Now -read the book!

Here is a link to my memoirs which, if you are a glutton for punishment, you can purchase online at
Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name. (William Morris - A Dream of John Ball)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Keeping on to the end

This is one of those unusual posts on this blog which is mostly about me (your humble blogger) and (for me at least) it isn't good news.

The summer before last I blogged here about popular support for the National Health Service when I got my diagnosis of locally advanced prostate cancer. Last year I got my own taste of intensive care (and hospital food) when sepsis cut short my radiotherapy treatment (and the NHS saved my life). This year, today, I visited outpatients at the Royal Sussex County Hospital for a blood test and saw at first hand the bravery of health service workers on the front line of dealing with a deadly pandemic.

As I observed here the other day “low paid essential workers (nurses and other health service workers, cleaners, refuse collectors, public transport workers) are vital for our existence, whereas the wealthy and powerful are not.” The world in which we live is made, and re-made every day, by workers (and not by billionaires) but we are denied control over the world created by our labour.

That, of course, is why we have created trade unions, and a Labour Party, to represent our interests. In a lifetime of active membership of our movement I have become all too familiar with the problem of how our movement is vulnerable to “capture” by some of those we employ in its service – it’s something I fought for years in UNISON, and it is not at all surprising to see evidence of the same problem in the Party.

It is important to continue to fight for democracy in the labour movement because, for as long as our movement is dominated by officials contemptuous of the rank and file it cannot fulfil its task to transform our society. I therefore intend to continue to be active in the movement (and for me now that means the Labour Party) for as long as I can.

Unfortunately, that may not be as long as I would have hoped. As I said, today I went for a blood test. This was because I have now been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. I can no longer hope that treatment could cure my cancer, although it will help to keep it under control for a matter of months or (probably quite a few) years.

I guess it is unlikely that I will now live to see a socialist Britain – but that was probably always pretty unlikely, and I hope I will continue to play my minor role in the struggle for a while yet – just as I intend to enjoy every day of life as it unfolds before me. One day (just like you, dear reader) I will die, but each day before that I intend to live.

And - since I have always known how to live well - that will include Labour Party meetings...


Sean said...

So sorry to hear this news mate I know you will keep up your energy and your passion, take care of yourself and Hasina and may we see you both in July or at a later date this current situation allowing. Solidarity forever as they say

Sean said...

So sorry to hear this news mate keep on fighting that thing like it is a Tory :) Thoughts with you and Hasina and really hope circumstances will be kind enough to let us all see you both in July, you have done much for the movement and earnt the respect of many (even some who may not agree with you) solidarity forever

Anonymous said...

Very sorry to hear this Jon. Thanks for letting us know - it can’t have been easy.
Mike Phipps

Pete Firmin said...

Sad news Jon. Solidarity and keep fighting the cancer and the enemy within.

Juan Baeza said...

I’m so sorry to hear this sad news Jon. I just wanted you to know that you have my solidarity and support. I hope that your time with us is long and fruitful. X

Juan Baeza said...

So sad to hear this news Jon. I sincerely hope your time with us is long and fruitful.
Solidarity, Juan