Book Review from the October 1997 issue of the Socialist Standard
In Defence of the Party: The Secret State, the Conservative Party and Dirty Tricks by Colin Challen & Mike Hughes. Medium Publishing Co., I Main St, East Ardsley, Wakefield. £3.95.
The authors of this 60-page booklet are largely sympathetic to the Labour Party which they consider to be socialist or social democratic and is concerned with "dirty tricks" by the Conservative Party and its "front" organisations against the Labour Party.
It contains much useful information on generally little- known aspects, and activities, of the Tories, not just against the Labour Party but against whom the Conservatives consider to be subversive to the Nation and the State. The authors also comment upon the traditionally close connections of the Conservative Party with the British state, secret and open.
Hughes traces the career of Admiral "Blinker" Hall, former Director of Naval Intelligence, who leaked the infamous Zimmermann Telegram and Roger Casement's diaries to the press, assisted in the founding of the Economic League, became a Tory MP. and was involved in the publishing of the forged Zinoviev Letter. And much more besides.
Colin Challen writes of the large number of top Tories (and mentions that there were also a few Labourites) involved during, and after, the Second World War with MI5. the SAS. MI6 and other agencies of the British State; and how they, and members of these agencies, were used against their opponents, again not just in the Labour Party, but against other groups and individuals. The infamous Charles Elwell. former head of MI5's F Branch, Brian Crozier, and onetime pet of Mrs Thatcher. David Hart, who campaigned against the National Union of Mine Workers during the 1980s, are mentioned for their various "Dirty Tricks" on behalf of the Tories and, of course, British capitalism.
There is a particularly interesting, but too brief, account of how the Tories secretly and, therefore, undemocratically, raised millions of pounds through various fronts such as the "River” companies. British United Industrialists and other organisations, although, surprisingly, no mention is made of the millions of pounds donated to the Conservative Party by rich, and sometimes crooked, capitalists in Hong Kong. Northern Cyprus and elsewhere.
The Conservative Party is the traditional party of British capitalism. Nevertheless, every so often, despite the "Dirty Tricks", the British Labour Party (now called New Labour) wins power to attempt to run capitalism. Maybe it will become the "natural" party of government in Britain; and then we shall get books by Tory journalists listing all Labour's "Dirty Tricks". Who knows?
Peter E. Newell