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volume 3
july 2000

The many faces of Radio Caroline


  The conspiration against Radio Caroline
by Geoff Baldwin
  Our lives and destinies are ruled by a small and invisible Money Power Elite. Believes like that clearly got out of vogue since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Geoff Baldwin, however, argues one needs such a conspiration theory badly to account for the closing down of Radio Caroline and the marginalization of its many successors. Let us know your counter arguments in case you can provide a better explanation.
1 Caroline's third ship, the MV Ross Revenge (September 1983)

I know that Radio Caroline is an obsessive subject, especially for the more fanatic Free Radio fans because it goes to the heart of the whole matter of broadcasting free from Government interference. Nowadays Radio Caroline has many faces. Some fans support a legal RSL/satellite "Radio Caroline', while others maintain this is just a fake. For them a "real" Radio Caroline definitely is not a licenced station of any type. This type of "Anorak versus Anorak" argument has gone on since the aftermath of the events of August 1989 and it's now the year 2000!

I'm not sure whether the "Powers that Be" bother to even read publications like this one any more but, if they do, they will probably be laughing their heads off because they will know, as I do, that a deeply divided movement like the remnants of the UK Free Radio movement is in no position to fight back against its oppressors. At the moment, there is a UK licenced Radio Caroline, an Irish pirate Radio Caroline — which is unconnected — and a licenced Dutch Radio Caroline about to start official broadcasting from Holland — although our Dutch correspondent implies that this version has now been renamed — and something tells me that it won't stop there.

