When The Kissing Had To Stop
Panther, London, 1978
For Moyra and for Roger
dedication: For Moyra and for Roger
The blurb on the back:
Red Star Over Britain
So there's a landslide Labour election victory, largely thanks to their promise to scrap British nuclear weapons and kick out all the American bases, and in response the establishment closes ranks with the Yanks to try to thwart the democratically elected government.
In other words, what we've got here is the same plot as A Very British Coup, but nearly a quarter of a century earlier. And, indeed, from the opposite side of the political fence, Because Mr Fitzgibbon is very clearly on the right, and is only too happy to take the view that the disarmament campaign was essentially a front for Moscow, even if most of its members were too gullible to notice. A tad reactionary of course, and the actual mechanics of the Soviet takeover are not exactly plausible, but it's all a long time ago, so I can afford to say that this is really quite a charming book. The man could write straight, precise prose and he certainly manages to control a pretty large cast with ease and some style.
In 1962 Bill Hitchcock made a two-part TV adaptation for Associated Rediffusion with a cast that included Denholm Elliott, Douglas Wilmer and Peter Vaughan (later to play Harry Grout in Porridge). I've never seen this - don't even know if it's survived - but Leslie Halliwell claimed it was better than the book. For what that's worth.
Incidentally, the dates of publication are interesting here: first published 1960 (at the height of CND the first time round), reprinted 1971 and again in 1978 - times when industrial unrest was provoking right-wing suggestions that trade unions were under Russian control. What do these fantasists believe nowadays? Are the Left in the pay of militant Islam? I think we should be told.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 5/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 2/5
The Chilian Club