just like Craig who avoids this by making it clear that he doesn’t want ongoing relationships; a conversaton, a coffee a a pìzza , a few nights in bed, but the women had to leave in the morning and leave him to himself and his life. He is a jazz musician, so can probably manage better than an ambassodor.
The whole fuss about Clinton remained incomprehensibele to me and to may Italians. The mistake is to give in and say “I was bad.”. He was stupid ever to have denied anything and could have said, My Private life is none of your business, or Monica was a very attractive girl. Bad luck on Hillary, but in her place I would have accepted his peccadilloes. But no, it is tha Day of Judhìgement that follows.
Craig Murray should not have let himself persauded that he was bad. If his sexual addiction did interfere with hsi work as Ambassador, O.K., but this is not at all clear. How many people in this world would have to be relieved of their jobs!
The urge for procreation – even if not effectively intended, is overwhelmingly the strongest urge in nature. If it is denied by moral considerations and institutions. Schopenhauer wrote that every sigh in romantic poetry about the moon and rustling leaves, aims at procreation. if this urge us curbed, it will seek a deviant but healthy outlet.
No, Mr. Craig, you are not ill at all; it is your society that is ill.
My French conversation teacher in Paris, Madame David, told us there were as many ways of loving as there were people.