Friday, May 22, 2020

Too Long. (1919)

From the May 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard
Too long they have been harnessed to the mill
That of ten thousand lives grinds life for one ;
Too long denied an hour of blessed sun,
From dark ere dawning sweating blood until
Again the dark of night. So did they fill
Your coffers to the brim with gold fine spun
Of brain and tissue ; and their labour done,
Found grudged rest beneath a lone grass hill. 
And dare they hope, ye ask, the break of day,
Whom we accorded leisure of the night ?
Presume to harvest any they have sown ?
Aye, do they dare ! And who shall them gainsay,
Or ban a little hour of waning light ?
Aye, they do dare to hope and have their own !
Edmund B. Fitzgerald.

All friends and sympathisers . . . (1919)

From the May 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

All friends and sympathisers are asked to do their utmost to extend the sale of the Socialist Standard in the immediate future. In particular every effort should be made to justify the present enlargement by selling out this issue. Much depends upon this being achieved. Nuff said.

#    #    #    #

CHANGE  OF ADDRESS.
Please note that the Head Office address is now:
17, MOUNT PLEASANT,
LONDON, W.C.I.,
where   all   communications   should   be sent.

A badly crumpled man (1983)

From the May 1983 issue of the Socialist Standard

A thick skin is necessary to all politicians and this government abounds in rhinoceros figures. Some of them revel in an acknowledgement of their popular caricature — Thatcher the quick-tempered autocrat, Tebbit the parliamentary bovver boy, Howe the dead sheep of Westminster. But there is an exception; a minister who functions rather like a problem child, plastering its family into a false unity through itself carrying the burdens of their fractious confusions. Sir Keith Joseph, Secretary for Education, is liable to flog himself publicly with statements like: “You can't possibly blame Geoffrey Howe, he’s been marvellous. And the prime minister too. It’s me. It’s people such as me who are to blame.” Demonstrators who are unable to impress ministers like Tebbit sense that with Joseph they are close to a kill and they do not spare his feelings. "Sir Keith," read a placard which greeted him in South Wales. "You are mad and we hate you."

So it should be remembered that Joseph emerged as a government minister to a mixture of wonder and gratitude that so clever a man should spare us the time to take over a ministry and solve all our problems. (One hack was so excited that he likened Joseph's carefully argued opinions to fine sherry.) He came into the world with his mouth crammed with silver cutlery. His family, owning the Bovis building firm, were rich enough to send him to Harrow and Oxford University, where he so impressed everyone that he became a Fellow of All Souls. In Oxford, this is very significant; there are no undergraduates in All Souls, which is inhabited by Fellows who are reputed to be very superior people, the highest authorities on law, history and the social sciences. After a short spell being superior as a barrister. Joseph got into Parliament and was eventually given some inferior jobs in the government until in 1959 Macmillan made him Minister of Housing. A few years ago he was regarded as at least a future Chancellor of the Exchequer, possibly the next Conservative Prime Minister — a man who had left the most cloistered environment to put to rights a few trivial matters like slums, war and poverty.

Joseph made a consciously impressive start at the Ministry of Housing by going to look at some slums and then making a speech about them, even mentioning one — London’s notorious Cable Street — by name to show how he had got to grips with the problem. Perhaps in an effort to expand his knowledge, some people who actually lived in slums called round to Joseph’s expensive Chelsea home to tell him what the dirt and the drains and the rats were like. To the sound of Fleet Street’s busily clicking cameras, a bravely smiling Lady Joseph admitted a few scruffy children. One result of Joseph's investigations, for which Cable Street should not be held responsible, was the encouragement of local authorities to build a lot of new slums in the form of tower blocks, although Joseph did not actually intend to avail himself of this remedy for the housing shortage. Councils who followed his policy soon regretted it; the economics did not work out as Joseph had assumed and they found they had erected concentrations of neurosis, disease, crime and drug misuse.

There were few mourners for Joseph, when his time at the Ministry of Housing was ended by the Labour Party victory in the 1964 election. So anguished were the Tories by that defeat that they decided not only to ditch their leader, the amiable, aristocratic buffoon Alec Douglas-Home, but to elect another by ballot. This was an historical change since up to then the Tory leader had been expected to emerge after a bout of vicious in-fighting which Harold Macmillan called "the customary processes of consultation". Joseph was a Heath supporter and was rewarded for this, when the Conservatives came back to power in 1970. Through another customary process Joseph, having failed to make any impression on the housing problem, was given the rather more demanding job of abolishing sickness and poverty. He was put in charge of the Department of Health and Social Security, where he soon got down to an investigation which was to lead him to a discovery even more startling than the slums in Cable Street.

