Perhaps not quite what you want in your obituary

In reality Allen was a prime example of that breed of urban revolutionaries satirised by the writer John Sullivan in the character of Wolfie Smith , the self-proclaimed leader of the revolutionary Tooting Popular Front in the BBC sitcom Citizen Smith (1977-80), and his life story was almost as rich in comic detail.

25 thoughts on “Perhaps not quite what you want in your obituary”

  1. He was probably a secret member of the People’s Front of Judea. Or was it the Judean People’s Front?

    Either way, a Mickey Mouse Marxist

  2. Obits of people like this appear with monotonous regularity.

    The shocking thing about them is how high up the academic ladder they progressed – it certainly couldn’t have been due to teaching excellence, could it? – giving one to wonder just how many young minds they poisoned over the years.

    And how many more obits like these will appear down the years with the devotion to the cause of the successor tyrant states such as N Korea, Libya, Iraq etc.

  3. My son’s girlfriend who is doing politics as part of her degree was commenting that for her politics essays in her final year all she has to write is: Tories bad, hate Thatcher, and she’s just about guaranteed a pass as the lecturer is so left wing he makes Ed Miliband look right wing.

    I hoped she was joking but she reckons she wasn’t.

  4. So Much for Subtlety

    Mike – “Either way, a Mickey Mouse Marxist”

    Only because the Soviet Army never made it through the Fulda Gap. If they had, he would have been the Minister for State Security or the like.

    Nothing Mickey Mouse about these traitors.

  5. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    I’m originally from Tooting and “Foxy” remains a hero.

    Alas my school’s teaching staff was chock-full of Lefties like Allen, so was the ILEA until Fatcher disbanded it. Then I studied at Portsmouth and ran into more of the bastards.

    It’s’a womder I’ve turned out as level headed as i have.

    Best Wishes

    Gen F. Franco

  6. ‘Agent of Influence’, Codename “Tell us Something we Don’t Know Already”.

    If you were to tell me Keith Joseph was a Stasi agent I would be very impressed; this, not so.

  7. As a 13 year old I was asked by my Social Education teacher to tell the class why I openly refused to go on a bus he had organised to a CND march. “Cos you’re all commies” was apparently a facetious response.

  8. SMFS calls it. He is only a joke because life didn’t work out for him and his pals and he didn’t get the chance to be a full-on traitor. He was a friend of and collaborator with evil.

  9. “Allen….blah blah…. communist…. was a Professor of Sociology”

    Of course. It’s almost inevitable isn’t it?

    I feel that us lot, broadly of the right, should feel no shame whatsoever engaging in some schaedenfreude at the rather pathetic, Politburo worshipping die-hards. Our side won!

    You still see them about occasionally. A year or two ago I was in Holborn and assorted commies were having a parade. They were carrying big portraits of Stalin, Mao and Kim Il-Sung fer fucks sake! I would be horrified but given the average age of the marchers (a good portion must have not gone to the great Central Committee in the sky), I’m prepared to give these demented old fucks a pass. There’s bigger fish to fry.

  10. I did some postgrad stuff at Portsmouth. I don’t remember any extreme lefties among the staff in the engineering department. Quite a few ex-Navy blokes with robust opinions, though.

    Perhaps dealing with reality rather than theory precludes left-wing opinions?

  11. >Perhaps dealing with reality rather than theory precludes left-wing opinions?

    Or that if you’re a political agitator with no other discernible skills then the Politics department is what will seem attractive to you? There used to be loads of lefties in science and engineering.

  12. @SFMS

    “Only because the Soviet Army never made it through the Fulda Gap. If they had, he would have been the Minister for State Security”

    There was literally never any chance of that happening. They had the numbers but their technology was woeful. Not hindsight – NATO had their measure and all on both sides knew it.

    It may not have been expressed, because generals and air vice mashalls do like their funding*, but BAOR could have handled them on their own, with a bit of US help, as long as they didn’t invade on New Years Eve. Maybe I exaggerate a bit there.

    *John Hackett’s book was a nice bit of show us yer money propaganda.

  13. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Just to remind ourselves: we should not lose sight of the fact that no matter how lacking in genuine influence this guy was, he was an unrepentant supporter of a political system that killed a hundred million people, often in the most atrocious ways. He conspired with agents of that political system to bring it about in the UK, albeit unsuccessfully. We’re still trying to prosecute geriatric Nazis; why was this bloke not harried from pillar to post until his life became an affliction to him?

  14. “Nothing Mickey Mouse about these traitors.”

    In an alternative universe somewhere, Himmler died in 1976, and his obituary was very similar to this one.

    In the right circumstances people like this are utter bastards and steeped in blood. He did enough damage as it is.

