Corin's first wife, Deirdre, said that when she refused to go along with Healy, "two grim looking henchmen took me by the arms, albeit gently. He looked at me with a steady, even gaze and demanded, ‘Why don't you join the party? Why won't you support your husband?' I told Healy quite clearly that I had two young children to bring up — and I didn't want them to grow up disturbed. I wanted them to be normal kids."
The marriage broke up because no cult can tolerate a member with a wife on the outside gently pointing out that he is wasting his time and being taken for a fool. Healy knew that the more you invest in a political or religious cause, the harder it is to break from it. He ensured that his members would find it hard to break with him by working them close to exhaustion. The BBC and many others wondered why Redgrave disappeared from the stage for much of his career. Self-censorship prevented them from explaining that he was in thrall to a despot who would not allow him the space to flourish. One WRP member, Kate Blakeney, described the process. She spent so much time and money supporting the party that she could not afford to feed her own children. "We were too busy, always busy, and could hope only to catch a few hours' sleep." One day Healy asked to meet her in his London flat. She went hoping to convince him to give her and her comrades in Oxford a respite from his demands: "[He] opened the door for me. He had been drinking. Something was all wrong. I pushed by his large body, sat down in the chair and started to make my report. Healy came towards me, was hovering over me. He was not listening to a word I was saying. He wanted only one thing from me, my sexual submission. For a moment, I just stared at him: fat, ugly, red-faced. Something inside of me snapped. I, my husband, my children, my comrades had sacrificed so much, had worked so hard for this...animal."
The Great Leader exercised his droit de seigneur over many of his women followers. Twenty-six accused him of "cruel and systematic debauchery" as the party fell apart in the mid-1980s. One of them was the daughter of two of Healy's oldest friends. She told how he had rewarded her parents' loyalty by sleeping with her and beating her. She had been hurt so often she was close to being a cripple.
Inevitably, British totalitarians supported foreign totalitarians, with far greater power to torture and abuse. Healy took money from Gaddafi's Libya and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. In return for funding from Arab dictators, the WRP led the charge of the far-Left into the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of the far-Right and, as seriously, agreed to spy on Iraqi dissidents living in London and hand over their details to the Baathist state without a thought of what could happen to their families back in Iraq. Even after the scandals about the rapes and links to Saddam broke, the Redgraves stuck with Healy, as did Ken Livingstone.
Radio 4 cannot tell the true story of the Redgraves' politics because, although Marxist-Leninism has long gone, a part of the poison of the Trotskyism of the 1968 generation lingers in the bloodstream of the wider Left — the propensity for Jew-baiting and conspiracy theory, the shrieking dogmatism, and, beyond all that, the self-censorship, which stops a broadcaster legally obliged to be objective dealing plainly with news that reflects badly on its class and kind.