In June 1972 Joseph announced his suspicion that children born into poor, deprived families stood a good chance of growing up into parents of their own poor, deprived family.
  Much deprivation and maladjustment persisted from generation to generation. Many of today’s deprived children were doomed not only to stunted lives themselves but to become, unless they could be helped, the parents of a further generation of doomed children. (The Times, 30 June 1972.)
Joseph called this “the cycle of deprivation" and social workers and teachers were excited at the prospect of lavish official research into a problem which they had been despairingly aware of for a very long time. But the excitement died, when Joseph decided the research showed the cycle of deprivation did not exist, that he had invented it and the whole thing was. in his words, "a pretty negative piece of analysis". It was difficult to decide whether it was more worrying to have a Minister for Social Security who was surprised to find that impoverished families produced impoverished children than one who thought this didn't happen. A year later a positive piece of analysis by the National Childrens' Bureau reported that one million children who were living in squalor and deprivation, educationally crippled from birth, were “doomed to failure".

Sir Keith
Joseph lost his job when the Heath government went down to defeat in the disarray of the Three Day Week. He had made some elegant speeches, as befits a former Fellow of All Souls, he had made some promises and, as is expected of government ministers, he had juggled the figures a bit — in his case by introducing reforms like the Family Income Supplement which are supposed to substantially reduce poverty. Lord Carrington was annoyed with him because he had “given away a lot of money” without securing any benefit for the Conservative Party and the poor might have been annoyed with him because there had not been much benefit for them either; as the Heath government left office there were nearly four million people depending on Supplementary Benefit and nearly one and a half million living at or below the official poverty line.

Nobody expected that Joseph’s inability to introduce social security to the people of Britain would harm him in the Tory Party and when, in their bout of anguish after their 1974 defeat they threw out the leader they had chosen in the last bout, he became a strong candidate for the leadership. He might be sitting in Number Ten now, except that he made yet another memorable speech. The occasion was at Birmingham in October 1974 and his audience of Conservatives received an early warning of what was to come. “Let us,” Joseph advised them, “take inspiration from that admirable woman. Mary Whitehouse . . .” He then moved relentlessly on, to the kernel of his speech:
  The balance of our population, our human stock, is threatened . . . a high and rising proportion of children are being born to mothers least fitted to bring children into the world and bring them up. They are born to mothers who were first pregnant in adolescence in social classes 4 and 5 . . . Some (of the mothers) are of low intelligence, most of low educational attainment . . . They are producing problem children, the future unmarried mothers, delinquents, denizens of our borstals, subnormal educational establishments, prisons, hostels for drifters . . . Why do I talk about birth control for the unmarried girls in socio-economic groups four and five? Because . . . this group makes far less use of birth control than the other social classes. (Daily Telegraph, 21 October 1974.)
Whatever had once been expected of his theory of the cycle of deprivation, it was not that it would resurface in the form of a crude, class-biased blunder into the perilous field of amateur eugenics. His louder opponents compared Joseph to Hitler; perhaps more damaging was the sort of quieter dismay expressed in Cecil King’s Diaries: “. . . surprising that what was obviously meant to be a major affair was not more carefully considered”.

As he could no longer expect to be Tory leader himself, Joseph threw his support behind Margaret Thatcher, who gratefully foisted him on to the Department of Industry after the 1979 election. It was here that Joseph began to show the first clear signs of serious disintegration. The Tory defeat of 1974 had converted him to the conviction that the happiest way of running capitalism was to ensure that the market, shaped by the profit motive, should be allowed to operate in simple purity. If an industry or a company were not profitable then it should not survive, like a brainless human body on a life- support machine, through financial aid from the government:
  If the government were to put money into industries that are losing jobs, the result would simply be that an equal number of jobs would be lost in other industries. All we would do would be to wreck other industries that arc doing moderately well by overtaxing them or their workers.
Few people expected Joseph actually to believe this argument and any who did expect him to would have had problems explaining what he did as Secretary for Industry. He decided to double state support for companies like British Leyland; he sanctioned £1.5 billion a year in subsidies to industry and £3 billion a year to state industries. One example was in March 1981, when he announced a government guarantee for a £200 million loan facility for ICL. This state-backed computer company had just announced a three-month loss of £20 million, which qualified it to have Joseph switch off the life support machine. To the dismay of the Tory Dries, he kept it going; a home-based computer industry is too vital, for economic and military reasons, to British capitalism to allow it to be damaged by draughts of intellectual sherry from All Souls.

