December 27, 2003


In his John Halfpenny obituary (no link available) printed in Friday’s The Australian, Labor member of Parliament Lindsay Tanner attempts a brave historical revision:

Since the '50s, the wealth of our society has increased enormously. It is because of people such as Halfpenny that ordinary workers have managed to obtain a share of that increased wealth.

Halfpenny was a communist trade union official (he quit Australia’s Communist Party in 1979). If it had been up to him, Australia would never have seen the wealth increases subsequently obtained by so many. It is despite people such as Halfpenny (could Dickens himself have come up with a better name for a wealth-slicing commie grandstander?) that ordinary workers are no longer ordinary workers, but share market investors, home owners, and happy.

Posted by Tim Blair at December 27, 2003 12:39 AM

Communism works only in histories written by communists.

Posted by: Fred Boness at December 27, 2003 at 04:02 AM

I am always bewildered by this revisionism, and how it appears to happen primarily on the Left side of the house.

If someone had been a KKK member, a Nazi Party member, even a John Birch society member, would they be given half the implicit compliment accorded the likes of this fellow and his American fellow-traveler counterparts?

Would anyone write, "If the world is free today, it was helped along by contributions of the likes of John Gauleiter, in stopping Communism in XX land"?

Of course not. NOR SHOULD THEY BE. To use an old Left phrase, they were on the wrong side of history. Of course, as it turns out, the Left was also on the wrong side of history. But, somehow, rewriting THEIR histories is perfectly acceptable....

Posted by: Dean at December 27, 2003 at 06:07 AM

Early announcements of Halfpenny's demise on the ABC - News Radio, specifically - managed to avoid all mention of his CP links. Even the bloody obits are revisionist!

Posted by: murgatroyd arbuckle at December 27, 2003 at 12:20 PM

There was also no mention of how Halfpenny left poor Mrs. Havesham at the altar and drove the poor woman insane.

Posted by: Dave S. at December 27, 2003 at 12:33 PM

I lived through JH's era and saw sufficient to simply say, "Dead? - good".

Posted by: Bushy at December 27, 2003 at 01:19 PM

ahh well, another good one out of the way. he had a pretty nice life for a devout communist. do atheist socialists go straight to hell or do they hang out in limbo for a while BEFORE they go to hell?

Posted by: roscoe.p.coltrane at December 27, 2003 at 05:03 PM