Obituary,  The Left

Corin Redgrave, authoritarian figure

Scanning The Washington Post obituary for actor Corin Redgrave, I came across this photo caption:

Corin Redgrave excelled as authoritarian figures, despite being a committed Marxist.

I knew that didn’t look quite right, so I pulled out my copy of Nick Cohen’s What’s Left? and found the relevant passage (pages 58-59):

In September 1975, the first of many scandals to hit the [Workers’ Revolutionary] party broke when a young actress and WRP member called Irene Gorst told the Observer how obsessive terrors haunted a rebrick Edwardian mansion that Corin Redgrave had bought for the WRP in the Derbyshire countryside. [Party leader Gerry] Healy changed its name from the pastoral ‘White Meadows’ to the insurgent ‘Red House’, and made it the party’s residential training centre, Gorst said. The party banned fraternization with villagers over beers in the local pub. If your children cried outside the lecture hall, you had to wait until the lecture had finished before finding and comforting them. Nothing was to stand in the way of the preparations for the revolution.
She described how an inquisition consisting of Vanessa and Corin Redgrave and two party officials ordered her into a room.

‘They started on me. How long had I been working for Special Branch? Where had I planted the bombs and the drugs? Why did I miss the coach?

‘At first I was very flippant. I would say things like, “Let’s see where did I put the bombs? Was it in the loo? Was it under my bed?”‘

After an hour, she tried to leave. They pushed her back into a chair. ‘Don’t you dare,’ cried a party official. ‘You’re not leaving until we’ve found out what we want to know.’

It appears that– given Corin Redgrave’s particular brand of “Marxism”– excelling as authoritarian figures wasn’t a stretch at all.