Desmond Greaves Journal, Vol. 23, 1971-72
1 August 1971 – 30 June 30 1972
THEMES: Reactions in Britain to the introduction of internment in Northern Ireland in August 1971– Divisions on policy in Britain between “Official”, and “Provisional” IRA supporters, NICRA and Campaign for Social Justice support groups and British neo-Trotskyite bodies – Adoption by the Trades Union Congress of Greaves’s and the Connolly Association’s policy of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland: “A great victory for us”(9.10) – Tensions over the Bill of Rights within NICRA in Belfast and the CPGB in London: “What rightwingism does this incredible leftism conceal?; it conceals the absence of the demand for a united Ireland”(9.17) – Getting Jack Woddis “onside” on the Bill of Rights – Securing the adoption of the Bill of Rights policy at the 1971 CPGB congress – Reactions in Britain to Bloody Sunday in Derry, 30 January 1972 – Speaking at meetings across Britain in opposition to calls for “Troops Out Now”, while regretting the past failure of CPGB circles to take the Irish question more seriously: “the results of twenty years of folly”(1.28) – Ann Hope and Madge Davison – Reactions in Britain to the suspension of Stormont in March 1972 and the imposition of direct rule from London, leading to the restoration of bipartisanship between Labour and Conservatives: “the end of an era”(3.74) – Writing and publication of “The Irish Crisis”, with editions in Italy, Germany, Russia, Hungary and the USA – Interaction with Jock Stallard MP, Arthur Latham MP and Lord Fenner Brockway to get the Bill of Rights re-introduced in Parliament in the context of direct rule – Development of anti-Irish feeling in Britain in reaction to the Provisional IRA campaign in Northern Ireland and Loyalist reactions thereto
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August 1 Sunday (London): There was an enlarged Standing Committee in the morning, with Paddy Bond, Pat Hensey, Sean Redmond, Jim Kelly, Charlie Cunningham, Pat O’Donohue and Bobby Rossiter, but without Jane Tate who was away. The subject was premises. The landlord, to whom we pay £600, apart from £400 rates, wanted to charge £1200. Seafort [the Connolly Association’s accountant] got him down to £1000. We decided to try for £900 and meantime make a big financial and circulation effort. Unfortunately, Toni Curran was not there. I have my doubts about this but we have not yet agreed we will pay £900 if we get the reduction. There is no doubt Sean Redmond’s conceit is beyond all proportions. Today, being in the chair, I watched him smile pityingly as various people spoke. In the evening I was in Holloway with Peter Mulligan [ie. selling the monthly “Irish Democrat”, which he regularly did of weekends when in London].
August 2 Monday: The day began with a crisis. A threat came from the landlord to sue at once if we continued “witholding” our rent. Actually Toni Curran had not my signature for the cheque and failed to come to town when she promised. She has enough to contend with nonetheless. However, I got Pat O’Donohue to come in to the office. He ascertained that Peter Mulligan was making £16 a month on books, and that there was £100 in that fund. But then Dale came and said that ZAPU [the Zambian African People’s Union, which had an office in the same building] may not need the office after the end of August. And I learned that Betty Harrison is retiring, so that the women may not either [She had been a full-time official with the Tobacco Workers Union whose members were mainly women, and she was involved with the National Assembly of Women which had an office there]. So I decided we would at once look for some other place. I am not sure that we do not want to spend a while on financial consolidation. The trouble is that we have never had anything remotely approaching a proper financial officer. There was a branch committee in the evening and Jane Tate, Charlie Cunningham, Sean Redmond and Bill Grimes came in.
I was shown the review of “Mellows” in the United Irishman [ie. his biography, “Liam Mellows and the Irish Revolution”]. For conceited idiocy it took the palm, and only Roy Johnston could possibly have penned it. Instead of a review of a book it was a confused statement of the views of the pontiff. And he completely misled the public as to the content of the book.
August 3 Tuesday: I was in the office all day. In the evening Jim Kelly came in. He is shortly going on holiday.
August 4 Wednesday: I was in the office [This was at 283 Gray’s Inn Road, a long street between Holborn and King’s Cross, on which the Connolly Association had three different offices over three decades]. In the evening the Branch meeting took place, with the usual people and a reasonable crowd. Sean Redmond tells me that the NCCL is taking up Northern Ireland in a big way, stopping short of ending partition and that Dromey seems to be in the thick of it [Jack Dromey was a friend of Sean Redmond’s; in later life he became a Labour MP].
August 5 Thursday (Liverpool): I took the first train to Manchester and was soaking wet on the way to the station as the heavens opened. There never was such a downpour – I had only a hundred yards in the open but that was enough. Lenny Draper was waiting for me and we discussed plans. For all the beard and hair he seems a very reliable young fellow. Then I came on to Liverpool [to his family home at 124 Mount Road, Prenton, Birkenhead, which he inherited from his sister Phyllis, who had died in 1966] and did a few odd jobs. It was dry here.
August 6 Friday: Again I did not do a great deal, but made a few revisions in the book on Northern Ireland, which is being put out of date as quickly as it goes through its stages. I finally posted it off to Maurice Cornforth [at Messrs Lawrence and Wishart, publishers of his latest book, “The Irish Crisis”].
August 7 Saturday: I learned from Helga that Cathal was in Kerry with Connor but was coming here next, probably on Monday [Cathal MacLiam, his long-standing Irish friend, with whom he used stay when in Dublin. He had been best man at Cathal and Helga MacLiam’s wedding in London in the 1950s and regarded them and their five children, Fionula, Egon, Conor, Bebhinn and Killian, as a vicarious family].
August 8 Sunday: Again I spent a day on odd jobs but did not seem to see much for it.
August 9 Monday: On the 8 am. news came the announcement of internment in Northern Ireland. And it was not long before Sean Redmond phoned. He will call a demonstration next Sunday, being afraid that otherwise others will [Internment without charge or trial was introduced at the behest of Unionist Prime Minister Brian Faulkner under Northern Ireland’s Special Powers Act with the agreement of Prime Minister Edward Heath’s Government. Some 340 people were interned over the weekend of 9-10 August. Due to faulty intelligence on the part of the authorities many had no links with the IRA. Over four days of violence twenty civilians, two IRA members and two British soldiers were killed. Ten local people were killed in Ballymurphy, Belfast, one of them a Catholic priest, in attacks involving the Parachute Regiment. Between then and December 1975 nearly 2,000 people were interned, all but 5% of them on the nationalist side. The accompanying mistreatment of internees was later condemned by the European Court of Human Rights and many internees were given monetary compensation]. I went to Manchester. The meeting was slightly better attended. I persuaded them to hold a meeting next Sunday. Cathal was already in the house when I got back.
August 10 Tuesday: I spent the day mostly talking with Cathal. The internment has set off explosions. We gather Kevin McCorry [NICRA organiser] is inside, also Farrell who is probably put there to sow Trotskyite poison among others [ie. Michael Farrell of the People’s Democracy]. The thing looks like a mad swipe at a swarm of bees. The Liverpool branch meeting took place in the evening. Paddy MacLaughlin was there and Fred Lyons. Quite a good attendance.
August 11 Wednesday (Salop/Shropshire): Cathal and I set off for the cottage, going by train to Salop and cycling out [The cottage on the Shropshire border with Wales was originally rented by his sister Phyllis and Greaves kept it on for six years after her death]. Yesterday was very wet. Today was cloudy, but not too good.
August 12 Thursday: It poured rain for almost all the day and all we got out for was a drink at the Stiperstones.
August 13 Friday (Liverpool): We cycled to Oswestry and Gobowen by a circuitous route and got back to town in the early evening.
August 14 Saturday: I went to Manchester early, found Lenny Draper, who seems very reliable, and had a drink with Dave Haywood and some of the others. Haywood is a little too human to make the typical organiser, but he may be the better for it if he can stick it out [He was a new CPGB organiser in Manchester]. He is very much “one of the boys.” I do not share Wilf Charles’s ‘s cynicism regarding him [Wilf Charles was a former CPGB organiser]. We went distributing leaflets and later went to the social Pat Redmond had organised [She was one of the twin sisters of Sean and Tom Redmond]. We got the last underground [ie. from Lime Street on the Liverpool side of the Mersey to Hamilton Square or Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, on the Wirral peninsula side]. Cathal was there.
August 15 Sunday: I left for Manchester by the first train. Lenny Draper was waiting at Oxford Road [a Manchester local train station], and Ann Doherty appeared with HK Lee to drive us round with the leaflets. The meeting took place. But that unreliable fellow Barney Morgan who had promised to come did not do so. Cathal had been trying to contact him and so missed the train. He arrived (to speak) as I was closing the meeting, but I kept it going a little longer, so he said a few words. Tommy Watters stepped into the breach and spoke a while, also Ann Doherty and Dave Haywood. The meeting began a little loosely. Trotskies were in force and I had to get it under control. But all was well and it was well worth the effort. Representatives of the United Ireland League were there.
When we got back to Liverpool we got on the radio. There was a report of two demonstrations of Irish in London. No names were given. One was of “supporters of the IRA”, of which 20 were arrested; the other had Mr Heath’s head on a pole dressed like a pig. You would be at a loss to know what happened.
August 16 Monday: There was not much done today. Cathal went looking for second-hand bicycles for the children. In the afternoon we cycled to Pensby and the point overlooking the Dee where there is the best view. I was pleased that the area from there to Grange was virtually unchanged, a picture of what the country once was. Then in the evening we went into the City for a drink.
August 17 Tuesday: I left Cathal at 124 Mount Road and came to London via Birmingham. I found Harry Bourne was back – only seven days [Midlands secretary/organiser of the CPGB].He had had elections in Nottingham. Westacott was secretary, duly elected by a majority and he had told them they must squabble no more [This refers to a dispute between CPGB secretaries in the Nottingham area]. Of the position in Birmingham I enquired after Tom McDowell, who is in Crumlin Road Jail. A Labour Councillor is looking after the Social Justice [ie. the Birmingham support group for the Dungannon-based Campaign for Social Justice, which sought to remain aloof from the Official/Provisional split]. Watters came in and they told me that they have had much trouble with the wild men of Clann na hEireann and asked what should their attitude be [Frank Watters was CPGB organiser or secretary in Birmingham. Clann na hEireann was the British support-group of the pre-split IRA/Sinn Fein. Following the Republican split in January 1970 it became the British support group of the Goulding-led Official IRA/Sinn Fein. When the latter sought to displace the Communist Party of Ireland in the later 1970s many Clann na hEireann members joined the CPGB]. I said cooperation tempered by competition. I told Watters that his failure to help establish a Connolly Association was the main fault there. But though there were excuses, there was neither interest nor understanding. They think they can lift hot coals with their bare hands. The Social Justice took part in the strike called by Clann na hEireann last Thursday, but only so as to prevent their getting the leadership. They thought a national strike call would be widely supported in Birmingham [ie. a strike to protest against internment in Northern Ireland]. Afterwards I thought perhaps this is the time to move in, but I have Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow very much on my hands. I told Harry Bourne that Betty Sinclair was here, possibly for a few days, and he is trying to bring her to a meeting [Betty Sinclair, full-time secretary of the Belfast Trades Council, a CPI member and former member of the NICRA Executive until she and three others were ousted in 1969 by the People’s Democracy members on that body]. I had a word with Jack Woddis who talked about a meeting at the Irish Club called for tonight, to plan further activity based on yesterday’s demonstration [Jack Woddis, 1914-1980, Secretary of the CPGB’s International Department and authority on national and colonial issues]. Sean Redmond had advised him not to go and he said he had accepted that advice.
When I got back to London I heard from Charlie Cunningham that the pig’s head demo was Davoren’s [a Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner demagogue who spoke on Irish issues]. Then Sean Redmond came in. When the people had assembled at Hyde Park the Provisionals appeared all dressed up. They demanded the right to lead the procession as their men were being killed. Sean demurred. Finally a compromise was reached. London NICRA was to lead, followed by the Connolly Association, then the Provisionals. But Sean Redmond drafted the resolution. When they got opposite Downing Street, the Provisionals halted while McEllistrim appeared in a car which he turned sideways and thus blocked the way. Leaping on the roof with a loud-hailer he declared, “This is where the meeting will be held, the centre of imperialism.” Police moved in and arrested about 20 people, including (we believe) Bridget Sutton, who lost her head and was seen lighting copies of the Irish Democrat and thrusting them in policemen’s faces. Charlie Cunningham thought the police had started the fracas and was well jostled by them when he said so, but he kept his head, or rather recovered it.
We had a brief discussion about the meeting. I asked Sean Redmond in fifty different ways whether there was being created a viable alternative leadership of the Irish. He thought not. Both he and Charlie Cunningham wanted to raise objections to the action of the Provisionals, but I told them to leave this to others. There was only the tip of an iceberg showing. But I was as surprised as either of them when the shoulders of the iceberg revealed themselves. Charlie Cunningham came back and told us that the meeting was really a press conference to announce a new organisation. So Sean Redmond had been rightly swindled, and then so have I, and I feel like making somebody pay, and will endeavour do so when I find out who is the villain. I suspect mainly the Embassy and the Trotskies. They arrived at 8.30. Business was discussed in the bar. Then the press arrived. Bowes Egan was the leading light, a very dangerous and treacherous careerist, unfortunately not without ability and drive [Bowes Egan had been a leading light in the People’s Democracy in Northern Ireland and was an adviser to Bernadette Devlin MP in London]. There was some discussion. Sean Redmond pointed out that a new organisation should have rules, officials and an agreed policy. But everything was cut and dried. The petite-bourgeoisie had found an issue vague enough to bring them altogether, but that did not provide them with a policy. They announced the establishment of the “Anti-Internment League,” to consist of officials already announced and “all Irish organisations”.
A letter from Tony Coughlan indicated that Roy Johnston had not done the United Irishmanreview but a new inexperienced editor. So I misjudged him.
August 18 Wednesday: I had a bright idea for saving the premises, namely to divide one room, move ZAPU and the women [ie. the National Assembly of Women, a sub-tenant in the building], and let their existing rooms at a good rent. Perhaps also let the bookroom and concentrate everything in the one office. I spoke to Pat O’Donohue about it and he thought it an accountant’s dream. Toni Curran also thought well of it. Peter Mulligan not unnaturally demurred [He was in charge of the book sales room], but most of the others thought it sound. I wrote to Betty Harrison asking her to come and see me.
I was busy all day on the paper. There was not much of a meeting as some of the members had gone to hear Betty Sinclair [who was presumably speaking at a CPGB or NICRA support group meeting]. But Charlie Cunningham, Pat Hensey and Sean Redmond were there with others. I spoke to Sean about last night. He was inclined to laugh off the “new organisation” and resorted to one of his favourite tricks – not listening or half listening and smiling into his beard in a self-satisfied superior manner. He seemed to think it would fall to pieces of its own accord because nobody in it was as clever as himself. I wonder why he adopted this attitude. On reflection I decided that he was too self-centred and complacent to face the fact that he had been fooled! But fooled we have been – and fool me twice and shame on me. He pretended (i) he knew all about the “new organisation”, (ii) that it did not exist. The man’s mind is too mechanical to comprehend that a loose congress of groupings without elected officers and constitution which the Trotskies, uncontrolled themselves, could manipulate, is just what they want. I told him we would be without a policy on it at our peril.
August 19 Thursday: I went down to see Jack Woddis. He was in Belfast recently. It was an amusing and of course very cordial talk we had, though not without its insights into personality. Woddis is the super-efficient party worker, and let it be said, always very correct in his dealings. But he is not without amour propre. He began by asking me my view of the perspectives. Then he began cross-questioning on tactics and I quickly perceived that he was sharpening his own wits on mine. “No, my good man, you don’t to this,” I said to myself. So I deftly put him on the spot. “What did he envisage?” “Some kind of federal solution.” I asked him what on earth was meant by that, and within ten minutes had satisfied myself that he had not really thought about the question at all. There it is again. It is almost impossible to teach people anything because they measure everything by the limits of their own comprehension, and there can be nothing over 100% of something. I have been up against this all my life. However, on what was to be done he agreed with me entirely, and I think I may have given him something to chew over, for I raised questions he had never considered.
In the office again. I got on with the paper to the accompaniment of endless interruptions. Sean Redmond rang. “We didn’t got a proper opportunity to discuss the Anti-Internment League.” Then the penny dropped. There were others about and he did not wish to reveal his embarrassment before them. That is what had happened. But for the moment I could not think of any way to deal with them. Jane Tate was in. She laughed at my account of Sean Redmond. “Self-centred, but with a softer streak than he cares to think,” was her womanly judgement. All very well if you don’t have to be handling him constantly and have plenty of time to do it. He did a very good review of my book [ie. the Liam Mellows biography] and it would not be disingenuous, for he showed more signs of understanding it than most others.
August 20 Friday: I finished the paper, unfortunately somewhat late, and have one day for arranging things. I got off branch circulars for Manchester, Liverpool and South London. I am practically running three branches, and I got the Crown Hotel booked for a meeting in Liverpool. Jane Tate and Charlie Cunningham were in.
August 21 Saturday: I booked Betty Sinclair for a meeting at the TUC [the Trades Union Congress, being held in Blackpool, Lancashire, that year] and asked Martin Guinan to book a hotel [Martin Guinan lived in Blackburn]. He will drive over from Blackburn on Monday. The paper has nearly sold out this month. But the financial situation is fierce. At the same time I am not going to have the ship spoiled for lack of tar, and will lend money myself if necessary. Levin from Lawrence and Wishart brought some leaflets. He told me that 400 copies of Mellows had been sold. That’s £1600, he said – but it is not of course. Nevertheless, he said it would pay half the printer’s bill, and that this happens very seldom within two months. I was wondering how to finish all the jobs I have in hand. But I managed to get through quite a deal. But unfortunately, thanks to British Railways cutting out the late train to Glasgow, I had to leave at 9.5.
August 22 Sunday (Glasgow/Liverpool): I rang the Broadhursts. They had asked me to go out there to meet a French student interested in the Irish Question. They told me he had left. But they pressed me to go out. I was not too pleased and didn’t go. I have lost a morning on it. Then Willie Anderson did not appear at 11 am. as requested. I found later he had missed me by minutes. There was quite a good meeting with some new faces. Seamus MacGowan told me his wife is expecting a child in a month’s time but is ill in hospital. He is very worried. Religious sectarianism is never far below the surface in Glasgow and Mrs Harvie, who has joined but whom I suspected is slightly orange in her outlook, had a friend with her, an “Orange Communist.” He was quoting the Irish Communist Organisation’s rubbish. “They had a lot about you personally in last month’s journal,” said the man [The “Irish Communist” was the monthly magazine of the British and Irish Communist Organisation, led by Brendan and Angela Clifford. It regarded the two religious/political communities in Northern Ireland as belonging to separate nations]. “I don’t listen to the barking of dogs,” I replied, and left it at that. WL [names unknown] was there and was very helpful and some friend of Willie Anderson’s. Unfortunately, he is going back to Canada. As for Tom McDonald, I telephoned and was told I had the wrong number! Willie Anderson told me that Travers had left Glasgow. The house lies empty and my bold Eamon living in Belfast where John McClelland [a former CA member who had returned to Belfast the year before and was now active in the NICRA] saw him. I had to rush off for the Liverpool train but thought this the most promising gathering yet.
August 23 Monday: I seemed busy without much result. Of course I was tired after the night travel and late arrival last night. However, I went to Manchester and met Lenny Draper at Victoria. The meeting was spoiled by having to be held in a bar. But Dave Haywood came. He is on holiday and is going to Dublin with Lenny Draper on Friday. John Watters was there and he seems quite a solid young man, but with domestic difficulties. Still it moves.
August 24 Tuesday: I went to Ripley [Ripley, Derbyshire, where the monthly “Irish Democrat” was printed]. The post is desperate. The copy posted on Saturday only arrived today. I managed to get the reading done but had to get a taxi. I reached Liverpool early thanks to a derailment south of Crewe which held up the expresses, so that I caught the train before the one I expected to miss! The Liverpool meeting was excellent. Pat MacLaughlin was there, and Fred Lyons started talking about becoming secretary, but that Mrs Dunlop might prefer it. The morale of Brian Stowell [A Manx member of the Connolly Association; a university science lecturer] has risen and there will be a few delegates to Manchester. But unfortunately yesterday I lost my keys, I think on the bus, so if I go to London tomorrow I cannot go till the office is open when I can get out the spares.
August 25 Wednesday: I was lucky. I traced the keys to the Woodside Lost Property Office. But I decided not to go to London till tomorrow. It was interesting. When I was playing in the evening and attempting some variations, it struck me that Beethoven’s “Prometheus Variations” are really the apotheosis of Mozart’s “signature tune”. For Beethoven’s is the “Seufzer eines ungeliebten” [a cantata for voice and piano]. But Beethoven has vigorously pruned the stem, as is the process right up to Schubert, who can be the most condensed of all, but can’t keep it up.
August 26 Thursday (London): I went to Manchester in the morning and made some arrangements. Then I had a drink with Dave Hayood, who is on holiday and goes away with Lenny Draper to Dublin tomorrow. Then I went to London and Charlie Cunningham was in the office.
August 27 Friday: I was in the office at 7 am. and remained there till I went to Paddington with Chris Sullivan.
August 28 Saturday: I was in the office at 6.15 am. and still I had plenty left to do when I left to go to Holloway with a young lad who has just become a student – Michael Foley – after working as a clerk. I had a call from Lenny Draper who says he waited at Victoria for Dave Haywood, who did not show up. I wondered had he taken a drop too much. Then I thought perhaps he had not the money, for he was to get Lenny Draper’s ticket as well.
August 29 Sunday: I was in at about 8 am. and got through quite a bit. But there is still masses to do. I was out again with the paper.
August 30 Monday: I went in at about 7.15 am. and later Charlie Cunningham came and gave a hand. Then Tony Donaghey rang suggesting a sale in Camden Town, so I was out with him.
August 31 Tuesday (Liverpool): I was in the office from about 7 am. and then left for Manchester on the midday train which was late. I called out to Hathersage Road [ie. the Manchester CPGB office] and typed some envelopes to people whose names FC2 and Gerry Cohen gave me. They told me Dave Haywood had not put in an appearance since I took him out for the drink. It is odd. He is only 25 – his birthday is on Saturday – and at that age when tensions have built up they discharge themselves in sudden decisions. Wilf Charles is cynical. “I’ll give him another year,” he says. They are having fierce difficulty with finance, and the weakness is in Manchester [ie. of the CPGB]. Apparently things are reversed these days and Liverpool is the stronger partner. I came on to Liverpool – very tired.
September 1 Wednesday: I had a letter from Cathal about the Mellows reception on September 10th[An event planned by Cathal MacLiam and his other friends in Dublin to mark the publication of “Liam Mellows and the Irish Revolution”]. But I felt too tired to give him the list of people he asked for, still less to do a press handout. He said he had been dreaming about me and the dream was a curious one. He is a great one for dreaming, and this must partly account for his good health. I went to the bookshop and did some duplicating and had a talk with O’Hara [ie. the CPGB secretary/organiser in Liverpool]. There was a curious telephone call at 9.45 pm. A very nasal Belfast voice asked, “Is that Desmond please?” Then there was much chattering behind the scenes. A voice (the same one, a man’s and somewhat slow) said something about a bookshop. It was vaguely familiar, but that would mean nothing. There were women’s voices in the background. There was no attempt to open a conversation. I held on about three minutes. There had been no call-box signal and there were no “pips”. Somebody has got hold of my number and wanted to check if it was the correct one or whether I am here. A nuisance. I had some of the “phoning-up trick” from the Andy O’Neill rats and they used to choose late hours [This is a reference to leftist members of the North London branch of the Connolly Association, led by Andy and Patsy O’Neill, who opposed the Association’s policy aims in 1958 and were expelled as a consequence]. At the first sign I will leave the receiver off, if I can’t trap them. I must have been too free with this number. But it is in the Connolly Association office. And Peter Mulligan had Brian Crowley there with him one night, much to my annoyance. They have no regard for security. Of course the use of the word “please” should have warned me that it was somebody who did not know me.
September 2 Thursday: The mysterious telephone call was explained. What I had taken to be a pretended Irish accent was in fact a Wessex accent. It was the CP man in Southampton. And as I guessed, it was Peter who had issued the forbidden number. It was several minutes however before he disposed of my suspicions. I went to Manchester and spent the day finding accommodation. The weather is hot and dry again.
September 3 Friday: Again I went to Manchester and met Michael Crowe and Lenny Draper in the evening. I think I have everybody accommodated.
September 4 Saturday: The conference began without the London delegation whose minibus broke down [This was the Connolly Association’s annual conference held in Salford, Manchester]. But it was obvious from the start that it was going to be a success. Sean Redmond, who was to have moved the first resolution, was not there but I did for him and he made a few points when he arrived. Of course Charlie Cunningham, Pat Hensey, Eamon McLaughlin (who took the chair) and Tony Donaghey were there, as they are all railwaymen and get free travelling. Ann Doherty looked in but did not stay long. The social Peggy Hillery [Sean and Tom Redmond’s married twin sister] ran in the evening was also a success. Carmody was first class [Paddy Carmody from Dublin, a CPI member who wrote on political matters under the pseudonym A. Raftery], and later Tony Coughlan arrived, and came back with me to Liverpool.
September 5 Sunday: The conference concluded. It was quite remarkable. There was not a single unconstructive speech. There were people from the whole of England and Wales – Oxford, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Coventry, and Blackburn – Pat Ward, Michael Crowe, Barney Morgan, Brian Stowell, Lenny Draper, Mark Clinton, Pat Powell and Pat Turley, Brian Wilkinson and Martin Guinan. Michael Crowe took the chair at one session, Martin Guinan at the other. Barney Morgan drove me back, though Brian Stowell brought me out. Charlie Cunningham is staying with Brian Stowell. Then we held a public meeting in the Shire Hotel [ie. in Liverpool], with quite a reasonable attendance and made some new members.
September 6 Monday: Charlie Cunningham was already at the TUC. But I did not go. I had a meeting of the Electrical Trade Union in Manchester. Anthony Coughlan and Charlie Cunningham were both at Blackpool [At the annual Trades Union Congress]. On the way back from Manchester I saw Roger O’Hara who told him [ie. Charlie Cunningham. O’Hara was the Liverpool CP secretary] that Cartwright had said that at its meeting in Manchester the Connolly Association had voted do dissolve itself. This may be the product of the hectic night at his flat when Jack Henry, Jim Kelly, Peter Mulligan and others sat up till four boozing. I gather that the London delegates got safely back and in good form.
September 7 Tuesday: Tony and I went to Blackpool. We got signatures to a telegram on internment. The mood was far better than I ever remember it. We talked to Andy Barr – who looks a very worried man [Northern Ireland trade union leader]. We took with us Betty Sinclair whom we collected at Liverpool, after which she came to 124 Mount Road for breakfast [Betty Sinclair, secretary of the Belfast Trades Council]. Tony Coughlan was fascinated by the TUC. And in the evening we held a meeting which 87 delegates attended, twice the attendance at the Vietnam meeting. Askins was there – a sad picture, hobbling on sticks with disseminated sclerosis – the days of his whoring are over. And he is quite young. He told me he had seen a very favourable review of my book in one of the British papers, but I could find nobody else who had seen it. As the day went by we heard of fresh delegations agreeing to support Charlie Cunningham’s motion for a Bill of Rights [CA member Charlie Cunningham’s successful motion on the Bill of Rights in his union, the National Union of Vehicle Builders (NUVB), had been forwarded as his motion required to the annual Trades Union Congress]. I met at the meeting Peter Shevlin, a delegate who is also a member of the Ardoyne Citizens’ Defence Committee, and thus presumably a “Provisional”. He came over and spoke very warmly. “You’re doing very good work.” He said it in such a way that it was clear that he meant it. Betty Sinclair made a very effective speech. A priest was there and offended the delegates with some strictures upon the labour movement, but it passed off.
September 8 Wednesday: I had hoped to get some work done in the house and garden, but Sean Redmond rang saying that Edwina Stewart [of the NICRA and CPI in Belfast] had requested a speaker for Casement Park on Sunday [ie. for a NICRA sponsored meeting in Belfast]. I phoned Blackpool Station (Anthony Coughlan was on his way there) and got a message over the loudspeakers to him. He telephoned and later Charlie Cunningham got busy. He persuaded Lawrence Daly to speak, and Joe Whelan will go with him [Lawrence Daly,1924-2009, General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers in its early 1970s heyday. Joe Whelan was a miners’ leader and CA member in Hucknall, Derbyshire]. I had then the long job of getting in touch with Belfast, but eventually succeeded. But the day had gone.
September 9 Thursday: Tony and I crossed on the day boat to Dublin and took a taxi up to Cathal’s [ie.to Cathal and Helga MacLiam’s home at 24 Belgrave Road, Rathmines, where Greaves usually stayed when in Dublin in those years]. It was a delightful crossing.
September 10 Friday: At about 11.30 Charlie Cunningham telephoned to say that Andy Barr moved the Bill of Rights motion and it was passed unanimously without debate. It is a great victory for us. A group of delegates are taking Charlie back to London in triumph.
I called in to Pearse Street [ie. the CPI bookshop at No.16A] for a few minutes and found Sean Nolan interested in our conference and the TUC, but not bubbling with it [Sean Nolan, manager of the bookshop and leading Dublin CPI member]. Then I had lunch with Tony Coughlan, and Dalton Kelly was there [Dalton Kelly (O Ceallaigh) was then a student at TCD and a member of the College Republican Club]. He talks of doing historical research for a year. Micheál O Loingsigh also came [Micheál O Loingsigh was a member of the Dublin Wolfe Tone Society and was now chairman of the Common Market Defence Campaign, an umbrella group for those opposing Irish membership of the EEC in the referendum on the EEC Accession Treaty the following May].
In the evening there was the gathering I came over for [ie. the Dublin reception to mark the publication of “Liam Mellows and the Irish Revolution”]. It was held in the Taylors’ Hall [where the United Irishmen used meet in the 1790s], and Cathal had done massive work. Those present included Maire Comerford, to whom a copy of my book was presented, Rita Brady, Alfie White [Republican veterans], Brid O’Hegarty who told me Cian [her son, of the Irish language publishing house Sáirséal agus Dill] would have been there but for being on duty at Radio Eireann, Roy Johnston who could not resist saying a few halting words, Proinsias MacAonghusa [Labour Party figure, who had favourably reviewed the book], very plump and middle aged, Sheila Humphries, Fiona Plunkett [War of Independence veterans], Con Lehane (who made the presentation) [Dublin solicitor, former Clann na Poblachta TD] and a man called Kenneally who said I knew his father in Manchester; but I could not remember. He spoke of Seamus Barrett and the Glyn case, which he believed (though I am sceptical) to be a “frame-up”[Seamus Barrett, 1857-1943, a veteran Fenian who formed the Manchester Martyrs’ Memorial Committee in Manchester in the early 20th century]. Joe Deasy came in late and left early [He was a leading Dublin CPI member]. Noel Harris was there [Belfast-born trade union leader now working in Dublin; one of the founders of the NICRA in 1967; a CPI member].Afterwards at Cathal’s he remarked on the absence of the Communist Party. “A boycott”, said Roy. “You’ve enemies in Dublin as well as Belfast,” said Harris. I had been asked by Asmal to speak to the students in November, so began to reconsider this [Kader Asmal, South African Trinity College law lecturer and founder of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement]. Harris said he had desperate trouble with Edwina Stewart on the EC [ie. the Executive of the CPI]. “I’m so much out on a limb,” he said, “that I’ll hardly be on the EC next year [Noel Harris, who was a friend and neighbour of Anthony Coughlan’s, would have been pushing the Bill of Rights policy on the CPI Executive at this time]. But of course they allow years to pass between conferences, so things may change.
