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There’s libel and then there’s libel

It is easy to speak ill of the dead because they cannot sue for defamation, so it is important to stress that the allegations against Gerry Healy, that he was a serial rapist and abuser of vulnerable young women, a violent drunken oaf, a celebrity-obsessed sycophant, a sectarian demagogue, a vindictive bully, a political joke, a blatant antisemite, a traitor to the World Socialist Revolution, a possible accessory to torture and murder, a professional liar and a fraud as well as a pathetic stooge for sinister Middle East regimes, were made when he was still alive.”

11 thoughts on “There’s libel and then there’s libel”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    But apart from all that, an all round top bloke.

    Of course all that follows the first clause is contained within the description “Trotskyite”. Well “Communist” actually.

  2. I always had a soft spot for the SWP because when some Communists tried to attack me at a union meeting they protected me
    Having opposed all those left wing nutters in the 70’s and 80’s I feel quite nostalgic that they have reappeared
    One highlight was a huge row between SWP and IMG as to whether having a black Union section was racist or not

  3. Ho ho, these loony lefties and their factions, eh? It all gets a bit pythonesque: ‘People’s Front of Judea’ vs ‘The Judean People’s Front’

    I’m probably not quite as right wing as some of the commentards hereabouts (and, based on some of my comments, some of you may well have me down as a pinko-fag-commie-subversive to borrow a turn of phrase from the late Kenny Everett) however I’m firmly of the opinion that whatever merits there were in the early labour movement were destroyed by the idealogues of the ’70s and ’80s. The left screwed themselves and then the workers that they claimed to represent.

    At least they’ve made themsleves unelectable now by bringing back this sort of nonsense.

  4. Coincidentally, I’m currently reading Nick Cohen’s “What’s Left” and have just finished the chapter covering Healy and the insanity of the WRP.

    So far, it’s an excellent book. Cohen is regularly the best of the leftie writers (his “You Can’t Read This Book” on censorship is also good).

  5. The expansion of higher education played its part in destroying the Left, or at least fragmenting it. In the 1970s loads of graduates from Polys and the new universities, with an internationalist outlook and no experience of working for a living amongst working people, started taking over local Labour Party organisations. Bernard Donaghue (who worked with Wilson) described this happening in his own London consitiency.

  6. Rob

    “Bernard Donaghue (who worked with Wilson) described this happening in his own London consitiency.”

    It sounds interesting, where could I read more?

  7. I read about him in two excellent books by Dominic Sandbrook about the 1970s: “State of Emergency” and “Seasons in the Sun”. Well worth a read. Extremely readable social and political histories of the period.

  8. I briefly infiltrated Red Action in the 1980s in an earlier career. They were very nasty people; Gerry Healy was a reasonably regular attender at meetings in Harlesden. I remember him getting headbutted by Chris Dean of The Redskins (leftwing Leeds skinhead band, actually very good) at the Mean Fiddler one night in or after a row about Healy touching up some bird Dean was seeing. No-one knows what happened to Dean…

  9. Fraggle>

    “I’m firmly of the opinion that whatever merits there were in the early labour movement were destroyed by the idealogues of the ’70s and ’80s.”

    I tend to the view that Labour was always a single-issue party, and that they won everything they were after by the mid-fifties. At that point the party became obsolete, and so turned into nothing more than a vehicle for troughing, inherited privilege, and oppression of the poor.

  10. @ Dave
    I grew up in an industrial town and I can tell you that in the mid-50s Labour was not a single-issue party. Some of them just wanted a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, with which the local conservatives heartily agreed – if that’s what you mean – yes they had achieved the principle but not the practice. However that was not all: some wanted less risk of industrial injuries (again we totally agreed) most of them wanted better housing for the poor (ditto), some of them wanted Clause 4, with which we heartily disagreed, some wanted equality of wages (but most activists and a minority of Labour voters wanted higher wages for members of the craft unions). Our local Labour party was in favour of grammar schools, (some of it was noisely anti-Public Schools,some didn’t care), public transport, encouraging local industry.
    Decent housing for the poor was an issue into the 60s

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