Tim Blair


New Criterion



Thursday, July 03, 2003

Uncle and printed blogger Gerard Henderson have both blogged on the BBC-ABC celebration of the vicious traitors, Philby, Burgess, McLean and Blunt.

Here is some more information on some specific fabrications the scriptwriter has used to justify the treachery of his heroes:

Two incidents, for example, are shown playing a crucial role in pushing the quartet towards communism. In one of them, a Jewish girlfriend of Philby’s at Cambridge is subjected to Nazi-style insults. In another, college domestic workers who are on strike are beaten up by right-wing undergraduates. The most notable thing about both episodes, in the context of a supposed docudrama, is that neither of them actually happened: they were both dreamed up by the scriptwriter. And there are many other fabrications, including a KGB attempt to assassinate Franco which fails because Philby, decent and humane fellow that he is, can’t bring himself to pull the trigger.

Is all this starting to sound familiar? Historical "facts" being fabricated in the higher ideological cause, just like our naughty historians Ryan and Reynolds, and on the same team?

The fifth Cambridge spy, John Cairncross, makes only a brief appearance, for example: he is shown working as a wartime code-breaker, and rejecting Blunt’s suggestion that he start passing on information to the Russians. In reality, as Oleg Gordievsky has pointed out in a trenchant analysis of the series, during the war Cairncross kept the KGB supplied with a steady flow of decrypts, including the first news they received of work on the atomic bomb

And here's the defence from the BBC drama queen:

We don’t forget to be witty and cheeky and a little bit controversial, which we like. Otherwise we are going to have a drama which says, “What-ho, these chaps are traitors and we hate them.” It’s much more complicated than that.

According to the BBC corporate flack: “the truth is elusive.”

Or, as Professor Lyndall Ryan might put it: there are alternative truths.

With our professional historians inventing the past that suits their ideology, and our public broadcasters doing the same, the modern leftist orthodoxy needs no Orwellian 'memory hole'. They've found a more entertaining, and invisible, way of burying the past.