20 April 2005


I didn't really know George Matthews, the last surviving senior member of the Stalin-era Communist Party of Great Britain until his death at the end of last month, but I saw him often while I was working as deputy editor of New Times, the last attempt of the former-CP (by then Democratic Left and well past any pretence of being other than a soft-left pressure-group) to conquer the news stands. He came into the office most weeks and was a very pleasant old gent, always friendly and solicitous. It was strange to think that he'd been one of the CP's most hardcore Stalinist apparatchiks – not least as editor of the Daily Worker – yet had been the one who blew the gaffe on Moscow gold once the game was up (but not before). Mike Power's obituary in the Guardian is here; a slightly bizarre piece on his role in the wartime National Union of Students here.

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