What were the differences about? Mainly the uncontrollable behaviour of Edwina Stewart who is liable to take her cue from the Republicans one day, from the People’s Democracy the next [Edwina Stewart, née Menzies; Greaves usually refers to her by her maiden name in the manuscript Journal; she was an influential voice on the Executive of the NICRA, as well as being in the CPI, of which her husband Jimmy Stewart was the leading official in Belfast]. This must explain the erratic statements of the recent period. Apparently if anybody mentions the “Bill of Rights” Edwina has near hysterics. She professes to believe that even mentioning it will precipitate “Orange backlash”. We should keep the principle but not the name, is her view. Apparently the principle will not annoy. And of course she can pretend the idea was hers from the start. Empty heads are very jealous of ideas and when they steal them, like to disguise the certificate of origin. With such people responsibility creates arrogance, not humility, and we await retribution when the euphoria passes and people must use their heads. Among others present was Tony Meade, who came all the way from Kerry. Maire Comerford made a short but effective speech and seemed very elated at the event [Maire Comerford 1893-1982, Republican veteran and journalist]. Also present were Aine Redmond [ie.Tom Redmond’s estranged wife], Bill Meek [Anti-Apartheid activist] and Derry Kelleher [leading member of Official Sinn Fein; author of several political books and an admirer of Greaves’s]. I can’t remember all.
September 11 Saturday: I was driven to the ferry by Cathal and caught the day boat to Liverpool. I brought with me a bottle of the now unobtainable Midleton whiskey which Tony had procured.
September 12 Sunday: I did little but clear up part of the garden, cutting down some of the lilac stems to allow a little light. I will have a big programme of tree-trimming this autumn. Late at night Lenny Draper rang up. It seems he is making a good effort [ie. organising the CA branch in Manchester].
September 13 Monday: I came to London in time for the Standing Committee. But on the way I bought the Morning Star and realised what Noel Harris had meant when he asked me (rhetorically) why I didn’t talk to Michael O’ Riordan about the “line of the party”. It has spread to England. There was a report of an EC in London at which George Matthews had gone for a commission to replace Stormont [ie. at a meeting of the CPGB Executive; George Matthews was editor of the CPGB daily newspaper, the “Morning Star”]. Andy Barr had talked of this at a meeting a year ago and much disgusted Charlie Cunningham [Andy Barr was a leading Northern Ireland trade unionist and CPI member]. There was in effect an implication of “direct rule”. But they retained the call for a Bill of Rights. Now the interesting thing is that R.Palme Dutt in Labour Monthly has quoted the Irish Democrat programme [R. Palme Dutt, leading CPGB theorist and authority on the national question]. I feel very displeased and uneasy. There could be an unholy split. The question is how to minimise the damage.
September 14 Tuesday: The Standing Committee last night decided we would keep the premises and try to raise the cash. Today I was working on the paper. I decided that since the Connolly Association had decided its policy at its conference, that was what it was bound by. Jack Woddis is in hospital.
September 15 Wednesday: Another day spent on the paper, sending out appeals and what not.
September 16 Thursday: Again on the paper. Seafort is on holiday, so we are held up over the lease. Still I have promised an office to an Indian. ZAPU are away and I think their organisation has broken up [They were CA sub-tenants in the building]. Charlie Cunningham was not in this evening, but there were signs of a rising circulation of the paper.
September 17 Friday: Early in the morning Tony MacNally telephoned. The National Committee of the YCL [Young Communist League] was to meet next Tuesday. Would I attend. I told him I was due in Liverpool. He was prepared to have Sean Redmond, even though he is not in it. What was the trouble, I asked. There were divisions over Ireland, and two issues, one the British troops, the other this wretched commission. I had not read the “Star” [ie. the “Morning Star”]. When I did I saw what McNally was talking about. They had a six-point programme to solve the crisis. Five points were sound enough. But one of the six, number five, was sheer absurdity. They wanted the British Government to transfer the administration of the Six Counties to a commission of representatives of “Peoples’ Organisations” pending an election by proportional representation. The Commission, appointed as it would be, was described as a “democratic commission”. The thing is such lunacy that one seeks an explanation. What right-wingism does this incredible leftism conceal? – it conceals the absence of the demand for a united Ireland. Now I know Woddis regards this as a matter for the far-distant future. And so the fundamental Orangeism of Edwina Stewart and company comes out again, and they have apparently carried Dublin and London with them. It is “revolution from the top” with a vengeance. Yet when it is all over it ends in an election (to Stormont?) by PR [ie.Proportional Representation] which the Unionists would win! I resolved to try and stop the nonsense.
I rang up Joan Bellamy and learned that Woddis was out of hospital. She promised to call to my office on the way to Leeds. I showed her the programme, and in any case she had seen it. She agreed with me that it was a little hasty, and when I asked her about its origin she said she thought Woddis had brought it back from Belfast. I have little doubt they bamboozled him. But he did not mention this point and I think he would have done. Joan was not consulted over the EC discussions [ie.the Executive Committee of the CPGB]. Finally, she told me that Woddis is coming to stay with her in Leeds next Friday and she invited me to come to stay the weekend and there it might be possible to have a talk.
I was in Holloway with Peter Mulligan in the evening, Seamus Tracey driving us in his car.
September 18 Saturday: I was still on the paper, but nearly finished it. There has been good rallying to the standard and Mark Clinton, Michael Crowe and Brian Wilkinson have increased their orders. In the evening I was in Kilburn with Jim Kelly. He undoubtedly thinks and he can express opinions he arrived at independently. I mentioned to him my fear that the fusion of the two communist parties would rather bring Dublin under the influence of Belfast than the reverse. Quite heatedly and in a flash he said, “That could happen on a vast national scale.” He is a little contemptuous of Peter Mulligan who does not like him and is a bit afraid of him. He says that he has the temperament which enables him to survive being alone and that imprisonment would not break him. He would do what he was told and keep his mouth shut.
September 19 Sunday: I was talking with Sean Redmond. He cannot get to the CDU conference [ie. the Labour Party-oriented Campaign for Democracy in Ulster]. But we have sent Pat Hensey (Melly has asked for a copy of “Mellows”) and Eamon McLaughlin who will propose a resolution demanding a Bill of Rights. This is the CDU conference, but they invite other organisations to send in resolutions. And they pass them all, no matter how much they conflict. Charlie Cunningham was in during the day and we got quite a bit done, in the evening going to Luton.
September 20 Monday: Early in the morning Lenny Draper managed to say that the Manchester meeting was tonight. I had to hasten with the material for the lobby on Wednesday. I got over the difficulty of the commission nonsense by condensing the demands, so that first came the end of internment, then the announcement of a Bill of Rights, then discussions among interested parties on how to make its policy effective. But Sean Redmond told me of Tony Smythe’s experiences in Belfast. It was because of the need to check a document he has proposed that Sean Redmond could not get to the CDU conference. The NCCL is coming to the conclusion that unless the border goes there can never be effective civil rights in the Six Counties [The Connolly Association was affiliated to the NCCL and Sean Redmond represented it on that body’s Executive]. We have not discouraged this. However, Smythe says that he was given no cooperation by NICRA. Instead they sneered at him, asking if he hadn’t work to do in London. Sean Redmond was indignant, as Smythe works very hard. He said that the atmosphere in the NICRA office was one of uneasiness and suspicion, with little groups talking together in huddles in different parts of the premises. Even Kevin McCorry would not talk to him. But he went to see Betty Sinclair, who was the only one he showed his document to and I intend to show her the galleys of my new book! [ie.“The Irish Crisis”] I know now why she suggested it while we were at Blackpool.
What is happening and who is who? It is said Edwina Stewart inclines to the leftism of the People’s Democracy, whom Noel Harris hates [People’s Democracy leader Kevin Boyle was on the NICRA Executive in Belfast]. Now in the middle of the week Madge Davison rang me and asked me if, when I had wired McCorry congratulating him on his release and announcing the lobby, I knew NICRA was sending 30 dependents [ie. of Belfast internees, to join a lobby of the House of Commons]. I replied that I had read it that day in the paper. “Well,” she said, “I’m telling you our arrangements in case there’s any skulduggery.” I think that Boyle, who is their press officer, deliberately withholds material from the Irish Democrat [Kevin Boyle was a leading People’s Democracy figure and a member of the NICRA Executive]. Now later Madge Davison rang again and told me Eamon Travers was in jail. I told her there must be no nonsense in the Commons on Wednesday.
I left for Manchester on the 4 pm. and met Lenny Draper at Victoria. The meeting was a failure – only myself, Lenny Draper and Belle Lalor. I came to Liverpool.
September 21 Tuesday: I went to Ripley to read the proofs. Everything went very smoothly apart from a breakdown of the diesel train from Derby to Crewe. The meeting in Liverpool was a great success – with Brian Stowell, Barney Morgan, Pat Doherty, Fred Lyons and others. They decided to hold a conference during the first week of December. I learned yesterday that the CP [ie. the CPGB] had put in a resolution to the CDU conference calling for a “democratic commission” to replace Stormont. Of course these made no objection.
September 22 Wednesday: I forgot to mention last Friday, Bernadette Devlin addressed a crowded meeting of the “Labour Committee against Internment” which the IS bunch held [ie.the neo-Trotskyite International Socialists]. They lifted £150. Barbara Haq [of the Movement for Colonial Freedom, to which the Connolly Association was affiliated] described the movement as a “breakaway” from the Anti-Internment League. Gray, its secretary, had spent a whole afternoon with her. So she called a meeting in the House of Commons for today. But she had thought the debate was finishing this afternoon. But now I see Latham [ie. Arthur Latham MP, who had proposed the Bill of Rights in the House of Commons on 12 May 1971] is in with the Labour Committee against Internment! Then on Saturday Bernadette drove round West London in a Mercedes and held open air meetings under the Anti-Internment League at which the speakers talked about Sweden and Timbuctoo.
Today I merely spent pottering around, listening to news bulletins.
September 23 Thursday: I spoke with Sean Redmond in the evening. He told me the lobby was a great success [ie.the lobby of MPs on internment the previous day]. Flann Campbell and Mary Campbell were there, Max Egilnick and many others. Sean spoke to Fitt and Hume. They thought that Maudling had “moved” [Reginald Maudling, Conservative Home Secretary and primarily responsible for Northern Ireland policy]. They are clutching at straws, said Sean. As for McManus, he said there was not a single trace of a concession [Frank McManus, independent Nationalist MP for Fermanagh-South Tyrone]. He told me that at Brighton on Tuesday Tony Chater had trotted out the “suspend Stormont” business [Tony Chater, leading CPGB and “Morning Star” figure]. They certainly have the bit between their teeth [ie. in calling for replacement of the elected Stormont Parliament by a Government-appointed Commission].Something should be done about it,” said Sean, who thinks as I do on the subject. A substantial number of copies of our document were given away at the lobby. I told Sean Redmond I was going to Leeds, and why. Great skill and discretion will be required in this. The trouble is that even Jack Woddis can be carried away with things said in Belfast which ought to have been discredited years ago. And the others are completely new to the subject. Then of course, like the rest of humanity they are inclined towards self-importance and cannot believe that what they have just observed might have been minutely examined by someone else. And they do not even know they are like this! What they are doing seems the most natural thing in the world.
Another amazing thing – Sean Redmond saw Hume and Cooper and Paisley laughing and chatting together in the lobby!
September 24 Friday (Leeds): I cleared a few things away, then went to Leeds. Ron Bellamy [Labour historian] came down to the station for me and drove me out to his house – a very modern bungalow constructed in what once were the grounds of an Edwardian country house, which still stands. Jack Woddis and his wife, a pleasant person, were there. Whatever about the others, my strictures should not be applied to Woddis, who told me how much he had been reading about the Irish question. He asked if I was pleased at the resolution they sent to the CDU conference and I replied that I was not. “We had great difficulty in getting to that conference,” he said. “They said we were not invited.” I imagine Rose had no objection when he saw the resolution [Paul Rose, Labour MP, was CDU chairman].
I had little need to persuade Woddis. I pointed out that the Bill of Rights as introduced would provide all the content required in a reform programme. It would deprive Stormont of certain powers. It would impose new obligations. Tinkering with the technicalities of representation was no substitute for writing the reforms into the constitution. What was the meaning of “appointing” a “democratic” commission when the majority of the people were Unionist? When they had their election under PR, to what body was the election to elect them? If Stormont, would it retain its powers? If not, what was it? And if, as one expected, such an election returned the Unionists, what then?
He told me that when he was in Belfast Michael O’Riordan [Dublin General Secretary of the CPI]was abroad and he saw Hughie Moore for only a few minutes [Hughie Moore, CPI full-time worker in Belfast]. Sam Nolan swore that the meeting in Derry had established a dual power [Sam Nolan, Dublin CPI activist. The SDLP had withdrawn from Stormont following the introduction of internment and called for the setting up of an alternative assembly and the withdrawal of all Catholics from public life; some 130 councillors from twenty local councils withdrew from their elected positions and a rent and rates strike was launched. Two sessions of this “alternative assembly” were held in Dungiven, Co Derry, in October]. Apparently the “democratic commission of people’s organisations” meant that to the SDLP assembly would be added representatives of NICRA, the CP, Trade Unions etc., and the British Government was to be invited to put the management of the Six Counties in their hands. Was this seriously intended? He thought to the SDLP it was simply a manoeuvre. “What will you give us if we come back to Stormont?”
I asked how would he save the faces of those who have been drawn into this nonsense. He thought it could be quietly dropped. I had my doubts. I thought perhaps a saving clause in the resolution that “if necessary” and Stormont refused to operate the Bill of Rights, the necessary changes should be made. We agreed that the present form of Stormont should not be regarded as sacrosanct. He told me that he had the agreement of the CPI that there was no need for the CPGB to say quite the same thing as they were saying, and that he had specifically required this on the issue of British troops.
They had agreed that if he was forced to a position where he had to demand such withdrawal (I take it under pressure from the ultra-left they would not blame him for it. The lapse of this is of course somewhat doubtful. For the most part the evening was spent in relaxation, talking, drinking wine and brandy which was plentiful, under conditions of general and expansive cordiality.
September 25 Saturday (Liverpool): Jack Woddis, who is recovering from an operation for hernia and is thus still tired, though he resumes work on Monday, got up late but before I left told me he had been thinking overnight. Joan Bellamy insisted that we go and sit on the settee and did not interrupt the preparations for breakfast, which with them is a sabbatorial meal, whereas I take only tea. He said he could envisage a position where a Unionist government elected on the basis of PR was confronted by a new Labour Government. He had been reading the speeches of Bonar Law. Would the Unionists “get away with it” once more? Would Labour climb down like Asquith? We agreed it was less likely than in 1912-14. Beyond that little is to be said. But I drew attention to Hillery’s speech and the need to make it clear that the future of the Six Counties is within an All-Ireland State [Patrick Hillery, Irish Foreign Minister, who had given a speech at the United Nations in response to the Northern Troubles asserting this view].
I went to Manchester and met Lenny Draper. The demolition of Central Manchester has deprived him of his meeting place, and having been shop steward, and arrived late through losing his wallet, he has lost his job again. But Martin Guinan has promised to address a meeting for them. I bought Comment [a CPGB publication] in Manchester and saw further insistence on the “suspend Stormont” line. I fear that it may not be so easy to reverse it. But Jack Woddis has promised twice to see that I have a run through the Congress resolution [ie. for the next CPGB policy conference]. It seems difficult to know what has happened. Incidentally, Woddis told me that they were trying to get in touch with me all the previous week. Yet I was there for some of the time. They never wrote a letter. So perhaps the “self-importance” theory does not hold water. I thought they had rushed in where angels fear to tread and not bothered to consult anybody, thinking they “knew”. I then came on to Liverpool.
September 26 Sunday: I am only, after beginning to relax, now appreciating how dog-tired I am after all this mad year’s activity. So I did nothing.
September 27 Monday: Fifty-eight today. I could do with another thirty years (though I could take fifty if I was not to be a Struldbrug or whatever it was) at least to do what I want to do [The Struldbrugs were figures in Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” who were immortal but who continually aged]. But today it was go easy. But like yesterday it rained. Then Kevin McCorry rang up. Could I get them a Trade Union speaker for Derry next Tuesday. I said it would be difficult. But I rang Cohen and he gave me the telephone number of Stan Cole. I also saw Mary McClelland in Duke Street and bought a bottle of Meursault for the day that was in it. Stan Cole agreed to speak. But the NICRA phone was, as ever, engaged. I rang Dorothy Deighan. She would see Joe Deighan telephoned me. But no telephone message came. He was seeing Kevin McCorry at Castle Dawson at a meeting.
September 28 Tuesday: No message, so in the morning I rang Dorothy Deighan and gave a piece of my mind. They didn’t think Stan Cole was important enough. I said that the Labour Party Conference was on, that he was President of the Manchester District of the AEWU[Amalgamated Engineering Workers Union], and (for good measure) had been a good boxer, held as many different jack-belts as would make a rainbow, and was a leading trainer in karate and altogether a bull of a man. Kevin McCorry soon rang and explained that he was happy about Stan Cole, as he had told me he didn’t want a “name” but a speaker. It was Joe Deighan who had wanted Clive Jenkins and had waxed eloquent on his virtues, waggling his union card in his face. I told him I had myself spoken to Clive Jenkins at the TUC and he had refused to sign the telegram calling for the end of internment [Clive Jenkins, General secretary of ASTMS, the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs]. This sobered Kevin. And I added that Jack Jones, though he had cast the TGWU votes for the Bill of Rights, had instructed his delegation on no account to speak in favour of it for fear of arousing the anger of the members in Northern Ireland. This sobered him more. He may have reflected that it is easier and wins some attention to march, sit down, or protest than to move things of importance behind the scenes. However, he said he did not agree with Joe Deighan and that Stan Cole was good enough for them.
The weather was fine, but I did not get away.
September 29 Wednesday: Again there was no reason why I should not have gone but sheer exhaustion. I just took it very easy, and during the evening drank some of the rare Midleton Whiskey that Cathal and Tony gave me.
September 30. Thursday: I felt much fresher today and the weather was superb, brilliantly sunny, hot and dry. I suppose this is the last of the good summers. I set out merrily enough intending to cycle to Mwel Hafn, but beyond Clatterbridge Hospital – not a place of pleasant association [His sister Phyllis had been treated there for a while during her terminal cancer] – the back tyre burst with a sound like a pistol shot. I went to the garage at the cross-roads. They told me there was likely to be a taxi within the hospital gate. A Murphy man was there [Murphy’s was the local taxi company in Birkenhead]. With great difficulty we got the machine into the boot. I was blackened by oil and generally annoyed, but none the worse. I went to Liverpool and bought a new tyre and tube. But my decent tyre levers are in London, so I must get some tomorrow and make another effort. Damn!
October 1 Friday: I did not go. I had to mend the bicycle and decided to take my time. And I am still tired, possibly the effect of the cold I have had. I simply pottered round the place and bought some brandy for a nightcap.
October 2 Saturday: Lawrence and Wishart sent me a cheque for £19 – being royalties on TA Jackson’s book here and in Germany, and on Connolly in Germany. I have been figuring out that I may at long last get a little income from writing, though not enough to be able to concentrate on it, perhaps something coming up to £500 a year at best, for the next two years. Still, it is a great improvement. Really however it is not income but the circulation of my own capital. The brilliant weather continued. I went to the city and pottered. I saw Brian Stowell in the evening as I passed down Prince’s Boulevard. Like Lenny Draper he also is finding it difficult to book a meeting room, though Liverpool has suffered none of the crazy demolition of Manchester.
October 3 Sunday: Just when I was hoping to get away the rain came. But I still felt tired so did not worry much.
October 4 Monday: The weather improved but the brilliant sunshine of last week has gone. And I am still somewhat unwell – enteritis and lassitude.
October 5 Tuesday: I think I have this damned virus that people in Liverpool have been suffering from. I spent half of the afternoon asleep in a chair. I am worn out doing nothing. Toni Curran sent cheques to be signed and two months’ pay amounting to £144, so I went to the bank to deposit it. But she still looks only on the sunshine.
Again I was exhausted – two and a half hours asleep in the afternoon, though the other symptoms have gone. I am mixing up the days, a fine illustration of sleepiness! In the evening the Connolly Association meeting took place. I rang Brian Stowell, who told me he was ill. He had given up lecturing when he had an attack of vertigo. And he complains of utter lassitude. He doesn’t want to move or do anything. Accordingly I went over and it was as well I did. Pat MacLaughlin, Fred Lyons, Barney Morgan and Ray Frodsham came. They say that Pat O’Doherty who was there is more active now, and less China-orientated. Ray Frodsham told me that he knew Fred Power very well; he died in Heswall. They were both friends of William Paul and his wife, and Mrs Paul died only six months ago [Liverpool leftwing veterans]. I often wondered.
October 6 Wednesday: Another brilliantly fine day. Sean Redmond telephoned. He said the meeting to have been held last night in Derry was postponed because Kevin McCorry was ill. He is getting out the invitations to the conference. I saw Roger O’Hara in the afternoon [O’Hara was the CPGB secretary/organiser in Liverpool]. He said Stan Cole could not go. Newman from Liverpool was to go; but finally they were told (via Kevin Boyle, I imagine) that the project had been cancelled as “too dangerous”. In the evening Pat Powell phoned about the October 31 London demonstration of the Anti-Internment League. They are busy in Coventry. Johnson, the University specimen I always distrusted, is leading it. They include every kind of Trotsky. And of course they are well supplied with funds.
October 7 Thursday: By post in the morning I had a notice to quit the cottage on 25 March 1972. So the expected has happened. Fletcher’s boast that “you won’t know the Bog in five years” is being put into effect. What is taking place before our eyes is the total extirpation of what was quite recently a thriving community and its replacement by trees. It would not surprise me if the Corbetts also had to leave. That I will find out. However, I was not desperately disappointed. I would not at the start have given it up myself, partly because Phyllis was so attached to it. But since it was altered by the forestry development and access was made difficult, it had crossed my mind to vacate it. The next may well be Argyle Street [where his London flat was] as the Tories are bringing in a monstrous Rent Act. What I would like to work to would be centring everything here but having a pied-a-terre with somebody in London.
I also had a letter from James O’Donovan about “Mellows”.
October 8 Friday: I had a message from Mary McClelland (how she got my number I don’t know, possibly from Brian Stowell) saying it was very important that I should ring Tony Chater. She gave me his number, not in London, and I rang. But it was only to ask me to provide the text of a broadsheet comprising 2000 words! I hope it doesn’t require a committee of three working for a week like the pamphlet! I said I would do it but not for a week as I was unwell and wanted a clear week in the country. He asked what was amiss and volunteered that he had these past two weeks been suffering from diarrhoea he could not get rid of. I told him that this was one of my symptoms but that I seemed at long last to be getting it under control. This must be a very widespread virus.
October 9 Saturday: I did very little, though I feel substantially better and the entiritis seems to have cleared.
October 10 Sunday: The weather was wet and the enteritis has not cleared. So I sat, drank brandy and read.
October 11 Monday: I have more or less abandoned hope of getting to the cottage even if the weather takes up.
October 12 Tuesday: The same again. A trip into the city and reading and music – a complete rest.
October 13 Wednesday: I rang up Alan Morton and said I would come to St. Albans on Saturday and stay the weekend with him. Both he and Freda were delighted.
October 14 Thursday: I merely sat and read and went to town for an hour in the afternoon.
October 15 Friday: Another day spent the same way.
October 16 Saturday (St Albans): I set off in the afternoon and Alan Morton and Freda met me at Watford, whence Freda drove us to St Albans. The family are all away. I listened to some animadversions upon David’s wife [David was one of their two sons]. “He thought he had married strength of mind, but instead it was merely bad temper.” It seems she was a nurse and was perhaps dazzled by his prospects. Now since he is only young, she would like to see them fruit sooner. She wants glamour, parties and evenings of entertainment he cannot afford.
As for John he is still unemployed and feels a little rueful that David is so successful despite the wife. He is still at Hull and Alan proposes to help him. The same thing happened to him and his father financed the Cambridge episode [where Alan Morton had gone in 1933 to do postgraduate work after taking his primary degree in Liverpool]. It can always be called a loan. Freda’s parents are both alive – in their nineties!
October 17 Sunday: Freda took us to Verulamium [ie. the original Roman settlement in St Albans] and dropped us there so that we could walk back. The weather is still mild and bright – quite a hot October indeed, maybe the last. Alan is full of himself, and Freda took me aside to thank me for getting him to the doctor. “He doesn’t know that part of the story,” she said. I know exactly what made him ill. It was not that the illness affected his work, but that the setbacks at work made him ill. His strongest sentiment is one of self-esteem. But it must be shown by the academic or scientific establishment, for he still respects this absurd humbug and takes seriously the learned yahoos who strut and mince in their dark suits when they are not scheming to steal a march on their colleagues. He thinks they are “nice fellows”. So when they show their true selves and himself how little real respect they are capable of, he is not angry but hurt. He retires into himself and allows human muck to make him ill! And I have seen this happen to him again and again. Now of course he is on top of the world, editing the “Mycological Journal”, learning ancient Greek so as to check Theophrastus for his history of botany. He would have enjoyed his whole life perfectly if he lacked the desire for respectability, for little really evil ever befell him.
October 18 Monday (London): I accompanied Alan Morton to St Pancras whence he proceeded to Chelsea and I to the office. I spoke to Maurice Cornforth. He told me what I had noticed, that the Russians had used Angela Clifford’s translation of Engels’s “History of Ireland”. She had written a strong letter complaining of breach of copyright. Was she justified? I told him that I was sorry to say she was, and obviously the Russians had been taken in by the name of her organisation [ie.the British and Irish Communist Group]. Then we’ll have to apologise and pay her, he said. Should not the Russians do that? “They certainly should,” said he, “but we’ll charge them, so it will be all right.” So she may try to exact some vast sum so that it will go to arbitration and heaven knows what. Maurice decided to be very conciliatory. But they never consult. I got a list of the passages they were using, but no text. I took a sentence from Engels’s English original – they substituted the re-translation from Russian and took all the sense out of it. I spoke to Tony Chater on the phone and he said he would call in on Thursday [Tony Chater, 1929-2016, leading British communist; later editor of the “Morning Star” daily].
October 19 Tuesday: The letting of the upper back room to the Indians hangs fire because Seafort says their references are not good enough. I worked on the paper
October 20 Wednesday: The Tenants and Residents said they wanted the top front room but when I said it was £9 a week they grew doubtful [This was an organisation to which the CA wanted to sub-let the room]. The leader of it used to attend a West London branch years ago.
October 21 Thursday: Tony Chater came in the morning. He is a fresh good-humoured bustling soul, not intellectually profound but intelligent and personable. I took to him all right. We had only exchanged greetings before. He brought the emergency resolution that is going before the Congress. Woddis had sent it for my comments. I think the basis is there, but it could be strengthened.
In the afternoon a Zambian came in. He told me that the Zambian Government had started a new organisation FORIZA to replace ZAPU after a spell. Could they have their old room back? £9 a week, said I. “What of that?” he asked, “Everything ‘s going up.” But who did he turn out to be but Nelson Samkange, whom Duke replaced after the last split. Sean Redmond says he is the most businesslike of the lot of them.
October 22 Friday: In the morning Maurice Cornforth rang up to ask if Angela Clifford was Mrs or Miss and I told him. He said that the “History of Ireland” was to go in the complete works [ie. in the book, “Marx and Engels on Ireland”, to which Greaves wrote a foreword]. He wondered, to avoid trouble from her, if he could use my translation, mostly from the Russian, and had I lost it? I was agreeable enough. For apart from anything else, he offered to pay. So this year is like a stretto in which elements of the past tumble for recognition [in a fugue a stretto is the imitation of the subject in close succession, so that the answer enters before the subject is completed]. But let us hope it does not indicate the approaching end of the fugue. We must have a long coda!
I had been invited to attend a YCL meeting at the NUFTO hall and speak for 40 minutes on James Connolly. Chris Sullivan and I went there at 7.15. It was due to begin at 7.30. The organisers were absent. Elsie O’Dowling was there. She had met R.Palme Dutt in the street. She remarked to him that things would have been in far better shape if it hadn’t been for the “bloody obstruction” by the Communist Party over twenty years. “There were only two people we could rely on,” she said, “Yourself and Jimmy Shields.” And there was some truth in that too. We had few friends, and some who smile now find the lines of their faces better fitted to a scowl or a sneer.
At about 7.45 the organiser arrived. I suppose there were twenty people in the large hall, including Betty O’Shea, but no Connolly Association people. The organiser was a dapper youngster in his middle-twenties, somewhat brusque and self-important like a junior officer. He informed me, after having discussed long with Myerson and a group of them at the back of the room, but without asking me my opinion, that it had been decided to abandon the advertised programme. Myerson and I should open up briefly and they would “make the whole thing informal.” I told them I had been invited to speak on James Connolly. How long will you need? – as if this was a damn nuisance. What was your original proposal? Oh, fifteen minutes would do. I declined and told him to let Myerson speak and I would go home. He had the grace to regret my wasted journey. I heard from Elsie O’Dowling afterwards that Myerson – I think he is in the YCL himself – gave quite a good talk. But it is not necessary to say that, since this happens every time. I resolved to waste time on the YCL no more. I remember in 1935 – I think it might have been when he was staying at 124 Mount Road – discussing the YCL with John Cornford [Cambridge student and poet, later killed in the Spanish Civil War]. He said it was a useless organisation and should be liquidated. They were very keen on “liquidating” in those days. But it occurs to me that it is an organisation for political playing. The more serious young people probably prefer the party or the Trade Unions. I have always set my face against any “Young Connolly Association” and I am sure the youth in the CA has been the better for it. Chris Sullivan came out when it was decided I was not going to speak and we had a drink before I returned to the office.
I forgot to record Wednesday evening’s events. At 5.30 Platts-Mills and I met Brockway at the Lords [John Platts-Mills QC, 1906-2001, former Labour MP for Finsbury]. Latham had omitted to book a room in the Commons so we went to the Opposition peers’ room, which Brockway almost always has to himself as he is the only man who works there consistently. Stallard came later [Jock Stallard, 1921-2008, Labour MP for Camden and St. Pancras], and Latham for a few minutes at the end [Arthur Latham,1930-2016, Labour MP for Paddington]. The only other was Barbara Haq [of the Movement for Colonial Freedom, to which the Connolly Association was affiliated]. Brockway wanted a plan for a “planning commission” put into the Bill. I thought £1000,000,000 would be better, but the Lords could not vote it. However, I undertook to find out if people in Ireland favoured this. Then Platts-Mills talked about incorporating positive rights. In the end he and I were commissioned to work on an extended draft for introduction in January. Shackleton had admitted he was wrong to vote with the government. Latham said he was putting his name to a motion calling for direct rule, not because he believed in it, but because he knew he wouldn’t get it, and unless he put his name down to Rose’s motion, Rose wouldn’t put down his name for Latham’s. After that we went for a bite and a drink and Brockway declared that he had recently finished a vast book on the history of Empires that had taken him three years. I don’t anticipate anything very profound.
