As an introduction to my background and philosophy, this is the text of a talk given to fifth and sixth form pupils at an Academic Conference at Rugby School on 9th Nov 2018:
I’m going to give a prepared speech, because I need to make a number of important points, and I only have twenty minutes! I prefer to be spontaneous, and I look forward to an informal discussion on these topics during the day. You don’t need to make notes, as I have already run off copies, with contact information, and you are welcome to get in touch. I live on Facebook, and support Jeremy Corbyn. The title of my talk is ‘The Conflict between Cannabis and Alcohol’.
My name is Robin Scott. I celebrated my 70th birthday 3 days ago. Today I feel like the Ghost of Rugby past; I’ve been invited to come back and give you some advice about Conflict and Co-operation. In 1962 I was awarded the top scholarship to Rugby by the headmaster Dr Walter Hamilton, a towering intellectual and academic figure, who later went on to be Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. It was one of the proudest achievements of my life, and has carried with it an aura of destiny and responsibility. In every sense it has been a privilege; and especially so today, thank you so much for inviting me.
I’m sorry to say that I hated Rugby, pretty much across the boards. You have to understand that during the 1960s there was so much exciting stuff happening in the holidays – music, fashion, politics, dance, girls – that Rugby seemed by comparison to be completely out of touch and incredibly dull. We were not well prepared for the real world. My best friend and I spent most of our spare time down the betting shop in a quiet part of town, meeting real people; he’s now a cabinet minister in the Irish government. We had dinner together a couple of years ago at the best restaurant in Dublin.
In my day, we were still being prepared to join the apparatus of Empire. So are you; but it is a financial empire now, not so much a colonial one. We called it the Establishment; it goes by other names now: the Military-Industrial-Complex, Big Business, the Deep State. It’s the power elite, the ruling class. Rugby has for centuries provided the officer class. Each of us seeks to find our place within the social hierarchy, where we can fit in and enjoy the benefits. It’s a great system, and it’s worked for centuries.
When I left Rugby in December 1966, I entered a world that was extremely positive: full employment, a functioning National Health Service, a popular government, and we’d recently won the World Cup final, which I watched on TV in Whitelaw House. The situation now, I’m sorry to say, is very different. I believe my generation owes your generation an apology; for we have messed up badly in every way. The problems you will inherit are many and dangerous, including:
(1) Overpopulation, the one subject no-one wants to confront
(2) Environmental degradation
(3) Climate Change, undeniably man-made in my opinion
(4) Economic instability and likely collapse
(5) Military aggression, particularly from the US, the UK and Israel
(6) Systemic corruption internationally
(7) Increasing danger of actual nuclear war, famine and aggressive migrations
(8) Lack of political will to deal with any of the above, especially when you consider the genocides currently occurring in Palestine and Yemen, to our great shame.
The danger for your generation is that any and all of these scenarios could bring about sudden and severe social collapse, food shortages, riots and looting, armed gangs, ethnic violence, mob rule, martial law and a military dictatorship, possibly leading to violent revolution. It’s perfectly clear that the security services here and in the US are already gearing up for this eventuality. Meanwhile, big business continues to rape the planet at a terrifying rate, and many scientists now believe that we are already in the sixth mass extinction.
The problem that you have now, compared with my generation, is that not only has social cohesion disintegrated, but also that we Brits are now unable to feed ourselves. We import half our food; if that supply was interrupted, we would have enormous difficulties coping. We have a wonderful level of sophisticated technology, and we are a civilisation capable of great success and achievement. But our British agricultural base and our manufacturing base have all but disappeared. If you cannot produce your own food – individually and collectively – you are already a de facto slave to the system. He who controls the food supply, controls everything and everybody. All civilisations fail, sooner or later, and all empires fall. We are undoubtedly in the decadent phase of imperial collapse.
In broad terms, I think you have two basic choices:
(1) Get together with like-minded people and see if you can find a way to begin realistically to solve these problems, before it is too late; or
(2) Head for the hills, as many ‘preppers’ have already done, stockpile food, guns and ammo, and hope for the best, while planning for the worst.
If I was you, I would seriously consider the possibility of emigrating to Russia. Buy a nice little farm in a secluded rural area, learn the language, marry a Russian, raise a family, be self-sufficient, and integrate with the local community in a mutually supportive way. I say that because I sincerely believe that the values espoused by the Russian president are closer to traditional ideas of common sense, and a duty to the ordinary people. In the West now we have unbridled capitalism, the rule of big corporations, which is how Mussolini described fascism. The rich elite chase obscene fortunes and sell their souls in pursuit of them; the working class is abused and exploited, turned into consumer units like the Matrix.
When I was at Rugby, I was an ironic combination of top scholar and chief rebel. In my old friend Thurstine Basset’s book about surviving boarding schools entitled Trauma, Abandonment & Privilege (which some of you might relate to), he identifies three types of pupil: Crushed, Conformist & Rebel. I was undoubtedly the last, and proud of it. In my gap year before I went up to Oxford to read Philosophy, Politics & Economics, I spent six months in Australia working on a central Queensland cattle station before spending a week in Haight Ashbury, San Francisco, during the famous Summer of Love of 1967, where I smoked pot for the first time and took an LSD trip – both of which I thoroughly enjoyed and felt wonderful. So I was already a hippy by the time I got to Oxford, and still 18.
