CND cannot rewrite its own history

29 April 2013

Last week I recorded an edition of Hardtalk for the BBC which has gone out today.  It is a discussion with Kate Hudson, the General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), on the future of nuclear weaponry. The discussion is available on iplayer here.

A couple of observations.


Firstly, I seem to have been responsible for a rare ‘corpsing’ during a Hardtalk recording. Kate Hudson took a comment by me about the ‘decades’ CND had been fighting a losing battle as an ungallant remark on her age. It was not meant as such, but did lead to a temporary break-down in discussions, for which apologies.

On a more substantial matter, I see that the BBC has left on the cutting-room floor what I think was an important point. Perhaps it has been left out (it was at the very opening) because the point caused Ms Hudson to threaten me with lawyers. In attempting to promote a more rounded view of CND than they necessarily present about themselves I cited information about the group’s past, in particular its past sources of funding. In doing so I referred to the letter from Dr Julian Lewis (now an MP) and others to the Sunday Times of 26 March 1995 (available here) headed ‘CND Cannot Rewrite History’. Of particular relevance, I think, is the final paragraph:

‘As for Soviet funding of CND, it was proven in November 1991 that the KGB bankrolled the British Communist Party throughout the 1970s – the very period when (as Bruce Kent repeatedly acknowledged) only the support of the Communist Party and of the Quakers enabled CND to survive.’

When I mentioned this information – which is already available and in the public domain – rather than refute the claim Ms Hudson said that I would hear from CND’s lawyers. I have not heard from them, but the BBC appear to have taken her threat to heart. This strikes me as a shame because I think an understanding of CND’s history is of importance in assessing their historical positions as well as their current ones.

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  • tom_billesley

    History repeats itself – Putin supports anti-fracking campaigns of environmentalists in order to keep Europe dependent on Russian gas supplies, according to
    NATO Secretary General

  • Vindice

    Quite revolting manners Kate Hudson exhibits. She is a terrible advocate for her cause.

  • PaulinusMinimus

    In the picture I can spot Bruce Kent, Joan Ruddock and ‘Baroness’ Ashton. Who’s the fat dumpy one with long hair and the pompous looking man in the fisherman’s smock?

  • Andy M

    Basically her personal agenda of ridding the world of all nuclear weapons, with countries like Britain and America doing so first, trumps all common-sense and logic when it comes to protecting the safety of the West from nutjob rogue states who have always done what they want and will continue to do what they want. Yes, let’s give up our nukes just when North Korea and Iran are about to get theirs. Wow, that’s a fantastic idea. Is she that stupid that she can’t realise that the regimes in control of these countries are not sane or reasonable? There is no reasoninng with them, no option for diplomacy and certainly no way they can be trusted to keep nukes while we disarm ours!

  • C Cole

    Kate Hudson sounds delightfully chippy, doesn’t she? A shining advocate of reasoned discussion and debate. Giving a lot worse than she gets, etc.

    Still, it can’t be easy being constantly overshadowed by your own mum, the evergreen and ever lovely Goldie Hawn.

  • jjjj

    The two characters on the left look a bit like Cherie Booth and her father!

  • jjjj

    Cathy Ashton looks very meek and er…sweet here. I can’t believe she has risen so far.

  • darwins beard

    as a general principle CND is a horrifically short sighted typical lefty Idea that demands burying your head in the sand on the understanding that not having nuclear weapons will protect you from those who do.

  • The Sage

    Bugger me! It’s Baroness Ashton before she got her Lear jet.

  • mightymark

    I suppose when everyone else is opportunistically using the economic situation to cut spending on their pet bugbears it was only to be expected that CND would get their snouts in the trough too!

  • Ulrich Mors

    Thanks for the explanation (BBC interview). I knew something was lost somewhere… Kate irritated us by interrupting you all the time…

  • edlancey

    Cathy Ashton looks as if she is carrying a miniature horse’s head – some feeble Godfather-style joke ? or am I going mad ?

  • arnoldo87

    What exactly was the claim that you say Kate Hudson refused to refute?
    1. Russia funded the British Communist Party? – nobody in their right mind would think of refuting that claim.
    2. The British Communist Party independently supported CND? This doesn’t appear to be too defamatory in a free society.
    3. The Russians funded the British Communist Party on the express understanding that some of the money would go to CND? A far more serious charge.
    4. The Russians funded CND using the Communist Party as its conduit? Also a grave allegation.
    If the answer is 3 or 4 then it would be a deplorable state of affairs – if true. If not true, you could understand Kate Hudson being upset.
    We need more clarity on what you and others are actually claiming here.
    Otherwise, isn’t it all just vague anti-CND propaganda?

  • GUBU

    I have fond memories of the 1980’s.

    Then I see this, and am reminded of all the dreary, earnest pointlessness of the left.

    And the memories seem even better…


    Blimey, I thought the third one from the left was a young [er] Mr R Liddle.

    • chan chan

      It goes to show – the Useful Idiot Gravy Train is most lucrative…don’t knock it, kids! One day, you too could be a totally useless and ineffectual leftist non-entity being laughed at the world over – but being paid several hundred grand a year of taxpayers money for the pleasure. KER-CHING!!

  • JabbaTheCat

    Excellent photograph, perfectly encapsulating Lenin’s phrase ‘useful idiots’, with the emphasis on the idiot part of the equation…

  • ProffessorPlum

    “As for Soviet funding of CND, it was proven in November 1991 that the KGB bankrolled the British Communist Party throughout the 1970s –”

    it has also been proven that Roosevelt and Churchill gave half of Europe to Stalinist Russia. Russia also got the means to construct nuclear weapons from America.

    • Robert Kenyon

      What’s your point?

      • ProffessorPlum

        “What’s your point?”

        The point is that Roosevelt, Churchill had very close links to Russia and did things that were to its benefit. The writer of the article is trying to undermine CND’s credibility by linking it to Russia – making it look like it was a puppet of the Russians. If they were puppets they were in very good company.

        • Adam

          That doesn’t work. Churchill and Roosevelt’s “close links” extended to helping defeat the Nazis. Beyond that, they did not help the Soviets. Indeed, Roosevelt didn’t even live to see the Cold War. They handed Eastern Europe on a plate because they couldn’t face another bloodbath immediately after WW2.
          Meanwhile, CND was a front for the Soviets – hence they never demonstrated outside the Soviet or Chinese embassies, calling for disarmament. They only had a problem with Western liberal democracies – but then again, that’s your problem too.

          • ProffessorPlum

            “That doesn’t work. Churchill and Roosevelt’s “close links” extended to helping defeat the Nazis. Beyond that, they did not help the Soviets.”

            Spoken like someone who has absolutely no knowledge of the Yalta or Tehran conferences.

            “They handed Eastern Europe on a plate because they couldn’t face another bloodbath immediately after WW2.”

            Not the view of some US Gemerals. However, don’t you think it rather odd when they were in the middle of a bloodbath the aim of which was to stop German reunification with Danzig. Are you saying that all those lives were lost for nothing?

            Do you think the fact that Roosevelt government was full of communists might have had something to do with his generosity?

            • Adam

              My reply to Plum the friend of Holocaust denial was censored.

  • chan chan

    There’s nothing like a nice photo of commie useful idiots. My, how far Catherine Ashton, third from the left, has come…

  • DougS

    What a rag tag bunch!

    Their pathetic failure to convince the British public or even some of the ‘wobbly’ MPs didn’t seem to harm their future career prospects though. Joan Ruddock is still an MP and Cathy Ashton is troughing at the EU on an eye watering salary plus benefits and a nice big pay-off when she retires. Tells you all you need to know about the EU!

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