October 23 Saturday (Liverpool): I wrote to Betty Sinclair telling her what happened on Wednesday and suggested she should not hesitate to pour cold water on the planning commission idea, unless she thought it was marvellous. I learned that Lenny Draper had called the Manchester meeting for midday tomorrow, so I came to Liverpool in the afternoon.
October 24 Sunday: I went to Manchester and to my surprise found about fourteen people in the Brunswick Hotel [This was evidently a CPGB branch or district meeting]. Gollan was there, holding forth vigorously [John Gollan, 1911-1977, CPGB General Secretary]. Kenneth Lee had taken the chair, and Belle Lalor and Lenny Draper were there, together with workers from Partington. They are talking about setting up a branch in or near Irlam, which is to the good. Afterwards I had a cup of tea with Lenny Draper and Gollan. I was a little uneasy about Lee’s grandiose plans, which I thought might possibly clash with Peggy Redmond’s, for social activities. However, they hardly ever see her.
We discussed the impending replacement of Gerry Cohen by Vic Eddisford. Gollan thinks it a great improvement. He has respect for Eddisford. On the other hand Wilf Charles regards him as a “creep”, but I consider him a little jaundiced. Gollan said he respected Syd Abbott for his tireless activity, even if he got all the money mixed up. On the other hand he hates Syd Foster. He says that he had three years on full-time. Quite often he was twenty weeks in arrears with his pay. But Foster and others insisted on being paid on the week and getting holiday money. He even alleged that some people well placed – I do not know if they were on the payroll, but he seemed to imply it – were engaged in the enterprise of reconstructing houses they bought cheap and letting them out. He had not much time for Mick Jenkins but considered him far preferable to Syd Foster’s wife in the bookshop. It is clear that he had a rough package. And I never had any time for Syd Foster myself – I thought him a boozy incompetent. Lenny Draper said that all is not well with things now. Dave Haywood owes 16 weeks rent and is drinking heavily. Indeed he suggested signs of alcoholic Parkinsonism, if I might coin the phrase. But youngsters exaggerate. Yet I well remember that Wilf Charles declared contemptuously, “I give him two years at most.” Of course whatever about Wilf, he is no political weakling and it was a pity he and Abbott could not get on. Gollan said Abbott is paralysed, being wheeled about in a chair, but is completely conscious and understands everything.
I went on from Manchester to Chesterfield where the husband of the Mansfield secretary picked me up in his car and drove me the 14 miles to Mansfield. After tea I addressed a quite well-attended meeting arranged by King Street [ie. by the CPGB head office in London]. Joe Whelan took the chair and young Kevin O’Reilly – brother of John, who was secretary of Nottingham Connolly Association for a while – was there, a rather striking youth, handsome in a very Irish way, and about 20 I would imagine. He is helping Joe Whelan with the papers.
October 25 Monday: The district treasurer with whom I stayed last night drove me to Ripley. On the way I asked him about the differences that had occurred [ie. between local CPGB secretaries]. He said that things were now settled down. Harry Bourne had given me some account of it when he returned to Birmingham. He thought things were as well as they should be, which I was pleased to hear. I went on with the paper till I had to leave for London. The blocks got lost so I could not get a page proof. In the office I found Charlie Cunningham, but I think he is doing too much work and I have several times counselled him to concentrate on one thing alone. He told me that the October paper was sold right out and Pat O’Donohue had said that in September we had “broken even” for the first time.
October 26 Tuesday: I was in the office all day, busy as could be. In the evening I had to go to Basingstoke. I got to Waterloo for the 6.46 train. There was an announcement that services would be suspended pending the de-fusing of a bomb at Raynes Park. “Oh Jay!” I said, “they’ve started here now!” But they hadn’t. It was a bomb from the last war embedded by the side of the track. I was of course half an hour late. They knew what had happened and had sent off the meeting to the pub. After they had got them back again I delivered my speech. Andy Cooney was there. He is in Farnborough. And the Belfast lad who attended our meetings; but I imagine he will be a little affected by leftism. However, the man who rang me up and made me so suspicious was there and proved a signally inoffensive person. I thought it a useful trip.
October 27 Wednesday: All this week Sean Redmond is on holiday. The branch meeting took place in the evening. Brian Loughran spoke. He is very well-read and intelligent indeed, but already looks a Labour MP and for all the left talk, the corruption of careerism has made him cynical. He is possibly of the new type which will replace existing MPs when the Labour Party re-orientates itself. Sean Redmond has not shown up though he is not away. He wanted the conference postponed from 28 November, while Charlie Cunningham did not. Charlie thinks Sean, who had it to some extent in hand, is now leaving it to us. But that’s a bit harsh. Sean is lazy and self-centred but not uncooperative. He isn’t capable of the extra ounce that tips the scale, but he will throw in what he has available readily enough. Among those present were Pat O’Donohue, Peter Mulligan, Jim Kelly, Jane Tate and one or two new members. But generally speaking morale is not high, and it arises (as it has so long in London) from Sean Redmond’s failure of leadership. Today several of them told me he talks too much, and indeed he has now a new affectation, partially replacing the “ah! ah!”, or used when standing. He places his hands on his belly and sways on his toes backwards and forwards. And he spoiled Eamon MacLauglin’s talk last week (and Eamon is a master of oratorical style) by interjecting answers to Eamon’s rhetorical questions, believing that he had asked them from ignorance!
October 28 Thursday: Today was the first when the enteritis (slowly improving) seems to have cleared up and simultaneously I experienced a sudden renewal of energy and started clearing up office and flat. Charlie Cunningham and Jane Tate came in during the evening, and Chris Sullivan called to collect papers. We heard about the great treachery in the pub But we knew it was going to happen, so we were not surprised [This refers presumably to the attempt by some in Northern Ireland and British communist circles to support the call for “direct rule” over Northern Ireland rather than adopt the Bill of Rights approach being advocated by Greaves and the Connolly Association].
I saw Jack Woddis in the day. I took back his draft of the CPGB emergency resolution and after about an hour’s discussion secured practically every alteration I wanted. It is not perfect but it is not bad. He said he will put forward amendments to his own draft and see if they are accepted by the EC this weekend.
A reply came from Betty Sinclair. She agrees with me about Brockway’s ideas, so things are well there. So did Woddis. A New Zealand girl wrote a few days ago criticising the Irish Democrat from a leftist point of view. I wrote her a reasoned reply and today got a warm letter of thanks. She is in Wimbledon and doubtless influenced by Sid French, the permanent critic – I don’t know why at his age he gets so excited [Sid French, 1920-1979, secretary of the Surrey District of the CPGB; led a breakaway in 1977 to found the New Communist Party].She said that after branch meetings everybody wants to go home and there is no education. I wrote replying to her further points. She might have been an Australian. I forget; but she was from somewhere like that. The absence of education seems to be one of the chiefest causes of the present widespread political confusion, which affects the young people particularly. With Jack Cohen in charge of it, there is small wonder if little is done. He is a well-meaning self-satisfied second rater.
October 29 Friday: I rang up practically every district [ie. CPGB district] south of Nottingham – Westacott, Bert Pearse, Chatham, Luton, Essex, Middlesex, and wrote to others. I spoke to Sid French. He wanted a long discussion on the phone. He supports their position on the troops, which is one thing. The New Statesman is posing him as a threat to Gollan, but that is nonsense. I remember him in Wimbledon when war broke out and he was a boy of 18 in the YCL. This would be at the very end of August, and I was planning some classes with them. They were two – Sid French and Charlie Broad – and they rode up in great style on their bicycles, dressed in very short pants and lumber jackets. They were big fellows. But I could get no sense out of them. They would not even discuss plans a week or two ahead, and finally Sid French grew completely impatient. “Come on, Charles,” he ordered vehemently. “I’m going to get out on the streets – here’s our best chance yet of getting the Anglo-Soviet pact.” Of course that chance had gone forever, if it was to be a peace-time pact. For the next Sunday the war broke out. This incident may indeed have taken place on Sunday 27th August 1939. I was living at Grove Drive, Raynes Park. But he has never had realism and it is absurd to imagine he would try to oust Gollan, and even absurder that anybody would accept him in lieu. Still we had a friendly discussion. I think he is more of a grumbler than anything else and has a vast petit-bourgeois district behind him.
I was going to write Chater’s thing in the afternoon, but there was a succession of visitors. Finally, I went to Paddington with Tony Donaghey. He is a guard on the St. Pancras line. He makes it his business to quizz political notables when they travel by train. Recently he caught Anthony Wedgewood Benn [later Tony Benn MP] travelling first class as on a second-class ticket. He held him in conversation all the way to London and concluded that he had no conception of working class politics.
October 30 Saturday (Liverpool): I called into the office, then left for Birmingham where first I saw Frank Watters. I resolved to deal with their failure to see the importance of the Connolly Association by the simple expedient of repeating my arguments again and again until they sink in. He listened a little but this time had found a man called McCartney in the club, complete with bar, they have established in Essex Street. “We came to the conclusion that it all centres on getting a group of people who know what it’s all about.” “And,” said your man, “getting a few Irish accents.” There in two sentences was the exposure of the bankruptcy of Harry Bourne’s approach over all the years. When the crunch came they had nobody with an Irish accent willing to lead his own countrymen. I mentioned Mark Clinton, and this time Frank Watters was a little more interested. In the bar was Jim Falconer whom I used to stay with in the fifties when I used to cycle to Birmingham for meetings. That would be around 1953.
After leaving Essex Street I met Mark Clinton at New Street and we had a talk. He is a quite delightful character, from Bailieborough, Co. Cavan, a teacher who had just qualified, and extremely sensible, intelligent, modest, with a sense of humour. He spoke of Bowes Egan, who has made a highly polished speech. I told him I thought such characters did for the population of ideas what the releasing of sterile males did for population of insects. He was interested and volunteered that at some College in Birmingham a professor had suggested inviting me to speak on the present position. “Dear me, no,” protested one who was supposed to very “left”, “We can’t have him, he’s a communist.” “And,” Clinton added. “It was amazing how quickly they had their man ready – it was Bowes Egan.” I was not surprised. The sterile role tactic is as old as the hills.
I went on to Manchester, had a bite to eat in a tolerable Chinese restaurant in Piccadilly, and went to the Free Trade Hall. The large hall was in use for a “pop” contest. It was pouring rain. Very few were there and only Michael Brennan – who has, I’m told, left the International Socialist bunch, though that we take “cum grano salis” of the Officials [ie. the “Official” IRA].Casson, the NCCL man, came. Then Edwina Stewart and Ann Doherty. Stan Orme [Labour MP]was to arrive as soon as he could. And Tom McDowell appeared. The meeting was due to start at 7.30 pm. and an Indian was in the chair – a very weak chairman too, but a good lad and a supporter of the Democrat. The chairman called on Tom McDowell at about 8pm. Stan Orme arrived at 8.25 and sat next to me showing increasingly indignant impatience as McDowell droned on saying nothing. In the end he got Ann Doherty to stop him. A little battle had proceeded before the start. Casson did not want to speak first. I suggested the order Tom McDowell, myself, then Edwina Stewart, and crossed the platform to suggest this. She did not demur, but I saw on the chairman’s card that she had requested to speak before me. I told him I must catch the train to Liverpool and the man reversed the order without being able to tell her. So I turned the tables, and with no compunction, on that same bag of personal vanity. Then Orme insisted on speaking second and the chairman gave in to him as well. And Edwina was pushed even further on – and further still as Stan Orme spoke for half an hour, so that I was introduced at 9 pm. Edwina Stewart and Casson were still to speak. But all was well. I told them I would be brief and I was brief – 15 minutes, but I said all I wanted to say. And Edwina was under the necessity of contradicting me if she demurred, and I was on the home ground relatively speaking. At the back were about twenty-five countrymen in blue suits. Towards the front fifty mixed people, many English, most middleclass. I spoke for the men at the back. Then I left, after listening to five minutes of Edwina, and Lenny Draper accompanied me to the train.
October 31 Sunday: The brilliant weather continues with temperatures in the sixties. I could have gone to the cottage but was uneasy about what HK Lee was up to in Manchester. Also Josephine Neary cut off her papers on Thursday with such a chilly note that I wrote and asked if we had unwittingly offended her. So I went to Manchester and out to Belle Lalor’s house where Lenny Draper and Lee were present.
There was not much difficulty getting acceptance of a programme. Any idea will always displace no idea. And in the end three of us induced Lee to accept, instead of some grandiose scheme, a fairly modest social on St Patrick’s night.
Then the hidden facts began to emerge. The socials run by Peggy Redmond were a bone of contention. She was reported to have paid some musicians and not others. The profits were disappointingly small and were not paid to Belle. Josephine Neary must have been one of those disgruntled, and Lee thought Peggy Redmond was making the socials a personal property designed to promote a “folk song” group. They will have a word with her on Saturday night. I think she is extremely impulsive and would never think of the result of paying people.
I had a better impression of Lee. He had led the Manchester apprentices’ strike in 1936, when he joined the party, then led in Manchester by Rust. He had a high opinion of Rust, which I do not share in every way [William Rust,1920-1979, first editor of the “Daily Worker”]. Lee thought Rust was an independent thinker. I thought him highly stereotyped and insensitive to occasion. Lee likes talking about himself. We politely listened and smiled when he had done. His views on health are fairly sound. He is an admirer of R.Palme Dutt, though takes pains to point out that he “doesn’t agree with all of it”[R.Palme Dutt, 1896-1974, leading CPGB theoretician and authority on the national question, someone whom Greaves admired]. He strongly supported the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, and of course what else was there for it, although it was technically wrong. The damage had been done in the previous period. He had no time for Syd Foster. But indeed he was no great dispenser of compliments. I returned by about 6.30 pm.
November 1 Monday: I did not do much today. I cleared the garden a little and harvested one bed of potatoes – a copious supply. I arranged to have coal delivered. And I turned over in my mind some ideas for the Liverpool branch and started Chater’s broadsheet, getting out about a quarter of it.
November 2 Tuesday: I finished a final draft of the broadsheet and typed it. But it is too long. It will need a complete revision. The brilliant weather goes on. I picked strawberries today. For the second year running the second bunch of genothera have flowered. There are a few stray wallflowers before time, roses and a profusion of tropaeolums. Nobody would believe it was November. But I fear we are approaching the end of the warm spell. Can it give us one more good year? We have had three! I am inclined to explain the poor June and August by the volcanic eruptions earlier in the year.
In the evening the Connolly Association branch met – Brian Stowell, Fred Lyons, the girl who lives with Pat MacLaughlin, whose name is Dunlop, Barney Morgan, and an oldish man who ran the Indian League. He has been unemployed for several years but has a little work now. Likewise his son. And Fred Lyons is unemployed. Things are getting like the thirties here. But Brian Stowell and Pat MacLaughlin sold 90 Democrats on Saturday and the others are thinking of partially taking over his sale. I proposed a little celebration in his honour – he is 70 – and we are proposing to do it on 18 December [Pat MacLaughlin was a veteran of the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War and had also fought in World War 2’ he was an assiduous seller of the monthly “Irish Democrat”].
November 3 Wednesday: I have a cold. A damned nuisance. Especially in the fine mild weather, with chrysanthemums and holyhocks still in bloom. I went to the city and Fred Lyons and Pat MacLauglin came to the bookshop. Brian Stowell has secured a Trades Council list and we addressed 130 envelopes. Fred Lyons improves on acquaintance. He is highly cultured and well read – about 27 years old, I would say, possibly a little younger. He is a little disappointed with party life – he stood four times as a local candidate and got only a handful of votes. I detect a strong current of criticism of the leadership. All the sceptics over the Czech stand (and these include most of the best people in it) remain dissatisfied, and I see from Commentthat R. Palme Dutt wants a reversal. I don’t know why they got the bit between their teeth the way they did. After all, the damage had been done, and if the only way the Russians could escape was by shooting their way out, then that was that. But the door has been opened to cooperation with every Trotsky and potsky. However that may be, I try to pour oil on the troubled waters and keep discussions on an intelligent basis without absurd name-calling. We will want the unity later. I finished Chater’s broadsheet and took in the green tomatoes.
November 4 Thursday (London): I pottered around during the morning and then took the 2.30 to London. I was booked to speak at Deptford for Paddy Bond [ie. at a Connolly Association public meeting on Northern Ireland]. I met Siobhan O’Neill on the train. When we got there we found that the owners of the Engineers’ Club had booked two meetings for every room in the building, and we found ourselves sitting round an immense billiard table, fifty-eight of us. Eddie Marsden was there but was not perturbed. This had often happened to him. Later Kevin McNamara, who had been there all the time made himself known and spoke for twenty minutes, though Paddy Bond would have cut him out of the programme! [Kevin McNamara, 1934-2017, Labour MP for Hull, who had a lifelong interest in Irish affairs]. His secretary had failed to inform us that he was coming. On the whole the meeting was quite good. But I have caught a filthy cold, and though it did not affect my speaking it affected my equanimity. There was a message from Bill Parker [a former professional colleague of his in the chemical industry] saying he would lunch with me tomorrow.
November 5 Friday: I had lunch with Bill Parker. He looks older – he told me it was almost exactly 15 years since we last had met – and spoke ruefully of advancing years. Indeed from the start I detected a note of pessimism. And he has gone grey, at fifty-two. After we left Powell Duffryn he went to an outfit that lasted five years, then these past fourteen (perhaps that) he has been in coalings for subterranean cables. He had Walker with him as the chief assistant for the first period. Now he is somewhere else with the lad who was a Plymouth Brother and wouldn’t go to parties. I asked him at a point if he was still in the movement. He replied that he ceased to be a CP member about seven years ago, during the ETU rumpus [ie. the scandal over ballot-rigging in the Electrical Trade Union in 1961]. He was on a national industrial committee and denounced Haxell and his friends so heartily, and the swindles they were engaged in, that it was felt on both sides that his continued membership was not desirable. This is a pity, as he is a person of outstanding integrity and described his position as “puritanical”. He said that Haxell and T. [surname unclear] robbed the union right and left, and he thought Seafort did well, presumably in legal fees, though he may go too far there [Frank Haxell, ETU general secretary and CPGB member, forced to resign because of the scandal; Seafort was a leftwing solicitor]. So now, “food, reading and music is all that makes life worthwhile.” There is no doubt his interest in the arts has vastly expanded since I knew him. He told me that Maud Rogerson was dead – early this year of cancer. She was about 60. He has a high opinion of Peter Kahnman and of Alan Morton and thinks Peter Kerrigan honest but a fool [Peter Kerrigan. 1899-1977, CPGB industrial organiser]. Later in the day Chater rang up and I told him his thing was in the post.
We heard (from Tony Donaghey before I was in Hammersmith with Pat O’Donohue) of a meeting last night called by Max Egelnick which I could not attend. It was a meeting of Irish CP members. He and – of all people – that rat Prendergast protested at the principle of segregation involved. Claire Madden’s mad daughter was there. She is in Clann na hEireann, as were one or two others. She and some of them wanted an Irish section of the British CP. Others wanted the adoption of the slogan of the immediate withdrawal of British troops. Not satisfactory – but little danger I would say.
Now in Fulham we saw Melly and Donoghue plus O’Shaughnessy, now back from Manchester [These were leading members of the Labour Party-oriented Campaign for Democracy in Ulster and were former Connolly Association members]. They were friendly to the point of effusiveness. Charlie Cunningham was there too. He had been to a UCS dance and presumably the others were at it too. Melly said that Wilson was negotiating a settlement by which Tyrone and Fermanagh were ceded to Dublin, and “direct rule” was imposed on the remainder. He told us “direct rule” was “coming” and that he wanted it because it would produce a “confrontation” with Britain. But he urged us to resist – and he was very vehement – the rest of the plan. I saw no reason to give guarantees of our reaction to a situation that his opportunism would have helped to create. He said it was this that Faulkner had been to see Wilson about. McNamara was speculating about this yesterday [ie. Kevin McNamara MP].
November 6 Saturday: I was in the office most of the day, then with Sean Redmond in Paddington. He told me that Tom Redmond and Aine have completely separated and that while she is in Kilmacanagoue, he is in Milltown. He was inclined to think Melly had a bee in his bonnet and that no such deal was contemplated. At the same time he admitted its attractiveness from a theoretical Tory point of view.
November 7 Sunday: Again I was in the office all day and got quite a deal done. It was not a pleasant day. I went to Trafalgar Square and there saw Jane Tate and some of the Clann na hEireann boys, who once more were most friendly. Later Charlie Cunningham came in and it poured rain. He said that the “Provisionals” were the most antagonistic to us, and that the reason why so many of them cling together in the omnium gatherum of the “Anti-Internment League” is that it requires this unity of confusion to withstand the single strength of the Connolly Association.
November 8 Monday: Again all day in the office. Lenny Draper rang but I was out having a meal. He told Charlie Cunningham things were going well in Manchester.
November 9 Tuesday: Early in the morning Lenny Draper was through and asked for membership forms. He had begun to recruit and thought things were going well. Sean Redmond told us already that the CRA people have noticed him, and the revival he is bringing about. A letter from Gerald O’Reilly was very appreciative of my “Mellows”[Gerald O’Reilly, activist in the Irish War of Independence and later in the American trade union movement, where he helped Mike Quill found the Transport Workers Union of America]. He had been in Ireland with Peadar O’Donnell, Cathal Goulding and Sean Nolan. He had gone to Derry but was appalled at the disunity and recrimination between the groups. The people to blame in the historic sense are the Belfast CP who took up their opportunist “orange” line over years and years and thus were unable to meet the test when it came. Chater rang up with proposals for the changing the draft broadsheet. Most I agreed to subject to stylistic improvements.
I had a message from 16 King Street [CPGB Head Office in London] that some material was there for me. So I went to pick it up and found a consultative delegate’s credentials and papers [ie. for the party congress the following weekend]. So they have improved on last year’s performance. I saw Jack Woddis for a moment and he was very complimentary regarding the broadsheet and commented that both it and the resolution were based on “the policy we worked out in Leeds”. So my little excursion is admitted to have had effect.
In the evening I spoke to the University “Communist Society”. One student whose eyes indicated to me that he was only half sane, read and rattled an Italian newspaper throughout the proceedings, and walked periodically to the back of the room. The secretary who wrote to me was John Robson, and I asked him if he was anything to do with Peter Robson. He was indeed his son and I noticed the same mannerisms, arising from excessive romanticism allied to a real sincerity. Peter used to occupy the “bad fond“[ie. the basement of the house at Cockpit Chambers, Northington St., Holborn, where Greaves lived in the 1950s and 1960s] with Joe Monks and O’Lenihan. Indeed there was a succession there ending with the miserable creature Gilbert, a homosexual with neither the moral courage to practice or the strength of character to put it out of his mind, and who consequently spent his life pursuing imaginary symptoms of non-existent diseases, and growing ever greyer and more pinched in the process. Most of these boys were medical students, I thought all a cut above the average, apart from the lunatic.
I went to Neary’s afterwards and found Charlie Cunningham, Jim Kelly and Jane Tate.
November 10 Wednesday (Liverpool): I forgot to say yesterday that I went at his request to see Seafort, and discussed the lease and subletting [Seafort was the Connolly Association’s solicitor]. Commenting on the Six Counties he said – somewhat rhetorically considering his age and physical condition –”There you have fascism, killing men women and children and packing the jails with opponents of the Government. If what has been described as happening to these people happened to me, I would drop a bomb wherever I saw a uniform.” The Tenants and Residents have agreed to take our room at the full price. Pat O’Donohue came in today (Wednesday) and told me that though as a result of paying the full rent for the whole premises we lost £40 in September and somewhat less in October, it is possible to break even once we get the rent. But though we print sufficient papers to secure a revenue of £400, we only collect £275. He is to investigate this. Then I came to Liverpool.
November 11 Thursday: The weather was too damp to work in the garden. I went into the city in the afternoon and called at Duke Street looking for addresses but got little result. Moreover, I feel Roger O’Hara [ie. the Liverpool CPGB secretary] has a feeling that I am interfering in his area. Ah well, it is a tug o’ war anyway. If I do the broadsheets, I mustn’t be denied the interference. Let it roughly balance.
There was a letter sent on to me from Fr Frank Hynes, son of Frank Hynes of Athenry, and a priest in Jersey, which was most complimentary about my life of Mellows. It occurred to me that we should try and get some of the historic spots in Athenry marked with plaques. It seems, Frank Hynes wrote, his father died early in 1970. I wrote to Cathal about the plaque.
There was also a letter from Brief saying he could not knock sense into the head of the Inspector of Taxes. I suggested a suitable course of action.
November 12 Friday: I did very little today, though I seemed to be bustling about enough. I had intended to go to Manchester but a man came offering manure. I waited in for him but he did not come.
November 13 Saturday (London): I caught the 10.30 to London, and came into the office. Peter Mulligan and Charlie Cunningham were there. A letter from Tony Coughlan told me he had discussed the Savage (Maguire) legacy with Con Lehane, who said there should be quite a reasonable sum reaching us in about four months. Sean Nolan spoke to me about it a year or two ago, but I have nothing in writing and people are asking after the report in the Irish Press. According to that paper there are 27,000 dollars to be divided between Michael O’Riordan, Cathal Goulding and myself for the maintenance of our respective papers. I had given up hope of seeing any of it, but there seems to be a possibility now.
I went to the Congress after Bob Fairley had been in. He is 25 years a delegate to the AEU London Committee and a Dromore man who was attracted to socialism by hearing about Connolly while working in Chicago. He said he thought Feather not the worst to lead the TUC [Vic Feather, TUC General Secretary 1969-73, generally considered a rightwing political figure]. He was sent by Woodcock to close down the Hackney Trades Council. After a great battle Feather told them to disband it and start it again with the same officers.
At the Congress I saw Jimmy Stewart and Betty Sinclair and Jane Tate, Frank Cartwright and many others. Roger O’Hara was there – and mentioned that he had “a bone to pick with me”. I sensed he was not pleased on Thursday. So it is something to be discovered and smoothed with the least loss. According to a letter from Pat MacLaughlin, Fred Lyons is under some criticism in his branch, and has been replaced. Possibly O’Hara thinks I would like to “poach” him. And I would.
Later I was in Holloway with Sean Redmond. He had Jimmy Stewart with him last night and learned of the trickery of “People’s Democracy”. There was a conference to which Bernadette Devlin brought many representatives from Tyrone. She proposed the setting up of a new coordinating committee to run the civil disobedience campaign, thus superseding NICRA. Apparently Joe Deighan made a powerful speech completely isolating the People’s Democracy, but Bobby Heatley spoiled it by attacking too strongly and now has the name of being an agent(!) of the Connolly Association. So whatever happens we get the blame! Jimmy Stewart told him that People’s Democracy and the Provisionals seem to have established the same sort of link that they have here.
November 14 Sunday: I went to the Congress [ie. the CPGB policy conference] in the morning but was not there all the time. Charlie Cunningham was in the office working – he and Peter Mulligan seem to spend all their spare time here now. After it was over Jane Tate and I took Betty Sinclair for a cup of tea. Jane Tate had procured an advance copy of the amendment that had been submitted to the resolution on Ireland by Claire Madden’s daughter. She was a podgy schoolgirl when I first saw her. Now she is slim, pleasing in appearance, but the possessor of that kind of emotional intensity which goes with an unbalanced outlook on practical affairs – the result of her upbringing or Claire’s nonsensical ideas. She challenged me early in the day saying that she was shocked that the Connolly Association supported the resolution. Of course the CA has no locus standi. But apparently Clann na hEireann has, for she is presenting her objections as a member of Clann na hEireann, though as Jimmy Stewart remarked, she is not following “official policy”. The amendment smuggled in immediate withdrawal of British troops in disguise, and completely deleted all references to the Bill of Rights. We didn’t like it a bit.
Then I was out in Camden Town with Charlie Cunningham.
November 15 Monday: I got in to the Congress early on my consultation delegate’s ticket and gave Tony Donaghey the visitor’s ticket that had come first, presumably instead of the usual press ticket. We were soon on the Irish resolution. Jack Woddis introduced it very favourably and it was as I had recommended, as I many have noted before. In fact it gave the “right way” to everything that needs to be done. Then Elain Madden (I think she is married), dressed in male attire and looking like a rather effeminate young man, made her objections in a voice so quiet that nobody could hear her. She said she was in Clann na hEireann. She got some applause. Then came Turner from Oxford. He was far worse and went in for some stupendous ranting. I had by now sensed that the feeling of the conference was sound. Vehement attacks on the executive for minor omissions always give the impression that a man has a bee in his bonnet. Then Jack Henry spoke, rather uncertainly I thought, and missing the nub of the affair. He had been urging me to speak but I did not apply, the more holding back since I felt fairly confident of the result, and why should I come into the arena against Clann na Eireann? By the same token when Egelnick invited me to the meeting at the London District Committee this evening, I said I would think about it and didn’t. Incidentally they are all extremely cordial now – a difference from times gone by [Key figures on the London District Committee of the CPGB had been critical of Connolly Association policy on leftist grounds in the 1950s]. But having done without sunshine for so long, I have lost much of the desire to bask. How many papers they sell and how much money comes into the Connolly Association office is a surer if severer measure. Paynter [Will Paynter,1903-1984, Welsh miners’ leader]then spoke and made a powerful speech, completely scattering the dissidents and asking on what basis of commonsense they dismissed a decision taken by the representatives of ten million people in the Trade Union movement [a reference to the adoption of the Bill of Rights policy by the Trade Union Congress the previous September].
Afterwards, so that it could be seen that he had not interfered with policy, Jimmy Stewart was asked to speak. He spoke well and received a tremendous ovation. There is a story behind this. The advertised delegate was Betty Sinclair. But Michael O’Riordan being on holiday in Moscow, Jimmy Stewart was added, and Betty says at his own initiative – as Assistant Secretary replacing the General Secretary O’Riordan [ie. of the CPI]. Not till they were in London did Jimmy Stewart inform Betty that he and not she was to make the speech. “I had to try and look as if I was unconcerned,” she said. But she was upset. Why did he do it? To have five hundred cheering people in front of him. It made his day. He was elated beyond measure and came into the public house opposite the hall as if he was walking on air. He told me Joe Deighan was now on the EC (in Belfast I assume; I do not know just how their committees cohere), how he had scattered the People’s Democracy, and he apologised for failing to invite the Irish Democrat with the rest of the press, which he said was due to his inadvertency.
