Book Review from the April 1998 issue of the Socialist Standard
The Stone Canal by Ken MacLeod. Legend £5.99.
" . . . they were doing a respectable trade in a pamphlet. In between keeping half an eye on the demo and chatting to whichever of them wasn't in full flow, I flipped through 'Is a Third World War Inevitable?': its cover as lurid as any peace-movement propaganda, its contents a frosty dismissal of two centuries of peace campaigns—all of which had failed to prevent (where they hadn't actively endorsed) increasingly destructive wars."
This presents a reasonable description of the pamphlet in question, and gives a good idea of MacLeod's basic attitude to the Socialist Party: poking gentle fun at us, but in a basically friendly way. Elsewhere, the same character recalls some of his childhood memories:
"The Russians were in my mind a vague, vast menace. They had done something unpleasant and unfair to a friend of my father's, an old gentleman whose photograph was framed above the fireplace: Karl Marx. The Russians had distorted him. Whatever that was, it sounded painful."
A chance finding of the Russia today pamphlet Soviet Millionaires in a bookshop leads to the observation that "It hadn't stayed in circulation long, not after the SPGB had seized on it as irrefutable proof that behind the socialist façade the USSR concealed a class of wealthy property-owners."