Friday, June 20, 2003
Meet the Fabians
posted by Jonathan Calder |
I was connected by marriage with Mrs Sidney Webb, and had, indeed, spent the last weekend before leaving for Moscow at Passfield to receive her and her Consort's blessing.
These two extraordinary individuals were then in the high tide of their Soviet enthusiasm. She paced up and down with her large quick strides, while he sat, minute, in his chair. Together they intoned their Fabian admiration for the Soviet regime and all its works, one taking up the refrain when the other paused. His particular enthusiasm was for the Consumers' Co-operatives, hers for the Party elite and their abstemious ways.
What they really admired was the regime's sheer power; the fact that there were no votes to be taken, no motions to be referred back, no tedious, boneheaded trade unionists to be coaxed and cajoled. This emerged when Mrs Webb said: "It's true that in the Soviet Union people disappear.
"She accentuated this last word, "disappear", and I realised, even in my somewhat euphoric condition, how happy she would have been if similar arrangements prevailed in the LCC, and recalcitrant councillors and aldermen could be made likewise to disappear.
Malcolm Muggeridge Tread Softly for you Tread on my Dreams (1966)