A Liverpool delegate, Denis Anderson, made himself known to me as having seen me on the day I emerged from the House of Lords with Brockway and Platts-Mills. I mentioned Roger O’Hara’s dirty looks (which he now sometimes forgets to give!) and he says the occasion of it was that I had not invited him to be a sponsor of the conference [ie. of the Connolly Association conference]. Perhaps, said Anderson, he had taken it personally. He added something regarding the daft way they go on! So I asked him to inform O’Hara that I was looking for him.
I spent most of the afternoon in the office. Charlie Cunningham had taken a day off and was there. In the evening I went to the Scottish social at Euston and had a long conversation with John Gollan who was standing near the door, looking rather worn and frail. There are rumours that he may be retiring in favour of Gordon MacLennan, on the first examination not a man of the same breadth. But who knows what responsibility can bring out of anybody. One thing he said – apropos the absurd tactics of the Republicans – was interesting. I had mentioned Melly’s account of “direct rule for four counties”.
“Do you remember,” said Gollan, “when I asked you what was the policy of the Provisionals and what position they were aiming at? And you said they wanted direct confrontation with the British Government. Well – they stand in a fair way of getting it. And they’ll proclaim it a glorious victory.” Among others there were Charlie Cunningham, whom I introduced to Gollan, James Hunter, Frank Watters, but too many to record.
November 16 Tuesday (Liverpool): I worked on the paper till 4.15 pm. Just as I was going to the train Jack Henry came in and brought a young building worker who joined the Connolly Association. Hunter had said that he spoke poorly because his heart was not in the resolution, and he would have preferred to demand immediate withdrawal of British troops, while realising its impossibility. It was strange that, though I dissented, John Gollan said exactly the same thing. However, there was no sign of any lack of conviction and there is no doubt of his deep regard for the Connolly Association. He told me he had opposed the “Irish Committee” in London, and as he is now on the Executive Committee, his words will have weight. Everything must look out, not in.
I came back to Liverpool, going straight to the Connolly Association meeting. There were Brian Stowell, Barney Morgan, Fred Lyons, Miss Dunlop, Ray Frodsham and McHugh, formerly a member of St Albans but now at St Helens. At least I think he said St Albans – perhaps it was St Helens. Fred Lyons gave a talk on the situation in the Six Counties which showed much confusion and rawness of thought, as well as lack of acquaintance. Afterwards he and the wee girl spoke of Pat MacLaughlin. He thinks that the resolution of the CP on Ireland is a “sell-out” and some of this nonsense has brushed off on the others. The girl said she could not get much help from O’Hara in studying political economy and was thinking of going to college. We told her she would be brainwashed. Now it was clear that both she and Fred Lyons had done a great deal of reading.
November 17 Wednesday (London): I rang up Roger O’Hara and told him I was coming to see him. He was not encouraging. “Do you have to have a discussion?” I told him I was under the impression that he had some complaints and that I wanted to hear them and see if they could be put right if justified. He then willingly assented, and indeed he was a little flattered I think by the attention. When I saw him I came straight to the point. “Well, they’re not exactly complaints.” I forget the first thing – it was a gambit. Then he asked why the party had not been invited to sponsor the conference. I told him it had not occurred to me, but that if it had I would not have advised it, and I told him why. He touched on the subject of circulation very lightly, but I told him that he was quite right and that I would like to have been able to consult personally not only himself but many others, but how was I to do it and do anything else, things being what they were. This he very agreeably assented to and was soon providing me with the names of possible future sponsors.
Now he has a slightly gruff exterior, which I well imagine could put people off. It takes many years to learn to be both soft and sure, and I doubt if he is yet forty. Denis Anderson came in and reference was made to Fred Lyons. “He’s for the high jump,” said O’Hara. “He had his money, but he didn’t turn up at conference. He wanted to be able to say we were keeping him away.” I told the two of them to try kindness first. It looks a long way round but it is not. He is unemployed after victimisation and has four children. He wants to find some nearer object of his resentment and frustration than “the system”. I said the same applied to the wee girl (an unmarried mother) and Pat MacLaughlin. Anderson said he thought he understood what I was getting at but said, “it’s very complicated.” And of course this is where difficulties arise because they use such simple ideas to unlock their problems, as if the enthusiasms for a political aim passed out all delicacy in human affairs. I thought afterwards indeed that Fred Lyons may be receding under economic pressure and looking for a way out. High jumps won’t help that.
Then I came on to London. The Central meeting [Central London Branch of the Connolly Association] was well attended, with Sean Redmond, Charlie Cunningham, Pat Hensey, Jim Kelly and about sixteen others. I dealt with the so-called “four county” solution, as it will be necessary for our people to be forearmed.
November 18 Thursday: I was in the office most of the day working on the paper. About two applications to attend our conference on Sunday came in, but the response so far has been discouraging. The difficulty is the state of the Trade Union movement whose branches are meeting less frequently, while attendances have been slaughtered by television. I have nowhere even completed the paper.
In the evening I went out to Hemel Hampstead to address an open meeting of the AEU [Amalgamated Engineering Union]. It was interesting. Inside the door were the usual be-jeaned, be-spectacled, bearded shock-headed young men selling the International Socialist weekly – they looked like students. They must have been of petit-bourgeois origin. The British working class is extremely prone to follow this class, and having become disillusioned with the right wing opportunists, they turn to the Left ones. Also in the discussion there was the inevitable young CP member – the most intelligent man to speak there – who wanted whatever was said to follow exactly the text of the resolution passed on Monday. Last Friday it would not have mattered. He looked alarmed occasionally at some of my popularisations, but immediately recovered when the exact phrase of the resolution came to be mentioned. They are good boys. But they don’t know their subject, they only know the party line on it! Still, it was well attended and the bearded student-looking people clamoured for instantaneous withdrawal of British troops, so that the Irish could shoot it out. I easily scattered them.
November 19 Friday: A letter came from O’Donnell addressed to Charlie Cunningham. He is a young man of about 27, born in Limerick, I think, but brought up here while very small, and in the CP in West Kensington. A few weeks ago Eileen Brennan came in urging a “new organisation” in the Kensington area. She would not accept a Connolly Association branch. She spoke of uniting the CP, Labour Party, Trades Council etc. We urged her to wait till after our conference. She said she would. But last Saturday she told me of a meeting to be held last Monday. Again I objected and reminded her of her promise. “I’m afraid I’m not the person who decides.” I was displeased that she had not indicated previously that she was not a principal and asked why she was doing it. “Because I believe in Left Unity,” she replied; from which I gathered the International Socialists were not. She added she believed in the “British Road to Socialism”. Apparently if you believe, you don’t need to think. Now Charlie Cunningham then learned that the Anti-Internment League man John Gray would be there. And sure enough this letter indicates that a branch of that organisation has been set up.
Later in the morning a man of about 45 who said he was a lecturer in some College came in with his son. He said both his parents were Irish, but he was born in England. He had just gone to the Embassy to claim his Irish nationality and change his passport. He then introduced his son, a somewhat feminine looking boy of about 19. “He’s writing a book,” said the fond father. “Yes,” said the youth,
“I’m attempting something nobody has ever tried before.” “He wants books,” said the father. “Let me see – have you got as far as Connolly?” “Yes I’ve finished Connolly.” “Yes – he’s found some mistakes in Connolly.” “Well,” said the young author. “He hadn’t the educated background to understand early Irish history.” They wanted to read about the IRA but only bought rubbishy pamphlets. The father evidently thought I should be delighted to listen to the explanations of his son. But failing that, he would try his own. “What a pity it is,” said he, “that the IRA can’t explain themselves to the British public. Do you know, they should get out pamphlets and leaflets – perhaps they aren’t very good at writing, I suppose they haven’t many who can do it – but I would willingly do it for them.” It reminds me of 1938-39 when all kinds of petit-bourgeois people were drawn into politics for the first time, and their heads were in a jumble.
In the afternoon I went to see Platts-Mills because of Brockway’s hurry. But when I got there I found he had left all the papers at home!
After some more work on the paper I went to a reception organised by Siobhan O’Neill in honour of Paddy Bond. I was asked to present the gold cuff links and say a few words, and then Paddy and Stella made a few modest and appropriate remarks.
November 20 Saturday: I had not much done by the time people began to come in. First Charlie Cunningham, then Jane Tate, Pat Hensey, Brian Crowley, Pat O’Donohue and finally Peter Mulligan. Jim Kelly did not appear till late afternoon. Two days ago the weather turned cold and though today brought rain, the mildness has gone out of the year, and the leaves this year preserved in many places in a green state exceptionally big, are now falling fast.
In the afternoon while Jim Kelly and I were discussing Charlie Cunningham’s announcement that we had put 1000 on our circulation in four months, and Pat O’Donohue’s rooting into the question of the proportion of sales to print, Ian Mills of Clann na hEireann appeared, very friendly and bringing advertisements of meetings this weekend. Among the speakers were Elaine Arnold (née Madden) and emotional silly Harry Martin; so it will be a fine affair, suns bursting in every azimuth. He asked if the CA had “pulled out” of the Anti-Internment organisation. We were suitably vague. Their last Tuesday meeting, said he, did not do much credit to them. So it looks as if one by one the older organisations are resuming their separate identity. NICRA (London) wrote asking for an advert. And according to Mills the Anti-Internment League is trying to make itself into a unitary political organisation. I am fairly confident we have been wise in giving our organisational work the priority just now. How I distrust the smiles of these people.
In the evening when Charlie Cunningham had planned a complete “ausverkaufung” [ie. a sell-out of the monthly paper], the heavens opened and it seemed as if the long delayed winter had arrived. Jane Tate and I went to Neary’s for a drink and resolved to meet on the morrow.
November 21 Sunday: I met Jane Tate at the Conway Hall and while she disposed of the papers I tried to find Jack Henry and get some of our invitation forms distributed [These were invitations to a conference on the Northern crisis being sponsored by the “Irish Democrat” for the weekend of 28 November]. Last night Kerins of South London rang and was wanting to move suspension of standing orders at this meeting of ASW shop stewards and demand a debate on Northern Ireland. I told him to consult the platform first. I don’t know if he did. When I asked if Jane Tate would be there he was a little impatient, and mentioned Frank Taggart’s name more favourably. Today Jack Henry did not turn up. “He is quite unpredictable,” said one of the stewards. Taggart had to take his place on the door, quiet, efficient, self-effacing. It is interesting – once more the more flamboyant figure has been placed on the EC. And how would he be known but for the flamboyance? The old problem. Not, of course, that Henry is a Behan [a reference to Brian Behan,1926-2002, one of the playwright Brendan Behan’s brothers, who was a leading trade union figure among building workers in London, was elected to the Executive Committee of the CPGB and then left that body to join various neo-Trotskyite organisations]. Quite the reverse. But you can’t be sure he’ll be anywhere and he may neglect the London district.
Then we went to Camden Town and sold 40. Charlie Cunningham came in during the afternoon and there were sad reports. But he got Gerry Curran out and Paddy Bond called. Charlie had met Hourigan, the CP lad, Irish Democrat distributor and shop steward. He had been visited by Clann na hEireann. They wanted an “Irish Directorate” in the CP – they were told the Cypriots had one. He was told that Clann na hEireann was now bigger than the Connolly Association. He asked what was Joe O’Connor’s position. Indeed he was very worried and confused. Charlie Cunningham thinks that Clann na hEireann are now going round the Irish shop stewards trying to recruit them. They always intrigue. That is their method. But we will see!
November 22 Monday (Liverpool): I rang Ripley only to find that copy posted on Sunday had not arrived. So I have to put off my visit till tomorrow. I spent the morning in the office but decided to go to Liverpool in the afternoon and return via Ripley. I found the weather somewhat milder when I arrived, and no evil effects from the sudden frost.
November 23 Tuesday (London): I forgot to record of yesterday that travelling opposite to me in the train was Torode, who chairs meetings of the London Trades Council. He knew Charlie Cunningham and Bert Edwards. We were not acquainted previously and got talking over lunch. He is a well-preserved man of 64, with ample hair, florid complexion and strong personality. We discussed Charlie’s resolution, and as he left he said, “tell your people I was
not really trying to block them.” So we will see what happens next time.
I went to Ripley and came on to London. Platts-Mills was to have called but failed to put in an appearance. But Jim Kelly and Charlie Cunningham were there.
November 24 Wednesday: I spoke to Jock Stallard, who said he was seeing the Speaker and hoped to be called in Thursday’s debate. We arranged to have a talk if possible before the Monday second day. I was at it hell for leather in the office all day. There was a better response to the conference which comes off on Sunday and I am now reasonably confident that it will be a success.
I rang Platts-Mills twice. He was out both times and there has been no explanation given of his failure to keep his appointment. It may be political. He wants a seat in Parliament. For years he could not become a QC because of his leftwing past. On the other hand it may merely be that his interest is not sufficient and he forgets. I went to the unemployment demonstration – a huge affair.
November 25 Thursday: In the morning I went to see Jack Woddis and we had a long talk. My purpose was to agree on a course of action arising from the conference on Sunday. For his EC is committed to campaign on Ireland, and obviously one policy is better than two. We had no difficulty. But afterwards we discussed the London position. He told me that Joe O’Connor was a damned nuisance, nobbling him whenever he sees him and demanding private meetings of Irish CP members. I received a new impression of some old events. Thus the public meeting which Andy Barr and Betty Sinclair addressed had been planned as a private one. “I can’t understand why the London District fell for it,” said he, “but we persuaded them to make it public.” He went on, “Moreover, I told them what I’ve reported, that if they consider the policy of the Communist Party of Ireland is wrong, that’s nothing to do with us.” I told him of the plans for a London “Irish Committee” – composed of Fitzy, Bob Doyle, Joe O’Connor and such like. He said he was starting a national one which he and Joan Bellamy would attend. I then said he should hurry or he’d have the other going first. This he noted down.
“What do you think it is?” he asked me.
“Republican influence,” I replied. [ie. the Goulding-led Official
“That’s what I think it is.”
Then he told me about Les Burt attending the Anti-Internment League meeting last week and being the recipient of embittered attacks by the International Socialist element. I replied that we were keeping away from that quarter, as there was no point in providing a chopping block. But the amazing thing was, he said, that the “Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)” had telephoned him offering cooperation against the IS. There is little doubt that he does not regard “leftwing unity” as meaning peaceful coalescence with these people, though I know those who do.
In the evening Charlie Cunningham came in and said he had met Bill Grimes, quite clearly going to the Clann na hEireann meeting at Neary’s. The republicans are contacting our members and trying to suborn them. Again I said to myself, attendons!
November 26 Friday: I was busy in the office all day with the two conferences on my hands and masses of correspondence. I would need a staff of five. In the evening I was in Camden town with Tony Donaghey. We gave out copies of a reply to Wilson. Seafort tells me we can now proceed with the sub-letting.
November 27 Saturday: After a morning very busily occupied we had the EC in the afternoon. I was disturbed that Mark Clinton did not attend, nor have either I or Pat O’Donohue any reply to our letters to him. I hope he is not getting discouraged. But from experience I would say he is not difficult to divert. The others present were Jane Tate, Sean Redmond, Paddy Bond, Michael Crowe, Jim Kelly, Lenny Draper, Charlie Cunningham, Pat Hensey, Pegeen O’Flaherty and Pat O’Donohue. We elected Michael Crowe the new President [ie. of the Connolly Association] and added Charlie Cunningham and Pat O’Donohue to the Standing Committee. There was a thorough discussion of the winter campaign and I thought a generally satisfactory and business-like air. Betty Sinclair is here and staying with Jane Tate. Michael Crowe, Lenny Draper and I were in Holloway [ie.selling the “Irish Democrat”].
November 28 Sunday: The conference was a huge success in point of numbers [This was an “Irish Democrat”-sponsored conference on the topic, “The Irish Crisis – a challenge to Democratic Britain“. It had a wide range of Labour Movement sponsors and approved the heads of a Draft Declaration to be pushed by the Connolly Association in British Labour and democratic organisations. This proposed the passage of a Bill of Rights at Westminster in accordance with the policy adopted by the TUC, together with the end of internment in the context of a British Government policy that aimed for eventual complete withdrawal from Ireland]. The room at the NUFTO [National Union of Furniture Trades Hall, Jockey Fields] was packed. Betty Sinclair spoke well and about 24 people spoke. The usual issues arose. The Labour Party Young Socialists blathered about replacing British Troops with a “trade union defence force” but admitted it would be necessary to do away with sectarianism first. The babyish confusion of some of these youngsters is beyond belief. Others whipped themselves into frenzies over nothing. And Mr John Gray, organiser of the Anti-Internment League, who had apparently been selling Trotskyist literature outside the door, came in and asked to be seated. After consultation Sean Redmond issued a visitor’s credential. Periodically through the proceedings he asked to be given a guarantee that he would be called to speak. My tactic was to let fools like that snake O’Shea’s mad son make the Anti-Internment League case first and ruin it, and to keep Gray waiting and champing but let him in at the end when the pitch had already been queered for him. Of course you couldn’t even depend on O’Shea to make a fool of himself, but mercifully he obliged. It was then announced by Gray that Bowes Egan would shortly appear in person, and a credential was cleared for him. Somewhat unwisely Betty Sinclair said, “Is Mr Bowes Egan here? For if so I have something to say to him,” and she mentioned a date.
At about 4 pm. Bowes Egan deigned to appear. We gave him a visitor’s ticket. O’Shea leapt to his feet and demanded that Betty Sinclair make her accusation there and then. I assured him that what she had said, I was confident, was intended in a purely Pickwickian sense. Bowes Egan edged his way up to the press table near the platform. I had called one of our members, a Dublin man, who was on his feet, when Egan stood up and shouting declared, “I am Bowes Egan, and I am mandated by the Anti-Internment League and Clann na hEireann to address.”
“Sit down!” I told him. And after some more shouting he had to do so. He had overplayed his hand. When Gray got up, for I allowed him to do so when all the delegates were finished, though he continued his “immediate withdrawal” line and did not mention internment once, he was almost conciliatory. We had the draft of a draft of the “Declaration” and it met with fair approval. I got in Pat Devine after Gray and the result was a very positive conclusion. But of course the educational work needed is vast. Woddis was there, and Max Egelnick, who had brought copies of the folder or broadsheet I did for them. They have made a very good job of it and we put it on the literature stall. Now of course the Trotskies will be raging and wondering how to get their own back.
November 29 Monday: Another heavy day. Betty Sinclair came in and we went through the proofs of my new book, that is to say of the chapters dealing with the story of the NICRA. She told me that Jimmy Stewart had said that in my epilogue to TA Jackson’s history I had insufficiently mentioned the CPI. “But that may be sourness,” said she, “as you mentioned McCullough and me.”
We had (at the suggestion of Egelnick) called a lobby of Parliament for tonight. He had sent to 35 branches [of the CPGB] and letters to 25 “Irish comrades”. The result of his efforts was nil. The Irish did not want to come, the English were convinced that it was not for them to do so – the fault of Joe O’Connor’s nonsense. But it was a success none the less, for I introduced Phyllis MacDowell to the Morning Star, and advised them to petition the Home Secretary over Tom MacDowell who is in jail for nothing, like many more. I was surprised at Crowley. I never before saw him genuinely enthusiastic. The conference had impressed him. Bill Grimes was sitting next to him, but I do not know the effect on him. I heard Peadar O’Donnell was in London finishing a book, but I did not have time to go and see him.
In the course of a long talk with Jack Henry I learned that Joe O’Connor now looks at him with some disfavour. Apparently that ass Fitzy, Joe O’Connor and Bob Doyle (who is well-meaning) are the main dissidents. So Fitzy has rejoined the CP. I wonder why they take such people seriously.
Incidentally, Crowley told me that the Anti-Internment League Executive has been enlarged to 12 and now has six “Provisionals” on it. I notice, moreover, a certain hostility to ourselves by “Provisionals” we meet in pubs, and Lenny Draper was engaged in acrimonious conversation with one of them on Saturday night. Their arrogance is remarkable and matched only by how little they know.
There was another interesting piece of information. Pefkos was in the lobby, I do not know what for [Pefkos was a Greek communist whom Greaves knew on the CP’s International Affairs Committee]. He told me he had been at the CPI conference in Belfast. Now at the CPGB congress I was speaking to Jimmy Stewart. He made a special point of apologising for not inviting the Irish Democrat to the Congress. Now tonight Pefkos told me that he had protested to Jimmy Stewart that I had not been invited, in view of the work I had done. I did not ask Pefkos what he was there for. Stewart’s explanation was that he had overlooked the Irish Democrat. I accepted the apology – who could care? – but had my doubts of the explanation. Perhaps looked through would be more accurate than looked over.
November 30 Tuesday: I was busy in the office all day, then I went to Farnborough to address the branch. It was frosty and cold and very few were present. Andy Goonery had taken the initiative. The district is an “overspill” area and as dreary as possible.
December 1 Wednesday (Liverpool): I was in the office all day. Stella Bond was there. Then after a mass of work, I caught the 5 pm. and came to Liverpool, arriving just in time for the meeting. It seems that about 23 people have asked for credentials, though only about 10 from Liverpool. We should have 9 from Manchester, 4 from Warrington – in addition perhaps a car load from Blackburn. I have found to my intense surprise that Barney Morgan is improving. His silly half-cynical witticisms have ceased and he has made constructive interventions in conversation. Fred Lyons was present and seems in reasonably good form, and Pat Doherty. This morning I asked Nan Green to send a list of Irish Bureau people in the Lancashire area [ie. of relevant CPGB members who were Irish or might have Irish-related interests].
December 2 Thursday: I spoke to Dorothy Deighan on the phone. She said Joe Deighan was staying here over Monday night. He is unemployed and not in a hurry. I suggested to Roger O’Hara that he might arrange a meeting in the University. He was not keen. I think he still has uneasy feelings about my activities. He has appointed no delegates. But he said he would try. I arranged with Brian Stowell to attempt the same thing.
December 3 Friday: I started on the proof reading. But then I found I had left some of the galleys in London. And the phone at 283 Grays Inn Road [ie. the Connolly Association office] was out of order.
December 4 Saturday: I got through to London. The tenants moved in, with the assistance of Charlie Cunningham and Peter Mulligan. And Charlie arranged to send the proofs, then a box of literature.
December 5 Sunday: Joe Deighan arrived early and was picked up by Brian Stowell in his car. Brian brought him round for me and we went to LIme Street, but there was no box of literature. This was a pity for when we got to the Stork Hotel for the conference there were 80 people present [This was a similar conference to that in London the previous weekend. It approved the Declaration based on what was agreed on there, to be pushed by the Connolly Association in local Labour movement organisations]. The thing was a great success. Joe Deighan was not so an accomplished speaker as Betty Sinclair, but he carried conviction, for he made up in forcefulness what he lacked in eloquence. She had made careful preparation and brought chapter and verse. But I think she is the only one over there who does this. Stan Cole was there, Lenny Draper and three from the Warrington Irish Club who offered their room any Sunday afternoon we wanted it. Martin Guinan was there with two from Blackburn, and Pat Doherty, Barney Morgan, Pat MacLaughlin, Fred Lyons, Pat O’Doherty and others. A young man of about 30 called Nolan made a good speech and we met him afterwards in Lime Street station refreshment room. We, that is to say Joe Deighan and I, spent the evening drinking with him and another docker in the “Pig and Whistle”. O’Doherty was with us – he had not been there since he was a seaman. Nolan’s friend McIver was an exceptionally well-read man. Barney Morgan was very pleased and I think his defeatism is cured.
December 6 Monday: Joe Deighan and I went to see Roger O’Hara. While he did not give the instant welcome one would get in Manchester, he was pleased at the attention, and the success of the venture had its effect in removing his doubts. I can of course understand his having them. He has not the knowledge of the Irish question to judge whether what we are doing is wise or unwise and also, unlike the Manchester boys, he is not, so to speak “the boss”. He can get into trouble. But also I think Liverpool people are needlessly finicky and the Manchesters have more common sense. We learned he was unable to get a meeting at the university, so we told him that Brian Stowell’s wife had arranged one, but so as not to hurt his feelings we said it was a “wee gathering”.
Actually there were 25 present and one youngster told Joe that he could think of no solution but the withdrawal of British Troops and a bloodbath in which Ireland would gain her freedom. He was an English Catholic, and we suggested he should have his bloodbath in his own country if it must have one.
The afternoon and evening we spent talking. I found Joe Deighan greatly improved. The same change has affected Barney Morgan. The childish facetiousness designed to draw attention to himself had left him. It was partly frustration of course, but then he should not yield to it so easily. Now he has made a strong position for himself and there is no doubt he is a major influence on policy. Apparently his value was at last recognised when he scatterd the People’s Democracy at Cookstown or wherever it was. He told me that at the Congress he was elected to the EC on the strength of votes, though he was not included on the outgoing EC’s panel. They are thinking of abolishing the panel – something I did with the Connolly Association around 1962 and we never felt the slightest need for it [under the panel system an outgoing Executive Committee would draw up a list of people recommended for election to an incoming EC]. Trust people’s commonsense and they will generally use it; frustrate it and they lose it. But he also told me that there were whispers of a “Connolly fraction”, of which John McClelland and he and (of all people) Noel Harris were spoken of. He informed me that those who peddled this slander quietly drew in their horns and Noel Harris is on the EC as well. This must link with the things Pefkos talked about. He said also that experience had taught them that this fooling about with “the Bill of Rights under another name” was all nonsense, likewise their absurd “Commission of People’s Organisations”, which they now realised was a non-starter. The main problem was Edwina Stewart, who was under the personal influence of Kevin Boyle the Trotsky, and thought with her heart and listened to any nonsense.
He said that the Provisionals are by far the majority of the IRA and contain some desperate thugs. I mentioned that I had seen Paddy Devlin in the House of Commons hobbling about on crutches. He told me that he had been savagely beaten up by Provisionals, who attacked him while he was having a quiet drink with his wife in Andersonstown. He said the Civil Disobedience campaign, the mass movement, represented a defeat for the Provisionals, hence their attempt first to control it through People’s Democracy; then to start a rival in competition with People’s Democracy. He and John McClelland went to a strong Provisional district. The room was full of women, but Martin Meehan (whom he blames for the attack on Devlin) was there with other Provisionals. They said a NICRA branch was unnecessary. But it was agreed to hold a meeting next week and to start one. When they arrived a week later, not a single man, woman or child came into the hall. “It was eerie,” said Joe. Such is their control of these areas.
He had a tussle with Austin Currie over the Bill of Rights, but he thinks he has got him off direct rule. This is the value of the public activity that he is organising. For the most part Gerry Fitt waffles and wobbles. Devlin cooperates well enough [ie. Paddy Devlin], but is always “flying a wee kite”, so nobody knows where he stands. Joe says that the “Officials” are worried that the “Provisionals” exert pressure on the Republican Clubs and would like NICRA to go for a “Workers’ Republic”. But Joe carried Kevin McCorry with him against Malachy McGurran who was for this [Malachy McGurran was Northern Ireland organiser for the Goulding-linked “Official” Republicans]. He thinks that if the “Provisionals” should collapse, the “Officials” would break their alliance with the Communist Party in the morning.
He says that Bobby Heatley is improved and doing quite a deal of work. After being searched and spread-eagled by some British soldiers upon whom he expressed certain animadversions in their hearing, he has become more cautious.
December 7 Tuesday: I sent off some proofs to Maurice Cornforth. A letter from Betty Sinclair said that she heard that when Wilson met the SDLP he told them “Lynch doesn’t want you.” I was on the phone to London. Stella Bond said all had moved in, and things were in order. The reason Mark Clinton was not at the EC was that he was ill.
Inadvertently, I forgot to note, Ann Doherty was there on Sunday. She said that Manchester Social Justice would support our Declaration, and that Leeds had telephoned their support. Of course, as I said to Charlie Cunningham, they have to do this to save themselves from their lack of policy. But this time we will not have a position where we do the work and carry the expenses and gain nothing for our own movement. I was rather surprised that she was so subdued as she had been antagonistic over the plan to Stella Bond. Of course I wrote her a nice letter. Joe Deighan told me she gave them valuable technical help on social security rules when over there recently. She had also criticised Lenny Draper and said she thought I would end up disappointed in him. So we will see.
December 8 Wednesday: I went to Manchester in the evening and there were about 25 people at the meeting. Another group whom somebody referred to as Sinn Fein held a meeting in another room – the proprietor of “The Mitre” is friendly towards the Irish movement, it seems. Lenny Draper told me that when he was told what the Connolly Association was he did not hesitate to provide a room. Wilf Charles took the chair. As usual he was in a great hurry to get the meeting over. I noted this of him fifteen and more years ago. He knows the boys like their drink, so is careful to provide for it. There was a number of new faces. At the end Ann Doherty appeared. She asked questions on the five minutes of the talk she heard. Then she attached herself to me when we went into the bar and complained about Stan Cole’s “blowing off” at a meeting on Sunday evening, adding that Lenny Draper read out a statement quite different from the one I had read in Liverpool and quite unacceptable! I did not get a chance to find out what it was.
December 9 Thursday: I spent the day writing but did not seem to get much further forward.
December 10 Friday: Another day on the extra chapter, with little to show for it.
December 11 Saturday: Again I spent most of the day on the extra chapter. The period is so recent that selection is the problem. I had a few words with Jane Tate and Charlie Cunningham on the ‘phone. The “Labour Peace Fellowships” have concocted a plan for peace in Ireland which will be promulgated at a meeting in the House of Commons on Monday evening to be addressed by Gerry Fitt and Kevin McNamara. Charlie Cunningham says he will attend. Heaven knows what they will have cooked up.
December 12 Sunday: I caught the 9.30 to Manchester and met Lenny Draper at 10.30. We left to go to Belle Lalor’s at 11.30 – expecting to be there at 12. We had a 35-minute wait for the bus and arrived at 12.45 after the committee had gone to the “Quadrant”, whither we followed them. Lenny had been telling me what a nuisance Ann Doherty is proving. At the end of an emotional exchange she burst out at Tommy Watters, “Would it be any use, do you think, if all the women in Ireland refused to have any more children.” Tommy broke into laughter, “It would solve the whole problem once and for all,” he replied. I arranged that they would have two kinds of meetings, open and closed, and to closed ones invitation would not be general but at the secretary’s discretion. We can thus restrict her appearance, while not freezing her out altogether. Lenny Draper has been notifying her of every meeting. Then with Michael Ward we went to a restaurant called The Capri which serves drink all afternoon, until at 7 pm. the proprietress warns the customers that the pubs are open.
I asked how this blatant disregard of the licensing laws was made possible. He said that the other part of the restaurant was a somewhat seedy dive. The police barracks was only a few streets away and while it was open they could pick up whom they choose. As for the rest, he presumed that some money changed hands and presumably the police were bribed not to notice what was going on. We stayed there till 7 pm. and I had to catch the last train. Michael Ward is fond of his liquor!
December 13 Monday: I spent most of the whole day on the extra chapter.
December 14 Tuesday: Another day spent for the most part on the extra chapter. But in the evening addressed the Connolly Association branch. There was not a powerful attendance. But it is quite remarkable how Barney Morgan has improved.
December 15 Wednesday: Another day on the extra chapter.
December 16 Thursday: I finished the extra chapter and started revising it. So at last there is something to show. I received a cheque for £10 guineas from Fr Henry for the article on Mellows in the Capuchin Annual. I hope it is the harbinger of a long-awaited financial summer!
