'The conclusions reached were the reporter's, not mine'
Communist Deputy Norman Le Brocq flew back to Jersey from the U.S.S.R. this week and said that he would stand by statements he made in highly critical articles on the Island which appeared in the 'Morning Star' last month. The paper is the official organ of the British Communist Party.
Says Deputy Le Brocq: "I stand by every quote I gave to the reporter. I don't see why I should go around pretending things are lovely here when they are not. I think the article gave a fair impression of the Island and I feel it was fair comment."
But the Deputy pointed out that while he agreed with what was written, the conclusions reached were those of the reporter and not his.
Immediately after the "Evening Post" was the first to reveal locally the statements made in the Communist paper, a number of Islanders took umbrage at what was said. Many felt that the Deputy had been unfair in his comments.
Says the Deputy: "I did not say anything I have not said in the States. The quotes were those I have made at public meetings on many occasions."
The "Morning Star" said that Jersey had "low taxation and low wages, nepotism, graft and corruption," and added the Island Communists have had to contend with "corruption almost Dickensian in its blatant Eatanswill ballot swaying. And fear."
"Fear of Islanders that they might lose their jobs, be turned out of their homes if they voted Communist, let alone become one."
The writer added that the States was run on a semi-feudal basis, mostly made up of ancient families "who know what is best for the people, especially for themselves, and the Island's millionaires."
Deputy Le Brocq was interviewed prior to his departure for the Soviet Union, where he and his wife had a month's all-expenses-paid holiday as guests of the Soviet Communist Party.
They spent two weeks at the Black Sea resort of Yalta, five days in Moscow and four days each in Leningrad and Stalingrad.
"We saw what we wanted to see, including a heavy industrial plant in Leningrad and a big hydro-electric dam on the Volga," he said.
And the Deputy added that he and his wife visited not only showpieces of the cities, but also the poorer streets.
"If we wanted to go for a walk at midnight on our own, there was nothing to stop us."
He said that the idea that guides kept a close watch on tourists was "nonsense".
The Deputy, who last visited Russia four years ago, added that he was impressed by the way the "glitter of life" was evident. The clothes were brighter and the standard of building was improving. In Yalta, young people carried their transistor radios everywhere and the Beatles were popular.
He had spoken privately to many Russians about the invasion of Czechoslovakia and he had told them how much he was against it. But however he tried justify his opinion, they would not accept it. They felt it had been a necessary move and equated it with the part played by the United States in the Dominican Republic and other places.
The Russian people, said the Deputy, were very worried about the threat of war with Communist China. What baffled them most was the fact they could not understand what the Chinese want.
"They find the Chinese attitude incomprehensible," he told me.Jersey Evening Post