Douglas Murray

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Douglas Murray (full name Douglas Kear Murray) (born 16 July 1979) was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford.[1] He is currently the Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion a think tank set up by Civitas "following widespread and longstanding concern about the diminishing sense of community in Britain"[2]. Murray has also contributed to the Social Affairs Unit. He was 79th in the Telegraph’s 'The Right's 100 Most Influential' in October 2007, according to which he is “gaining a ubiquitous media presence and is an eloquent advocate of all things American and a strong supporter of taking military action against Iraq”. [3]

Early career

Murray began researching his biography of Oscar Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, while still at Eton. Aged only 16, he persuaded the Home Office to grant him access to Douglas's papers which were embargoed until 2043.[4]The book was reportedly completed before Murray progressed to reading English at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was published while he was still a 21-year-old undergraduate there.[5]

His first book, Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas, was published in 2000 by Hodder and Stoughton (UK) and Miramax Books (USA). Acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic, the book became a bestseller, and was reissued in paperback in 2001 and 2002. While still at Oxford, Murray began reviewing for the Spectator. He has since written for many other publications, including the Observer and the New York Sun.[6]

Murray's early writing for the Spectator was mainly focused on his literary interests. Murray claims to have been profoundly influenced by the 9/11 attacks:

I haven't been in New York since the fall of 2000, when I was visiting this city to promote my first book. On the last day I was here, I visited a friend at her office on the top-most floors of the World Trade Center and looked out in awe over this great city. The assault on those towers proved the first in a now long line of attacks leveled against the free world. [7].
The youngest published biographer in history, he wrote the bestseller Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas during his gap year. Having read English at Oxford, he is working as a freelance political journalist and researching a book about Bloody Sunday. His play, Nightfall, heads to London’s West End next year. It centres on a real-life dinner party in 1944, when Swedish diplomat and humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg tried to persuade his guest, Nazi Adolf Eichmann, from implementing the Final solution.[8]


Murray was for some years a regular contributor to the openDemocracy website. In a September 2002 piece, he criticised CND and the Stop the War Coalition for organising an anti-war march together with the Muslim Association of Britain. [9]

In February 2003, he delivered a diatribe against the many first-time demonstrators who had joined the anti-war marches.

Well, they get a free vote to decide who runs their country, unlike the people of Iraq, but they surely can’t expect the nation’s foreign policy to be run by occasional polls from the nation’s tabloids. They are mainly ignorant (by choice or chance) of the machinations of international weapons inspections, oil and the rest of it, but if they want to pretend to be experts, fine.
Essentially they’re worried about war – so are we all. They hate the idea of Iraqi children dying – so do we all. But they do not have the monopoly on concern or morality. The problem is that they assume that anybody who was not on their march is pro-war. It is not the case. The rest of us may well be against the anti-war movement, or simply under the belief that these things are best left to the experts.[10]

Bloody Sunday Inquiry

Throughout 2003 Murray attended the Saville Inquiry into the Bloody Sunday shootings, to observe the evidence of the military witnesses. His interest in Northern Ireland, and the Bloody Sunday Inquiry in particular, is the basis for a new book due to be published after Lord Saville issues his final report.[11]

In 2004, he compared Saville to the Hutton Inquiry, which he also attended.

For two weeks in 2003, the Saville Inquiry into the Bloody Sunday shootings in Northern Ireland in 1972 questioned men who were serving in the intelligence services at the time. For national security reasons as well as for their own safety, all were anonymous, all spoke from behind screens, and one could not turn up because of new Article 2 considerations. What documents could be produced were very heavily redacted for Article 2 and national security reasons. What questioning was possible was limited to questioning that did not impinge on Article 2 and national security issues. That was with people who had been in the field thirty-two years ago. An inquiry in 2004, inquiring into intelligence from 2002 and 2003, would not move forward very far.[12]

In 2005, Murray wrote a highly critical review of Richard Norton-Taylor's play base on the Saville inquiry:

it is not the smugness of those who get their fix of “issues” that is the problem. The odious thing about this exercise is that it plugs a gap in the market for those who are cash-rich and time-poor. “Tribunal theatre” is simply filling a gap in the market for no-strings-attached, neatly packaged, moral tourism.[13]

Social Affairs Unit

Murray joined the Social Affairs Unit as a regular contributor in 2004.[14]. In 2005, the Unit published his book, Neoconservatism: Why We Need It, which argued for the introduction of neoconservative ideas into British politics.[15]

In October that year, he outlined his philosophy in a talk to the Manhattan Institute

The practice of equivalence in our national politics leads governments not to listen to, but to fear minority opinion, concerned lest anyone get the impression that the government knows what's right for the majority who have elected it. Not only does it make politics a glorified (though not glorious) pursuit of the personal – it makes the notion of fixed or natural right a nonsense. Because of course if everything is equal then everything is right: which means nothing is good or true.[16].

