Labour Spied for the Communists

Even when I have referred to the Labour Party as pinko commies, I wasn’t anticipating ties quite as close as have been recently revealed.

Labour was rocked by a Cold War spy scandal last night over allegations that a Party activist linked to two members of Tony Blair’s Cabinet spied for the Czech Government when the country was controlled by the Soviet Union.

Left-wing activist Cynthia Roberts, who stood as a Labour Parliamentary candidate, worked for the Communists under the codename Agent Hammer, according to documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday.

Mrs Roberts was running Labour Action for Peace (LAP) from an office in the House of Commons. As you might expect, the socialist peacenik group had ties to Soviet Russia, the regime that had nuclear missiles pointed at UK. In the twisted logic of such groups, it was okay for the Communists to have weapons and threaten the West, but it was not okay for the West to likewise protect itself.

LAP was not a fringe group and this was not the 1960s. This was the 1980s and members of the group included future Blair Cabinet ministers Robin Cookand Gavin Strang, as well as MPs Dennis Skinner and Jeremy Corbyn. Tony Benn, former MP and Cabinet Minister in the Wilson and Callaghan Governments, later became chairman of the group and was a member in the mid-80s. When asked about Mrs. Roberts, he said, “I do not recall meeting Cynthia Roberts and there is no reference to her in my diary, which I have checked.”

Nope, never heard of her.

Dennis Skinner was an member of the LAP executive committee at the same time Mrs Roberts was the secretary. The usually candid Mr Skinner said “Don’t know the woman, never heard of her, don’t know what you’re on about.”

Nope, never heard of her.

It is fortunate that Cynthia Roberts stood for Parliament in the safe Conservative seat of Eastleigh. Otherwise there would could have been a Communist spy serving in the House of Commons. On the other hand, since Roberts’ connections have raised questions about those with whom she was closely associated, perhaps she wouldn’t have been the first.

The New Stasi

In the former Soviet Bloc, everyone had to be very careful, because no one ever knew if their neighbour was spying on them to report them to the government. Miss those good ol’ days? Welcome to Gordon Brown’s Britain.

As reported today in the Daily Telegraph, if you live in the UK, your neighbours may have been recruited by the local council to report on you. They may be your very young neighbours.

Children as young as eight have been recruited by councils to “snoop” on their neighbours and report petty offences such as littering, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The youngsters are among almost 5,000 residents who in some cases are being offered £500 rewards if they provide evidence of minor infractions.

One in six councils contacted by the Telegraph said they had signed up teams of “environment volunteers” who are being encouraged to photograph or video neighbours guilty of dog fouling, littering or “bin crimes”.

The “covert human intelligence sources”, as some local authorities describe them, are also being asked to pass on the names of neighbours they believe to be responsible, or take down their number-plates.

Ealing Council in West London said: “There are hundreds of Junior Streetwatchers, aged 8-10 years old, who are trained to identify and report enviro-crime issues such as graffiti and fly-tipping.”

Hundreds of Junior Streetwatchers. That’s just the ones working for one council.

Don’t confuse this with a neighborhood crime watch program. This is paying people to look into your garden to see if you have put your rubbish bins in the right place.

This comes at the same time that many councils are only collecting rubbish on a fortnightly basis, because they can not longer afford a weekly service, even though they are still collecting the same amount in council tax. Of course if rubbish has to be stored for twice as long, it is twice as likely that it will result in an infraction of local regulations – more money for the eight-year-old spies climbing over the fence for a peek.

This escalation in Britain’s growing surveillance state follows an outcry about the way councils are using powers originally designed to combat terrorism and organised crime to spy on residents. In one case, a family was followed by council staff for almost three weeks after being wrongly accused of breaking rules on school catchment areas.

It also emerged last month that around 1,400 security guards, car park attendants and town hall staff have been given police-style powers including the right to issue on-the-spot fines for littering, cycling on the pavement and other offences.

Big Brother really is watching.