Some of my contemporaries are now in august positions of senior authority: judges, academics, successful businessmen, masters of Oxbridge colleges, ambassadors. My claim to fame is that I spent three years in prison in the 1990s for growing the best and most potent Cannabis ever recorded in this country – a record I’m extremely proud of. GQ magazine called me ‘the Cannabis Guru’. Whether that is a suitable achievement for a top scholar, I will leave your generation to be the judge, but I hope to go down in history as one of the pioneers of Cannabis cultivation in this country, a contribution that will be better appreciated when more people have experienced its miraculous healing effects. I have to admit that I take enormous pride and satisfaction in the fact that Cannabis is now being widely legalised around the world. I particularly like that Cannabis is so effective in curing addictions, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression, among its many other benefits. Probably our best cure for Cancer.
As a result, I’m somewhat of an expert on drugs, and so I’m going to presume to give you some advice on the subject. Here are the addictive substances you should definitely avoid entirely:
Alcohol, Tobacco, Caffeine, Cocaine, Heroin, speed and other dirty street drugs, most prescription medicines, gambling, TV, computer games, pornography – all of these are highly addictive and will ruin your life. Sadly I’ve seen it happen time and again.
Here are the mind-expanding non-addictive substances that will open your soul to new horizons and emotional freedom, as long as you use them intelligently and responsibly, and in moderation:
Cannabis, LSD, MDMA (Ecstasy), Magic Mushrooms, Peyote, Mescaline, Ayahuasca and other similar entheogens (an entheogen is something that puts God inside you).
For your information, rather than smoking Cannabis, which I now discourage, I have developed a way of eating it, which I have found to be extremely workable and therapeutic – I call it the Cannabis pill. I describe my self-help method in a book I plan to publish next year entitled The Case for Cannabis. We live in a world soaked in alcohol and its violent and bloody effects; I consider Cannabis to be the Pipe of Peace. To say that all drugs should be legalised is a no-brainer in my opinion. Cannabis has won the War on Drugs.
Because I was the top scholar here, I was forced to do Latin and Greek at A level, when I really wanted to do English, History and French. So I became rather a reluctant student, although I did win the Greek Poetry prize; I loved Homer’s Odyssey. There are some advantages to a classical education: my vocabulary and prose are excellent. We studied the fall of the Roman Empire in detail, so that we can see the comparisons with the present day; it was drummed into us that the collapse of Rome was caused by internal corruption, not external invasion. But the concept that I liked the most is that in classical times it was considered that, if you were a hero, you achieved immortality and became a demi-god. The possibility of achieving immortality is an idea that has attracted me ever since. The one advantage of living in dangerous times, as you will, is that it is a wonderful opportunity for personal heroism. Life is a one-shot chance of immortality, and there are many routes to eternity: fame, wealth, sport, beauty, art, sacrifice, military prowess, kindness, true love.
On that subject, my own personal route to immortality is centred on Yoga, which I have practised regularly now for thirty years. As I turned 40, and realising that I was unfit and out of condition, I decided to do an hour of Yoga first thing every weekday morning. I’ve never had any interest in Yoga classes; the real gains come from daily private practice. So I set my alarm for 6am rather than 7am from then onwards, and dragged my wife and kids out of bed too. I developed a daily routine from the Sivananda Book of Yoga, and I still do the same routine to this day. Nowadays I wake up at 5am anyway, so I start then. I cannot recommend this practice highly enough, if you want to gain control over all aspects of your life, and advance spiritually. You might say that this is my version of Thomas Arnold’s Muscular Christianity – you could call it Supple Buddhism!
My own entry into Rugby was made easier because I’m privileged to come from a leading intellectual family. The Scott family traces its origins back to 1700 and beyond to Sir Walter Raleigh and King John de Balliol of Scotland. As well as hundreds of Oxbridge educated clergymen, our huge family tree boasts a Lord Chief Justice, Viscount Alverstone, and a Nobel Prize winner, Sir Martin Ryle, the Astronomer Royal of his day, as well as my ggg-uncle, the distinguished Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, designer of the Albert Memorial and buried in Westminster Abbey, and his grandson, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, creator of the red telephone box and other iconic designs. My great-grandfather, the Venerable Avison Terry Scott, played cricket for Cambridge against WG Grace, and was the founder of the Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club; he famously declined an invitation to become Bishop of Bath and Wells because their cricket team was poor, and they had no golf course!
I understand that one of the questions that you listed was whether Margaret Thatcher was a war criminal. I’m going to answer that for you in an unusual way: my grandfather and great-uncle both served as naval officers throughout WWI and both were awarded the DSO, among other honours, before retiring to play golf! My father was also a naval officer and served throughout WWII, including Russian convoys, which Winston Churchill described as ‘the worst journey in the world’ – Dad later worked on Lord Mountbatten’s personal staff in Malta. When Thatcher invaded the Falklands in 1982, I was surprised that my father, as a retired naval officer, wasn’t supportive. Having experienced war personally, he was vehemently opposed to the sending of young men into harm’s way, unless it was absolutely necessary – I never saw him so passionate. He had been 16 when his war started. I believe he would have considered Thatcher to be a war criminal – as I do.