December 17 Friday: I started on the galleys of the final chapter and by evening finished the job.
December 18. Saturday: I posted of the galleys and Manuscript to Lawrence and Wishart and wasn’t I glad to see the back of them [ie. of the book published as “The Irish Crisis”, in London 1972; Rome 1972, Budapest 1973, Moscow 1974 and Berlin 1974].
December 19 Sunday: In the afternoon Michael Crowe arrived. The weather continues exceptionally mild – the mildest December I remember, possibly even milder than 1932. There are occasional hollyhock flowers, ornata or clematis galore, and roses everywhere, even in a neighbouring garden a hydrangea which must have mistaken the season, with bright green leaves and blossoms ready to come out! I ate some of my own strawberries last week and red cabbage, kale and pumpkins continue to grow, for there is for the most part bright sunshine every day. I doubt if I recall a bright December before. In the olden days when we had mild winters, the weather used to change between December 26 and 31. So we will see!
The social went off successfully and Michael Crowe [As Connolly Association President] made the presentation to Pat MacLoughlin. He stayed with me at 124 Mount Road, where we sat up late drinking St Emilion.
December 20 Monday (London): Michael Crowe left for Newcastle and I for London on the 2.30. Charlie Cunningham was in the office and later on Sean Redmond arrived. Charlie was not pleased with the sales.
December 21 Tuesday: I was working on the paper most of the day. The annual nonsense is all but upon us, but I propose to spend it in Liverpool this year, where I can complete the paper. In the evening Alan Morton came and we went for a meal in “The Shires” at St. Pancras Station. He has already started work on his “History of Botany”, and we discussed the general scope of the enquiry and the fundamental conception it is to be based on. He expressed himself very grateful for some suggestions I made. Then we met Jane Tate and had a drink in Neary’s.
There has been a financial improvement. Paddy Bond made £120 on a ballot for the Connolly Association. Pat O’Donohue came in today with the latest account and says that November and December should both show a profit, and when all has been paid off that is due on that account, there is £100 in the book fund. This is due to the indefatigable Peter Mulligan, who never rests.
I spoke to Barbara Hag. She told me that Brockway and his MPs have been holding meetings on the Bill of Rights, and I wonder just what is being cooked up, and whether Platts-Mills (who is still hankering after a constituency) has gone over to them. The MCF Executive cannot control him, but they have tried to insist that he sends me the draft, as indeed he promised to do. Actually, I feel less concerned than I might do, as the present Government is going the right way to make all legislation irrelevant, and of course Wilson is hand in glove with them. All you see anywhere is small people playing.
Bob Doyle came in with a resolution. It had the absurd “People’s Commission” demand in it. I forget the wording. “Where did you get it from?” “I got it from the party,” he said (I omitted to enquire more precisely). Now he realises that it is wrong and wants me to draft amendments for him. This is like a mad house. But what a good thing I went to Leeds. We have Joan Bellamy to thank for that.
December 22 Wednesday: I was in the office all day, and in the evening addressed the Central Branch. Sean Redmond was at the Executive committee of the NCCL [National Council for Civil Liberties]. At the meeting there were Charlie Cunningham, Peter Mulligan, Pegeen O’Flaherty, but not Pat Hensey, who is ill, nor Jim Kelly and Pat O’Donohue, who have gone home for Christmas.
December 23 Thursday: I decided to do the paper at 124 Mount Road during the annual festival of nonsense. But, because travelling will be worse tomorrow, came up today, when it was bad enough – on that miserable 3 pm. train, which is impossible to get a decent meal on. However, it was on time, and when I arrived I found a copy of the Capuchin Annual with my article in it and a copy of my “LIfe of Connolly” in paper back. I ought really to feel very delighted with the results of this year. But the row of successes has come too late; I am glad to have them but have nobody to share them with. And of course things in general look bad – one can hardly dance a jig before the prospects of EEC Europe.
December 24 Friday: I spent the day getting in food and drink for the three-day siege. The brilliant weather continues. I never remember such a December for sunshine, and as mild as spring, milder indeed.
December 25 Sunday: I spent most of the day on the paper, but listened to music on the radio and played the piano. I also started to practice a recorder I found in the house.
December 26 Monday: Another day spent on the paper, with similar intermissions, pleasant enough on the whole. Another bright day.
December 27 Monday: It rained today though it is still mild. This is the week the change usually occurred. I finished the paper and started to think over circulation. Charlie Cunningham telephoned and we had a few words on the subject.
December 28 Tuesday: I posted off the paper to Ripley. It was necessary to go into town. And an odd sight it was. Thousands of people milling about Church Street and all the shops closed. I wondered what brought them out. But somebody said that there are sales at some stores.
December 29 Wednesday: The weather has turned much colder, as I feared, but it does not seem to have the viciousness that it usually has. It is more like the weather we used to have before 1940 – I think we did not come under the direct influence of a polar air-flow, which can only mean there was greater agitation. I did very little though I seem to have been busy most of the time. I spoke to Sean Redmond on the phone.
December 30 Thursday: In the evening I heard that “John McCabe” had been blown up in Dublin. I wonder if it was the man from Shercock. Lenny Draper telephoned.
December 31 Friday: I went to Ripley and got the paper done in quick style. The Liverpool Post confirmed that it was indeed Jack McCabe, a member of the “Provisional” army council. I am not surprised he was in that. When I met him at Finglas and yielded to his pressing invitation to call to his house (a few years ago) I found him completely out of sympathy with Cathal Goulding, and he had a number of young lads round the place who also, I think, were not in Goulding’s IRA. In other words, the split was developing for years. McCabe was as near a thing to a gunman I ever met. He had sharp beady eyes and I have not the slightest doubt he could shoot a man in cold blood. He had no imagination, I think. I often heard from Collins and others the story of the escape attempt which led to my visit to Parkhurst in 1948. When they were all but over the wall a warder tackled them. McCabe was for knocking him out there and then, though there was no hope. But Collins restrained him. I think it was Eddie Connell who explained it to me. “Collins had more brains. He was the leader. There was no point hitting the warden. You’d get a nasty flogging for that.” I put an obituary in the paper, as I was sorry, even if he was a “gunman“[McCabe, Collins and Connell were among the IRA men who were imprisoned in Dartmoor and Parkhurst during World War 2 for planning IRA bombings in Britain on the eve of the War. Greaves, the Connolly Association, Eoin“the Pope” O’Mahony and others campaigned for their release when the war was over.]
January 1 Saturday: I did little in the day but practical jobs about the house, washed towels, and cleaned the walls in the kitchen. In between I made some plans for the circulation drive. I spoke to Charlie Cunningham and Peter Mulligan on the phone. Charlie says he was at Siobhan O’Neill’s last night and has a hangover. They think Mark Clinton will be back on January 9th. I am thinking of another attempt on Birmingham.
January 2 Sunday: Though the mild weather has departed there is no sign of frost. It is really quite remarkable. I did a little about the house and garden and wrote many letters.
January 3 Monday: There was trouble. Last night I found a pool of water on the bathroom floor. This morning I traced it to a cracked junction in a lead pipe. I rang Ashford who, for all his faults that Jean Brown complains of (unreliability of appearance), came at once. Like a true plumber he then went home for his tools and later for more pipe. He was busy till 7 pm. putting in copper to replace the lead and will finish the job tomorrow. This is a financial check! Lenny Draper rang up and said he would have done the job. I had thought of him but had no means of communicating. He has a meeting arranged for Sunday. That is the day of the first of a series of visits down country I have arranged. I propose to travel very extensively in the next two months. I am wondering what to do next in the literary field, but I think I will get Ted Shields’s songbook out of the way. I have been busy studying harmony from the books left by CEG and AEG [ie. his parents]. There is a storehouse of scores in this house and I want to improve my reading of them too.
January 4 Tuesday: Ashford came in the morning and finished the work on the leaking pipe. I was thus largely tied down all day.
January 5 Wednesday: I spent most of the day on correspondence in preparation for departure for London tomorrow.
January 6 Thursday (London): I caught the midday train to London. Charlie Cunningham was in the office in the evening. I had been telephoned yesterday that TS [Name unknown]wanted to see me. He came in at about 7 pm. in overalls and covered with muck. A drainpipe had burst at the job where he was working. He seemed even less certain of himself than last time and talked interminably about the position in Wales. He is now studying philosophy and other things at Aberystwyth. He has been in touch with Sean Yeats of Birmingham with a view to having a debate. Apparently the International Socialists are pushing the United Irishman [ie. the monthly paper of the “Official” Republicans] and this is sold widely in Aberystwyth. He said he would try to promote a Connolly Association group, but what is possible I do not know. When he had gone Charlie Cunningham told me that the “nervous breakdown” (there is of course no such thing) he had at Oxford was such that he tried to commit suicide. I was very sorry to hear this and hope very much he manages to overcome his problems. He speaks Welsh well now and even talks English like a Welsh student.
Charlie showed me a picture of Tom McDowell addressing a meeting of the Anti-Internment League, which is which that mad Coventry woman has started in Kensington. I was not pleased. He now sports a halo of white hair which he grows to his shoulders, as much to say, “look at me.” He has always been one of the principal “obstructors”. The Anti-Internment League has started a small paper and is calling a conference of Trade Unionists – always treading on our heels with knives to split and wreck. Such are the Trotskies.
We went into Neary’s for a drink, forgetting it was a Thursday. The Clann na hEireanns were there – a substantial meeting, about 20 strong I would say. Who should be there but Claire Madden, mother of the crazy woman Etain, who is likewise her mother’s daughter in every sense. Charlie Cunningham told me that Quinlan had informed him that a large number of Clann na hEIreann people had gone over to the Provisionals, who were holding branch meetings 50 strong in South London.
January 7 Friday: In the morning Brian Farrington called in, on his way from Paris to Aberdeen [One of the Dublin Farringtons, son of Anthony Farrington, secretary of the Royal Irish Academy; university lecturer in France and Scotland; see his memoir, “A Rich
Soup”, 2010, in which he refers to his Connolly Association involvement]. He told me that his son Paddy is now a student at Aberdeen and has been telling him about the students in Paris. It seems that of those who walked into the Trotskyist-Fascist trap in 1968, no less than 15,000 had sense battered into them and joined the PCF [ie. French Communist Party]. I was very glad to hear it. He made shrewd comments on the International Socialists. Some of them are active in a most dedicated way, but there is always a core of cynicism. He told me Roy Johnson was not doing much in politics. I said I considered that a mercy. In the evening I was out in Holloway Road with Sean Redmond.
January 8 Saturday: I was in the office all morning but suffered too many interruptions to get much done. I had lunch with Jane Tate, Jim Kelly and Charlie Cunningham. In the evening I was out with Jane Tate and Tony Donaghey and we did well.
January 9 Sunday: I caught the 8.50 train to Portsmouth, where I acted as tutor at a well-attended one-day school organised by the CP. They said they would order some papers. It was like old times, taking the train from Waterloo and coming out into Commercial Road. I got back in time to go out in Camden Town with Charlie Cunningham. Who should we meet but Tom McKendry, who was arrested with Justin Keating and me when we flew the tricolour in Glasgow [This incident happened in the early 1950s when Justin Keating was a postgraduate student in London; he later became a Minister in the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition Government established in 1973]. McKendry was Labour parliamentary candidate in Finchley in the last election. He was extremely cordial.
January 10 Monday (Cardiff): I was in the office in the morning but took the 10.45 to Bristol. There I meet Neville Carey, once of Ipswich, and had a long talk with him. I heard the latest about Danny Ryan. He was, I told Carey, expelled from Sinn Fein for making this huge demonstration at Arlington Rd. at the time (I think) of the Arborfield Raid [An IRA raid for arms at the British military base of that name in 1955]. Then he settled in Bristol. He joined the CP. I wanted him to work for the Connolly Association, but partly as a result of Patsy O’Neill’s activities, and partly from the local party’s incomprehension of the issue, he did not [Patsy O’Neill was a leading Connolly Association leftist dissident in the Association’s North London branch in the late 1950s. He was also in the CPGB]. This I told Carey, as it was before he was in Bristol. He informed me that Ryan had worked part-time in the office and had become District “industrial organiser” and on the “secretariat.” Then a time came when the entire membership received letters from the Maoists. How did they get the addresses? Nobody knows. Ryan entered engineering. Within a week he had replaced the old shop steward. Then he started gunning for the convenor. Soon he was convenor himself. Then he led a strike on some footling issue, with the result of a total collapse and himself outside the gate. Soon after that he proclaimed his conviction that Maoism was right. He did not resign but was expelled and later joined Reg Birch’s outfit [Reg Birch, 1914-1994, a former Executive Committee member of the CPGB; left in 1968 to form the Maoist Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)]. So there is another petit-bourgeois story. Carey agreed to increase his Democrat sales from 6 to 20. He had quite obviously thought about what could be done. I always had a good impression of him, though it is years since I last met him, and it was maintained.
Then I went to Cardiff. After a meal I called to the office in Tudor Street and found Bert Pearce and Wayne-Jenkins waiting for Brian Wilkinson who was coming by train from Newport. When Wilkinson arrived I made my objection to his nonsense of arranging a tour of South Wales with Tomás Mac Giolla, not because I have any objection to that individual, but because he was handing over the initiative to the International Socialist branch [Tomás MacGiolla, 1924-2010, was President of “Official” Sinn Fein, later the Workers’ Party]. He has a streak of dilettantism and does whatever will seem interesting. His argument was that after MacGiolla had introduced the subject it would be easier for the Connolly Association to get a hearing. Later he indicated a willingness to confine himself to Universities. I thought that would not matter so much.
Then we had Wayne-Jenkins. He wanted us to call for the immediate withdrawal of British troops. We pointed to the fact that the Irish movement wanted the English to tie up the wild animals they had loosed on the place before leaving. Jenkins then argued that this was of no consequence since the Tory Government would not withdraw them. Nor, said he, would they introduce a Bill of Rights either; so if we were going to ask for what we could not get, we might as well ask for the moon. Why? Because it was simple and would create a movement. Later he said that demanding total immediate withdrawal would help the Civil Rights Association to secure partial withdrawal from certain nationalist areas. So under this modification we asked what we knew we wouldn’t get so as to help to get what we could get. I don’t know how the two lines of reasoning were brought into accord. It seems rather that you were to decide what to do first and consider the results later. However, we all had a go at him, without any result. He indicated a certain disinclination to do much work in view of his disagreement. But we managed to agree to a programme which included pushing the paper.
Bert [ie. Bert Pearce] drove me home, where I met his wife after many years, when they were in Birmingham. He was of the opinion that we must find somebody to replace Jenkins. He is totally unstable and filled with petit-bourgeois leftism. Also he is recruiting ultra-left Welsh nationalists into the CA. I can see possible trouble ahead if a really able Irish disrupter came in. But for the moment that is improbable. We called in to see Dai Francis [Welsh miners’ leader]. He was very enthusiastic about the solidarity being shown in the coal strike. Bert Pearce said that in his opinion the Miners’ Executive have blundered and bluffed their way into a strike they never intended and do not want. He regards the probable outcome as a “sell-out”, which he thinks might contribute to the education of the miners, though I think we would like better consolation than that. Of Lawrence Daly [Leader of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)]he says he played for a time with the ultra-left, but when the CP did not collapse when he left it, fell to working amicably with it.
January 11 Tuesday (Liverpool): Bert Pearce drove me to the station and I went to Birmingham. There I called unannounced to see Frank Watters and told him the proposals I had brought with me – that there must be a Connolly Association in Birmingham, and that we start with an All-Midlands committee and three educational lectures. This also was agreed for Cardiff. We had discussed this at a Standing Committee meeting we held on Saturday, but I forgot to record it. He was prepared to go along this path, since water wears away a stone. But I could see he had reservations, which I think arose from a feeling that he would like to be directing the work himself. He wanted Mark Clinton to come in to see him, and he, Watters, would make suggestions. I could hardly say I was not too confident of the drift of his suggestions, though he has an old and genuine interest as I learned in Staffs. twenty years ago. So I did not encourage him to haste in inviting CIinton in. Of course I am far from sure of Mark Clinton’s ability to organise. I do not think he has much idea of it. So what would be the result? Later I saw Harry Bourne who was as usual full of confidence, the supreme “extravert”, and (without any disfiguring vanity) like Jack Woddis, imagining himself the possessor of an intellect in as good an order as can be got, and therefore apt to suspect or misunderstand the unfamiliar, and from him received a piece of encouragement which made me chuckle within myself on the way to the station. For he produced the first argument I ever heard him voice in favour of the Connolly Association. It was this. “Yes. It should be started. We can’t have a position where we have to do all the running round every time. It’ll have to be centralised.” So while there seemed nothing to do, he was determined that he alone would do it. Now however he has had too much of a good thing.
He told me that he does not think Westacott and Peck will ever make it up in Nottingham. But the local people were told they could have the secretary of their choice, but that the squabbling must stop. He surprised me by saying that Tanvir of Oxford, who talked such nonsense at the Congress (supporting Sid French) had been influenced of all people by Jack Dunman, one of the decentist men alive, but one who has apparently become a little soured when he could no longer be employed full-time at King Street.
I was very interested by the results of my first little itinerary and started thinking over a plan to bring the Central Books circulation to the thousand rank [ie. its order for the “Irish Democrat”]. When I got back to Liverpool I made a list of all the cities and towns in Britain and in columns beside them I started working on what means could be used to distribute the paper everywhere.
January 12 Wednesday: I went on with the circulation plan in the morning. Then in the evening I went to the Connolly Association meeting. Fred Lyons, Barney Morgan and others were there. The young fellow MacHugh who has been attending regularly is a chemist in a glue factory and a graduate. At last he thawed and said a few words. I met Lenny Draper at Lime Street before the meeting. He told me that Haywood has arranged a CP meeting with Betty Sinclair two days before the CA meeting on February 13 and has shown not the slightest disposition to apologise. And Lenny has all his arrangements made for weeks and cannot change them. The English regard the matter as one of internal English politics, and too important to leave to the Irish. This is shown by the International Socialist decision to compete with Ann Doherty, without the slightest consultation. Lenny Draper assured me that Haywood knew of his plans. But I know what it is. King Street allocated a date, and Haywood would never think of suggesting an alternative. We discussed the possibility of postponement but Lenny Draper advised against it. He is getting Syd Foster to do his printing, but that gentleman is not proving helpful.
At the Liverpool Branch meeting Lenny gave a talk, an old windbag called Owens (from Belfast) wasted our time, and Brian Stowell once more said he did not want to be secretary. This was after I had pressed for a programme of activity, in which I was supported by Fred Lyons and a man he brought with him. It was Lenny Draper who, with his instinct for the positive, proposed Fred Lyons. There were hums and haws from Barney Morgan and Pat Doherty. On the other hand Pat Doherty did not want to do it himself, nor did Barney Morgan. Finally I suggested that Fred Lyons should do it for the next meeting, for which it looks as if I shall have to make a special flying visit to Liverpool, unless we can get Martin Guinan from Blackburn, which Lyons undertook to try. Afterwards I had a word with Lyons in the “Caernarfon Castle”. He said to two of us that he was being accused of having “appropriated some four figure sum from the movement” and described the allegation as “pathetic.” He did not however say anything about a small sum, such as his conference expenses. I asked him to meet me tomorrow. I want to get to the bottom of this. I have a very favourable impression of Fred Lyons and I listened with care to all he said, without detecting any palpable smack of insincerity. And I said to Brian Stowell on the way home, people who get into trouble have been known to get out of it, and we will not be ruined if he makes a mess of our meeting.
January 13 Thursday: I met Fred Lyons at Central Station and we had a long talk. He is quite exceptionally alert and intelligent. He told me that he had stood as a local candidate four times and had won a handful of votes. He did not intend to waste his time, as he thought it would be to try again. He had expended cash and petrol to a big sum which was well certified, though he had not claimed £57 which he was entitled to; and he was recognised as being entitled to this. He could not guarantee he had always noted everything down accurately but the total was so overwhelmingly in his favour that he had not the slightest stirring of conscience as he was the overall donor of this £57. In explaining this he was neither too justificatory nor too casual. He said that there were whisperings in the Bootle branch. These arose because the wife of one of the members, a notorious easy goer, came down in her dressing gown while he was alone with her, and was angry because he (with his wife and four children) would not oblige. It was she who had put the bug into Barney Morgan’s ear. He said it was a real experience to be stabbed in the back. On this I said nothing, but sympathised. It is really quite remarkable that I have any back left! Though it has not been bad these past ten years.
He told me that he had settled the Congress dispute. The reason he did not go was that his wife, who is pregnant, was losing blood and in a serious condition and he had repaid the advance. He had indeed been co-opted on to the Area Committee. So great had his stress been that he had offered to resign from the CP. This had been misconstrued. He and Roger O’Hara had been approached to join the Labour Party. Both had declined, but when he had offered his resignation (which was not accepted) the whisperers tried to connect the two things. He knew Pat Doherty was inclined to be jealous and though he did not want to be CA secretary himself, he would not like Fred Lyons. On the other hand Barney Morgan had said to somebody in Bootle that Lyons’s father was a Black-and-Tan. I think there might be some basis for this, but it does not affect the son. He showed he could think constructively about building the branch and I told him to accept the responsibility but not to look too soon for the glory. I retained my good impression of him and am puzzled as to why he got into such difficulties. The political basis, for such there must be, I may discover if I meet his opponents.
In the evening I went to a CP meeting on Ireland at the Boilermakers’ Hall in Duke Street, Birkenhead. It was typical of the hole-and-corner method of doing things. It was of course wet. When I got there about three people sat in an ice-cold room with chairs and a table but also stacks of timber and oxyacetylene equipment. They had pints in front of them brought from the club. One of them was the secretary, a big pleasant intelligent fellow called Ken Thompson, the Vauxhall convenor. This was useful as I had discussed with Fred Lyons the projected Irish Democrat economic supplement we hope to distribute to such people. The chairman came in, a short florid baldy man, I thought without much brains. He had come from a meeting of the Area Committee or some sub-committee and was there late. He seemed very anxious to clip my lecture to the minimum, pointing out the poor attendance and the need for a drink after it was all over. But he said I must use my own judgement.
I said that was precisely what I intended to do and proceeded for one hour while the attendance crept up to twelve. There was a reasonable discussion. Ray Fallon was there and a YCL who seemed somewhat pessimistic. Later he revealed that he intended to emigrate to Australia. Here he was only a labourer and would never be anything else. There he might better himself completely. There will be much of this, I fear. On balance the thing was useful, but mainly because of Thompson who took some Irish Democrats for Vauxhall and will, I think, place an order. It was typical of the Chairman that when I suggested that the branch should take a small supply of the paper he said they have grave problems with the Morning Star. As if a monthly could block a daily! Surely no great friend. I know the symptoms well. And the disease is sectishness.
After 11 pm. Joe Deighan telephoned. He cannot come to Manchester on 13 February. So Lenny Draper’s meeting is in ruins. Joe offered the next week. I will advise Draper to make this postponement and may go to Manchester myself to give him a hand for the week before. I told Joe to write to Lenny Draper. The reason is that the NICRA conference is fixed for that weekend – possibly with a vague hope that Joe would be unable to attend, with the compensatory reflection that if he did it would be a nuisance to us, or possibly because Betty Sinclair or Jimmy Stewart will be out of the country, or possibly again because they think of things suddenly and give themselves only a month!
January 14 Friday: It could not be said that today was spent very profitably though I got off about a half-dozen letters, and the proof of the Declaration went back with some other material. I wrote to Lenny Draper telling him about Joe Deighan’s change of plans, and as it affected him also, to Fred Lyons.
January 15 Saturday: I did little enough today too, except to write to Brief[his accountant].I am still awaiting the statement of my royalties which Nan Green promised me early in the month, and it is halfway through. And I will need them for the encounter with the Inspector of Taxes. I was looking for books on music in the old bookcase and came across all manner of things, some I remembered, others I did not, in English and Welsh. There was a prize for pianoforte playing AEG [his mother] had won in 1906, and exercises in harmonising basses she had done when studying music
A telephone call came from Michael Crowe who said the Anti-Internment League (primed by International Socialists) had wiped up all strays including the Ceoltas [ie. the local Irish traditional musicians group] in the Newcastle area. Yet he is selling 100 papers and Sean Redmond whom I rang says over 700 went last week. Lenny Draper rang up and we decided to postpone the meeting by one week.
January 16 Thursday: It rained all day – again. The mild weather which returned after a break without frost, continues. There are roses in bloom in the gardens. It is mild even by the standards of the thirties. But will it last? It would be most satisfactory if the “climatic optimum” of 1900-1940 were to return after this interval of 30 years!
During the afternoon I collected from notebooks and typed 40 new poems, which I have some mind to publish. the main problem was deciding on the order. It must have been about three years ago that I had the idea of “anti-imperialist poetry”. However, I extended it to all kinds of aspects of contemporary life. I spoke to Alan Morton about the project some weeks ago and he promised to look through the things to see how they struck him. There are just one or two lines where a little more spit and polish may be required.
January 17 Monday: It is scarcely credible but it rained again today – all day! Needless to say a south-east wind. I posted the poems to Alan Morton. At midday I heard on the radio that Roy Johnston had resigned from the Republican Movement as a protest against increasing “violence”. I spoke to Sean Redmond on the phone. I guessed his clients had given him a warning. He thought perhaps the prospect of the Curragh was daunting him. When he came on BBC in the evening (they telephoned him) I expected him to be woeful. But though as usual a little confused on policy, he answered their trick questions ably enough. I also spoke to Charlie Cunningham on the phone. He says Pat Hensey is falling off and doesn’t know why. Also the Anti-Internment League is applying for affiliation to the MCF [Movement for Colonial Freedom].
January 18 Tuesday: A phone call from Anthony Coughlan. Apparently Roy Johnson is basking in the publicity that has followed his resignation from the Republican Movement and has never felt so good in his life. He is like “Toad of Toad Hall”.
[Following his reading of the Journal in 2002 Roy Johnston requested that the following note to be inserted here in the original manuscript, which the Editor agreed to:
“My own resignation from the movement comes in for comment on January 18 1972: ‘… a phone call from AC: apparently Roy Johnston is basking in the publicity that has followed his resignation from the Republican movement and has never felt so good in is life; He is “like Toad of Toad Hall”…’ This I think is an exaggeration. I was in demand for interviews mostly from British newspapers, who were looking for sensation. I didn’t give them any, and they soon tired of it. I stressed that the military dimension had been introduced by the RUC and the B-Specials in August 1969, that it was basically a civil rights issue, and that the republican response was a consequence of this provocation being successful, with reversion to the culture which we had tried to reform. I made no impact on the British journalists’ military mind-set.’ RHW Johnston, 10 January 2002”]
January 19 Wednesday: I spent most of the day clearing things up,as I must leave for London in the morning.
January 20 Thursday (London): I had not finished clearing up, so decided not to leave till tomorrow.
January 21 Friday: I caught the 10.30 and was in the office by 1.30. TS wants me to speak at a debate in Aberystwyth. I wrote querying the terms of the resolution, which is unconditional support for the “Official IRA”. Barbara Haq [of the Movement for Colonial Freedom] rang saying that Platts-Mills, who had asked her to convey to me his apologies for his failure to keep our last appointment, had promised a re-draft of the Bill of Rights which he was to post to Brockway, but didn’t. I suggested we take Brockway to dinner at Bertorelli’s next Thursday and try to bounce him into re-introducing the thing as it is. She rang back later to say he could make it on Wednesday, which (though it means missing Liverpool) I agreed to. Martin Guinan cannot speak there on Wednesday. But I arranged that Brian Stowell would step into the breach.
January 22 Saturday: The usual people came into the office, Charlie Cunningham, Jim Kelly, Jane Tate. Pat Hensey has some family trouble. Charlie criticises Sean Redmond for dropping the Saturday morning tradition, thus weakening the branch.
January 23 Sunday: I began on the paper. But Tony Coughlan tells me he is too involved in work against the EEC to send me anything. I rang Cathal and he promised to do his best.
January 24 Monday: I did some work on the paper. In the evening we held the Standing Committee meeting and Charlie Cunningham pronounced himself very pleased with it. I made the point that while we enjoyed great success in relation to the Labour movement, so that others were trying to copy us, we were not organising the Irish. However, plans were decided upon regarding meetings, conferences and work in Birmingham. There was also a review of the work of the London branches. The Declaration is printed and I have a prospectus for a special issue in April. The upturn in paper sales has been maintained, so that we can be a little more easy on that score.
January 25 Tuesday: There was another phone call from TS. They want to debate a motion that “This house supports the Official IRA”. I declined, but offered to debate, “This house supports the objective of a United Irish Republic which is envisaged by the IRA.” He said he would try them. I then wrote to Yeats in Birmingham and explained my position, sending cross copies of all the correspondence. But I am not keen on going so far and coming back at 7.15 in the morning with no tea on the train.
I was busy all day with the paper amid constant interruptions. I gradually began to form a notion that we could outflank the Anti-Internment League by calling for a campaign on internment and nothing else, thus involving them in the crux they tried to plant on us. The more I thought of it the more promising it appeared, especially as the Long Kesh internees had sent us a shield.
January 26 Wednesday: I doubt if there was ever a day with more interruptions. I had Pat O’Donohue in at midday. The financial position is slightly better. The printer is being paid slightly earlier each month. There is a possibility that Pat might develop a certain “possessiveness” about the accounts, but since Toni Curran cannot do the work, that must be risked.
At about 7.5 pm. I met Barbara Haq at the House of Commons and we went into the Lords to see Brockway. Then we went to Bertorellis by taxi. For a couple of minutes I spoke to Marcus Lipton who was also waiting for a taxi [Col. Marcus Lipton, MP for Brixton, a long-standing supporter of the Connolly Association]. He had sent the Irish Democrat a message of support. This was an attempt on my part to regain the initiative on the Bill of Rights, and I spared no expense, ordering plenty of wine and brandy. Brockway is a vegetarian but does not bar alcohol.
He had listed a series of points. Apart from what was already there, he added transfer of responsibility for “security” to Westminster. This was to please Gerry Fitt. And he also wanted a planning commission for All-Ireland, which would of course include representatives of England. I imagined this was to please Wilson [ie. former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson], but it turned out later not to be so. He explained that he wanted economic measures in order to win over the Protestants, among whom much progressive sentiment was stultified. I therefore proposed that we introduce two Bills and seek the advice of Northern Ireland Trade Unionists on the economic measures required. He agreed to this and we were then left with the issue of transference of security. Barbara Haq argued that this was to strengthen Partition, but he was not impressed. I tried another tack, namely to frighten him with the IRA. “The Provisionals have blown nothing up over here,” I said. “But if Stormont disappears for security purposes, and it is all policed as one country, why should they stop at that strip of water?”