Joseph is now Secretary for Education, which he says he regards as the peak of his career but where he does not have a happy time. He has a reputation as the Mad Axeman of the schools and the universities and everywhere he is hounded by angry demonstrators, who perhaps thought his “cycle of deprivation" speech implied a commitment to step up investment in education. In a recent White Paper he declared his intention to turn the screw on the teachers, as the demand for them falls, by stiffening the qualifications required of them and to make it harder for the teacher who is not up to scratch to keep a job. Joseph’s plans were not well received; a failing teacher may be due to sickness or a weariness with decades of struggling with educational, personal and social problems and in any case Joseph himself does not rate high in the efficiency tables: a chairman of the National Enterprise Board once described him as “hopeless” and in May 1981 the Bow Group journal Crossbow condemned him as “. . . by universal consent the most dismal disappointment of this administration". At uproarious meetings Joseph hears what people think of him, standing as if on the gallows, unable to make himself heard, unable to understand why these clamorous tormentors obstinately refuse to accept the crystal logic of his policies.

But the fault is not in his personality (in private, he is said to be kindly and witty); if he has crumpled it is under the strain of trying to do the impossible. His famous brain has not protected Joseph from the delusion that this social system can be made to work to the benefit of us all. Other politicians, who wear better than Joseph, are under the same delusion and so are the demonstrators. They are all looking for a missing ingredient through which capitalism’s ailments can be put to rights — the demonstrators say this ingredient is human compassion while Joseph says it is cerebral power and purity. All are driven by a common madness which sets experienced reality at nought. The choice is not to bury the likes of Joseph or to praise them. If we are to defeat what he represents we must not only know him for what he is but why.
Ivan

Letter: The Rise of Nazism (1983)

Letter to the Editors from the May 1983 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dear Editors

Clifford Slapper’s account of the rise of Nazism in Germany in your March issue is true — up to a point. He says: “Fifty years ago, Hitler and the Nazis came to power with the support of more than ten million workers”. Is he saying that over ten million wage-workers voted for the Nazi Party? And was the "election" of 5 March, 1933, a genuinely free election anyway? First, a few statistics (figures in millions):

Between 1923 and 1933, the votes for the Social Democrats and Communists remained fairly constant; in the March, 1933 election the Communists receiving nearly 5 million votes and the Social Democrats 7.1 million votes, despite the SA terror mainly directed against the Social Democrats. No one has ever denied that the vast mass of wage-workers consistently voted for these two parties from 1924 until Hitler crushed all opposition.

So, who voted the Nazis into power? In the main, it was the petit-bourgeoisie (a much larger group than in Britain), the peasants (also a group which did not exist in Britain), the lumpen-proletariat or semi-unemployable who, even before the advent of mass unemployment in 1932-33, numbered about 1.5 million and. lastly, the capitalist class itself. In the main, these groups — together with some “white collar" workers — tended to move away from the traditional capitalist “right-wing” parties to the Nazis who, as Slapper correctly points out, used the Jews and others as scapegoats — and made even more promises than the "left-wing” reformist parties, such as the Communists and Social Democrats

There are, of course, no socialist histories of "the birth of Nazism”; but readers might find the two following books of some interest: Der Fuehrer — Hitler's Rise to Power, by Konrad Heidcn (Gollancz, 1944); and Hammer or Anvil, by Evelyn Anderson (Gollancz. 1945 and Oriole Editions/Journeyman Press, 1973).
Peter E. Newell
Colchester. Essex


Reply:
The article in question stated that over ten million workers gave their electoral support to Hitler and the Nazis. This refers to people who did not possess substantial productive resources and who therefore had to work for others in order to survive. Their problems of insecurity and poverty applied regardless of whether they were paid by wage, salary or commission, and irrespective of the colour of their collars. According to the German census of 1925 (as interpreted by Lenz in “Proletarian Policies", Internationaler Arbeiterverlag, 1931) nearly 41 million of the total German population of 62.4 million were industrial workers, agricultural wage-labourers or lower paid "white collar" workers, including their families and the unemployed. It is clearly incorrect therefore that, as Peter Newell claims, the "vast mass” of wage-workers consistently voted for the Communist and Social Democratic Parties, when those parties only polled 13 million votes between them at their peak.