2 The frustration for the ardent Free Radio fanatics is that they are followers without a leader. That leader was Radio Caroline and it was out of Caroline and other offshore radio stations that the idea of Free Radio sprang in peoples' minds, leading to a land-based illegal "Free Radio" scene. At present, all the Free Radio supporter has is the stations operating on the short wave and these are mainly run by enthusiasts and they are only reaching other enthusiasts. They are not reaching the general public at large and this is why they are, generally, left alone by the authorities. They pose no more real threat to the establishment radio structure than puny power RSL broadcasts — probably less.
  In fairness, a few of these stations, in particular, are doing a good job, under difficult circumstances, in trying to provide some sort of alternative radio service but it's almost impossible to achieve a proper service, operating under these conditions, faced with 24 hour services from the legally licenced radio groups. Most have to operate on a part-time basis and on low power. Free Radio followers and ideologues need something like Radio Caroline back on high power again to give the whole scene credibility and renewed vigour and that's why this whole argument has been going on and on and on in peaks and troughs for the past decade.
3 In terms of the ideology, pure Free Radio has never really existed. What happened in the sixties was that pop pirate radio came along to break the BBC radio monopoly and, when the Labour Government decided to outlaw it, the one station, Radio Caroline decided that it wouldn't close down when the government told it to and, thus, this whole myth and legend has been built up around it over the years. Radio Caroline came to be seen as a sort of leader of the fight against the establishment. Various people want to run legally licenced versions of it now to cash in on the famous name that it has and the publicity and audience that they hope it will bring them.
  It's true that, in those earlier years, Caroline and the other stations did talk about Free Radio on air, in a desperate fight for survival. But, in the later years, the revived station just wanted to be allowed to supply an alternative music service to those not being catered for by legally licenced stations on land. Perhaps, the station, and a lot of the supporters thought that they would be left alone if they avoided anything controversial or political but the point is that even by just being there free of UK jurisdiction, Radio Caroline was seen to offer encouragement to others to "have a go." Break Radio Caroline and you deal a fatal blow to the whole Free Radio movement, seems to have been the thinking. For years, the station seemed to be tolerated and became almost like an institution, in its own right. However, harmless though it had become, it seems that the radio regulatory establishment were just biding their time before "going in for the kill." Even a "politically silent" Radio Caroline is seen to symbolically stand for freedom and independence and had to be silenced.
  The people that carry out the raids and their immediate bosses — like the one against Caroline in August 1989 — are really just "the goons" — and in some cases they employ armed thugs to do their dirty work for them — that are carrying out instructions from higher up in the establishment network, namely the "Money Power Elite." Enthusiasts were "sold" a certain story as to why the raid took place, at the time, but we just don't know how high up the "chain of command" the "Get Caroline" order came from. No court case ever ensued and all the radio equipment that was seized from the Ross Revenge was, eventually, returned to Peter Moore — for reinstallation on the radio ship.
4 What we should, perhaps, look at is the overall political situation in Europe, at the end of the 1980's and beginning of the 1990's. We were led to believe that the Soviet Union had collapsed but the engineering of the European Union to replace it was reaching a critical phase. Margaret Thatcher had served her usefulness to the Money Power Elite by signing the single European Act, to entrench us further into a totalitarian European superstate. Subsequently, she claimed that she had thought that it was just about making a free trade area. When she "woke up" and started opposing further European integration, she was very soon dumped by the political establishment.
  Her replacement, John Major, was brought in and he risked the downfall of his government to get the next stage of the European project passed, namely the Maastricht Treaty 1991, another huge stage towards the long term goal of the Money Power Elite. In May 1997, Tony Blair was brought in by the Money Power Elite and they set him the task of getting the British public to give up their currency, the pound sterling, in favour of the newly created Euro. If he fails to do this, he will be dumped as well and someone else will be brought in — it doesn't matter whether that person is from the Labour or Conservative party — to complete this task and con the British people into voting in a referendum to adopt the single currency.
5 For those of you that don't understand what this all has to do with Radio Caroline and Free Radio, you have to understand something about conspiracy politics. Basically, pop pirate radio isn't Free Radio, as such, in the political sense, although I, like other Anoraks, tend to refer to it as such. But, if a station like, for example, Laser 558 in the mid-eighties comes along and starts referring to Free Radio on air, it is putting ideas into people's beads and this can be a dangerous thing for the Money Power Elite and the establishment which secretly controls and manipulates everything — including the mass media — from behind the scenes and this is why they set the goons on Laser first but came back to finish off Radio Caroline later.
  The step by step approach is what they have adopted in their plan for a totalitarian European government and this step by step tactic seems to have been used against Radio Caroline. First making it difficult to operate by forcing the Ross Revenge into a more exposed anchorage — the Territorial Sea Act 1987. Next the actual armed assault in 1989 to destroy the station economically and, finally, the implementation of the Broadcasting Act 1990 to give legal respectability to any such operation that might have to be mounted, in the future. However, the main point of the Broadcasting Act is to rule by fear, so that nobody else dare try to broadcast from international waters again. They're saying: "Look, this is what happened before and this is what will happen to you, if you try it."
6 Fear is the psychology and mind control technique that they use. Of course, those that use this to control the population are themselves the ones that are really frightened. Radio Caroline was just a pop/rock radio station but it came to symbolise a struggle against the establishment and, as long as it broadcasted freely from international waters, it acted as an encouragement to other stations to set up in this manner. This not only posed the threat to take yet more listeners away from licenced stations on land, it also risked the arrival of other stations — like Laser — appearing on the scene which might promote the idea of Free Radio in a more vigorous manner to an even wider audience.
  Once the idea of Free Radio and a Free media gets into the public imagination, they might start thinking more and more for themselves and wanting to investigate what is really behind the government and the way it operates, right up to the top at the House of Windsor. The Money Power Elite is frightened that if people wake up to what is going on in this country, they might revolt and their power structure will collapse and we would then have real freedom and choice and be truly liberated in our outlook and approach to life and, in tandem, their control over us would melt away.
7 There is certainly no chance of any further progress towards re-establishing a completely "free" Radio Caroline again in the near future because the movement is weak and very divided and they are all trying to use the name for their own purposes and for the wrong reasons. The other reason that I raised the question of the political situation in Europe is that Radio Caroline was able to broadcast — on and off — from international waters for a very large part of the "cold war" period but, as soon as communism was coming to an end in Europe, the station was being forced off the air.
  If nothing else, this should strike people as odd, if Europe is now a much freer place, why was that the moment chosen to get rid of the last Free Radio station in Europe? As long as there is no "free" Radio Caroline on the air, there is no lead or inspiration for any other station to come along and try offshore radio. With each passing year, interest declines and diminishes and very few people in the younger under 35 group have the slightest idea what Free Radio is or what it is all about. If this situation prevails for the next ten years, as it has for the last ten, then, by the year 2010 there will be no Free Radio scene left in the UK to speak of and it will just all be a forgotten part of history. This will suit the Money Power Elite down to the ground and they will have a commercial radio monopoly for years to come.
8 So, getting back to our initial question, I would say that most Anoraks understand that pop pirate radio is seen as a means of taking audience away from "legitimate" radio stations and thus follow so called "Free Radio" but very few of them, I suspect, have any real understanding about conspiracy politics that is the real reason why Free Radio has to be prevented by the establishment and the Money Power Elite. I'm of the opinion that a very few people, as well as being deeply committed to the ideology of Free Radio do have some degree of knowledge about conspiracy politics and this may be why they seem more committed and ardent about their cause than many other Anoraks and people that follow the radio scene.
  Whoever was responsible for the raid on the Ross Revenge and slipping in a few extra "anti-offshore radio" clauses into the Broadcasting Act probably can't believe how successful they have been in, effectively, getting rid of Radio Caroline from the mainstream and virtually solving "the Free Radio problem" and conning us all into accepting the current dire state of UK commercial radio. As you will read below, the eventual goal of the radio establishment of having every commercial station in the UK controlled by just one radio group is moving a step further thanks to supposed lobbying by GWR and the scheming and conniving Radio Authority.
This essay also appeared in: Radio Review, 2000, 93, 11-14.
  2000 © Soundscapes