It was accordingly decided that I should write to John Platts-Mills to put him off and draft the amendments myself and prepare heads for the new Bill. We began to talk generally. Brockway was full of praise for the “International Socialists”. “They are tactically hopeless,” he said. “as they lack experience. But if I were young I would be one of them.” This recalled to my mind a conversation with Sonia Clements, the Tribune man’s mother [ie. mother of Richard Clements, editor of the leftwing Labour weekly “Tribune”]. She told me that for all they were impossible to deal with, the Trotskies had the “pure milk of socialism”. This is an interesting subject. For it means that the old ILP [Independent Labour Party, to which Fenner Brockway had originally belonged] was completely mechanist. From the mechanist uncompromising leftism, they vacillated into shameless opportunism, most became disillusioned, and Brockway remained active because he espoused the major cause of anti-imperialism – though he has his own brand of opportunism. Later Joan Hyman came and had a coffee. He is going to Derry on Saturday, and she is going with him to look after him, as he is well into his eighties. Tony Smythe [Secretary of the National Council for Civil Liberties] is also going.
After this I went to Neary’s. In the course of conversation with Jim Kelly and Charlie Cunningham, I happened to let drop that I was 58. To my surprise they said, “Is that it? Good God, Peter has been telling us that you’re practically a pensioner.” And they laughed uproariously. This set me thinking. I have often wondered at Peter Mulligan’s devotion to the book sales, for which he comes in every day, but which he runs as if it was his own business. He has drawn in Brian Crowley. All the anarchists, Trotskies and fringe groups come into the shop; he has been advertising in the “underground” press and stocks some of their rubbish. He will distribute anybody’s leaflets if he can put the shop stamp on them. Recently he had been complaining that he has too much to do. We decided to ask him to attend the next Standing Committee – but I doubt if he will want to be brought under control. I hope in time to establish a shop committee but want an opportunity.
January 27 Thursday: Another day of interruptions, but not as bad as yesterday. I rang up Bill Warman and booked his room for our EC in Birmingham, and also Frank Watters [Birmingham CPGB secretary/organiser] to put him in the picture, telling them I would call in to them tomorrow. In the evening Charlie Cunningham came in.
January 28 Friday (Liverpool): I went to Birmingham to discuss plans with Frank Watters. Gradually I am getting a better working relation. It was odd – Bill Goulding [a long-standing Connolly Association member] came in, but he has grown stocky and for a moment I did not recognise him. Watters says he is inactive. He asked if I would speak at a Social Justice conference on April 15. They have McNamara [Kevin McNamara, MP for Hull] and somebody sent by Andy Barr. “As long as they don’t bring that wee bitch,” said I [ie. Bernadette Devlin MP]. “Don’t worry, they know that much.” He told me that Wolverhampton is controlled by “Provisionals” and Clann na hEireann in Birmingham by the International Socialists. At last I think he begins to appreciate the results of twenty years of folly, not his of course, but to a great extent Harry Bourne’s. We went through a list of names. They have hardly any Irish.
Then I went on to Manchester, where Lenny Draper met me at Piccadilly. He seems to be doing very well. We discussed the meeting and I came on to Liverpool. He says he is confident of getting a good meeting on the 20th.
January 29 Saturday (London): I caught the 1.20 to London. It was late. So I could not go into the office, but went straight on to Winchester where I spoke to the “University Radical Group”. There were about 30 people there and I brought back £9 for the campaign. Among those present was a very sectish CP man called Roddy, a Scot, who believed that everybody who did not insist on immediate withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland was seeking “an excuse to keep them there”. There were some IS [International Socialist} people there, but he was the most bothersome. They had Hostettler down a few months ago. There were quite a few sensible people there, and I thought the journey useful. Unfortunately it has turned very cold, and as I left there were flurries of snow. In London there was about half an inch.
January 30 Sunday: I was in the office finishing the last page of the paper. Charlie Cunningham came in for a while. Incidentally, I did not tell the story of Aberystwyth. Sean Yeates rang from Birmingham on Thursday night, and I told him what TS had said earlier in the day. The students would not change their motion, so I said I would not go.
It must have been about 6.10 that there was a phone call about the Derry shootings. There were three dead and many more suspected [This was the Bloody Sunday event in Derry, in which thirteen civilians on a NICRA-sponsored civil rights march were killed by the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. This led to the subsequent Widgery and Saville enquiries and Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s formal apology to the local people in 2010]. It was Roland Kennedy, who said there would be a meeting tomorrow at the Albion. I said we would try to be represented. then I ran off a leaflet which Pegeen O’Flaherty and I gave out in Hammersmith. The CDUs [Campaign for Democracy in Ulster, the Labour Party-oriented group]were very pleased with it.
January 31 Monday: Another hectic day. Egelnick was on the phone. What was to be done? We discussed demonstrations, lobbies – but by evening we found Sean Redmond and myself for both, and Paddy Bond and Charlie Cunningham against. So we compromised on a poster parade – not a very substantial thing, and a lobby later. I finished the paper yesterday, so mercifully had none of that, but plenty of other things to do.
February 1 Tuesday: It became clear to me that the Democrat as set was out of date. I rang Ripley who doubted if an extra two pages would be much cheaper than four. Could I fill four in one day. I decided to try. I went down to Thompson House and bought five pictures. I telephoned The Times and then Belfast for permission to reproduce some more. I also got some from the Morning Star. This cut down the amount of letter press. Then I wrote articles and marked them up to be set in twelve-point. Jane Tate and Jim Kelly gave a hand in the evening. But when we stopped, at 11.30 pm. still it was not finished, though I had posted the pictures direct to the blockmaker.
One remarkable thing was a succession of calls to “The Bookshop” asking for the telephone number of John Gray, the Anti-Internment League man. I told Jane Tate about it and said I connected this with Peter Mulligan. She agreed – and then took a similar call herself. Peter talks as if the profits being made on the Bookshop kept everything going, though indeed it does not even pay a rent. But if the general financial position continues to improve an opportunity of showing we are independent may well arise. Till then we suffer in vigilant silence. I spoke to Jack Woddis in the morning.
February 2 Wednesday (Liverpool): I got up at 6 am., went into the office and finished the four pages, taking them to Ripley on the 9.5. Thereafter we were hard at it till 5 pm. when Cyril came in to say that the British Embassy in Dublin had been burned down. I noticed when speaking to Cyril that he has aged, and as for Melville, he looks ill and is limping. Russell, the least prepossessing, wears the best, possibly being the most robust. Terry is the effective technical manager [These were members of the staff at Ripley Printers]. I was interested at the effect the burning of the Embassy had on them. To Cyril in was sufficient to blame the Tory Government. He is in the main tradition of the Reynolds family [who owned the printing business]. But Terry did not think Labour would be any better. “What’s going to happen to this country? I think I’ll get out of it, go to Australia.” I left Derby by the 6.40 and did not reach 124 Mount Road till 10 o’clock.
February 3 Thursday: I have a slight cold so that I took it easily. Last night very late Sean Kenny rang from Birmingham [A CA activist there]. Could I speak there this Saturday? I told him I was booked for Manchester and Newcastle.
So much is happening that it is impossible to record it, or even keep it in one’s head. Thus on Monday I went with Brief to the Inspector of Taxes. It was a cold day with snow showers. I will not duel with the Inspector – we had a discussion and he showed himself a cautious sharp civil servant. The question was whether I was allowed to set off losses on book writing against drawing from Connolly Publications or must wait till I made money from books [Connolly Publications was the limited company that owned the “Irish Democrat” for which Greaves worked as editor and which paid his salary]. Then Lenny Draper told me that Dave Haywood has accumulated names to a statement and had sent them off under the name of the Connolly Association. He was arranging the meeting in Manchester also. So we can see benefits and dangers here. I spoke to Michael Crowe at night. The radio says that NICRA is proceeding with Sunday’s walk in Newry. I was somewhat doubtful of the wisdom of this renewed confrontation policy, but for the enormous masses of people they now seem to able to bring out.
February 4 Friday: I did not get much done today, though I pottered about the house trying to keep things in order.
February 5 Saturday (Newcastle): I took the train to Manchester, and arrived there at about 2.45, after hearing on the radio that the Connolly Association was organising a parade there. The rain had cleared and it was mild enough. I was too late to get to Albert Square for the start of the procession, but while I was waiting for a ‘bus I heard shouting and descried a procession headed by the banner of the Manchester Anti-Internment League. I suspected some trickery and went by a short cut to the demonstration. However, some men I knew from Hathersage Road drew up in a loudspeaker van and I told them where to place it, as I was more satisfied now. The first other person I saw was Ann Doherty. She had come out of hospital. But how she chattered! She gave me a confused account of Betty Sinclair and Gerry Fitt ringing up, and these or others trying to secure her release, though it was a mental hospital and she had gone in voluntarily. Somebody or other was afraid because there was heroin in her flat. She would of course have it legally as a nurse. She was still talking when the marchers arrived, with Lenny Draper, Stan Cole, and Dave Haywood to the fore. Haywood, whose moustache grows more like Sean Redmond’s every day, though his temperament is different, as he lacks the conceit, looked tired and pale. He had done most of the work. I asked Lenny Draper about the banners. Apparently two parades had been announced, that of the Connolly Association and that of the Anti-Internment League and Clann na hEireann – so the Anti-Internment League is a mass organisation in which Officials and Provisionals vie for leadership and join against the CA. Lenny Draper claimed priority. They agreed to unite providing the Anti-Internment League banner was at the head of the procession. Lenny reluctantly agreed for the sake of unity but covered all other aspects of paternity. Percy O’Higgins had made a new banner for the CA branch free of charge.
The chair was taken by Lenny Draper and he spoke well and confidently. He was followed by Ann Doherty, Dave Haywood, a Sinn Fein (Provisional), a Clann na hEireann, and finally Stan Cole. Belle Lalor was there and she and Lenny Draper told me nearly all the papers were sold and they wanted more. Ann Doherty booked me for a meeting on April 6th. We then had a bite and a drink in the Capri, which apparently never closes – Lenny Draper, Michael Ward and others. Dave Haywood wanted Lenny to help him back with the banners. There had been a little difference between the two of them earlier, Haywood representing that he had done all the work, which no doubt he had as Lenny Draper has at work for his employer – though not for long as he was dismissed yesterday after three weeks – and this difference was repeated.
I left them at the Capri and went to Newcastle. Michael Crowe met me at the station. We went to the Bridge Hotel, ran by an ex-International Brigader called Foley, and then returned to the house of a commercial traveller who makes methylin – but I preferred the Muscadet that Michael Crowe brought in. We both stayed there the night.
February 6 Sunday: At about midday we returned to the Bridge Hotel where there was a crowded meeting – about 40-50 present, and no Trotskies or Potskies there at all. I wonder if they decided to keep out of my way after the doing they got at Stockton-on-Tees. Then after lunch and a long afternoon we returned and held a sort of committee meeting, not improved by a mad Scotch CP member called Walsh who got in by accident, and I thought surely drunk, but they assured me that but nearly. His name was Walsh.
February 7 Monday (London): I went direct to London. When I arrived Stella Bond was in a good mood and Paddy Bond rang up to report over 2,000 in sales last weekend. This was the justification of my decision to finance the enlarged issue by a price increase instead of a larger circulation. There had been ructions on Saturday, but no CA members had been arrested, though, said Paddy, some of them had been carried away and acted foolishly. It seems, Sean Redmond told me, that there were some differences at the start between the Anti-Internment League leaders, John Gray, Bowes Egan etc. and some of the Provisionals. But it was patched up. But when the police refused to allow the thirteen coffins to be deposited outside Downing Street, came the time of decision. Sean Redmond was convinced that the plan was to break the lines of police as the coffins were taken through them, and then attack Downing Street in some way, possibly using the coffins as rams on the door. When the police refused to move, Egan announced that he would “negotiate”. The result was as before. Finally he announced that he would “abdicate responsibility”. Sean was disgusted. He had led thousands of people to Whitehall, then he abdicated responsibility. It was then the Provisionals threw the coffins over the heads of the police, the police charged and arrests were made. That night John Gray, formerly a University Liberal, was arrested on a conspiracy charge. Perhaps some agent provocateur in the Provisionals gave some evidence. Peter Mulligan described one of the arrested men, O’Kane, as an “animal” who hurls himself on his opponents flailing and windmilling at them. I had requests to speak in Oxford, Bristol and Brighton. Lenny Draper rang up and said he had sold out and wanted 250 extra papers.
February 8 Tuesday: I had a letter from Sam Levenson who is coming to London at the end of the month. He told me the story of his Life of Connolly. He had offered it to three British publishers and they told him it contained nothing that was not in mine. But he seems to have taken this philosophically. “C’est la vie,” he remarked. Now Carl Reeve also wrote to thank me for sending him references for his projected book on Connolly in the USA. He is the only surviving son of Ella Reeve Bloor and is 71. I thought I would give Levenson a tip. So I told him that there is an interest in Connolly growing in the USA and he should think of an American publisher. These letters I did not of course reply to until later in the day. For Maurice Cornforth had asked me to call there [ie. to Messrs Lawrence and Wishart, his publishers].
Who should be there but John Gibbons – still the cast iron Bolshevik! He reads the Democratbut deplored our publication of “Bold Robert Emmet” because the ballad writer had introduced sentiments which would scarcely be those of Emmet himself. This is the new obscurantism, and Heaven knows what would have to be purged on this basis. These people are not content to let die or wear out of use, they are in a hurry to kill – and murder, so they say, leaves ghosts. Yet he is the pleasantest person on earth. Leslie Morton was also there. My new book will be out on March 23rd. As I left Maurice Cornforth told me that he had sold 3000 copies of Mellows to International Publishers in New York and “in a few months the dollars will be rolling in.” He was of course very pleased with the deal. While we were talking the phone rang and it was reported that Emile Burns had died [Emile Burns,1889-1972, CPGB economist and author]. “It’s a good thing,” said Maurice, “He was fed up. He knew he was finished.”
When I was in the office Charlie Cunningham came in and reported sales of 2200 at least. I resolved to bring the next issue out a week early. Peter Mulligan came in. He reported that John Gray was proposing to return to Ireland after he had performed his mischief, and that rumour had it that Eamon McCann had made a good match to a rich American and was going to Canada. Among others Jim Kelly and Paddy Bond came in.
February 9 Wednesday (Liverpool): I went into the office early, and then went to Manchester where I met Lenny Draper, who seems confident in his meeting. When I got to Liverpool I found a letter from Alan Morton, who is pleased with the poems. The CA branch was held in the evening with Brian Stowell, Fred Lyons, Pat Doherty and several others. They accepted my proposal for a meeting in Bootle.
February 10 Thursday: I addressed a meeting of engineering students at the Polytechnic in Victoria Street and found them very intelligent for students – I imagine because the literary and sociological muddle-heads were not there. These youngsters are studying something solid. I have always found natural scientists the most sensible, because their studies encourage rigour of thought. After the meeting I discussed plans with Fred Lyons. Brian Stowell also was there.
February 11 Friday (London): I went to London, and in the evening was out with Sean Redmond. He told me that he went to Birmingham after I had put Sean Kenny on to him. Kenny, says Sean, is a very strong character. He has not time for Tom McDowell, and if he stayed in jail ten years would weep no tears. He also told Sean about the break-up of the McNally family. It was said that Joe had beaten up his wife and gone off with another woman. But, says Kenny, the three boys conspired to commit perjury. I am delighted that that old fool MacNally is out of the way. But now it seems I had best watch the boys, for they may be knaves. There was a difference between Clann na hEireann and the Social Justice after the meeting, on a point of nonsense. Sean told me that Dalton, the fire-eating leftist whose diatribes against the Connolly Association afforded us so much amusement, committed suicide a fortnight ago. It is a pity that the idea did not occur to him soon after birth. And another of our enemies is dead – old Mrs Dale, the silly old “Orange Communist” who linked with Furlong, O’Neill and the snake O’Shea [These had been leftist dissidents in the Connolly Association North London Branch in the late 1950s]. She was of course past further damage.
February 12 Saturday: In the morning I met Charlie Cunningham and Jane Tate, who were selling at the Central Hall. I have presented a prospectus for the April special issue, and got some of the delegates to the Defence of the Unions meeting to take them in. I had hoped to hear from Mark Clinton, as Michael Crowe is going to Birmingham today. But he has not responded. I was in Holloway with Jim Kelly [ie. selling the“Irish Democrat”].
February 13 Sunday (Liverpool): We had the EC in Birmingham and I travelled down with Sean Redmond, Paddy Bond, Jane Tate, Jim Kelly, Charlie Cunningham, Pat O’Donohue – the last having shown me figures that indicate a substantial improvement in the financial position, even without this month’s good results. At the meeting place we were joined by Michael Crowe, Mark Clinton, Martin Guinan and Lenny Draper, and Peter Mulligan came later. Alf Ward in Oxford is hampered by his wife’s sickness, and Pat Hensey has domestic problems, or such is the theory. After the meeting I had a long talk with Sean Kenny. I told him my opinion of the disastrous course of action adopted in Birmingham. He put up the sort of defence of it that arises when a man cannot imagine the alternative that was possible. Then I came on to Liverpool.
February 14 Monday: I was in the house most of the day. Just when I intended to work on the Bill of Rights a power cut took place. At 6.30 the place was plunged into darkness. I could not find matches. When I did I could not find the bicycle lamp, and shuffled round blinded by the after-image, until I began to see by the light of the gas-cooker pilot light, the light in the gas refrigerator, Venus, and the lights of moving traffic. Then I gathered shovels of coal, lit a fire in the music room and by the light of that, insofar as I needed it, played the piano till the light came on again at 9.30, too late to do anything serious. It seems ironical, in the midst of a power black- out caused by a coal strike, to work by the only available light, that of coal.
February 15 Tuesday (London): I caught the 9.22 to Birmingham where I placed an order for 10,000 badges with Don Brayford. Frank Watters was ill. “Exhausted,” said Brayford. He had been on the miners’ picket lines all week. “Did you ever see a general in the front line?” he asked. I had to admit I was never in the front line, but any Generals I ever met were certainly in comfortable surroundings. Watters is of course of miner stock, and naturally he cannot tear himself away. Indeed, Sean Kenny assured me, there were tears in his eyes when the engineers appeared en masse and closed the Saltley Depot.
I came on to London and soon Charlie Cunningham came in to the office. He works as a sheet-metal worker for Rolls Royce. They have closed for the week. Then Jim Kelly came in. We are making a record deposit of £176 tomorrow. But along with it we have a summons for non-payment of rates and a reminder from the printer that we owe him a few hundred pounds. Pat O’Donohue assures me we can meet the difficulties well enough, as we have now got the money.
In the evening Kay Beauchamp telephoned [Kay Beauchamp 1899-1992, CPGB International Secretary]. Apparently Woddis has decided (without consulting me) that there should be a Committee similar to the “Rhodesia Committee” to run a meeting in St Pancras town hall late in March. I told her we would support it but could not undertake any more work. She gives me a pain in the backside. Always thinking up things for other people to do and trying to move and manipulate to her preconceived plan. She wants to get Bernadette Devlin as a speaker. I showed some irritation and told her how much we had on hand, which is more than I ever had in my life, and I am not twenty-one. I imagine Woddis would have consulted me if I had been in town, but I also imagine that he likes to have people round who agree readily with his proposals.
February 16 Wednesday: I forgot to say that Kay Beauchamp had first telephoned Sean Redmond who had put her on to me. He is organising the meeting of 29 February on the best principles of bureaucracy, involving more of the members sure to do as they are told. He seldom comes into the office and does everything by correspondence at his home. He admitted to me in Birmingham that there is unclarity in the branch. This is because his leadership is purely administrative.
In the morning I traced Sean Macalister, a friend of Joe Deighan’s who is speaking at sixteen universities. He is doing an article for me. A letter from Tony Coughlan said he was more busy than at any time of his life [This was the lead-in period to the Republic’s constitutional referendum on its EEC Accession Treaty, which took place on the following 10 May and which he and his colleagues were opposing]. He thought the NICRA conference highly successful. I had a few words with Stallard [ie.Jock Stallard MP]. I told him that Heath’s referendum plan was not acceptable, and just as well I did for he had not clearly grasped the objections to it [This was a proposal that a consultative referendum might be held in Northern Ireland to obtain the views of the people there on their desired constitutional future]. I told him the position on the Bill of Rights. A representative of the NILP [ie. the Northern Ireland Labour Party] had been over last night and had not mentioned it. Then I started on the new paper.
For most of the day I had the assistance of Charlie Cunningham as well as Stella Bond, as there is no prospect of an immediate resumption of activity. The strange thing is that the Government, intent on one thing alone, the EEC, seems totally unconcerned. I can imagine the hullabaloo if Labour were in office. The Branch meeting took place. Joe Cooper, bringing greetings from Betty Sinclair, gave a talk [Cooper was chairman of the Belfast Trades Council, of which Betty Sinclair was secretary]. Charlie had arranged for him to address the London Trades Council tomorrow. Sean Redmond told Charlie he thought of going along to Kay Beauchamp’s meeting next Tuesday. Apparently she has got a committee of six, with Peter Mulligan and Jane Tate on it. She had made Peter assistant general-secretary to herself; then after doing the necessary backstairs work quietly, launched the demand for direct participation from the Connolly Association, so that she gets it twice! Sean Redmond does not want to go, but fears that Peter and Jane, neither of them very acute in matters of policy, might be bounced into pledging resources we cannot spare. Incidentally, Charlie Cunningham spoke pointedly to me after the meeting, of the need always to secure a position of power, whether by elected position or, at a pinch, financial status. This was apropos of the London Trades Council, where delegates of large or wealthy organisations can afford to snub the likes of him mercilessly. The human hen is the only one that can get out of its pecking order.
Joe Cooper told me that the Civil Rights Movement was initiated by the Belfast Trades Council. That, I said, I knew. “But we were completely brushed aside,” he said. And that also is true, for while we (that is Sean Redmond and I) brought in the Republicans to stop the NILP, we had scarcely bargained for a take-over [This is a reference to the 1965 civil rights conference under the auspices of the Belfast Trades Council, which came to nothing because of the reluctance of the Northern Ireland Labour Party to take up the issue; followed by events three years later in which the Republicans pushed civil rights demands under the auspices of the NICRA]. And we might have told Cooper that the earliest stages were initiated by ourselves, and that there was no need to brush us aside, as it was never acknowledged, and that if we had been acknowledged the subsequent balance might have been more to their liking. Among those present were Elsie O’Dowling, Charlie Cunningham, Peter Mulligan, Pat O’Donohue, Jim Kelly, Pat Hensey, whom I was glad to see back again, Jane Tate, and quite a few others.
February 17 Thursday: I got into the office at about 8.30, which is just about the time the mail usually arrives. By 9.30 there was no sign of it. After some difficulty I got through to the sorting office, and learned that all their deliveries had been upset by the power cut. Charlie again spent the day in the office. His scouts had informed him that the Anti-Internment League had decided to raise a fund to defend those arrested for their part in the ructions in Whitehall. Was it because they were, as Charlie said, insolvent? Apparently not. They believed that people were reluctant to be arrested, but if there was a fund to defend them they would take to it more kindly. Surely enemies like these are not going to be hard to defeat. But of course the masses do not know their inner fraudulence, and their demagogy is incredible. It is interesting that peripheral members of the CA have been caught up – O’Donnell, associated with that stupid philosopher woman Brennan, complains that the Connolly Association has “out of date ideas”, ie. that its leaders are not taken in by Trotskies.
It is interesting that Joe Cooper remarked that in Birmingham which he visited, the Irish organisations were thinking only of themselves. And Tony Smythe told Sean Redmond that when he went to Derry to get evidence after the shooting, he found Hume with a dozen witnesses in his house and Kevin McCorry elsewhere. Each refused to cooperate with the other. Now when Charlie Cunningham went to the TUC where Joe Cooper was to address the London Trades Council, there was a power-cut and the meeting was cancelled. I spoke to Sean Redmond and tried to move him regarding the meeting.
February 18 Friday (Liverpool): In the morning Charlie Cunningham came in and posted away the 2500 handbills for the meeting with Edwina Stewart. Heaven knows what she will say. They are flirting with all manner of undefined notions. Charlie thinks they are so much in the thick of events that policy-making is neglected and they merely string phrases together. I finished the paper and posted off the last copy. We have practically sold out the special 10p. issue in three weeks. In the evening Peter Mulligan and Pat O’Donohue were in the office. Des Logan came in too.
I was again in early and the mail arrived on time. Later Charlie came in, and once more we got through a mass of work, on the lobby, for the special April paper and the result is seen in the order for papers rising about 7000 for the first time in years. Without Charlie Cunningham this would have been impossible. The work he has put in has been prodigious, and comparable only with that of Tony Coughlan and Paddy Bond. Jim Kelly came in, but I left him and took the 3 pm. to Liverpool, whence I must go to Manchester tomorrow. Joe Deighan has gone to Rochdale, and I do not know where he will stay, though I rang Belle Lalor. I also spoke to Michael Crowe on the phone. There is a mass of work in progress, and we will see what are the results.
A thing I forgot to note is important. Joe Cooper on Wednesday stressed the fact that it was the Trade Union Movement that started the struggle for civil rights. “But we were brushed aside,” he said [This refers to the 1965 Belfast Trades Council conference on civil rights reforms]. I see Lynch is now trying to brush NICRA aside [ie. Irish Taoiseach Jack Lynch, who had called for ministerial positions in Northern Ireland to be allocated on a sixty-forty power-sharing basis between Unionists and non-Unionists, side-stepping the civil rights demands]. I left on the 3 pm. train and came to Liverpool.
February 20 Sunday: I reached Manchester at about 1.30 pm. and after a cup of tea went to Hulme Labour Club, and found a group of our people at the door – Lenny Draper, Joe Deighan, looking very fit, and as it proved, unchanged in other respects [This was a Connolly Association meeting of protest at the Bloody Sunday events]. Tommy Watters, Alice Byrne, Belle Lalor, indeed the whole clan Watters was there. Of course the proceedings began late and Joe Deighan, as is his way, spoke very long, so that even though both Sean Redmond and Forrester were unable to come because of sickness, he took up all their time and more. At about 4.25 Wilf Charles sent me a note (he had stood in for Forrester) suggesting that I should be brief for fear people got tired. Five minutes later, to my surprise, the bar opened. Then I learned that it should have opened at 5.00. And then what must happen but the power should fail. So I contented myself with a “few well-chosen sentences”. I would not put it past Wilf Charles, who always wants any meeting he is at to be over as quickly as possible so that he can get a drink, to have complicity in the early opening. Still, nothing could be done. It was as big a meeting as the Connolly Association ever had in Manchester, with a £40 collection, a number of new members and nearly £10 worth of literature sold. Barney Watters was there, well into his eighties.
I then brought Joe Deighan to Liverpool and Lenny Draper decided to come as well. There was quite a reasonably attended social, with Brian Stowell, Fred Lyons, Pat O’Doherty, Mai Nolan and her friend Doherty. A number of players from the Ceoltas had been brought from the Irish Centre by Barney Morgan. One of them, Lacey, was giving out notices of an Anti-Internment League meeting in the very place we were in on next Friday. I gather that what has happened is that the implacable Free State conservatism of the Irish Centre has not been able to withstand the pressure for action of the ordinary people in face of the appeals from Ireland. But as the Connolly Association has already been banished [Those running the Liverpool Irish Centre had banned Connolly Association gatherings there some time before], the young people are left a prey to the Trotskies of the IS [ie. the International Socialists]. Among others present were Denis Anderson and John Gibson, who took Joe Deighan away with him.
It was only on the train that I had the opportunity of discussion with Joe Deighan. I pointed out the inadequacies in the NICRA statement. What did they mean by “dismissal of the Stormont Government”? He said that they had left formulations to Boyle and others. He was himself incapable of criticism of legal parlance or describing exactly what he wanted. An admission partly, I think, due to his being too lazy to be precise. He had noticed this morning when he stayed with Pat O’Donohue that all was not clear. I asked what assembly the “election under PR” was to elect. He replied “Stormont”. I wondered if Boyle and Co. had so drafted the thing that there would be an escape route to the SDLP position [which called for an “alternative assembly” to the Stormont Parliament that John Hume and the SDLP were boycotting following the introduction of internment]. Joe Deighan said that now I mentioned it he would not put it past Boyle and Co. Yet this mishmash has been seriously published in the Morning Star by Myant. Indeed a further illustration of the results of years of neglect, came yesterday when Dave Haywood [of Manchester CPGB] rang to see if Joe Deighan could be got to Hathersage Road [ie. the Manchester CP office] for “He knows Manchester and could possibly advise us on what to do.”[Joe Deighan had lived in Manchester in the 1950s and early 1960s during which he become a well-known figure in Labour Movement circles there].
I discussed the activities of the Anti-Internment League. Here was a League against internment, including in its proposals the withdrawal of British Troops, and marching down Edgeware Road shouting “Victory to the IRA”, when the exact case of the Civil Rights movement is that there is no evidence that the internees have any connection with the IRA. He said that the standing of John Gray and Bowes Egan had deteriorated in Belfast as a result. Then Lenny Draper said that John Gray came from a very well-to-do family in Portadown and was a contemporary of his own. Deighan also said that the role of Frank McManus[Independent MP for Fermanagh-South Tyrone] was very bad. He had gone completely “Provisional” and as for Bernadette Devlin, she was rapidly moving that way along with the other “People’s Democracy” gang. He also said that he was out of work and had no time to look for work, and that NICRA had urged him to work for them full-time, but he had thought perhaps it was desirable to find a younger man. He said a few words at the social.
February 21 Monday: I went to Ripley. With only somebody else’s Daily Mail to read in the underground I allowed my eyes to fall on the astrology column and, so to speak, casting my horoscope, I found dire warnings of the inconvenience and delay likely if I did any travelling today. Now yesterday the Mersey trains were out without notice and I had to get to Lime Street by taxi, and the Manchester train was late. Now I had quite a different experience. The train from Crewe to Derby was early and I then caught the first Chesterfield bus, finished the paper, returning by taxi. The train to Crewe started and arrived late, but as the Euston-Liverpool express it is scheduled to miss was later still, I caught that and arrived half an hour before I had expected. It was quite cute of the astrologist to guess the power cuts would create travelling difficulties, but he failed to realise that it is an ill wind that blows nobody good!
There was a good attendance at Joe Deighan’s meeting, with the young man Lacey, Barney Morgan, Fred Lyons, Pat O’Doherty, Doherty and Mai Nolan. Again Friday’s meeting was mentioned. “A man from London” was coming to it. “Who was it?” I whispered to Barney Morgan, who was in the chair. “Who is it?” shouted Barney. “Brian Trench” was the reply. Joe Deighan was his usual self. I could not get a proper statement of his expenses out of him. When I asked him to say something about the important legal judgement in the case of an internee, he asked me to do it. But I sat tight, so Barney Morgan did it. Is it love of untidiness? A sense of indiscipline? A desire to disoblige myself because of an “inferiority complex”? Anyway the power failed and Barney Morgan took him to the boat. We went to the Caernarvon Castle. I saw Fred Lyons walking off with two others. Then we found it necessary to identify ourselves before the landlord would let us in. Doherty came to me. “What did I think of this meeting on Friday?” Who is behind it?” I asked. “I’ll go along and find out,” he said.