This straw man attack on the idea of equal rights may owe something to the authoritarian philosopher Leo Strauss, of whom Murray is a professed admirer.[17]For Strauss, 'natural right' meant the right of the superior to dominate the inferior. [18]

Murray went on to present a picture of Europe on the verge of being outbred by Muslims,a common neoconservative trope:

Europe has used up its peace dividend. The holiday from reality it had for half a century during which it spent money on welfare whilst America protected its security, is now over – comprehensively so. Europe not only has unsustainable demographic issues which – if un-addressed - will eradicate the continent as we know it within three or four generations. It also has security issues, not least those associated with its unameliorated populations and its increasingly inefficient armies.

Murray developed this idea further in a February 2006 speech to the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference on Europe and Islam, which embraced Bat Ye'or’s concept of Dhimmitude:

It is late in the day, but Europe still has time to turn around the demographic time-bomb which will soon see a number of our largest cities fall to Muslim majorities. It has to. All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop. In the case of a further genocide such as that in the Balkans, sanctuary would be given on a strictly temporary basis. This should also be enacted retrospectively… Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition.[19]

By 2006, Murray was being described as a Senior Fellow of the Social Affairs Unit.[20]

Centre for Social Cohesion

Murray was appointed director the Centre for Social Cohesion when it was founded by Civitas in 2007. [21] In July 2007, the Centre issued its first published work, an A-Z of Muslim Organisations in Britain, which claimed to be the fullest analysis yet published of the major Muslim organisations in Britain.[22]. In August 2007 Murray and James Brandon co-authored the Centre's first pamphlet, Hate on the State, How British Libraries Encourage Islamic Extremism. [23]The Centre later claimed credit when the Prime minister announced that the "Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is working with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to agree a common approach to deal with the inflammatory and extremist material that some seek to distribute through public libraries, while also of course protecting freedom of speech."[24]

In January 2008, the Centre produced an analysis which showed that a third of Muslims signing a letter of support for Ken Livingstone were linked to the Muslim Council of Britain or the Muslim Association of Britain.[25]

Political Views

Murray is a professed neo-conservative and is the author of Neoconservatism: Why We Need It (Social Affairs Unit, UK: Encounter Books, US). He has described what he sees as, “a creed of Islamic fascism - a malignant fundamentalism, woken from the dark ages to assault us here and now”. Murray believes “we live…in a thought culture – but it is one in which the thought has gone bad”. He sees the main problem as being cultural relativism [26]which he has described as, "the primary disease - the AIDS of the West – the disease which has made the opportunist infection of Islam so deadly".[27]

Domestically he had advocated that, “all immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop” and that, “conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board"[28]

On foreign policy he has stated that the war on terrorism must be extended to “remind the malignant that this war and this era will be dictated on our terms - on the terms of the strong and the right, not the weak and the wrong.” [29]

Murray was a signatory of an open letter to world Leaders on the crisis in Darfur, issued by the Henry Jackson Society Project for Democratic Geopolitics. He was listed as a senior fellow of the Social Affairs Unit. [30]

Murray voted for the Labour Party in the July 2007 Ealing-Southall by-election.

The candidate put up by ‘David Cameron’s Conservatives’ had been a Conservative for a matter of hours and been parachuted in over any number of dedicated, and equally ethnic, party workers. I might have reined in my objections if it hadn’t been for the earlier elevation of Sayeeda Warsi to the shadow Cabinet and the Lords. [31]

American Power

In 2008 Murrayattended a debate sponsored by Robert Rosenkranz, arguing (with Michael Mandelbaum and Max Boot) for the motion 'America should be the world’s policeman'. The conservative English journalist Matthew Parris, who argued against the notion, commented:

Both Murray and Boot and Michael Mandelbaum, too clever for the mob on their own side, represent one of the most interesting political experiments in outsourcing ever conducted -- U.S. conservatism’s franchising out to experts of its higher mental faculties. Their function, they’re a kind of priesthood, is to flatter stupider people that there exist higher arguments, smarter than they themselves can quite grasp, for things that they wanted to do anyway. They should be here in white robes. [32]


Murray 'assisted in the writing process' for the 2007 pamphlet Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing Transatlantic Partnership, which proposed a new UN/EU/NATO directorate to 'co-ordinate all co-operation in the transatlantic sphere of interest.'[33]

Written by five former NATO generals, Gen. Dr. Klaus Naumann, Gen. John Shalikashvili, Field Marshal The Lord Inge, Adm. Jacques Lanxade, Gen. Henk van den Breemen and Benjamin Bilski[34], the paper clearly owed much to neocon thinking and Murray’s distinctive philosophy:

In every country, and at all times, we like to rely on certainty. Certainty about the past, the present and even the future. Yet certainty is based not on inevitability, but rather on social and intellectual needs. We seek to uphold a common and stable experience, shunning the arbitrary in favour of closure in debate.[35]

