31 July 2014
Dave had retired recently from a lifetime in the construction industry. An active member of the Ucatt construction union, he joined the demonstrations against blacklisting of workers. He was an enthusiastic advocate for the National Shop Stewards Network, attending conferences, rallies and meetings when he could.
Dave was from the small village of Warnford in Hampshire. He was won to the ideas of socialism at a young age, especially influenced by the events of the Cuban revolution. As a Labour party member, Dave sought out the ideas of scientific socialism.
He was an avid reader, especially of Rosa Luxembourg. On an early visit to Dave’s home he showed me his battered copy of Capital, full of notes and marks where he had highlighted important extracts. He told me he would read two pages every day before he left for work so he could digest all the ideas it contained.
Like many Labour Party members, it became clear to Dave that the party had abandoned the working class and any support it had for socialist ideas. Dave finally met Socialist Party members at a demonstration we held against the cuts in Winchester.
When we first went to meet him, we were grilled about what we meant by socialism. Dave was not for “shilly-shallying reformism” and wanted assurances that we stood by the need to transform society and establish a socialist economy.
Convinced to join, Dave rapidly took on every job he could – organising campaign stalls, selling the Socialist paper and raising funds, supporting picket lines, standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the local elections and taking on the job of Hampshire Socialist Party branch secretary.
He brought his warmth, passion and enthusiasm to everything he did. Notably he had an unstinting boldness to recruit to the Socialist Party and was very successful at winning trade unionists and young people to the party. His combination of experience, passion and confidence in socialist ideas and the working class made him an excellent advocate for our party. For all that he will be greatly missed. In the short time we all knew him, it felt like he had been our comrade forever.
Our thoughts and best wishes are with his many friends and family.