The Merchant of Menace

About fifteen years ago I was a normal person. I had an average job, to help pay my average mortgage and average living costs. I was of average intelligence and had received an average education. I thought I pretty much understood how the world worked, because I followed the news every day on the BBC and frequently read The Times newspaper which, as everyone knew, was the best newspaper in the whole world. If anyone had suggested otherwise I would have been slightly offended, as if I’d been called stupid. But the fact was, like most normal people I knew next to nothing about how the world really works.

I was perhaps slightly more cynical than the average person, because many years previously I read an excellent book called Bodyguard of Lies, by Anthony Cave Brown. It suggested a darker side to the business of government than the average person might suspect. Although Brown’s book was about World War Two, and suggested that the lies to which the title referred were justified because of the extreme circumstances of war, it probably made me just a little more suspicious of governments than the average person.

So when the Bush/Blair partnership frogmarched their countries into an illegal war in Iraq in 2003, I was possibly a lot more suspicious of their claims than the average person.

I actually resigned my comfortable job in protest against Blair’s terrible decision. I wanted to write a book. I had an idea for a political novel, but first I needed to do some research. I knew…

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