The pamphlet proposed a new UN/EU/NATO directorate to 'co-ordinate all co-operation in the transatlantic sphere of interest.’ It suggested that if this prescription were followed ”we might, in the medium to long term, thus be capable of restoring certainty –something which we see as the most important prerequisite for functioning societies.”[36]

'The Guardian' suggested the plan would be discussed at the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008.[37] However, according to The Globe and Mail an un-named senior NATO figure said the pamphlet'’s call for the alliance to develop a first-strike nuclear capability had ‘no traction whatsoever.’[38]

Media Appearances

Murray appears regularly on the mainstream media including the BBC ('The Today Programme', 'Newsnight' and 'The Moral Maze'), Fox, and Sky. He did a number of broadcasts from the Israeli side of the border during the recent war with Hezbollah. [39]

He also appears in the British and foreign press, and has written for The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The New York Sun, NRC Handelsbad and numerous other magazines and newspapers. [40]In January 2007 Murray and Daniel Pipes debated against London Mayor Ken Livingstone on “Clash of Civilisations or World Civilisation?” [41]

Newsnight 8 February 2008

Murray was a commentator on the suggestion by archbishop Rowan Williams that there should be space for sharia law in Britain.

Website links

Murray's website links to several articles, including Daniel Freedman's profile in the (2006) New York Sun, which claimed that Murray:

"...when in Holland needs police protection and stays under an alias."[42]

This is also put forward in Murray's article in the Sunday Times.[43] This related to a conference celebrating murdered Pim Fortuyn’s political party, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, that also had a vindictive focus on Islam and Europe:

"The organisers had assembled nearly all the writers most critical of Islam’s current manifestation in the West. The American scholars Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer were present, as were the Egyptian-Jewish exile and scholar of dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or, and the great Muslim apostate Ibn Warraq."

Somewhat surprisingly Murray argued that: "There was no overriding political agenda to the occasion" yet makes mention of the 'heroic' work of Geert Wilders. Daniel Freedman's New York Sun article also made mention that:

"Murray lectures and debates across Europe in support of what he describes as neoconservative foreign policy [...] We pick Iran as a test case for his neoconservativism. First, basic realism is applied: When someone threatens to wipe out an ally, as Tehran's theocrats have repeatedly done toward Israel, you don't just say "that's interesting" or say that they "don't really mean it," he tells me. You take it as a real threat. Then you imagine how you'd ideally like Iran to be, which is as a non-threatening democratic government. Therefore what America and her allies should have been doing during the past few years is fostering democratic movements in Iran.[44]

The article also discussed Murray's support for Israel:

After being interviewed by the BBC during a recent visit to Jerusalem, a friend pointed out to him that he referred to Israel as "we." This, Mr. Murray tells me, was an "instinctive" unconscious reaction, as "Israel is up against the same things" as we are and "has the same ends." [45]

Murray's web site also includes his writing in the right-wing Standpoint Magazine wherein Murray argues that Moslem groups are blackmailing the government and deserve to be "thrown into the political wilderness":

"...since Israel launched its campaign to destroy Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Muslim "spokespeople" in Britain have once again made it perfectly clear to the UK government that if their opinions on foreign policy are not listened to, they can't promise the community won't make them heard in a rather more explosive way. And the government is listening. In 2005, the Muslim Council of Britain performed this trick. This year it has been played by the Quilliam Foundation, a new government-funded Muslim organisation which has already received £800,000 from the Home and Foreign Offices claims to be moderate but turns out to have the same old attitudes vis-à-vis our foreign policy as the last set of self-appointed Muslim leaders[...] QF's directors along with a number of other Muslim "spokespeople" wrote to the prime minister, threatening that unless Britain changed its foreign policy, distanced itself from the US and changed its relationship with Israel, then they couldn't promise that young Muslims experiencing a "loss of faith in the political process" might not simply detonate out of exasperation.[46]

Here he also makes the point that waving an Israeli flag at demonstrations has become problematic: "Our cowed police appear to have become little more than the militant wing of the Guardian."






  • Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas, Hodder and Stoughton, 2000.
  • Neoconservatism: Why We Need It, Social Affairs Unit, 2005.