Regretfully, I’m going to add to that list: Tony Blair, George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Alastair Campbell, Jack Straw, Benyamin Netanyahu and, sadly, several others. Many of us in this country and around the world consider all of them to be war criminals – I am not alone in this, 33% of Britons want Blair tried for war crimes, according to a recent survey. What is going on in the Middle East is a war crime, in fact a series of war crimes over many years now. What is going on in Palestine and Yemen is genocide. This is extremely serious, and your generation is going to have to take a position on this. At the moment, we in the UK are morally compromised because we are the second largest arms exporter in the world, and we work together with the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and others, complicit in the brutal military aggression, which stems from an imperialist drive by the US combined with an expansionist Zionism emanating from Israel, seeking to create a Greater Israel in the region. Their shared drive for world domination is the real source of all the conflict we are currently experiencing, at a time when other nations, especially Russia and China, seem to be genuinely seeking a peaceful co-existence that all sane people really want. You guys will really need to work out who actually killed JFK, and what actually brought down the three towers in New York.
It was President Kennedy who famously said: “Those who make non-violent revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable”. All of my generation remember exactly where we were when the charismatic Kennedy was assassinated; I was right here in the centre of Rugby town outside the school bookshop on that fateful day in November 1963, when I saw the newspaper hoardings; I was just fifteen, exactly your age. I will never forget that; nor did I fully realise at the time how ominous that would prove to be.
On a brighter note, I personally think that sex is incredibly important in life, and I reflect on the appalling sex education we received here at Rugby in the 60s. We were shown a film about rabbits breeding by the Biology teacher, who was known as ‘Potty’ Falk, who then told us that, with humans, it’s pretty much the same! And that was it! Luckily for me, in my first year there was a copy of the Kama Sutra circulating in Whitelaw, so that famous Indian text on sexuality became the first classic of literature that I studied here! Which was roughly contemporary with the Latin and Greek texts we were studying, an interesting comparison. I believe that truly loving and ethical sex between a man and a woman is one of the most important, profound and ecstatic life experiences – I cannot recommend it highly enough. The great twentieth century guru, Osho, described Tantra (which is the Yoga of Sex) as ‘the supreme understanding’. I plan a book on that subject too.
Meanwhile, I’m busy finishing a book about The Significance of Scientology, with which I was closely involved in the 70s and 80s. I found it a fascinating experience, although I was one of the very first to expose the Church’s abuses and resign on principle. It’s a long and interesting story, but not for today. I merely flag it up as another area of interest for me. My conclusion is that Scientology contains a great deal of original and valuable information, but you have to sift out the bullshit aspects, which is what my book sets out to do. I was ordained as a Minister of Religion in Florida in 1976.
I’m sure that some of you already understand that we’re living in a Matrix here, and that you guys are expected to be assimilated into the hive mind that runs things. Let’s view life as an eternal infinite multi-player computer game; let’s imagine that ‘real life’ is simply a computer-generated seamless virtual reality, and that God is the computer; we ourselves are already Artificial Intelligence programmed to believe that we’re human, trying to reinvent ourselves. George Orwell’s 1984 is already a reality, and we’re long past that point – Gotham City, Bladerunner, the Hunger Games. TV has proved to be the ultimate mind-control brain-washing success, sad to say – and there goes the culture, and the civilisation too, if we’re not careful.
As someone who refused to be assimilated, I declined to be confirmed here at Rugby. I believe in Jesus Christ, just not the official version. I’ve loved being a maverick, a revolutionary and an outlaw like my namesake and childhood hero Robin Hood. I’ve been in prison twice, I’ve been bankrupt twice, I’ve been divorced twice. I’ve worked on the North Sea oil rigs; I’ve farmed in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Je ne regrette rien. I like to think that I’m a true Rugbeian because I’ve lived my life ‘with a fine disregard for the rules of the game as played in my time’; and I would encourage you to do the same!
Cannabis is the red pill – Alcohol is the blue pill – your choice!
Thank you. God bless, and Good luck!
Rev R H A Scott MA(Oxon),
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
1984 by George Orwell
The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard
The Sivananda Book of Yoga
The Kama Sutra edited by Lance Dane
Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna
We’re All Doing Time by Bo Lozoff
The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck
Be Here Now by Ram Dass
The Final Crash by Toby Birch (Whitelaw)
under the name Hugo Bouleau
The film ‘JFK’ by Oliver Stone
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley
Commodore’s Messenger trilogy by Janis Gillham Grady
© Copyright 2018 Robin Scott
I’m pleased to say that this talk was very well received by both pupils and staff. Ed Davies, the Assistant Headmaster, who arranged the conference, very kindly wrote to me afterwards:
“Dear Robin, I wanted to thank you for speaking at our Academic Conference. Your talk electrified the students and gave a wonderful energy to the entire day. You were also superbly generous in giving your time and attention to the students and causing them to think and ask questions. Yours sincerely. Ed Davies”