Stephanie Flanders (above) seemed as good a place as any to start – and topical too, for she’s been much in evidence in recent days, pronouncing Thursday on the G20 in Seoul (but contradicted very convincingly at 1:54:25 by Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs Asset Management) and a couple of days earlier on the US’ latest round of quantitative easing (but contradicted persuasively even by Larry Elliott in the Guardian!).
It turns out that Flanders’ maternal grandfather was none other than that gifted writer but also long-time communist sympathiser and probable Soviet agent of influence, the journalist Claud Cockburn.
Cockburn it was who, when covering the Spanish Civil War, was accused by George Orwell of slanting his reports to discredit non-Stalinist elements fighting against Franco, and of being Stalin’s confidant, mouthpiece and direct agent in Spain: Cockburn it was too who recanted his previous opposition to the 1930s’ appeasement of Hitler immediately on the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 which conceded to Stalin the subjugation of Eastern Poland. It’s sometimes alleged that, curiously, despite his professed sympathies for Stalinism and antipathy to capitalism, Cockburn never visited the Soviet Union but visited the US on many occasions – well, I guess you have to experience a free society many times to remind yourself how bad it is………
Flanders also has as one of her half-uncles the US-based journalist Alexander Cockburn, equally a very fine writer, but one who – apart from his scepticism about the AGW scam – is predominantly left-wing. Among the most consistent themes of his writing are: criticism of the Democrats for not being sufficiently “progressive”: criticism of US foreign policy generally and of support for Israel in particular: and criticism of those already on the left who attack political positions further to the left than their own.
Flanders is an alumna of the same St Paul’s Girls’ School which counts Harriet Harman and Shirley Williams as former students, and is noted for her close networking links with current pillars of the Labour establishment. (Two Eds…..DV)