External Resources


  1. The Social Affairs Unit - Publications List: Neoconservatism: Why We Need It, accessed 20 March 2008.
  2. About Us (Accessed: 6 September 2007)
  3. The Right's 100 Most Influential: 100-76 (Accessed: 18 December 2007)
  4. Bosie: The Man, The Poet, The Lover of Oscar Wilde: Douglas Murray: Books, accessed 24 March 2008.
  5. Knitting Circle Alfred Douglas, accessed 21 March 2008
  6. Neoconservatism: Why We Need It (Hardcover),, accessed 21 March 2008
  7. Neoconservatism: why we need it - a talk to the Manhattan Institute by Douglas Murray, Social Affairs Unit, 26 October 2005
  8. 4 Douglas Murray, Scotland on Sunday 9 November 2003.
  9. An Unholy Alliance, by Douglas Murray, openDemocracy, 22 October 2002.
  10. Marching to hell, by Douglas Murray, openDemocracy 20 February 2003.
  11. Neoconservatism: Why We Need It (Hardcover),, accessed 21 March 2008
  12. Hutton - the wrong inquiry, by Douglas Murray, openDemocracy, 29 January 2004.
  13. Bloody Sunday, or the theatre of moral corruption,by Douglas Murray, openDemocracy, 11 May 2005.
  14. Neoconservatism: Why We Need It (Hardcover),, accessed 21 March 2008
  15. The Social Affairs Unit - Publications List: Neoconservatism: Why We Need It, accessed 24 March 2007
  16. Neoconservatism: why we need it - a talk to the Manhattan Institute by Douglas Murray, Social Affairs Unit, 26 October 2005
  17. Profound insights of Leo Strauss, Douglas Murray, The Guardian, 30 December 2005.
  18. Leo Strauss' Philosophy of Deception, by Jim Lobe, Alternet, 19 May 2003.
  19. Douglas Murray, What are we to do about Islam? A speech to the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference on Europe and Islam, Social Affairs Unit, 3 March 2006.
  20. Open Letter to World Leaders on the Crisis in Darfur, 10 October 2006.
  21. Centre for Social Cohesion: Press Release, accessed 22 March 2008.
  22. Centre for Social Cohesion: Press Release, 1 July 2007, accessed 22 March 2008.
  23. Hate on the State, How British Libraries Encourage Islamic Extremism, August 2007, accessed 22 March 2008
  24. PM uses Centre's 'Hate on the State' report to tackle stocking of pro-jihadist books by libraries, Blog, The Centre for Social Cohesion, 28 November 2007.
  25. PRESS BRIEFING: Muslims and the Mayor: Who are Ken's Muslim backers?, Centre for Social Cohesion, 4 January 2008
  26. Neoconservatism: why we need it - a talk to the Manhattan Institute by Douglas Murray, 26 October 2005)
  27. What are we to do about Islam? A speech to the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference on Europe and Islam by Douglas Murray, 3 March 2006
  28. What are we to do about Islam? A speech to the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference on Europe and Islam by Douglas Murray, 3 March 2006
  29. What are we to do about Islam? A speech to the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference on Europe and Islam by Douglas Murray, 3 March 2006
  30. Open Letter to World Leaders on the Crisis in Darfur, 10 October 2006.
  31. Diary, by Douglas Murray, The Spectator, 25 July 2007.
  32. Intelligence Square, Transcript of 'America should be the world’s policeman'
  33. Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing Transatlantic Partnership, Noaber Foundation, 2007
  34. Naumann and Lord Inge are members of the International Advisory Board of World Security Network who also promote the document. See also: NATO: New "Grand Strategy" Proposed by Former Top Military Leaders, Dieter Farwick, 16 January 2008 (this report also appears on the 2007 International Analyst Network site, with both ramping up the terrorist threat). The Report was funded by the Dutch Noaber Foundation, Van den Breemen is an advisor to the Noaber Foundation as is Douglas Murray. Noaber's founder, J.G.P. Baan is also connected to the World Security Network as one of their Authors.
  35. Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing Transatlantic Partnership, Noaber Foundation, 2007.
  36. Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing Transatlantic Partnership, Noaber Foundation, 2007
  37. Ian Traynor, Pre-emptive nuclear strike a key option, Nato told, The Guardian, 22 January 2008.
  38. Doug Sanders, Russia's problems nudge Afghanistan off the map, Globe and Mail, 2 April 2008.
  39. People (Accessed: 18 December 2007)
  40. People (Accessed: 18 December 2007)
  41. Conference: A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations 20 January 2007 (Accessed: 18 December 2007)
  42. Mugged by Reality, The New York Sun, August 17, 2006, Daniel Freedman.
  43. The Sunday Times, February 26, 2006, We should fear Holland’s silence Islamists are stifling debate in what was Europe’s freest country, Douglas Murray.
  44. Mugged by Reality, The New York Sun, August 17, 2006, Daniel Freedman.
  45. Mugged by Reality, The New York Sun, August 17, 2006, Daniel Freedman.
  46. Power to the Spokespeople, Standpoint, February 2009, Douglas Murray.
  47. NGO Monitor International Advisory Board Profiles, accessed 8 August 2010
  48. Just Journalism Advisory board, retrieved from the Internet Archive of 15 April 2008 (Accessed: 20 November 2010)
  49. Just Journalism Advisory board, Accessed: 20 November 2010