Imagine a political movement which over most of a century murdered – well no one knows exactly – but maybe 100 million souls. Yet it was able to emerge with a general aura of being well-meaning.
Impossible one might think. Yet that is precisely the towering public relations achievement of the left. It is perfectly respectable to be a communist in Britain. Indeed it’s so respectable that the apologist for Stalin’s mass murder, Eric Hobsbawm, was made a Companion of Honour. Beat that for a PR success!
Since WWII, the ability of the left to somehow gloss over its own past employing a variety of tactics, and to maintain itself as widely regarded to be the work of people of goodwill, has baffled the intelligent.
The sanitisation of the left benefited hugely, of course, from the fact that it had another political phenomenon to dwell on and one against which Britain spent six years at arms. Plenty of horrors of war to point to, and better yet, a contest in which Britain was curiously allied with the principal regime at the time of the murderous left in Soviet Russia.
The left has become so accustomed to pointing a finger at others that it is honestly outraged when anyone reminds it of its own misdeeds. The Daily Mail’s recent savage criticism of Ed Miliband’s father was really about the fact that everywhere the left goes they destroy. The fact of the matter is that the Miliband family line has been about an unshakeable faith that next time the great experiment will work.
If Miliband senior had simply been preaching some novel ideas which had never been tried then the left would not be so touchy. The trouble is that he wasn’t. The project had been tried all over the world with results which were all too obvious. The Mail was drawing attention to the history of the left which it had never managed to suppress but had certainly managed to window dress in a variety of ways. Not quite nice to mention history.
When, during the 1950s, it fully emerged what had been going on in Russia the story often told was that mistakes had been made in a good cause. A delightful metaphor was invented – “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs’. As time went by a nice line in finessing developed which sought to separate communism and socialism as though they were radically different. If you can’t change the facts you can change the language.
Another gambit was that no one in British left-wing politics personally had anything to do with mass murder. Maybe not, but plenty had connections with it or had openly supported communist regimes when the worst was happening. The British communist leader, Harry Pollitt, like so many on the left, thought Stalin to be protecting the world from dictatorship! Whatever happened it could not be wrong. Can you believe?
At the time the communist regime collapsed in Russia, I asked an elderly communist what he now thought of communism. “It makes too great demands on human nature” he said. The last leader of the East German communist regime said they had tried to create a paradise and failed. The Stasi state aimed at paradise! Yet we now have a leader of the Labour party who says plainly that he wants a return to socialism.
Of course, Mr Miliband will quite honestly claim that his idea is simply a more socialised economy and perhaps redistribution of wealth. There is no thought of a totalitarian society.
But once you are on the path of extensive state control there is inevitable mission creep from two directions. When utopia does not emerge the cry goes up that the policies must be intensified. The theory can’t be wrong so the practice must be insufficient. More state control. Critics are seen as endangering the entire edifice before it can triumph and become ‘enemies of the state’. Little by little the socialised society turns to nightmare.
The last episode of Labour government demonstrated the early stages of the disease in many ways.
Never in modern history have the British people felt so constrained in what they could say. An avalanche of regulation, surveillance and clip board fetishism fed the bureaucracy. There was no problem a new regulation could not resolve. Nothing was too small to control. At one point it was proposed that every home should be compulsorily inspected each year to check the temperature of the hot water coming out of the tap. No it’s not murder, but it reflects the mindset of the left and the miserable condition of relentless and growing state intrusion which left-wing regimes incite.
Here’s another little tune from the socialist songbook. Did you know that if you knock up a new back door to your home one long weekend that’s a criminal offence? Don’t ask. Hint – global warming.
The degree of murderous infighting within government has been exposed by one of its key apparatchiks, Damian McBride. Ruthless suppression of ‘comrades’ is the way.
We do not know how far the tentacles of the secret state were extended during Labour’s last period in office but curious secret police activities undertaken by a private company, ACPO, were exposed during the Mark Kennedy scandal. The left-wing state’s position starts with ‘extremism’ being defined as terrorism but soon includes any kind of opposition to Marxist flavoured theories like ‘enrichment’ and ‘diversity’.
Put it all together and it’s not a pretty picture. You wonder how the pretence of sweetness and light is maintained. It could probably not have been without a perversion of Keynes. What started as the idea of government spending and borrowing more in times of exceptional difficulty was converted into a doctrine of the bigger the better where the state was concerned. Our entire politics has been corrupted by the demand for handouts of other people’s money. No one keener than Labour.
The entire ‘socialist’ phenomenon is as fraudulent as the previous incarnation of the left in the heyday of communism. And with a blood-drenched paternity.