The Political Culture of the Left in Affluent Britain, by Lawrence Black (auth.)

By Lawrence Black (auth.)

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The Daily Mirror asked in 1955, seeing as all the Communists Cassandra' had ever met had been worse than solemn'. ' A Labour gathering to which he was party, was rated quite fun as it was largely non-political. f124 Socialists, in this sense, were not party animals. Legend has that CPGB members were reluctant dancers. ' The CPGB warned bur party branches present a rather austere picture to the average worker. f12S It was indicative of the breakdown of political codes in 1956, that a satirical journal, the Rhyming Reasoner, emerged.

47 Language also differentiated socialists. One critic found the CPGB's Marxism largely incomprehensible to outsiders'. ' 48 The left could be insulated by its own culture. '49 It was not only socialists that were to account for the mismatch with their audience. In the popular reflex of us' and them' Hoggart illustrated in The Uses of Literacy, politics and politicians fell into the latter. ~ll talk and no do', how't to choose between em' or bnly out for their own ends' were typical popular attitudes.

The enduring influence of the Wilson Report was the exposure its author received among local officials and activists. 7 The CPGB Commission, at least in its majority report, endorsed the status quo. This attested to the entrenched, conservative nature of party culture. The composition and workings of the Commission held out little prospect of change. Yet Communists were, on the whole, content to continue party life in the same mode. It was, after all, only a minority (if sizeable and vocal) that chose to leave the party in 1956 - most stayed.

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