In March 1933, the Nazis and their allies, the Nationalists, polled between them over 20 million votes, an absolute majority (51.9 per cent) of the votes cast. Peter Newell attributes this support to the petit-bourgeoisie, the peasants, the “semi-unemployable" and the capitalists themselves. But according to the census figures referred to above, there were only 2 million capitalists, and about 9 million small farmers and peasants, many of whom were in the process of being transformed into agricultural labourers. The petit-bourgeoisie or small property holders were also a dying breed as their savings were eaten into by inflation. It is true that much of the Nazis’ support came from the white-collar workers, shopkeepers, students and professionals who formed the remaining 10 million of the population; but the frustration which drove them towards the Nazis was that of the dispossessed, of workers who felt they had some stake in capitalism but who were compelled to accept their economically dependent and impoverished position.

It has been our intention to stress that fascism, like the capitalist system of which it is one form, is not some kind of conspiracy forced on the workers from "above" by a minority of capitalists. Domination and inequality depend upon acquiescence and acceptance by the majority. It is on this basis that socialists seek to persuade a majority of our fellow workers to establish a system of society based on common ownership and democratic control. It is a common but dangerous myth on the Left that Nazism was not supported by workers; it is historically incorrect and implies a disdain for the democratic process of persuasion and voting. The German Communist Party, with 5 million votes in 1933, shared with the Nazis not only its nationalist campaign against foreign debt repayments, but also an anti-democratic contempt for the idea of a majority of workers deciding consciously to end capitalism. Their support for minority armed insurrection and street-fighting, like the modern claim that the workers didn’t really support fascism, begs the question why, in the words of Wilhelm Reich, “It was precisely the wretched masses who helped to put fascism, extreme political reaction, into power” (The Mass Psychology of Fascism). The short answer is that as long as workers are persuaded, contrary to our experience, that we should continue to support a system based on our exploitation, there will be no safeguard against a recurrence of the more brutal aspects of class rule.
Editors.

For The Socialist Alternative (1983)

SPGB advert from the May 1983 issue of the Socialist Standard


50 Years Ago: Labour Party Capitalism (1983)

The 50 Years Ago column from the May 1983 issue of the Socialist Standard

Socialism means the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution. In spite of a superficial similarity of words, the Labour Party is not aiming at common ownership, but at State control with private owners. The Capitalist class are not, according to the Labour Party, to be dispossessed, but are to remain as a property-owning class, but are to be deprived of their immediate control over the management of industry. The country is to remain the same in all essentials. There will still be a working class and a class living on property incomes. Goods will still be produced for sale and profit-making, but the management will be in the hands of a series of so-called public utility corporations, directed by highly-paid business men like Lord Ashfield. This is a grotesque representation of Socialism. It is capitalism in a thin disguise. It solves no working class problem. It is not Socialism and as such docs not bring Socialism one day nearer.

(From an article, “Socialists and Working Class Unity”, Socialist Standard, May 1933.)

The Profit System (2005)

From the May 2005 issue of the Socialist Standard

Very few people would deny that the present state of the world leaves a lot to be desired. Humanity staggers from one crisis to the next – from war to famine to slumps to repression . . . Capitalism has developed a huge productive capability but its social  organisation and relationships cause extremely serious problems and render it incapable of meeting the basic needs of its people.

A vast amount of the world’s resources is expended in the production of weapons of war, from bullets and bayonets to nuclear and chemical weapons. Alongside these weapons are the armed forces which every state organises, clothes, feeds, trains and deploys. This is a massive waste of human effort; it is all intended to be destructive and none of it to create anything useful to human beings.

In a world which could produce more than enough to feed and care for its population millions are homeless and tens of millions die each year because they don’t have enough to eat or for lack of proper medical treatment. None of this is necessary. It happens while farmers in Europe and North America are being paid to take land out of cultivation; from time to time even food that has been produced is destroyed or allowed to rot. This makes sense to the profit motive; in terms of human interests it is wildly insane.

