Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My Life As A Stalinist


Charles Elwell died in January. He worked for MI5 prior to his retirement in 1979, but he continued his work against those he saw as being subversives. He came to edit "British Briefing" a clandestine document which ceased publication in 1990. This newsletter was printed by the anti-Communist Industrial Research and Information Service (IRIS). It claimed that copies were circulated to certain "political leaders, MPs, journalists and others", who were requested to treat it as confidential. It is said that "British Briefing" was funded to the tune of £270,000 over a three year period by Rupert Murdoch (see here and trawl down to the item entitled "The Campaign Against Labour").

I was first elected to parliament in 1987 and the above source states that in Charles Elwell's publication "Derbyshire MP Harry Barnes was labelled as 'quite a vigorous Stalinist underminer of British parliamentary democracy'." I operated my Constituency Office from our home and came to believe that over this period my phone was tapped, following a need to have it repaired after I dropped it on the floor. I always felt sorry for those who listened in as the case load must have sounded very boring.

I was in good company alongside other exposed "subversives" who included Patricia Hewitt and Harriet Harman as well as organisations such as Shelter and the World Council of Churches.

My letter written to the "Northern Echo" planted back in October, 1957 entitled "Russia, with its privileged class, isn't Socialist" in reply to the Secretary of the Durham Area Committee of the Communist Party, obviously didn't fool British Briefing. They knew an anti-Stalinist Stalinist when they saw one!


Robert said...

Harriet they must be mistaken, our Harriet could not be a subversive, she is New Labour

Harry Barnes said...

Robert: In Etwell's obituary in the Guardian on 21st January it stated that "His targets included Patricia Hewitt, who was to become a cabinet minister and privy counsellor under New Labour, and Harriet Harman, now deputy leader of the Labour party and Leader of the Commons, when they were, respectively, general secretary and legal officer of the National Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty) in the 1970s."
This was, of course, in ye good olde days before New Labour had been invented. Anyone with libertarian values in those days would be classified by Etwell as being subversive. If he had lived, he might have passed the mantle on to David Davis!