Tuesday, 4 October 2005

A name I remembered

I have only once, and briefly, been a political activist. This was in 1959, when I worked for a few weeks on behalf of the Labour candidate in the Croydon North constituency. Not an ardent supporter of the party, I did so mainly because I rather admired the candidate.

I didn’t knock on any doors because I was too shy and wouldn’t have known what to say to people; I just pottered about stuffing envelopes and looking keen. The real activists were very nice to me and let me go to the count as a scrutineer, wearing a red rosette.

The candidate was in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament and I asked him about this at one of the public meetings. He replied in a rather non-committal way and I guess that as it was not Labour policy at the time (or ever) he didn’t get much help from the party. Anyway, he didn’t get in, and has never been non-committal about it since.

His name was—and is—Walter Wolfgang, and I was delighted to see him in the news last week when he shouted something appropriate at Jack Straw and was violently ejected from the Labour party conference. It was very good to see him still hale, still on the right side and expressing sound views cogently and with courage.

I hope he has been enjoying life during the forty-six years since I last saw him.

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