Tuesday 26 June 2007

Did a Russian Spy Get The Top Job?

I have already expressed my dislike of conspiracy theories.

So I'm not going to give you any theories here, simply facts.
I'll let you join the dots.
To me, they're fairly glaring in themselves.

What we are looking at is something that would harm the national psyche of this country to admit.
But nevertheless, the truth about Harold Wilson may not yet have been acknowledged.

When Anatoliy Golitsyn defected to the west in 1961, he provided information which led to the final nail being driven into the coffin of Kim Philby's career as a double agent. His information also led to the unmasking of the fourth of the Cambridge Five, Alistair Blunt.
His information also led to MI5 getting close to finding the fifth.

In 1964, progress in that field stopped.

Golitsyn also provided a list of ten senior Labour MPs, who he alleged were paid via the Czechs.
In 1964, when Blunt confessed, he named the same ten.

Let us look at that list.

1. Will Owen. In his case, MI5 proved the allegations. He was tried and convicted
2. Bernard Floud. He was interviewed once by MI5, before committing suicide.
3. John Stonehouse. Famous for other reasons, notably his faked disappearance. Nevertheless, it is known now that he was a Czech agent.
4. Tom Driberg. Again, it is pretty much proven now that Driberg was paid from Prague. As an aside, he was also provided with 'male company' by the Krays.
5. Stephen Swingler. Resigned from parliament when he realised he was the subject of an MI5 investigation.
6. Niall McDermot. Resigned from his ministerial post and stood down at the subsequent election.
7. Judith Hart. Her involvement with Russian recruiters at Oxford is pretty much proven.
8. Barnett Stross. Nothing ever proven.
9. John Diamond. Nothing ever proven.

One might say there is a pattern here. Certainly, it does seem that the list of ten was surprisingly accurate.

Some have sought to downplay this list, pointing out that only Owen was ever tried.


I'm sure you can all guess the tenth name on the list.

Golitsyn also revealed that in 1963 the KGB had been involved in a plan to assassinate a western European politician, with a view to putting 'their man' in a prominent position.

In 1963, Hugh Gaitskell, leader of the Labour Party, died suddenly. He died of lupus disseminata, a fungal condition almost unknown in Europe.
Harold Wilson succeeded him as Labour leader, becoming Prime Minister in 1964.

Figures close to Wilson during his career included Robert Maxwell and Joseph Kagan.

Both came to this country from Eastern Europe during the war. Both had more than one version of their life histories.
Both were later known to have received money from Prague at some point.

Wilson raised Kagan to the peerage in his retirement honours list- the notorious lavendar list.
Kagan was subsequently sent down for fraud.

Wilson resigned unexpectedly, without explanation in 1976.

Many MI5 officers remained convinced he was a Russian spy. From 1968 onwards senior political figures, including Cecil King the Newspaper baron and others discussed removing him by force if necessary.
After he won the 1974 election, pressure resumed amongst certain elements to remove him.

It remains hard to point to anything that Wilson personally did that aided the diplomatic relations of the West.
If MI5's suspicions were true, it is hard to assess the damage his eight years of office might have acheived. What might his paymasters have instructed him to do?

Even if he no longer actively assisted them at this point, but was merely a university recruit, he could have been blackmailed to follow soviet requests when needed.

Like many other recruits, he may well have regretted the choices he made when young, but was stuck in a web of his own making.

In this case there is too much smoke, too much circumstantial evidence, too many people in a position to know who took the possibility seriously, for us not to.

We do have a right to know- the powers that be know the answer for sure by now.
But it may be a while before the truth about Harold Wilson reaches our ears.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Blimey! Crafty old HArold... and I always thought he resigned because something was going to come to light about him and that Falkender woman....

Anonymous said...

Crikey - that IS an intelligent hypothesis.(As we would expect on this site)

I have often pondered the direction which this country has taken and why it is always against the will and the good sense of the majority. It is as though there is a parallel universe in which our ruling elites reside.

More damaging than Wilson is the generation that went to university in the sixties and seventies. I remember my parents saying "God help us when this lot get power - and lo..." The loud demonstrators of CND and Greenham Common were as nothing compared to those who quietly enlisted in the legal, political and educational establishments - not to mention the BBC which is now so overtly biased and leftist as to be a parody of itself.

And what have we got ? A sick society where life is cheap and pensioners are murdered in pretty seaside towns - where the same pensioners are locked up when they refuse to pay punitive taxation to fund the lifestyles of early release burglars who choose to live on welfare. Where the middle class is hated and targetted and everything is done to discourage habits which reinforce success through generations, hence we now have school placement by lottery being mooted.

Massive profligacy and inefficiency in the state sector and overweening control and surveylance. Stalin couldn't have done a better job himself and it is obvious to even the most uneducated dweeb that this will all eventually lead to the gulags.

I don't believe in God - but I do believe in evil and goodness, both are born of mankind and it is a mistake to take the benevolence of our rulers for granted. As with the flick of a switch centuries of liberty can be undone in a trice.

Rant over.

Anonymous said...

Kagan, Maxwell. What's your point about these two? I think you know what I'm getting at.

Anonymous said...

Harold was a slippery operator...on a par with Tony. But I am not convinced that he was ever a Soviet spy. Perhaps Hugh Gaitskell was murdered in 1963...I'll grant you that. Wilson resigned, as everyone knows, due to his awareness that Alzheimer’s was already upon him. Not because of Marcia.
The historian A. J. P. Taylor once remarked: “All men are mad who devote themselves to the pursuit of power when they could be fishing or painting pictures or sitting in the sun.” Wilson, Blair, Brown.....

Anonymous said...

Poody- And potentially worrying.

Welshcakes- I think the evidence accumulated may well have got too much and he was politely told to resign before the Met came round.

E-K- It's worth reading Spycatcher, by Peter Wright. 'Their trade Is Treachery', by Alexander Pincher also. There is also a book called 'The Fifth Man' which is worth a read, though I forget the Author. There are many books on the subject written by people with access to the necessary In formation The Soviet spies that were unmasked were scary enough. A very good job was done in the thirties across the West in getting people in place.

Jeremy- Not the point you are thinking. I merely note that both did very well under Wilson, both had known dealings with the Czechs, and would have been ideal agent runners for a Labour party circle of spies. Such a circle certainly esisted- the question is, did it ever include Wilson?

Istanbul T- This is the reason given. I'm not sure.
Many of those recruited in the thirties/forties regretted their choice, but it was a bit like the Hotel California- they could never leave. The fact that of Golitsyn's list more than hald can be domonstrated to have had some murky relations with the East, lends especial credence to him as a source.
It is worth noting that Donald Maclean decided he wasn't sure if he was a Communist in the weeks prior to his flight...
Bit late for that, you might say.

It may well be Wilson too regretted this choice, but it kept coming back to haunt his time in power.
I'm not saying he was a spy, but cetainly a lot of people in MI5 sincerely thought he was, and it can't be dismissed lightly.

Anonymous said...

Although Wilson did lots of leftie damaging things, did he really give our secrets away to the Russians? If he had and MI5 had know about it why was he not "found out".

Anonymous said...

I have just remembered that apparently there was to be an expose by a national paper about Wilson at the time which is said to have been enough to bring the government down but Wilson managed to get every copy of the paper pulped.

Anonymous said...

Ummmmm...I agree!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post.I believe it and I don't believe much!

Anonymous said...

Ed- MI5 suspected. But how do you take action againist your PM?
I think he was confronted in 1976.

Jenny- You're a sweetheart :)

The Ego- I'm pretty convinced he was, on the circumstantial evidence.

We'll know in another seventy odd years.