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Letter:What Gott really stood for

NEAL Ascherson's open letter to Richard Gott seems rather to miss the point ("When the spooks get a grip", 11 December). If he were just another journalist his involvement with the KGB would be of no importance. After all, other journalists sell t hemselves to the CIA or, even worse, to Rupert Murdoch.

The issue is that Richard Gott stood, and to an extent still stands, for a socialism which did not bow down to one master or another. This is surely what the Guardian's editor Peter Preston meant when he said that Gott was a "free spirit". The problem isthat Gott clearly had illusions in the tyranny that was Stalinism. And if there is one thing that the left does not need it is illusions.

Keith Flett London N17