February 22 Tuesday: I wrote to Lenny Draper, then found I had no stamps and went for some. Then I found the local pillar box would not be emptied till tomorrow and had to go down to Bedford Avenue. So went the morning. Then I lifted my artichokes and replanted the small ones in a bed I manured for the purpose, and set a row of radishes – for the flowers, not the roots only. Then Lenny Draper rang up. I had not needed to have written. Of course he is on top of the world. I heard on the midday news of an explosion at Aldershot [The “Official” IRA had bombed the headquarters of the Parachute Regiment at Aldershot in revenge for Bloody Sunday in Derry, but instead of killing soldiers, five cleaning women, a British army chaplain and a gardener were killed]. At 5 pm. I learned of the seven deaths. Paddy Bond rang up, very disturbed. This is more of Goulding’s amateurishness. What conceivable sense is there in putting bombs in this country? The only effect can be alienating the English and isolating the Irish. I drafted a brief statement and phoned it to the Morning Star.
Apropos of the same subject, I remarked to Pat Doherty last night that I feared that Friday’s meeting will set the course for some fool “confrontation” which would arouse the old sectarian feuding in Liverpool. He replied that it had ceased. But everybody knew it could start again. And nobody wanted it to start again. So there was a great reluctance among the Liverpool Irish, at least among the settled ones, to touch the Irish Question at all. And these young nincompoops, thus, with the insistence on action, produce instead its opposite, inaction. I spoke to Jane Tate on the phone and asked her to draw up a rough account of what we paid Manchester, as we should be able to recover it.
February 23 Wednesday (Oxford): I caught the 10.30 to London, and had lunch. Alf the conductor, and the most pleasant on the line, told me he is retiring in May. I don’t think he is too pleased, as he could do the job with one hand. On the other hand if his crew remains intact, things will not be so bad.
Stella was in the office when I arrived, and I set to work on the correspondence. “NICROX” is revived and they are pestering me for names and addresses throughout the country [ie. the Oxford NICRA support group]. Nobody from Ireland ever thinks of joining an organisation. They must always be founding one. The number of born leaders aged twenty is not to be counted. At about 4.30 Stallard rang up. He wanted to “pick my brains”. The Government had decided to rush a “Northern Ireland” Bill through all its stages today. “I’m a bit confused over this,” he said. “Could I see you?” I told him I was catching the 6.15 to Oxford, so could not come to the House, but would he meet me at Paddington at 5.15. I hastily rang Madge Davison. They knew about it. And Woddis, he did not but promised to alert the Star.
With me I took the Government of Ireland Act and the Special Powers Act. I showed Stallard the relevant passages of each, and together we drafted the heads of a speech. This Bill is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. There must be some other motive. Surely not a Stormont army? It could be – or a threat of one. He told me that he was introducing a motion to suspend Stormont for twelve months. I told him I was sorry for it. “Nobody in Belfast wants this,” I said. “No,” he replied, “They don’t know what they want.” And that’s true enough. So we agreed to discuss the matter again, and I went on to Oxford.
The student secretary of the CP was there to meet me and we went to Ruskin College. After a while John Tanver appeared; in the course of the meeting Mick Leahy. I was told that a “member of NICROX” would be taking the platform, and indeed I was tackled by the young man who had written for the addresses. He explained that he wanted to spread NICROX throughout England. I made some demur about the NICROX speaker and told Tanver I was not pleased at their dropping the Connolly Association and bringing this forward and told Tanver so. “You’ve got Mick Leahy to thank for that,” said he. And that again I could believe, plus Ward’s wife’s sickness [Alf Ward was the local Connolly Association branch secretary]. The youngster NICROX put up was decent enough, Brendan Goldsmith of Belfast, I think a student, and a member of Clann na hEreann without a doubt. Then came a “Solidarity” man and an International Socialist who talked rubbish in the discussion. These students were quite inferior to the boys at the Liverpool Polytechnic, and to some extent I blame the more middle-class background. Still some of them were intelligent enough and we were drinking in the bar until nearly twelve. I met Jack Gannon, cousin of Billy Gannon of Gloucester. Another example of self-confident confusion. What does astound me in all these youngsters is the gratuitous assumption that anything whatsoever that comes into their heads is important, inspired and not subject to critical examination, least of all from themselves. He lent me his thesis, which is supposed (according to the introduction) to revolutionise our thinking upon the Twenty-Six Counties. Leahy spoke to me. “The Connolly Association has not met for several months.” I gave the short answer, “No wonder, while you’re bending all your energies to starting a rival to it.” He didn’t say anything. What could he say?
I stayed the night at Jack Dunman’s. His wife, Helen, met him while he was on the railway at Marske – I happened to mention that I was first put in touch with him by John Cornford in 1934 or 35. I didn’t know however that he was several years in Liverpool, and for a short time organiser there. He was desperately anxious to work full- time. Now this explains how when he has lost his job at King Street, through financial slumpery, he is (as Helen Dunman told me) a little upset. It could happen to the best. Indeed I remember Ben Bradley, when he lost some position or other, saying to me sadly, “It makes you wonder what’s the good of having a record” – he was referring to Meerut [Ben Bradley, 1898-1957, was imprisoned following the Meerut Conspiracy Trial in 1930 for opposing British rule in India. Later he became British secretary of the League Against Imperialism]. He was in London tonight.
February 24 Thursday (Liverpool): I went first to Birmingham and saw Frank Watters about the badges. They promise them in ten days. We had a brief talk. He told me that Clann na hEireann held a meeting on Sunday. “‘She’ was there,” he said. “You mean the wee bitch?” said I, using Betty Sinclair’s expression for her [ie. for Bernadette Devlin MP]. He did. They had not consulted him or the Civil Rights, which he seemed to resent. As a result the centre was absent and we had “Officials” on one side, and Trotskies on the other, but a £300 collection, which was what it was all about. NICRA will not get this of course. But I noticed that when Joe Deighan was speaking to me, he complained of the vast sums NICRA had given to the “Irish News” – £165 for a single advert, and not merely once. And as ever, money from the exiles renders the home leadership independent of the people and distorts subtly their whole style of work. I also had a talk with Harry Bourne. He is on top of the world. He has got 120 new recruits since just before Xmas, and they are coming in every day. He is not to be grudged this satisfaction. Many is the long years he slogged away. I was very pleased to hear it.
Then I went to Manchester, and as I had caught an earlier train than I had first intended went to Hathersage Road and saw Mick Jenkins, Dave Haywood and Vic Eddisford. I could detect some undercurrent in Haywood’s mind, but did not have much talk with him. I went into see Vic Eddisford. I asked him was he glad to be back in Manchester. “Partly”, he replied. He looked considerably aged – completely grey and wrinkled too. I was surprised, as I always thought of him as a young fellow. Wilf Charles doesn’t like him. But I never found anything to complain of. But then I was not part of the “history”. One thing is clear. He well remembers Joe Deighan’s work, which, he says, “we’re living on to this day” and is all for Lenny Draper taking it up, whereas Cohen, who was not in Manchester, did not know of it. The talk was satisfactory.
However, I went to the Station and met Lenny Draper and we made further plans. He was telling me about the long lectures Wilf Charles gives him. “I’m in the movement for years – yes before Desmond Greaves.” I doubt if this is true, but of course I merely smiled to myself. Wilf can say what he pleases as long as he goes on doing what he is doing. Lenny Draper also told me of relations with Dave Haywood. It seems to two young men are very good friends, and as Lenny thinks Haywood likes to fancy himself the great leader, there are periodical brushes between them. The latest is that Haywood wants Lenny to “go into the Anti-Internment League and take it over.” He did not want this, and I told him I thought he was quite right. Why waste his time?
In the evening Sean Redmond rang up and said Stallard got into the debate. But I had seen no report of it, I must say.
February 25 Friday: I did my accounts, got in some shopping, but was prevented from starting on the garden by rain. However it continues one of the mildest winters since the olden days. Indeed it would have been considered exceptional even in the thirties. I dug up some turnips and cooked them. I have to clear the ground, and there is no pleasanter way. The artichokes were excellent too. Charlie Cunningham was in the office and told me all was going well, with not as much effect from the Aldershot nonsense as one would have expected, possibly because of the Widgery evidence [The tribunal of enquiry into the Bloody Sunday events in Derry by Lord Chief Justice Widgery essentially accepted the Parachute soldiers’ version of the affair, justifying the shootings]. Incidentally, Sean Redmond had gone to Kay Beauchamp’s thing and though he thought it a “bloody nuisance” agreed to join the committee for the MCF meeting. She had invited the Anti-Internment League, but they didn’t turn up. So she will trouble them no further. Somebody wanted the “Marxist-Leninist something or other” invited, but Sean contrived to prevent it. Let me only get the financial position right and we’ll show them. It is there that our weak spot lies.
I met Brian Stowell on the underground. He referred to the Liverpool Anti-Internment League tonight but called it the International Socialist meeting. I mentioned the name referred to on Monday, Brian Trench. Was he an IS? He said he had just bought the IS paper and he had a letter in it, somewhat arrogantly lecturing the IRA, both wings. Just as well. We think he is English. When I got back I heard on the radio the shooting of John Taylor [This was an assassination attempt on John Taylor, Unionist MP, by the “Official” IRA, which Taylor survived. He had attended the NCCL conference on Northern Ireland in London 1965, which the Connolly Association had pressed for]. It is strange how those who attended the 1965 NCCL conference have come into the news. Taylor was that day trying to be the liberal reasonable Unionist. Bowes Egan was the liberal reasonable Catholic and told us he did not think there was any evidence that there was discrimination against Catholics in the six counties. Only Eamon McCann was as waspish as ever, defeatist, disruptive and bitterly antagonistic to Betty Sinclair. Since 1965, however, a bandwagon began to roll.
February 26 Saturday: I rang Sean Redmond in the morning. He will arrange the press conference for the Declaration late next week. Edwina Stewart has signified her desire to see NICRA (London) on Monday evening and meet MPs. As to the first I suspect she intends to plan a demonstration. She comes as our guest and schemes with others. Though possibly I wrong her, Joe Deighan told me of the trouble they have with her doing things without consultation. As for the MPs, I am sure it is sheer social pretension. At the conference in Belfast, before all the delegates, she querulously asked why she couldn’t go to London and “meet all the Lords”. So Sean Redmond will give her the joy of it. We touched on the reasons behind the Aldershot explosion. He said he had no doubt it was rivalry with the “Provisionals”. His brother Tom had telephoned on some family matter and had said in passing that whereas formerly the Provisional wing was based in the countryside, now its largest group is at Ballyfermot. So the “Officials” need martyrs. And clearly Roy Johnston was not going to be one of them. And again one reflects on Cooper’s words, “We were brushed aside,” for while they remain “aside” there is small hope for the others. I doubt if in the whole course of Irish history such a pack of nincompoops came to the top. Of course, as far as the Republicans are concerned, as Sean agreed, possibly Cathal Goulding was over-ruled, since the latest policy was contrary to his pronouncement. There is one reason for the eminence of the most sterile forces, the deep dread of communism, which affects the petite-bourgeoisie. And this is further reflected in the total refusal of the “mass media” to give the slightest publicity to anybody suspected of being tainted with it, for they concentrate on boosting substitute leaders.
February 27 Sunday: I should and could have gone to the cottage. But instead I wrote to Mrs Corbett. I must go next week-end. It is getting too close to the time of moving. Instead, I lopped some overgrown branches from the laburnum and dug up and manured two more beds. Michael Crowe rang in the evening, in the middle of one of the two three-hour power cuts. There have been changes in the dates of Betty Sinclair’s visit to South Shields, and this may affect us elsewhere. Sean Hurley has not gone back home yet. But he will do so after Easter. Michael Crowe (who talks at length on the phone as if a £5 bill was a bagatelle) explained that until the ructions in the North he used to identify himself with Sunderland. “I’m a Co. Durham man,” he would say. But now his Co. Durham wife will have to become a Kerrywoman. Thanks to the power cut the whole evening was wasted – the third such casualty.
February 28 Monday: I managed to dig up a couple of beds in the garden, put in manure and get basic slag. I went into the city for a few things and bought the rubbishy Express because there was nothing left on the bookstall. It carried a great scare headline about Clann na hEireann. But what was interesting was that it revealed Mrs Chisholm (mad Claire Madden’s daughter, who spoke at the Congress) as one of the leading lights. Apparently they held a special meeting in the Albany last night. Another man, Brendan McGill, presumably a Provisional, is out of jail. As he is the most able of them, I imagine there will be stirrings among the rival faction too.
In the morning I rang Dorothy Deighan and told her I could not get a squeak out of the Belfast solicitors. Joe Deighan came on in the evening and told me that he had got the information I wanted from his own solicitor, and that Dorothy would try to get me a copy of the statute. His explanation of the secretary being Pascal O’Hare was simple. “They’re all in America,” he said with something like amused disgust. “The lot of them. Kevin McCorry’s there. Madge Davison’s in Oslo. I’m the only one in the office.” They seem to be stifling with money. But whether they use it wisely is another matter. I thought of the £165 adverts. I think they use it not effectively, but “romantically”. In a sense in comes from romance, and it is expected to provide it. Then there can be another supply. Frank Watters told me that Bernadette Devlin collected £400 for Birmingham Clann na hEireann last week.
February 29 Tuesday (London): I went to London on a brilliantly sunny day. I can’t remember such a short winter. The brightness of December seems to have returned, and last night the moon was dazzling, as I remember used to be in the thirties before the climate went to hell. Before long everything will be sprouting. But how am I to get the time for gardening?
In the afternoon Sam Levenson telephoned and I arranged to meet him tomorrow. Jane Tate and Jim Kelly came in. He prepared £230 for the bank, the largest sum we ever deposited in a week. Jane had a toothache after rashly adventuring to a dentist in search of a filling. So we went over to get her some brandy. Jim Kelly is of course in great form. I am planning to get out an extra issue. The line of attack is plain – solve the financial problem by making hay while the sun shines, and then if possible increase the staff once more.
March 1 Wednesday: Stella Bond was in during the day. She reported, and others confirmed that Sunday’s meeting was a reasonable success. Edwina Stewart had been invited to speak at North London NICRA so as to save their paying her fare. Sean Redmond was not pleased at their getting a speaker without paying part of the expense. In any case we decided we didn’t want the Twelfth of July. This year it may be banned, anyway. Peter Mulligan came in and he says the bookshop is taking £100 a month. And Charlie Cunningham is gradually extending the sales.
I picked up Levenson at his hotel. There was a power cut at the time. His wife is an excellent little woman I took to at once, and I would say to the left of him in politics. They had been with Basil Clancy and McCarthy of the Teachers Union [Basil Clancy was editor of the Irish magazine, “Hibernia”, and Charles McCarthy was a leading official in the Teachers’ Union of Ireland]. These were fiercely against the IRA and anticipated civil war. Both the Levensons were closer to the opinion I expressed to them, that a people was being tortured into insanity, so what could you expect. He could not find a publisher for Connolly. But he is thinking of writing something about Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington. I encouraged this. He is now back in Worcester, Mass., where he was brought up, and among many relatives and friends. He seems to enjoy retirement, though he has forgone part of his pension. I gave him Cathal’s address for when he goes back to Dublin, also Jim Regan’s in Cork.
March 2 Thursday (Bristol): I was busy in the office all day until I caught the 5.12 to Bristol. Much to my annoyance they failed to provide the advertised dining car. I had to subsist on sandwiches at Paddington and Temple Meade, and sups of coffee. I took a taxi to the “Full Moon Hotel” where the meeting was held. Bristol has been murdered by redevelopment and seems to have become a hideous place. It used to be one of the most pleasant cities. There Bill Williams, a technical schoolteacher, was waiting for me with a crowd of about 30. Of these I learned later that at least 12 were Trotskies of one brand or another, and two young men in anoraks marked down to the sleeve with a scarlet band, had the cut of policemen. In a way I was not surprised. The presentation of the meeting was pedestrian, since the notices did not give the public adequate reason why they should attend. There was a lengthy questions-discussion period in which the Trotskies had plenty to say. Danny Ryan was there. Apparently his group did not approve of the way I answered their last question, and with typical ill manners demonstratively walked out. At which I merely said they found their medicine distasteful and sat down.
March 3 Friday (Liverpool): I came straight to Liverpool, and went looking for Roger O’Hara, but found it was his “day off”. It is of no great moment. I had written to say I was coming, but maybe he did not get the letter. When I got to 124 Mount Road I found a letter from Mrs Corbett saying that a man called Michael Williams who lives at Wentnor every week brings up a load of timber to Birkenhead or Liverpool, and takes back a load of cattle food. She had asked him if he would do the removal job, and he indicated that he might be travelling up empty on Friday week. It would alter my arrangements slightly but it would be well to seize the opportunity. In the evening I telephoned him. He explained that the reason he expected to travel to Liverpool empty till April was a strike (what strike I don’t know), but that now it was over he would travel loaded. But after consulting his father he agreed to take my cargo. He proposes to load on Thursday and travel on Friday.
March 4 Saturday: I went into Birkenhead and bought food and newspapers. I had a few words with Charlie Cunningham over the telephone. The badges are being slightly delayed but should be sent today and Charlie will collect them at Euston tomorrow. I told him of the busloads the Trotskies are sending from Bristol on the 26th. He had heard a great effort was being made and no doubt this was the function of the Liverpool meeting. On the other hand he told me that Sean Kenny had sent a message from Birmingham to the effect that he was bringing six people to the lobby.
March 5 Sunday: I had intended to go to the cottage today. To everybody’s surprise yesterday dawned with snow on the ground, though it had melted by midday, as is used to do when it came in the olden days. Today was brilliant and though cool in the shade, warm in the sun. But the weather forecast was of freshening winds and sleet and snow. So I did not go. But I should have done. There was bright warm sunshine all day and a west wind. In compensation I spent the whole day in the garden and made myself tired out.
In the evening Charlie Cunningham rang saying it was a shocking cold wet day with rain and sleet in London. Sales were not too good, for lack of sellers. He agrees with me there are political reasons for this. Lenny Draper rang, full of enthusiasm. He wanted to know if the Connolly Association in London had issued any instructions to the effect that a prospective Paisley march in Manchester should be subject to a counter-demonstration. I assured him that we did not issue “instructions,” and that if we issued advice, he would be the first to be consulted. Who had given him the message? One of the Clann na hEireann. The same pattern of endless intrigue, since they never could put a political argument.
March 6 Monday: The weather once more was wet and raw. So I did not go to the cottage. I doubt if I’ll go till next Wednesday now. I had looked forward to a brief holiday there before evacuating. But that’s the way of the world. When we’re being screwed down in our boxes we are still hoping for the pleasures we promised ourselves. I went into town and bought polythene containers with which to move the small items. When I got back at lunchtime I found six copies each of the “Life and Times of James Connolly” and the “Irish Crisis” from Lawrence and Wishart. Lenny Draper rang again. He has the chance of an office in Central Manchester. And there are rumours that the Fascists intend to march in Oldham and Manchester, demanding the expulsion of a million and a half immigrants to provide Englishmen with jobs. Some of these Englishmen will be doing some mighty unpleasant jobs! Lenny Draper has agreed to go on the broad committee that has been set up to draw attention to the evils that would follow any such action. I spoke to Sean Redmond on the phone. He has arranged a Press Conference at the House of Commons tonight. It is hasty. But Stallard warned that Heath may make his statement today. Late at night Pat Powell rang up about some priests from Dungannon who are coming to London. He told me that the reason he was not at the Birmingham meeting was his sickness. “How are you?” I asked. He has resigned. “I’m afraid I’ll have to face the knife.” This is of course what we all feared. Of Pat Turley he said he is demoralised and has gone on the booze. This is of course the work of the International Socialists in Coventry, first sowing confusion, then demoralisation. I told Pat Powell what I have told him fifty times before, that without an organisation that is theoretically grounded you cannot give leadership to a broad movement. Of course he agreed. But he has always agreed, and done nothing. I spoke with Brian Stowell on the phone.
March 7 Tuesday: I see from the Morning Star that Sean held the press conference, and got on to the front page of that paper anyway. Lenny Draper rang again. He has got the office and they are only asking 10/- a week. Apparently it is an office held by the CND [Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament] who are virtually extinct and never use it.
March 8 Wednesday: Though it was cool, with a north-east wind, since I had to go to the cottage, I did so. I took the 12.30 to Shrewsbury and cycled up there. There was snow in patches on Carndon and even small traces by the roadside. At Pennerley I telephoned Michael Williams. He told me that his flat wagon was not available and that the cost of a special journey would be £22. I had thought £20 would be the price anyway, on a commercial basis, so I accepted. Not that there was completely wanting the sharp practice of getting me there, then raising the price, but it was from Mrs Corbett’s cheap one to his commercial one. The Corbetts were out. And I did not call later. The pathway to the cottage was a quagmire. There were drainage channels all around the cottage, which was virtually perched on an island. The new bicycle lamp I had bought in Salop failed immediately it was switched on and I would not be able to see my way through the swamp. I had equipped myself yesterday with plastic bags – some used for the insides of dustbins. The plan is to use tomorrow morning packing. Williams will be here at 1pm.
March 9 Thursday: I got up early and set to work. What to bring and what to leave? I left the meat-safe, the two work stands and accompanying china and trinkets, the broken table, the fire-side chair, the wider chair, the expanding bed that I never used. One thing I burned was an egg-rack which I made in 1925 in the carpentry class at school. It was a small stand which would hold six eggs. And I saw the slight flaw where I took a chip out when using the brace and bit. I recall the disappointment at marring the work, but the teacher allowed me to take it home, and it lasted until today. On the other hand I brought some old family things back, the old kettles for example. The main things were the two beds and the eiderdowns, linen towels and suchlike, and Mary Greaves’s closet of drawers [Mary Greaves was a paternal aunt]. Under the mattress on one of the beds was a copy of The Times, dated March 1965. I could guess that Phyllis may have used the extending bed until as late as that. But the poor girl only got a short period of pleasure from her cottage.
I went out to see Mrs Corbett. When I surmised that Fletcher, the landlord, wanted it knocked it down, she agreed. “He has knocked down all the others. He knocked down the ‘ostel, as we used to call it. But I’m sure ‘e didn’t expect it to be so hard to knock down as it was. He tried to knock down the welfare – the village hall where all the whist drives are held. But the Parish Council has a lease. It won’t be up for a year or two. But he promises to have that down.” She explained that he had told her she could have three years, before hers would come down. “My great grandfather built this house,” she said, “but you couldn’t buy the land it stood on in those days.” Old Fred Corbett, who is 72, was with his son saving timber. “Mr Fletcher made us take down our Dutch barn and the old railway wagon. He wanted to take it away but we said we’d saw it up. He says such things don’t look nice. He’s been filling all the pits up, but this one. He hasn’t the mineral rights, I suppose. He wants to make the bog look nice. He’s planted commercial trees – flowering cherries and roses. But do you believe those motorists will leave them there? And he’s tried to sell Mr Pugh’s house. He wants £2000.” He is apparently a big man in the Salop [ie. Shropshire] County Council and possibly has visions of tourist “development”. He has told three tenants who still have cottages that when the parents die, they will be evicted. Talk about clearances – they are still going on today.
Last night Mrs Williams called. She had six caravans at Linley, and one was empty. Would I like to take it and move up stuff there? I declined. I do not have time to go regularly into the country, and as soon as the surroundings of Phyllis’s cottage were spoiled, I no longer felt I wanted much to stay there. Mrs Williams, who is Mrs Corbett’s cousin, came with James, a tall athletic young man with sharp but pleasant features, and who shows a somewhat wider vocabulary than one would expect in a typical “country boy”. I would have thought him from accent a Hereford boy. He lifted the stuff in no time, assisted by Mrs Williams and Mrs Corbett, who came to look at the things I was leaving behind. The sky was low and dark and rain threatened. The young fellow swore he had heard thunder, but I judged it to be a distant ‘plane. It was a gloomy day to be leaving and it gave rise to no nostalgic feeling. I was to cycle to Shrewsbury, “A very different place from this,” commented Mrs Williams, who had cycled there herself yesterday, for all the vans and lorries they have. When I warned her not to slip in the slush, she declared proudly, “Don’t worry about me. This is my country.” And she fell to discussing Mr Fletcher with Mrs Corbett. “Not a very likeable man.” “Indeed no. We wanted to keep the Dutch barn. But he wouldn’t have it. ‘This is my land.’ Ah, high and mighty like a prince.” And indeed they went back into the cottage when I left, being cousins who had not met since before Mr Pugh’s sale. I gave her some oil lamps for her caravan site, keeping only the one I bought in London when the power failed and gave to Phyllis when she got the cottage. The others were not working properly, but she wanted the parts. I also brought the Tilley [ie. the Tilley lamp]. Then I cycled to Salop against a chilly wind, had a meal in the Chinese restaurant, the food though but indifferent in such places, being quickly served, and caught the 6 pm. to Rock Ferry. I was sorry in a way to lose the cottage, but I had no time to go there when I had it, for it was too inaccessible.
March 10 Friday: I was up early and cleared space in the garage. Young Jim was here by midday, having apparently preserved the particulars he wrote on a cigarette box. The cattle truck pulled up in Borough Road and we had the things inside in no time. The contracted price was £22. But seemingly he had been advised to try to get £25. I told him that Mr Williams had said £22, and if he wanted to raise it he must give me a reason for it. But I gave him a snack and a pound for himself. “What a different place this is,” he remarked as he unloaded. It’s like being in another world. And how warm it is – at least I think so.” It was interesting, for it is just those “different” people that Mr Fletcher and his like are alienating. He was not like a city man to talk to. Obviously he spent most of his time alone. But he had worked for the New English Library. “In London?” “Based in London.” I imagine as a driver in the Midlands. He touched on the Irish question. He wondered if it wasn’t all being stirred up by Russia to embarrass England. “How did you think of that?” I asked. “Ah – that’s what people say.” So there was the country again, shrewd, conservative and insular.
A letter came from Brief saying that the taxman would wish to see next year’s accounts before giving his decision, and threatening that if we went before the Commissioners, first it would take months, and second if we lost we might have to repay previous years’ concessions. Brief rightly agreed under protest, as we can do nothing. So now I must get Lawrence and Wishart to pay up before the end of the month.
On the radio I heard of Cathal Goulding’s release on the grounds that nobody could prove he was Chief of Staff of the IRA. But they continue to hold Kenny. I wondered what was afoot. But later came news that the Provisionals were declaring a three days’ truce and there were reports that the British Government had been secretly negotiating through the medium of a “Liberal Unionist MP” – I suppose somebody like Phelim O’Neill [A relation of former Northern Ireland premier Terence O’Neill]. There was a report that some people thought that Westminster might find the demands of the Provisionals “negotiable”. I was inclined to think this was an attempt by Lynch to hurry Heath into a settlement that would give him a chance to win the EEC referendum. But possibly from the Provisional side it could indicate that the older people were asking where was all the death and destruction leading, so that the leadership felt under the necessity of throwing responsibility on England. Later came (unofficial) statements in London and Belfast that there would be no talks with the IRA. But what of Lynch? [ie. Irish Taoiseach Jack Lynch]. An odd thing is that the truce period is over a weekend when Parliament does not meet. And Stormont does not meet till Tuesday.
March 11 Sunday (London): I was up till 3 am. and did not rise till after 11 as I had given myself a cold standing about in the slush, and foolishly sitting up reading on top of it. Charlie Cunningham rang at 12.30. We talked about the “truce”. Will it be extended? He said that Paddy Devlin was at Paddy Bond’s meeting last Tuesday [Paddy Devlin, 1925-1999, Stormont MP and one of the founders of the SDLP]. He had asked the Connolly Association to try to find out if John Hume was engaged in talks in London last week. Of course Hume would be their man, as he is pro-EEC. I have got the beds in position, one in my bedroom, the other in the study. So now I can put up three people if I wish. The linen and one of the eiderdowns are airing. The delph and tools are in plastic containers in the garage. I will probably bring the chest of drawers inside, and put the old wooden trunk in the garage. Then when I get my royalties I must get repairs done to the house.
I caught the 4.30 to Euston – a “high tea” train, and not very satisfactory, but that as a “regular” I was able to get cheese instead of the awful cakes and buns they serve to the general public. They secure peace by yielding to importunity, but to nothing less, and it is rare enough, so that their course is the simplest. I came to the office and found Pat Hensey, with whom I went to Hammersmith. He had dropped off, but seems to have recovered to a slight extent, at least in political interest. He is going to Cardiff for a “teach-in” tomorrow.
March 12 Sunday: I was in the office early enough. At midday Charlie Cunningham arrived. And in the evening we went to Paddington, though I returned early believing I was suffering from a “chill”. The weather is so cold here that I wish I could have stayed in Liverpool, where it is mild. Charlie told me that Toni Curran’s mother died last week. I wrote a letter of condolence.
March 13 Monday: I was in the office at about 9 am. and Stella Bond came in at 10.15. And then quite suddenly (though Stella had some intimation) Toni Curran arrived to help in the work. There is a prospect that she may continue to do so. She is of course very upset at her mother’s death, though in a way it is a blessed relief. I learn that Birmingham (Social Justice), Newcastle (CA), Manchester (CA and ICRA), Northampton (NICRA) and others are coming to the lobby. In the afternoon Lenny Draper rang up and said that Michael Ward was dead. He fell from some scaffolding on Friday. It is hard to believe. I wrote to his wife. Lenny Draper was badly shaken, as he was his regular sales companion. Belle Lalor had been trying to get in touch with me, to complain that Pat Redmond was bringing singers from London to the St Patrick’s Night social. The trouble is that Pat Redmond does anything she wishes without consulting the branch. I told her to demur if there was any unexpected payment to be made. In the evening Charlie Cunningham came in, and Peter Mulligan. Kay Beauchamp had conceived the notion of holding a committee meeting on Patrick’s night! But Sean Redmond persuaded her to hold it at 7 pm. and come to the social afterwards. Toni Curran told me of the position in Hertfordshire. Apparently MacLaughlin of Hemel Hampstead, instead of starting a Connolly Association branch, had taken a lead from London and started an Anti-Internment League. When Gerry Curran went to speak there, there was nothing but confusion. Now Betty O’Shea (Dr O’Shea) had booked me to speak at a meeting in St Alban’s on the 23rd. She had refrained from informing me that she had invited Eamon McCann, Bernadette Devlin, and every Trotsky and Potsky in London. There was an invitation to a meeting in Oxford for that day, which since it was to be held at midday Sean Redmond could not attend. I took on the engagement myself and wrote to Betty O’Shea saying that I must go to this important function and would try to get to St Albans in time. If she will not be frank with me, I will not be frank with her. I will decide later whether to go or not.
Later I telephoned Tom Leonard. He had had much trouble. A month ago his mother died, and last week his brother died. What a day for woe. I heard from Florence, his wife, that Pat Powell is much worse than he wishes people to know. And Gloria Devine rang to say that Pat Devine was making his will, and would I give them my Liverpool address as he proposed to leave the “Book of Celts” to me. She seemed very strong and cheerful but says he has not been well these last few days and has stayed in bed. One thing made me laugh. He had put in his article something about the Chinese American statement. It contained some such words as “Taiwan, an area long since re-united with the Chinese motherland…” She felt this must be untrue and rang the Chinese Embassy to ask if there was a mistranslation. No there was not. “But Taiwan was not even yet re-united.” “Ah – you do not understand the complexities of the political situation.” Nor, I suppose, the humbug of diplomacy. They could not explain it, so they tried to induce in her a feeling that she was blind in not seeing the emperor’s clothes. What asses people are, and can afford to be once they are equipped with the taste of power.
