Skip to Content

Coffee House Steerpike

Watch: Douglas Murray gives Richard Gott a history lesson

30 November 2016

3:25 PM

30 November 2016

3:25 PM

With Emily Thornberry en route to Cuba to attend the funeral of Fidel Castro, back in Blighty landbound socialists — with selective memories — continue to take to the airwaves to heap praise on the late dictator.

Happily during one such appearance, from Richard Gott — a former literary editor of the Guardian — on Sky News, Douglas Murray was on hand to offer a few home truths. After Gott heralded Castro ‘one of the most remarkable figures of the last century’ and ‘a really great, great man’, Murray gave an alternative take on the Cuban dictator:

‘History will remember him as one of the more minor 20th century dictators but a dictator nonetheless, a brute, a thug — somebody who overthrew one non-democratic regime and then forgot to hold a general election ever again.’


When Gott hit back that he was talking ‘complete rubbish’, Murray suggested that this was hardly surprising given Gott’s history with the KGB…

‘Well, I would expect to hear that from Richard Gott, who of course was an agent of influence at the KGB during the cold war and thus very clearly on the wrong side of history himself. But really all it is is that Castro himself provided a rallying point for everybody who was anti-American.

Of course there are people who hate America — hated America in the cold war and still hate it today who have to extol this man, despite the grotesque human rights abuses he carried out and make excuses for him.’

Gott then suggested that Murray might not have such a great grasp of history. However, this just led to Murray going into details of the terms of Gott’s departure from the Guardian:

‘I don’t remember the Vietnam war, but I do remember that you had to leave your job at The Guardian because you were outed as an agent of influence at the KGB. So it’s not like listening to a normal critic is it? It’s like listening to someone who worked for the SS talking about the Nazi rule in Germany in the 40s.’

And which publication revealed Gott’s links to the KGB? The Spectator. After an article in the magazine claimed that he had been recruited by the KGB in the late 70s and reactivated in 1984, Gott resigned from the Guardian — admitting that he had many meetings with members of the former Soviet Embassy but adding that he had not received money from the Russians he met.

Viva La Revolución!

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close