April 29: Reflections at the End of the War, II

I was already fairly left wing when unexpectedly I won a scholarship to LSE in 1950. There I did something really crass and became the editor of the college magazine, ‘The Beaver’, which was really a full time job. However, through this post I met most of the leaders of the Labour Party including Harold Wilson, Aneurin Bevin, Nye Bevan and Jim Callaghan. I remained left wing but did not join the Labour Party. I was beginning to have serious reservations about Russian policy in Eastern Europe and even some of the activities of the Communist Party members at LSE.

However, whenever I discussed these questions with the very personable representative of the Communist Party at the University, he rather disarmed me by accepting some of my criticisms and suggested that I join the party as a sort of watch dog to keep a look out for any misdemeanours. I was still unresolved about these issues when I encountered another student who I knew only slightly, although I had heard him speak in the Union from a devout Christian point of view.

For this chap, Tom, all the wrongs of the world were caused by sin which drove out love and by love he did not mean sexual attachment but extending goodwill to other people and recognising them as a sacred part of the world which God had created. He emphasised the obvious but rather important point that however clever we thought we were and whatever scientific advances we had made we had not created the universe which was the product of a much more powerful creative force, or brain, than we could deploy. To think otherwise was to be guilty of the grossest hubris the folly of which the Greek thinkers had foreseen.

I found that I agreed with much of Tom’s argument having been inducted into the basic Christian beliefs by my mother who was a devout Anglican and by my father, a lapsed Quaker, who placed more emphasis on the sanctity and potentiality of the individual person.



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