|The patron saint of Stalinism|
|Written by The Pilgrim at the British Resistance Site|
| Few people nowadays know the name Harry Pollitt, but he was perhaps one of the most influential people in Britain during the twentieth century. For many years he was the leader of the Communist Party, and narrowly missed out on winning a seat in parliament in 1945. He admired the mass-murderer Stalin, and was feted as a hero by the Soviet Union.|
Communist Party membership reached a peak in 1945, declining thereafter. This did not however mark the decline of communism in Britain – far from it. The Daily Mail writer Peter Hitchens records that:
Just after the Second World War, the leader of the British Communist Party, Harry Pollitt, went to Cambridge to speak to a gathering of highflying young Left-wingers.Another Daily Mail writer, Sue Reid, records that these young lefties “were soon exercising considerable influence in universities, the state education system, publishing houses, the legal hierarchy, and the civil service.” She does not mention the church, but I would be surprised if not one Oxbridge leftie from the 1940s ever found his way into the clergy.
The only senior clergyman I can think of in this country with openly communist leanings was Hewlett Johnson, known as the red dean. However he was already established as a clergyman and a communist long before Pollitt spoke at Cambridge.
Most of the young men who heard Pollitt’s rallying cry back in the 1940s are probably dead by now. Any who remain alive are probably long since retired from whatever professions they entered all those years ago, but I have a sneaking suspicion that their influence lives on.
A common feature of communist sympathisers is their callousness, their belief that the benefits of communism justify the deaths of millions of people. Another is their hypocrisy, for how many of them seek to justify or even mitigate the atrocities committed by Hitler or Mussolini or Franco?
We can perhaps gauge the extent to which Pollitt’s influence is still felt in this country by considering this quote from the website of the Methodist Church:
Second is the myth that everyone who votes for the BNP is a committed Nazi. People vote for the BNP for a whole number of reasons - as a protest, out of fear, out of resentment - and although their decisions should be challenged, these people should not be demonised and dismissed.
The fact that the Methodist Church is quite happy for its premises to be used for hustings meetings from which BNP candidates are excluded might suggest that they are not being entirely honest here. Also, implying that at least some BNP voters are Nazis is undeniably a form of demonization. Yet for all this, how often do the leaders of the Methodist Church, or any church, speak out against communism? For example, we know that communism is alive and well in the Labour Party, but the churches never tell their flocks not to vote Labour.
I don’t suppose Harry Pollitt, were he alive today, would regard Britain as bearing much resemblance to his vision for a Stalinist wonderland, but all the same it may be many years before the British establishment can rid itself of the stain of communist thinking which can be traced back to that speech at Cambridge more than sixty years ago.
But to end on a lighter note, back in the 1980s the BBC gave us a glimpse of what life might be like under a communist regime. Enjoy.