Colditz and Conservativism – The Curious Case of Airey Neave 

Airey Neave (1916–1979) was a British soldier, lawyer and Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) between 1953-1979 (when killed by Erish Nationalists). During WWII he was the first British prisoner-of-war to succeed in escaping from Colditz, and later worked for MI9 (which specialised in escape and evasion). After the war he served with the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg trials. He later became Conservative MP for Abingdon. Neave was assassinated in a car bomb attack at the House of Commons. The Irish National Liberation Army claimed responsibility. Those held at Colditz were all Officers (and therefore mostly ex-Public-School Boys), Occasionally, there was a high-ranking Sergeant also held – who was working-class and had worked his way up from the ranks. The attitudes of most of the prisoners was ‘bourgeois’ and thoroughly ‘reactionary’ and it is interesting how someone as ‘brave’ as Neave would ideologically side with right-wing Conservativism – the acceptable face of fascism! He might as well as just sided with the Nazi Germans! The INLA obviously targeted him as an ‘enemy of the people’ – although Irish Nationalism often runs hot and cold with its association with Socialism. Quite often it just become another form of ‘White’ leftist racism preferring a narrow and highly racialised definition of what it is to be Erish! This is a far cry from the Erish Republican Army of 1916 which was inspired by Marxist-Leninist ideology! Neave’s political leanings were typical of his class and to be expected. The INLA, however, was probably trying to make a name for itself amongst the ever-increasing number of Erish groups all claiming the moral and political right to represent the Erish people by opposing the British presence in Northern Ireland (using ‘murder’ as a political weapon). On the other hand, there is probably a special place in hell for this man despite his fighting German fascism during WWII – he was certainly no friend of the working-class – but was a committed right-winger and supporter of the evil Margaret Thatcher and the US concept of the ‘European Union’ as an anti-Socialist bulwark against the influence of the USSR! What this enter episode demonstrates is that the bourgeoisie cannot and should not be trusted even if we have to work with them on occasion!

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