Not for nothing was the milieu of the 1930s though to the 1950s called “The Climate of Treason“, in the title of yet another book on the Philby matter, that one by Andrew Boyle.
However, that was a milieu inside a milieu. I once knew someone, father of a girlfriend, who pretended to be aggrieved that, when he was at Cambridge in the 1930s, he was “approached” neither by Soviet nor British recruiters! He attributed it to the fact that he read Engineering rather than whatever else, but I think that the fact is that intelligence recruitment probably passed most undergraduates by…
I daresay that, for most undergrads in the Cambridge of the 1920s and 1930s, life was not hugely different than it would have been in the late Victorian era.
As to Philby and his small group of fellow Marxist-Leninist zealots, there has grown up an idea that they were symptomatic of a decadent “ruling class”. In some sense, perhaps, but while certainly socially, or in privilege, far above the mass of the population, Philby and his lot (Maclean, Burgess etc) were really middle-class careerists.
I suppose that the myth has grown up because they all (even Cairncross) attended fee-paying schools; Philby was at Westminster. These were, though, not aristocrats or very (or at all) wealthy, and Philby was actually part-Indian, a fact which is rather glossed over even today.
The idea that Philby’s “treason” was of huge importance has, in a sense, been to the advantage of the British intelligence people. After all, if his behaviour was of no great importance in the big scheme of things, then the work of SIS and MI5 would also have to be assessed accordingly…
More tweets seen
Exactly right. “Covid” zealotry, and facemask nonsense fanaticism, have parted company with any reality now. We are in a situation where “the virus” has supposedly killed (in the UK), about 1 in every thousand people (in the world generally, it is about 1 in every 4,000 people). Serious, unpleasant, but not the plague, and no reason to shut down society and economy.
I say “supposedly” killed because in fact most of those people were really killed by other conditions suffered from at the same time.