The environment is increasingly under threat from pollution and from the destruction of some of its natural, ecologically vital features. We hear well-informed warnings of an ultimate impending disaster unless we act to eradicate the problem but these warnings are always met with the objection that to save the environment can be a costly, profit damaging business. Yet it is not necessary for industry and agriculture to pour out noxious effluents into the air, the earth, the rivers and the seas. They do this today because pollution is seen as being cheaper, which means more profit friendly and to a society where profit is the dominant motive for production that is justification enough to override human welfare.

These are a few examples of how capitalism works against the interests of the world’s people. In contrast, as the articles in this issue explain, socialism will have fundamentally different social relationships, motives for production and concepts about the interests and security of human beings.

All the programmes at present being advanced by the professional politicians for dealing with the problems of capitalism through reforms must fail because of their essentially piecemeal approach. They attempt to treat symptoms instead of going for the basic cause. That is why, after a century or more of reformism the problems the reformists claim to deal with are still here.

A far more radical, fundamental change is needed to create the framework within which they can be
solved.

I’ll Do It! (2005)

From the May 2005 issue of the Socialist Standard

This is the Year of the Rooster, but also the Year of the Volunteer  – you may have seen the TV ads for the website www.yearofthevolunteer.org. This is a government-run scheme, aimed at “encouraging active citizenship”, but if we leave aside the government involvement, the whole volunteering set-up  is both interesting and positive from a socialist viewpoint.

Some people volunteer because they believe or hope that it will be useful for their careers, but the vast majority do so because they see themselves as genuinely contributing to the well-being of their fellow humans. Voluntary activities include almost everything from helping people to make phone calls or fill in forms, teaching English or the use of computers, helping blind people get to appointments, befriending and supporting those with HIV, working for St John’s Ambulance or the Samaritans, counselling people with all sorts of problems, even working as a Special Constable.

And all this is done unpaid, in the volunteers’ own time, often in addition to paid  employment, and with no reward other than the satisfaction of helping.

In the light of this, how can anyone object to socialism on the grounds that in a society of free access nobody would wish to work? If people’s consumption is not dependent on their work, the argument goes, why would someone want to work at all?

One answer, as we have seen, is that even under capitalism people work voluntarily, probably not even regarding what they do as work, as it is not employment. This is not because they are saints or angels but because they do not want to see others suffering or in difficulties. And helping others means helping yourself too. Age Concern carried out a survey of elderly volunteers, which found:
  “Volunteering benefits older volunteers in many ways, including making new friends, gaining self confidence, losing weight and living healthier lives.
   “More than half (51%) of the over 65s who took part in Age Concern’s report said volunteering improved their health and fitness and 62% said volunteering helped reduce stress” (From the above website).
So there you have it: even in a society of pressure and alienation voluntary work can be good for you. Just think of the pleasure of work in a world where there are no bosses, no dangerous workplaces and no production of useless rubbish.
Paul Bennett

50 Years Ago: The First of May (2005)

The 50 Years Ago column from the May 2005 issue of the Socialist Standard
“Then turn, and be not alarm’d O Libertad 
-turn your undying face, 
To where the future, greater than all the past, 
Is swiftly, surely preparing for you.” 
Walt Whitman
It is sixty-five years since half a million people poured though London, “an interminable array with multitudinous banners,” on the first International May Day. No celebration, no insubstantial pageant this: column upon threadbare column they came, signifying and expressing labour’s strength and labour’s aspirations, with an eight-hour day as their rallying call. For sixty-five years it has continued, but the columns are small now. And the eight-hour day?

They have it and, so generous is life to the working class, work overtime. May Day is workers’ day, the day of our class. However hollow the cries and futile the demonstrations, it remains the anniversary of protest, a continual reminder of exploitation and subjection. “Class” is the reason and the theme of May Day – class in its fullest, truest sense. The working class is not the labourers or the artisans or the machine-minders: it is all people to whom wages are life. The working class is international: so is its cause. Among the cries and chants and slogans of May Day, only one has meaning: “Workers of all countries unite!”

Class consciousness was never more needed than now. Sixty-five years have seen war, dereliction, fear and disaster; today mankind is under a shadow without precedent. The working people of the world have it in their hands to end poverty, fear, hatred and war. Nationalism is not their interest but their rulers’; submission is taught, not conceived. That is where the tragedy of the May Day processions lies. The hundreds of thousands who paraded their rights in 1890 lined the streets again seven years later, still threadbare, still of one mind – to cheer and wave streamers for their Queen.

