Civil servants and the trolls

July 14 2012 at 11:50 PM
Guy Burgess 

Response to Re: As St Paul said......

Careful Louis or you'll feed the trolls yourself. Communists were never fully excluded from working in the civil service, even during the height of the Cold War. But there was a series of proscriptions that began in the late 1940s (after the first Soviet spy cases)that was then stepped up after the Radcliffe Report which followed the Vassal spy trial in 1963 and continued until the mid-1970s. At the same time most unions (with some honourable exceptions like the ETU)banned communists from holding office (usually on the grounds that you had to be an individual member of the Labour Party to stand or apply for office).

In the late 40s the first step was to demand that all civil servants (and applicants for employment into the service) declare whether they had been, or were, members of the CPGB or Mosley's Union Movement (or had relatives in the people's democracies) they then excluded communists from working in ministries deamed to be "sensitive" like the Foreign Office and the then Ministry of War. This also was enforced by the Bank of England and some other public institutions not formally considered part of the civil service. Restrictions on travel to socialist countries were also imposed on most grades.Known communists were transfered out to non-sensitive ministries like Health or Employment or fringe bodies like the British Museum. Failure to disclose was a dismissable offence.

The Radcliffe report (assisted by the right-wing in some civil service unions) sanctioned the exclusion of communist full-time union officers from entering "sensitive" offices on the grounds that they too could be "security risks" which led to their inevitable dismissal on the grounds that they could not fully carry out their duties (This led to a right-wing purge in the the old Civil Service Clerical Association of some prominent full-time officers at the time).

In the 1970s the Wilson-Callaghan government relaxed these restrictions and the bans and proscriptions were largely dropped as well (though not by the ETU, now in the hands of the right, which maintained them for many more years).

Guy Burgess
Eton & Cambrdige

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