Last week I recorded an edition of Hardtalk for the BBC which has gone out today.  It is a discussion with Kate Hudson, the General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), on the future of nuclear weaponry. The discussion is available on iplayer here.

A couple of observations.

Firstly, I seem to have been responsible for a rare ‘corpsing’ during a Hardtalk recording. Kate Hudson took a comment by me about the ‘decades’ CND had been fighting a losing battle as an ungallant remark on her age. It was not meant as such, but did lead to a temporary break-down in discussions, for which apologies.

On a more substantial matter, I see that the BBC has left on the cutting-room floor what I think was an important point. Perhaps it has been left out (it was at the very opening) because the point caused Ms Hudson to threaten me with lawyers. In attempting to promote a more rounded view of CND than they necessarily present about themselves I cited information about the group’s past, in particular its past sources of funding. In doing so I referred to the letter from Dr Julian Lewis (now an MP) and others to the Sunday Times of 26 March 1995 (available here) headed ‘CND Cannot Rewrite History’. Of particular relevance, I think, is the final paragraph:

‘As for Soviet funding of CND, it was proven in November 1991 that the KGB bankrolled the British Communist Party throughout the 1970s – the very period when (as Bruce Kent repeatedly acknowledged) only the support of the Communist Party and of the Quakers enabled CND to survive.’

When I mentioned this information – which is already available and in the public domain – rather than refute the claim Ms Hudson said that I would hear from CND’s lawyers. I have not heard from them, but the BBC appear to have taken her threat to heart. This strikes me as a shame because I think an understanding of CND’s history is of importance in assessing their historical positions as well as their current ones.

Tags: BBC, CND, Communism, History, Libel law, Soviet Union