To the Socialist, class consciousness is the breaking-down of all barriers to understanding. Without it, militancy means nothing. The conflict between the classes is more than a struggle for each to gain from the other: it is the division which reaches across all others. The class-conscious working man knows where he stands in society. His interests are opposed at every point to those of the capitalist class; his cause can only be the cause of revolution for the abolishing of classes. Without that understanding, militancy can mean little. It is not mere preamble that the Socialist Party’s principles open by stating the class division in capitalism: it is the all important basis from which the rest must follow.

(Front page article by R. Coster, Socialist Standard, May 1955)

Britain’s bonanza farms (2005)

The Cooking the Books column from the May 2005 issue of the Socialist Standard

On 22 March the government published a list of firms and individuals in England receiving subsidies under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy in 2003 and 2004. The figures showed, said the Times (23 March), that: “The biggest landowners, including members of the Royal Family, a clutch of dukes, and agrifood companies, are able to pick up hefty amounts of cash under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)”.

The CAP is based on guaranteeing farmers a given price for their products. If market prices fall below the guaranteed price then farmers are paid a subsidy to compensate for the shortfall. The aim was to ensure an adequate and stable internal supply of food and other agricultural products, and involved levying tariffs on imports. In this it was successful, too successful in fact as farmers ended up producing “too much” so that, as this meant that market prices fell, the amount that had to be spent on subsidies increased. Non-agricultural sections of the capitalist class – and EU countries like Britain with a comparatively small agricultural sector – protested and called for the CAP to be reformed.

One step in this direction was the “set-aside” scheme, introduced as from 1993, under which farmers are paid not to grow food. Cutting back production serves to bolster prices, and so the profits that farmers make, resulting in a reduction in the total subsidy bill (the cost of paying farmers not to grow food being less than the cost of making up the difference between the market and the guaranteed price).

The website of the lobby group UK Agriculture (www.ukagriculture.com) describes how set-aside works:
  “Set-aside is a term for land that farmers are not allowed to use for any agricultural purpose. It was introduced by the EEC in 1992 as part of a package of reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy to prevent over production of food crops. It applies only to farmers growing crops.
    In the first year of the scheme farmers had to set-aside a minimum of 15% of their cropped farmland for the harvest year of 1993.
   By the year 2000 the figure had dropped to 10% of cropped land but the amount changes each year according to EEC requirements. In 1999 there were approximately 550,000 hectares of land in set-aside. This  represents an area of countryside about 75km by 75km, twice the size of the area enclosed by the M25 around London. In exchange for not planting crops on set-aside land farmers are paid a subsidy by the EEC to counter the loss of income that results from not utilising the land for productive use.”
  What is omitted here is that set-aside was compulsory only for the larger, more productive farms. So to them went most of the subsidies for this; which will have contributed to “the hefty amounts of cash” paid to the big landowners and agribusinesses. The Times calls this “obscene”, but that’s because it represents the interests of other sections of the capitalist class who resent having to pay the extra tax. Of course this was disguised as concern that “the food bill for the typical British family of four is some £600 higher per year than it would otherwise be”.

Perhaps, but the abolition of the CAP in favour of free trade in food would not make the average wage and salary worker better off by that amount, instead would exert a strong downward pressure on wage levels. To socialists what is obscene is that farmers, and the most productive at that, are being paid not to grow food in a world where billions are undernourished, if not starving.

Obituary: Ronnie Edwards (2005)

Obituary from the May 2005 issue of the Socialist Standard

We are saddened to have to report the death of our comrade Ronnie Edwards  in March. When we learned of the seriousness of his illness the shock was all the greater because he had looked in fine health at the party’s Centenary Celebration in London last  June. He had joined the party in Glasgow in 1966 when only seventeen and immediately threw himself in to the branch’s activities in the city and elsewhere in Scotland.

In 1973 Ronnie moved to South  Yorkshire. His brother Freddie soon joined him and both quickly got involved with local comrades in organising party activities in and around Leeds and Doncaster which led to the formation of the former West Yorkshire branch. Ronnie was still doing all he could for the party until only a few months ago when illness laid him low.

The party has lost yet another stalwart, and we extend our deepest condolences to his wife Winnie, son Josh, and to all his family north and south of the border.
Viv Vanni