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Vladimir AndrleThe following anecdote is from the web site of Vladimir Andrle – who, following secret police attention in Czechoslovakia, obtained political asylum in Britain in 1967. The full article can be found at Vladimir's home page.
[ On becoming an undergraduate at York University ]
I received helpful advice from David Floyd, the Daily Telegraph communist affairs correspondent, and Peter Sedgwick, a leading intellectual of International Socialism (the predecessor to today's Socialist Workers' Party). Peter worked as a psychologist in Oxford prison, but was just about to become Lecturer in Politics at the University of York….
My friendship with Peter Sedgwick did exert its influence.. in that he introduced me to New Left critiques of Russian revolution and the Soviet Union, which constituted a good part of my extra-curricular reading..
I also got my British citizenship in that year. The naturalisation process sprung a little surprise just before its conclusion, when two secret policemen interviewed me. They had a file on me from my undergraduate days in York! It was admittedly only thin, and as far as I could tell from their line of questioning, my friendship with Peter Sedgwick was the sole item on it. I had to assure my interrogators that I was not a Socialist Workers' Party member. As we travelled down in the lift afterwards, they were somewhat apologetic about their interrogation: "we just had to make sure that you were not someone holding a hammer over the Queen's head", one of them said. I could understand that, but the evident fact that the British intelligence service kept tabs on Peter surprised me, although it probably should not have done.