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Enemy Within - the Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party.

Francis Beckett. John Murray. 19.99 [pounds sterling]. 0-7195-5310-5.

Some of us in the early stages of World War II predicted that Communism in Soviet Russia would collapse from within as that political ideology went against the instincts of human nature. It turned out thus.

Now we have a well researched, well written and unbiased book covering the aberration of the English equivalent of Russian communist thinking. The Communist Party of Great Britain, created in 1920, should not have been necessary because the home-spun Labour Party was already concerned with the appalling privations of the poor in pre-World War I life and the post-World War I horrors of unemployment, malnutrition and poverty. But men like Harry Pollitt who watched his sister die of hunger thought that Labour was not doing enough and so turned to Moscow for help to rid his fellow men of the political world which caused this trauma. Communism of the Russian variety appeared to be a possible and plausible solution. Not unnaturally, Moscow was only too keen to exploit this trend for their own ends.

However, Communism in its purest form, as anyone with a classical education will know, has little chance of success so long as human beings are on this earth. For human beings are not by nature keen to allow the necessary dogma, diktats and ruthless enforcement of ideology to submerge their basic instincts in the living world. Life is, after all, a question of the survival of the fittest and so it will continue to be, in spite of Socialism, until long after Doomsday. The Communist Party of Great Britain seems to have omitted this thought from their activities.

Inevitably the Communist Party of Great Britain, in spite of wads of financial aid from Russia to whom it was throughout its seventy-year history subservient, was doomed to failure even though Ramelson, Martin Jacques and Scargill etc., did their best to keep it alive. This is not to say that supporters of the Communist Party of Great Britain were not genuine in their aspirations for world revolution -- far from it -- but they eventually succumbed to their own internecine warfare about ideological thought. Political pundits may also say that the fall of the Communist Party of Great Britain and Communism in the Soviet Union was predictable in the history of world politics.

Aside from all this, Mr. Beckett brings in all the now famous (or infamous) `Cambridge Five' and Klugmann who, in the early '30s, really believed that Communism, as a bulwark against Fascism, was the road for Right -- (sorry Left) -- thinking people to take. Some of them were even able to accept the constant volte-faces (one is tempted to say `faeces') which Moscow expediently churned out as world events occurred. That is until the invasion of Hungary in 1956, so brutally put down by Soviet Russia, when the Communist Party of Great Britain lost much of its membership. From then on, it was downhill all the way.

All in all, a sorry tale but, alas, we are now left with the new Communist Party of Great Britain under the guise of the Democratic Left. Will we never learn or is it inevitable that any political system is bound to throw up obpectors and resisters no matter how potty? Indeed, the P.C. people try to persuade us that a man (sorry-person) with a bald pate should be described as having `follicular deficiency'. How idiotic can one be?
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Author:Lee, Peter
Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 1995
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