Obituary from the August 2008 issue of the Socialist Standard
We regret to have to report the death in June of our comrade Les Cox at the age of 81. Les joined the old Fulham branch of the Socialist Party in 1948, after a short spell in the Young Communist League, and was subsequently a member of the Paddington, Westminster and, latterly, West London branches. He was a well-known member of the Executive Committee for many years as well as filling other Party posts such as Trustee and being on the Standing Orders Committee.
He was a candidate for the Party in elections in London on a number of occasions and an effective and engaging Party speaker over several decades, including at Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park. Influenced by logical positivism, when questioned about religion he refused to mention the word “god” on the grounds that as it didn’t refer to anything it was meaningless.
In debates within the Party he always took a tolerant position, except with regard to infringements of democracy.
Les also did maintenance work at our head office, including the installation of the fascia (with brass screws). He had left school at the age of 14 and was trained as a carpenter.
As a conscientious objector to national service after the war, he was exempted as long as he continued to work in this trade as it was regarded as essential to post-war reconstruction.
Later he had to seek a lighter job and went to work at the head office of ICI near where he lived, first as a lift attendant but eventually – ironically for a socialist – as a clerk in the department keeping a record of the shareholders.
Les lived and worked all his life in the area on both sides of Chelsea Bridge in London and was involved in the local working class community there, being an active member of the tenants association on the council estate where he lived. He refused to buy his council house. A Party member spoke at his non-religious funeral at Mortlake crematorium.
Blogger's Note: There's a brief ten minute audio interview with Les Cox about his early life, and how he came to join the SPGB, at the following link.