  15. @Dan paywalled but I googled the phrase and think I found it. Interesting ta. I do disagree with this:
    “If you’re old enough to have lived through the mass lobotomy that afflicted America in the leadup to the 2003 invasion, the phrasing and logic of that last quote should be painfully familiar. It amounts to this: “We have no proof but they [Saddam, the Russians, whoever you want to spend a few trillion blasting] did it anyway.”

    Weird thing is Iraq did gave chemical and biological stuff and the Tanks found thousands (literally) of shells and bombs filled with it. US soldiers were injured by it. Why it wasn’t shouted from the rooftops by Bush I have no idea.

  16. So Much for Subtlety

    Interested – “There was literally never any chance of that happening. They had the numbers but their technology was woeful. Not hindsight – NATO had their measure and all on both sides knew it.”

    I agree there was little chance of that happening but only because of America’s nuclear deterrent. Little else stopped them. Yes the Soviets were behind in electronics, but I would think that only started to make a difference in the 1980s. In everything else, the Soviets were ahead. For all the West’s bluster, we usually copied what they did but a decade or so later. Often much more than a decade later.

    “It may not have been expressed, because generals and air vice mashalls do like their funding*, but BAOR could have handled them on their own, with a bit of US help, as long as they didn’t invade on New Years Eve. Maybe I exaggerate a bit there.”

    A bit. It is worth keeping in mind that the Americans looked at the French Army and decided it could not fight man to man with the Iraqi Army. Which is why they were given a token role in the Gulf War and ended up swanning around the desert.

    There is a nice table in J. B. A. Bailey’s book which compares how many tons of metal the British 1st Corp could throw in a minute with how much a Soviet Army could. The British could manage 55.6 tonnes. The Soviet’s D-30s alone could do more than that. 367.3 tonnes. No, the BAOR could not stop them.

  17. @Interested: Have you any links explaining why you think the way you do about the whole NATO vs Warsaw pact thing? I’ve never read anything that said anything other than the Russians would have been at the Channel inside a week if it had all kicked off. Western superior technology being outgunned by overwhelmingly superior numbers.

  18. So Much for Subtlety

    Interested – “@SMFS sorry but on this matter you have no idea whereof you speak.”

    It is such shameless cruising for a fight I am inclined to be trolled.

    But perhaps not.

  19. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    A conventional war between NATO and the Waraw pact would never have happened.

    The Yanks were all stoned on cocaine and the Russians had all gone blind from drinking the anti-freeze from their tanks.

  20. Bloke in Costa Rica

    About 1986 or so, when I was 17-ish, we had a bloke from Jane’s do a talk for our General Studies course. One of the major discussion topics was the likely outcome of a Soviet invasion into West Germany. He said that they had wargamed it over and over, and the result they kept coming up with was that it would go nuclear about eight hours in, the reason being that NATO would so thoroughly ravage Soviet first echelon forces (primarily through greatly superior ATGWs and air supremacy from over the FEBA to a long way East) that theatre commanders would request, and receive, authorisation to throw some tac nukes about. After that it got a bit dicey. His main point was that the Soviet General Staff had done the same wargames, and knew the score. There was also the factor that about a million Poles, Czechs, Hungarians etc. would promptly shoot their commissars, defect and that a serious problem for NATO would be prisoner handling.

    Now, this may have been purest bollocks, but it sounded very convincing.

  21. So Much for Subtlety

    Bloke in Costa Rica – “He said that they had wargamed it over and over, and the result they kept coming up with was that it would go nuclear about eight hours in, the reason being that NATO would so thoroughly ravage Soviet first echelon forces (primarily through greatly superior ATGWs and air supremacy from over the FEBA to a long way East) that theatre commanders would request, and receive, authorisation to throw some tac nukes about.”

    There are two immediate problems with that. One is that there is no reason to think the Soviets would not begin with the use of tactical nuclear weapons. All their training and doctrine seemed to suggest they would.

    The second is that every time someone launches a surprise attack, or even just an attack, they catch the enemy’s planes on the tarmac and have more or less uncontested air dominance for the first phase of their campaign. The exceptions are minor – The Yom Kippur War when Egypt did not even try to dispute the air for instance. NATO relied on a small number of airplanes that need large concrete runways to fly. Obvious runways that even the Soviets could not miss.

    Without total control of the air what was left for NATO? Guided missiles are annoying but anyone with enough tanks concentrated in one place will not be bothered by them for long.

    “There was also the factor that about a million Poles, Czechs, Hungarians etc. would promptly shoot their commissars, defect and that a serious problem for NATO would be prisoner handling.”

    If the Soviets were losing and their Armies disintegrating, sure. They probably would. But no one is going to do it when the Soviets are winning. No one is going to try if there is a good chance they and their families will be shot.

    What is so depressing about the Soviets is that they may not have been able to run an economy sensibly, but their military theory was so far ahead of the West it is not funny. I have a lot of time for Fuller for instance, but if you look at what the Soviets were writing at that time, it is just absurd. It took the Americans until the 1980s to start writing about the operational level of fighting for instance.

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