25 November 2005

Stan Newens – Ceausescuphile

Following the discussions about Keith Locke’s Marxist-Leninist past, I thought I’d add one of the more loathsome former British MPs to a list of shame.

Stan Newens. He was a British Labour MP in the 60s through to 1983. Then became a MEP (European parliament) from 1984-1999. None of this would be important if he hadn’t written a tome on Nicolae Ceausescu that was glowing called “Ceausescu- The Man, His Ideas, His Socialist Achievements” in 1972.

Remember Ceausescu, the megalomaniac dictator who levelled suburbs so a grand palace could be built, who used torture and political executions as a matter of course, and did virtually nothing useful his entire life, along with his wife who called the Romanian people “rats”. This is the country where HIV was spread by using infected blood donations to feed abandoned children – abandoned because contraception and abortion were banned to increase the birth rate, which had declined because the standard of living had declined. Ceausescu was a murderer, his eldest son was a rapist – and the family was reviled throughout Romania for good reason. His hated Securitate would kill political opponents, and were known to work in New Zealand – as some who fled the regime travelled that far.

Of course the 1970s British Labour government feted Ceausescu, effectively requiring the Queen to give him a knighthood and hold a reception for him. There was even one of those cool leftwing trade deals, where British intelligence and expertise were gifted to Romania - Romania started making British airliners, which nobody wanted (nobody wanted BAC 1-11s back then anyway). Margaret Thatcher, a chemistry graduate and then Leader of the Opposition amusingly started a conversation with Elena Ceausescu about science (Elena claimed several "degrees" in chemistry and other sciences ) which turned ugly because Elena knew absolutely nothing about it, and couldn't hold an intelligent conversation about her "degrees".

Unfortunately Ceausescu fooled a few Western governments by not allowing Soviet troops to be based in Romania - they thought he was independent and gave him intelligence, which was passed onto Moscow with little effort.

Stan Newens was a guest of Ceausescu’s Romania and contributed to its propaganda and aggrandisement. One of his books sits in the Victoria University Library. He would also write against human rights abuses and the lack of freedom in Bahrain – he isn’t wrong there, but one is staggered by his utter hypocrisy. I don't know if Stan Newens ever rethought about his book on Ceausescu, but there is no apparent evidence he ever apologised for it.

The wilful blindness of some of the left to the horrors of Marxism-Leninism is unconscionable – as would be similar blindness of those on the right to anti-Marxist dictators like Suharto, Pinochet and Somoza.

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