After previous articles looking at the reporting of Blair Peach’s death by the SWP and the IMG, today I thought I’d look at the Communist Party of Great Britain, which, after an initial period of scepticism about the Anti-Nazi League had come fully on board by late 1977, a shift marked publicly by the agreement of Ken Gill the General Secretary of TASS, an old-school loyalist to the Eastern European states, to speak at Peach’s funeral in 1979.
Here, with thanks to Evan Smith, are two examples of the CP’s involvement, as a party, in the campaign. The first (top) is a letter sent by Ken Worpole, a teacher, a friend of Blair Peach and a member of the Friends of Blair Peach committee, a writer about landscape, and at times a loosely-fellow-travelling supporter of the EuroCommunist wing of the CP, in February 1980, to the party asking it to support the demonstration to coincide with the opening of the final inquest, 4 days after the anniversary of Peach’s death. “We hope very much”, Worpole writes, that “the Communist party will agree [to] sponsor this demonstration and help mobilise as many people as possible on the day as part of a drive to run the tide against the vicious “law and order” offensive being waged against the working class movement, particularly the immigrant communities”.
The second (below) is a letter from the CP to the Home Office (and the official reply). CP General Secretary Gordon McLennan was adding his party’s name to the demand for a public enquiry into Peach’s death and the events at Southall. The Home Office’s reply is a typical piece of officialese, ignoring altogether the demand for an enquiry and merely repeating facts already in the public domain: that the police officers had been investigated by Commander Cass, and that the Director of Public Prosecutions had decided not to prosecute.
The important interim pieces of information – that Cass had called for prosecutions, but been turned down by the DPP – the civil servants knew perfectly well but refused to admit. As ever you can double click on the images to enlarge them.