March 14 Tuesday: By midday people started appearing for the lobby, and I went to the House of Commons for 3 pm. A group of Birminghams were already there with Stallard. Later Leeds Social Justice came unexpectedly, and Manchester NICRA. The Birminghams are all rough working men, but able enough. Perhaps they include contractors. The Leeds and Manchester NICRA are just like the London NICRAs – mild mannered, slightly dazed, pastel coloured people, very “nice” and very “respectable”. Ann Doherty was there. She is a shadow of her former self and down to 6 stone in weight. “She’s not long for this world,” said Charlie Cunningham. she has to have another operation. This was the most successful lobby we ever held. Jim Argue got Michael Stewart to sign [1908-1990, Foreign Secretary in the Harold Wilson Government, MP for Fulham], somebody else got Robert Mellish [1913-1998, Chief Whip in the Wilson Government, MP for Bermondsey]. I myself had a brief talk with Gerard Kaufman [1930-2017, MP for Manchester Ardwick], and Lena Jeger had Jane Tate, Elsie O’Dowling and myself in the bar and was all over us [Lena Jeger,1915-2007, Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras South]. The evening paper had published Faulkner’s attack on Mr Wilson, and the Labour MPs were anxious to get their own back. But getting Tomney was a different thing [Frank Tomney 1908-1984, MP for Hammersmith North]. There was a rapid hunt for the sheet with Mellish’s name on it. Tomney was refusing. “You can’t expect me to sign things like this,” he said, “Has anybody else signed it?” His eye then fell on the signatures of Stewart and Mellish. “What? Michael Stewart? Robert Mellish – I hope those signatures are not forgeries.” But he signed like a lamb. Among others Fiona was there [Mrs Fiona Connolly-Edwards, one of James Connolly’s daughters]. I met Brockway in a corridor and he was very annoyed that I had not sent him the Bill of Rights. “I’ve drafted it myself with the aid of Joan Hyman.” She gave me a copy and I could see she had been “stirring it up”. But when I will be able to look at it I do not know. I have a twelve-page paper to get out.
March 15 Wednesday: I was busy all day on the paper, but spoke to the Branch meeting in the evening. There was a reasonable attendance, with Charlie Cunningham, Sean Redmond, Jim Kelly, Jane Tate and others. At the same time, apart from Charlie, nobody is putting in a great effort. Jane Tate has injured her kneecap and is only able to walk slowly.
March 16 Thursday: I spent another day on the paper. I have received nothing from Tony Coughlan, or Belfast. But I got four pages off.
March 17 Friday: I spent another day on the paper. Stallard came in during the morning. I don’t know what Kay Beauchamp is up to. She explained that Sean Redmond’s name had been inadvertently left off the MCF leaflet but would be restored when the next batch was printed. The next batch arrived – with Bernadette Devlin’s name but no Sean Redmond. And the Morning Star announced – Jim Prendergast. Stallard told me once more of the campaign the “wee bitch” was running against him. I had asked him for a picture of himself so that I could make a counter-stroke and he brought it in. He also told me of how some strikers at “Fire Tubes” in Plymouth had wanted to run a concert in aid of their fund. St Pancras Town Hall would charge them £60. They asked him if they could use his influence to get the fee reduced. He persuaded the Camden Council to give it free and attended himself. At the beginning the curtain opened and who should stand before the thousand youngsters 20 years old and less, but Bernadette Devlin. “This concert is organised by the International Socialists.” Then she proceeded to attack Stallard, who had got them the hall. And he is to be chairman at the MCF meeting, and Betty Sinclair is to be another speaker, somebody else whom Bernadette Devlin has insulted.
In the evening I went to the Patrick’s Day social at the Euston Tavern. There was a considerable gathering, and Crowley (who seems to be steadying) deserves credit for it. The usual people were there, and some unusual, Michael Harmel (still rather far gone in drink), Pat O’Doherty from Liverpool, and one or two Clann na hEireann boys, very worried about the attention the police have been giving them lately.
March 18 Saturday: I finished the paper, so that I can start on the two conferences, the Bill of Rights, the “Socialist Register” article and … it is endless. Charlie Cunningham, Pat O’Donohue and others came into the office. Pat estimates that we have approximately halved our debt from £1,000 to £500 over the past year. We are still well behind the point we are aiming at. I was in Holloway with Pat Hensey in the evening.
March 19 Sunday: We had the Standing Committee in the morning. I proposed a campaign for a General Election and we made some plans. Sean Redmond, Pat O’Donohue, Charlie Cunningham, Paddy Bond and Jane Tate were there. Sean gave an account of Friday’s meeting. Kay Beauchamp assured him that it was intended that he should speak. He then made a number of proposals himself. Kay Beauchamp had invited the Anti-Internment League, but they did not reply. He suggested she drop them. But sure enough she must try again. He does not trust her. “She’s two- faced,” he observed. What it is in fact is that she has in her mind a mechanical scheme which she cannot defend because she has not thought of it herself, and which she simply says nothing about when challenged. She will take nobody’s advice. And then I think she takes absolutely for-granted that no leading member of the Connolly Association is able to attract anybody to a meeting. She is all bustling practicality with no thought. With her on Friday night was the man Jane Tate calls “that incredibly arrogant little International Brigader”, Tony Gilbert. He distinguished himself by supporting Clare Madden’s mad daughter at the London meeting [ie. the CPGB congress which Greaves had attended]. I met Stallard at 9.45 in Camden Town about tomorrow.
March 20 Monday: I had intended to finish working on the Bill of Rights – but what interruptions: the telephone, visitors coming in because “they happened to be passing”, and things I had to do myself [The Bill of Rights, drafted by Greaves in proper legal form, had been proposed as a Private Member’s Bill on 12 May 1971, by Arthur Latham MP In the House of Commons and by Fenner Brockway in the Lords, but it was rejected. Greaves was now working with these and with Jock Stallard MP to get it re-introduced]. In the evening Sean Redmond and Charlie Cunningham came in, and TS paid a visit [Name unknown]. He is a very serious young fellow, I think lacking in a sense of humour, which is a pity, as it is the basis of good sense, warning us of approaching folly when we scrape the bottom so to speak. I think this is why the complexities of the political world worry him so much. I have not had the legal information from Belfast that Joe Deighan’s solicitors promised me. I suspect that the Crown’s right of unlimited challenge of jurors is pre-1922, and Brockway has entered it among things prohibited to Stormont. Suddenly I bethought of Paul O’Higgins and telephoned him in Cambridge [Paul O’Higgins,1927-2008, Cambridge professor of human rights and labour law, whom Greaves knew from his student days at Trinity College Dublin in the late 1940s]. He thought it was a Common Law thing but promised to look it up. I learn that Ewart Milne has made a scurrilous attack on us in the Daily Telegraph [Ewart Milne, 1927-2008, Irish poet and writer; drove an ambulance in the Spanish civil war]. I did not bother to read it. I remember his writing to me around 1956 promising to use all his poetic gifts from then on in the cause of Sinn Fein. He is a self-important conceited flabby humbug, like a dog when in self-pity, and like a bull-frog when denouncing. And silly little bitchy Stella would do anything for him [Stella Jackson, one of the two daughters of historian TA Jackson, who was married to Ewart Milne].
March 21 Tuesday: I went to Ripley but came back to London – much against my personal inclinations as I long to see the back of the place. The twelve-page paper went smoothly. I see Stallard managed to get into the debate and made good use of our discussion. There were a few people in the office in the evening. But I am a little worried at Charlie Cunningham’s taking on too much and possibly over taxing himself. I must do something about it. Paul O’Higgins rang. He has been unable to find the basis for the Crown’s unlimited objection to jurors in Northern Ireland. “It’s not so simple as I thought,” said he. So we have had two solicitors in Belfast now and a lecturer in law and no result. Meanwhile Brockway champs at my delay. I must cut through the whole thing tomorrow.
March 22 Wednesday: After spending part of the morning in the office I went to speak to the students of the Ewell Technical College. They were quite a bright pleasant group of youngsters. The lecturer who was dismissed from Guildford Art Scholl for supporting the students, Michael Stedman, was there, and I received a good impression of him. He has started a Socialist Society there. There are people there who know Jack Henry and Paddy Bond.
I did not get back till about 5 pm. and felt very tired. The trains stopped at every station and I missed a proper lunch. The branch meeting was held in the evening, but I remained in my office trying to work between the interruptions on the Bill of Rights, which was also tiring. Among those present were Sean Redmond, Jim Kelly, Charlie Cunningham, Pat O’Donohue, Peter Mulligan – indeed the usual people.
March 23 Thursday (Liverpool): I had to leave for Oxford at 10.45. I took a taxi, which was held up in a vast traffic blockage, and missed the 11.15. This meant missing lunch at Queen’s College where I was to speak to students of Hatfield Technical College, who are having a species of vacation course. The lecturer in charge was a young man I judged to have IS [International Socialist] tendencies, though he did not seem to have the disease acutely. They also were a crowd of intelligent attractive youngsters. Those attending Polytechnics seem to have much more sense than those at Universities. This is the third time I have noticed it.
I had already told Dr O’Shea that I was not going to her meeting and made my way back to Liverpool. I learned that the papers had reached London. But what will come out of the marathon talks between Faulkner and Heath, we cannot say. So I had to use a non- committal headline.
March 24 Friday: I spoke to Maurice Cornforth on the telephone. He told me that the French and Italians were going to translate my “Irish Crisis”. He was angry that the Star had not reviewed it. But it is selling well and he sounds very happy. They want me to do some explanatory notes when the time comes, which of course I said I was happy to do.
On the one o’clock news I heard about the suspension of Stormont and the vast communications chorus, with orchestra, booming Mr Heath’s courage, wisdom, skilful timing, ingenuity and common sense [The Stormont Parliament was initially suspended for one year following Unionist Prime Minister Brian Faulkner’s refusal to accept that its security functions should be transferred to Westminster and his resignation. Henceforth powers of government were vested in William Whitelaw, British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland]. Obviously this is the end of an era. The Unionist monopoly is broken, but not by the forces of democracy but by the forces of the EEC. I imagine the fools will run in all directions now. I can see the CDU jubilant [ie. the Campaign for Democracy in Ulster]; the sycophants of the Labour Party are already swinging back to “bipartisanship”. As for the Tories, they have sold their dog, now we will see how they bark themselves. Lenny Draper rang up, and later Joe Deighan. Both think the great thing is to keep up the pressure for Civil Rights, and I agree. Seemingly the IRA is not yet affected, but Joe thinks Stephenson was foolish to make his hasty rejection [Sean MacStíofáin, 1928-2001, first Chief-of-Staff of the Provisional IRA, responded to the abolition of Stormont by saying that Britain had to make a statement of intent to withdraw from Ireland as a whole before the IRA would end its military campaign]. I told Joe about Fenner Brockway’s “Economic Council” clause and pointed out that if Michael O’Riordan and his colleagues had not been at such pains to say they wanted “something like” the Bill of Rights, but it must be under a different name, we might have been in a better position to resist. He told me that they had not the faintest idea what was in it. There was a meeting in Dublin last weekend, and only Andy Barr had the slightest inkling. In a world populated by pig-headed arrogant asses what surprise need there be that things go wrong? I wrote to Brockway and sent my revised draft. But late at night Pat Powell rang. Turley is busy getting together a meeting at which a world-shaking statement will be made to the people of Coventry.
March 25 Saturday: I wrote again to Brockway, suggesting an attempt to get civil rights written into the Heath Bill at the Committee stage. I decided to go back to London and rang Sean Redmond. He cannot attend a Standing Committee on Sunday, but will endorse what we do. I rang Paddy Bond. He wanted no committees; he is only interested in organising things. No politics, please, but he agreed to come. Then I spoke to Charlie Cunningham, who had already started plans to get a meeting. Paddy Bond would not be perturbed if a government of pelicans came into office. He would just go on calling on people and selling the paper. Charlie on the other hand said he felt disorientated. The Irish were equally divided between those who thought all would now be well, and those who remained suspicious. And on the radio came the snivellers of the Labour Party, delighted to avoid a position where they would have to offer a real challenge to the party in power. I wondered about Tuesday’s meeting. Kay Beauchamp will be in difficulties, as Brockway should be in the Lords, and Bernadette Devlin, Gerry Fitt and Stallard in the Commons, leaving only Kevin McCorry and Sean Redmond! Perhaps moreover it is as well that they wouldn’t be there, for there would be a magnificent cat fight. And again we will have to see how the Anti-Internment League fares. They also have given hostages to fortune.
March 26 Sunday: We had the Standing Committee in the morning. Pat O’Donohue failed to turn up, but later explained that he tried to phone. Jim Kelly lost his temper with Charlie Cunningham concerning a stupid detail of organisation and stalked off in dudgeon. Jane Tate says she thinks Jim, who is not so active, is jealous of Charlie’s prominence. Sean Redmond was unable to come but came in later. We sent off a press statement. Then Betty Sinclair arrived – for Tuesday’s meeting. Jane Tate and I had lunch with her. She told me that Jimmy Stewart had been complaining about my “line”. “But he’s not working for us,” she explained. “He’s writing for them in England.” She said that he had gone so far as to say that the Connolly Association had sent back Joe Deighan, Bobby Heatley and John McClelland with the deliberate attempt of effecting a take-over [ie. of the CP or the NICRA in Belfast]. How disordered jealousy can make the imagination is thereby shown. She says that the trouble is Edwina’s leaning towards Kevin Boyle, the Trotsky. This displeases Joe Deighan, whence the attack on the CA.
I mentioned this to Sean Redmond. He said that Tom Redmond had told him that the issue had gone to Dublin, and that Dublin had come down very heavily on the attacks on and slander of the Connolly Association. I had no idea it had reached such proportions. I did not go on the Anti-Internment League march.
Afterwards I learned that it started as mostly students. But Irish joined it en route. There was a poor attendance of our members from Central, but not so bad from South. The speakers were all Trotskies or careerists – McCann, Bernadette, Gery Lawless, and the collection was taken by Patrick O’Sullivan, the Clann na hEireann man who thinks he’s Casement. There were plenty of Communist Party banners there. The speeches were all about the victory scored by the IRA. But they must fight on. It was all emotion. We have found in selling the paper that about half the Irish say, “It’s all over now,” while the other half are suspicious.
After they came back I spent the evening drinking with Charlie Cunningham, then went to Euston at 12 midnight to travel to Liverpool. I was glad I decided to go.
March 27 Monday (Liverpool): I came to Liverpool on the 12.50 train and was glad I came back. Both the gates and the doors by the garage had blown open in a furious gale, which dissipated the ten days’ quasi-summer we have been having. Moreover, there were showers of snow which melted on reaching the ground, mercifully. I wrote an article for the Morning Starand mended the gates and doors temporarily. I am waiting for my royalties to enable me to get some work done in the house. Stella Bond rang and told me Nan Green had told her they were posting the cheque today. The piano tuner came. And at 5 pm. Edwina Stewart rang to tell me she had been invited to write a pamphlet on the Irish Question for the World Council of Churches. Would I do the section on the establishment of Partition for her. I said I would – I wonder if she had decided to be friends? It is a nuisance, as I am so short of time. But it would look bad to refuse. Betty Sinclair told me that Jimmy Stewart had taken badly my not being at the International Affairs Committee meeting. I told her I had not received the notice and knew nothing about it. This she said she would convey. She added that Jimmy would surely think this, as his failing to invite me to the Congress was deliberate, and his apology gave an explanation that did not accord with the facts. Small- mindedness seems to be a quality necessary to getting on in politics; it induces that minute attention to one’s standing which ensures progress in the right direction.
March 28 Tuesday: I did a certain amount of work about the house, but little in the garden since it turned cold. March, after playing the lamb, is intent in departing like a lion. I spoke to Charlie Cunningham on the phone and asked him to try to get speakers for the meeting in Hyde Park next Monday. We decided not to do it on Sunday. There will be too much competition. Callaghan has had another stroke, so he is out. But Callanan has reappeared. The effrontery of these characters would make a cat laugh. This man is said to be a Catholic and son of a head policeman in Belfast. He emigrated to Australia, some say with a cloud over his head. There he was mixed up with the Santa Maria gang who wrecked the Australian Labour Party, though he always denounced Santa Maria the splitter after he joined the Connolly Association in the fifties [Robert Santamaria, 1915-1998, fervently Catholic anti-communist who led a breakaway from the Australian Labour Party in 1955]. He admitted to trying to split it, though on the whole he backed the EC against the disrupters, explaining this afterwards by saying he could disrupt more successfully by raising indignation against us while appearing to be friendly. Actually when he left I had no particularly hard feelings, and even suspected there was a genuine streak in him, but his past had caught up with him. This I thought from the suddenness of his resignation. I was in his flat once and noted he had books, but none political. However that may be, he then proclaimed himself an anarchist and moved among those wee shifting sects that centre on Hyde Park, which to them is the centre of the world. He started dozens of microscopic groups. Now he appears in Hyde Park in the combat jacket and black beret of the IRA, and last week, Charlie Cunningham assures me, he sported an arm-band which a policeman told him to take off. And of course he would scarcely know a rifle from a pound of cheese!
March 29 Wednesday: I grew worried that my cheque was not here yet and rang Stella Bond. She had telephoned on Monday saying that Lawrence and Wishart wanted to know whether to send it to 124 Mount Road or 283 Gray’s Inn Road [the former being his house in Liverpool, the latter the Connolly Association office in London]. I told her send it here. But now it transpired that before consulting me she had told them to send it to Gray’s Inn Road. And she had forgotten to pass on my message to them. My head reeled with the ineptitude of the proceedings: to tell them first and ask me afterwards. And two minutes later we were discussing the construction of boxes to protect the deck meters which were rifled last week, and a complaint from the National Assembly of Women that their mail had been opened by thieves and money taken. I wondered if Stella had gone mad. Anyway I rang Lawrence and Wishart, who have stopped the cheque and should today post another one here. In the evening, however, I spoke to Peter Mulligan. He told me that Sean Redmond had found the cheque yesterday and seeing the amount was substantial, had put it in a safe place but told nobody. So now there are two, and all through Stella’s stupidity. To make matters worse I learned from Maurice Cornforth what had happened to the Morning Star review. The book had been given to Chris Myant. He had gone off to Belfast, posted the review from there, and, says Maurice, “It’s probably blown up, for it never got here.” This is why they had to fill in with spring paperbacks [ie. in the paper’s book review section].
Now according to Sean Redmond there were 400 there last night and they collected £250. Stallard spoke briefly but returned to the House of Commons. Sean took the chair, and Gerry Fitt and Bernadette Devlin did not come. Fenner Brockway spoke on the Bill of Rights and so did Betty Sinclair. Tony Coughlan sent me a review from Hibernia, and a letter he had written to the press.
In view of the fact that the cheque had not come and cannot be paid in till tomorrow, I went to the bank today and risked overdrawing.
March 30 Thursday (London): Imagine my annoyance when nothing arrived by the morning post. I blessed the thought of Stella and her nonsense. I waited till mid-afternoon and travelled by the 4.30, coming for a few minutes into the office and then proceeding to South London. There were only three or four there when I arrived, but later they drifted in, some from the public house across the road where the landlord is said to have leapt across the bar, a sword in his hand, when they wouldn’t leave at closing time, and made Bridget Sutton more hysterical even than the usual. Apparently it is all forgotten, and they make up by going before the meeting as well. There was a very poor response to Paddy Bond’s appeal for sellers. But he did not seem upset. Perhaps he has other strings to his bow.
March 31 Friday: I came into the office late, about 11.30 am., and found Charlie Cunningham had just arrived. Later Chris Sullivan came. Charlie said the CDU people were crowing over “Direct Rule” and saying “Stormont was the obstacle.” Feicimid! [ie. Irish for “We shall see.”] I was busy all the time, though without much to show for it. Jim Kelly came in and it was clear that he had banked £700 in March, far the best in the history of the paper. I was out with Sean Redmond in Kentish Town and we did well. He told me that Tom Redmond is now Dublin District Secretary of the CPI – no wonder Dublin were having no witch-hunts against the Connolly Association – has separated completely from Aine [his wife, a former CA member] and is immersed in politics. Apparently he is immensely active. I told Sean about Edwina Stewart and how she had failed to send me the table of contents which would enable me to write the piece for her pamphlet; still I had sent her three typescript pages. We discussed the eclipse of Stormont, and how in a sense Northern Ireland politics were now completely parochialised. He said Stallard was pressing for absorption in England. I find it hard to credit this. He thought Paisley was the most astute. Seeing that exteme Unionism had no future he was presenting himself as a moderate. His pressing for absorption to “Save the Union” was likewise due to a realisation that the game had been played to a finish. But if Stormont was reconstructed, then he was now becoming an acceptable candidate. He thought Craig had gone mad and was scampering away to destruction, having scarcely made it up (on the surface) with Faulkner, when he must break again [Former Unionist Home Minister William Craig, now leader of Ulster Vanguard, was speaking of establishing a “provisional government” in the North and hinting of establishing an independent Northern State outside the UK rather than be absorbed in an Irish Republic]. He thought Bernadette Devlin was mistaken in voting at all, but I said she always acted from instinct, and I think this time her instinct was right.
April 1 Saturday: I came into the office quite early. Outside, stood the dark mop-headed youngster from Dublin, Jimmy Claxton, who is usually to be seen with volumes of Lenin, Mao, Stalin bunched under his arm, and hasn’t a notion of what he is reading. He agreed to give a talk to the Central Branch (Joe Deighan’s doing) but didn’t turn up. He had got cold feet and returned to Dublin for a year. Others say he had got into some other trouble, and that is possible too. He decided to come in and explained that he had been walking the streets since 7 as he could not sleep. He looked very spick and span nevertheless. Then he started. “People at home think I am mad.” “Don’t let that worry you,” said I “Some of them here think that too.” He blushed but was not unduly abashed. I softened the blow. “Don’t worry – there’ll always be madder.” Then he went on about “the right wing”, and all those he knew in Dublin were “rightwing” – until I began to fear that he really was mad, for he mixed things up in the most inconsequential way. “I think, ” I said, “you suffer from mental indigestion. Sit down and take it easy and allow me get on with my work.” This he did, but occasionally dipped in something apropos of nothing; yet before he went to worry Peter he had donated £1 to the Association’s funds.
That was the way the day began. Then came an estimate of £87 for repairing the electric meters after the raid and enclosing them. I wrote to Tadhg Egan and JmL asking if they could do it. The whole neighbourhood is swarming with drunks, junkies, whores, pimps, down-and-outs, petty-thieves and ne’er-do-wells of all kinds, and it is getting worse. Every morning in Argyle Square a group of them pass round the bottle with total abandon, or you could see them in the rain drawn up on their hunkers beside a wall, taking swigs in turn at any time of day. Most of them are Scotch and it is agreed that the Scotch are far and away the worst to contend with, for an Irishman can usually be softened with words when he is aggressive, but a Glasgow man not so. One of them, swaying perilously, asked me for a match for a cigarette he was moving through the air. I stepped by, intent not to be puked on. When I returned from the milk shop at the bend in Gray’s Inn Road, police had him and his lady-love outside the off-licence and were taking them away, while the staff in the off-licence held their sides with laughter. I had unfortunately missed the intervening drama.
The usual people came in ones and twos – Pat Hensey, Peter Mulligan, Jim Kelly as jumpy as ever, Jane Tate, now largely recovered from a knee injured by her falling in the black-out, and Pat O’Donohue. He thinks we made a profit this month, and indeed we made out cheques without great fear. Frank Watters had quoted us for badges without including purchase tax [ie. for the Connolly Association lapel badges protesting against internment]. It was thanks to this that we ordered 10,000, while knowing what a gamble it was when internment might end at any minute. However we decided, though he offered to go halves, or even stand the loss himself, to pay the whole, as at worst we will only lose about £30. Thus we shall retain a friend to probable future mutual advantage. Sean Redmond phoned. He says Brendan McGill had rung him up to say the Connolly Association was welcome on the march they are having on Sunday.
We had learned about it and got particulars last night. Sinn Fein (that is, McGill’s Provisionals) are leaving Hyde Park at 3 pm. to walk to Kilburn. At that very moment the Clann na hEireannns [who supported the “Official” Republicans], having left Camden Town at 1 pm, are to arrive in the Park. I met Landy and Eddie MacManus (who used to be with us, during the time Clann na hEireann was trying to “capture” the Connolly Association) on the tube last night and urged them to delay their arrival till Sinn Fein were out of the way. They said they would. Well Sean Redmond told McGill that we were holding our own meeting on Monday and that our members had been left free to join either parade, but that we had not been invited. Sean was then asked whether the Anti-Internment League had not notified us. He assumed they would inform all affiliated organisations. Sean told him we were not affiliated. Now the interesting thing is that the Provisionals also are using the Anti-Internment League as a cover. They do not think it necessary to deal direct with anybody.
It was late afternoon before Charlie Cunningham arrived. Things had gone well last night. Later Paddy Bond and Pat Hensey came and I went to Hammersmith with the latter. At Fulham we saw Brendan McGill with three assistants, two of them pretty girls, with huge trays of Easter lilies. The pubs were full of them and they must have made pounds. He was extremely amiable, came over to shake hands and bought a paper. He is thinner, paler and has aged, but looks fit and well. He certainly hasn’t lost any of his spirit during his spell in jail. A final thing, Michael MacDermott, who is doing the thesis on the Irish in Britain, phoned. I had judged he was capable of assisting on the editorial side and had written to him upon this. He agreed to discuss it tomorrow.
April 2 Sunday: Edwina Stewart’s contents arrived yesterday, after taking four days in the post. So I dispatched her an eirenicon. I was taken up with the situation in Wales. On my return I found a note that Wayne Jenkins had asked for a speaker for Saturday morning and that Sean Redmond would go. Then there were odd fragments of a phone conversation, doubts about the conference, and certainly no sign of the three lectures we agreed upon. I had written Bert Pearce twice and, as always used to be the case when he was in Birmingham, got no reply. I rang him before going to Paddy Bond’s meeting. He was apologetic, up to his eyes till after the Merthyr by-election. “But,” he said, “why should we build up these people who are doing as they please? Brian has now made himself virtually the organiser for the Clann.” Now in the letter he wrote me, Brian Wilkinson spoke of other speakers at this meeting, that would be yesterday. I wrote three letters, to Wayne Jenkins, to Bert Pearce and to Brian Wilkinson. I said I would go to Cardiff the minute the election was over. And I intend to find out what is going on.
I did not go to Hyde Park with Jane Tate and the others, though I heard what happened. The delay in entering by the “Officials” was matched by a delay in leaving by the “Provisionals”, so that division was made obvious. There were about 60 “Officials” and 400 “Provisionals”. Charlie Cunningham, whom I saw afterwards, was at Kilburn and from the faces in the crowd noted defectors from the “Officials”. He was informed that the “Officials” had booked Trafalgar Square for today and the “Provisionals” had agreed to a united march. But as soon as McGill was released he put a stop to all cooperation.
The reason I did not go was that Michael MacDermott, a young London-Irish graduate, studying for a PhD and writing a thesis on the political affiliations of the Irish in Britain, came in and I asked him to take over Page 8 and lighten the load on myself, which he agreed to do. I had several phone conversations with Joe Deighan about a speaker for April 16th. I understand from Jane Tate that Peter Mulligan loses his employment with the AA, who are moving to Basingstoke. He has been talking about taking a six-months’ holiday “on the dole”. But the bookshop is likely to tie him in the evenings. We have warned him against expanding to a size we cannot keep up. But he has only to see something and he must write for it. This plan was uppermost in his mind during the little summer we had in March, but now the drizzle and rain have come he is thinking of finding another job after all. Sean Redmond says that of all our members Peter is the one he understands the least. A strange mixture of initiative and irresponsibility.
Then in the evening I went to Camden Town with Charlie Cunningham.
April 3 Monday (Liverpool): I was in the office soon after 8 am. Around 11 am. Charlie arrived on his way to Stevenage. I decided to spend the £20 Pat O’Donohue says we have “made” this month on a substantial advert in the Morning Star. We will see if it does any good. In the afternoon Chris Sullivan and Gerard Curran came in. We went to Hyde Park for a meeting, this having been decided by the Standing Committee last Sunday. Sean Redmond, who was absent, I exonerate, but not some of the others who gaily supported the idea but with the proviso that “somebody else does it.” Paddy Bond cried off this morning. Charlie (who has worked hard like Paddy) at the start said he would not do it. Jack Henry, who told Pat Bond he would come, did not arrive. He is quite notoriously unreliable. Pat O’Donohue did not appear, and indeed the only other member was Jim Kelly. A drunk planted himself in front of the platform while the three of them seemed struck by paralysis. I had to get down and when he started shouting in front of Gerry Curran, I organised a little counter-action. This I recall thirty years ago. They are hopeless. So I was in a very bad mood when I rushed for the 6.30 and as there was no food on it, drank gin all the way up to Liverpool, where I was glad to get back.
April 4 Tuesday: There is no end to irritations. I took my own and the Lawrence and Wishart cheque to the bank, only to find that Nan Green had misdated it 1971. So I had to send it back for alteration and initialling. And when I went to the Birkenhead Post Office the assistant or counter-clerk, as I believe she would be called, seemed to be a little weak-minded. After keeping us all waiting as she dithered in front of an equally weak-minded seeming young man who wanted to be a traffic warden, when I asked for ten threepenny stamps, she gave me three tenpenny ones!
Early in the evening Lenny Draper rang up. “I’ve been deserted,” he said. “In the last three weeks everything done has been done by me.” The Easter Sunday meeting drew about 14 people. But it was pissing rain. But not one member. But he thinks there will be Trade Union people at the meeting tomorrow. I have my doubts.
April 5 Wednesday: I did a little in the garden in the morning and early afternoon, and then went to Manchester where Lenny Draper awaited me. Exactly three Trade Unionists arrived – Wilf Charles, and two others, including Michael Brannay of the Stockport Trades Council. Later Belle Lalor and Lena Daly arrived. So a complete blank was drawn. There was much talk that people were not receiving correspondence. Wilf Charles spoke of the mass of work required. Lenny Draper’s reaction was to plunge into the fray.
April 6 Thursday: I had intended to go to Manchester early. Nan Green’s cheque arrived with the statement that 555 copies of the “Irish Crisis” had been sold in fourteen working days. She seemed very pleased, and I wondered if possibly at last fortune might be smiling. I was quickly disillusioned. At 1 pm. a telegram arrived and I knew it was bad, as there was no conceivable good, except something from Ann Doherty in Manchester, the letter sent by Stella Bond yesterday having failed to arrive. It was indeed bad. It was from Maurice Cornforth who wrote: “Suggest urgently organise letter to ‘Star’ protesting review. We rightly see black and white.” I had not yet seen the “Star” as it is not on sale in Birkenhead and wondered what the second sentence meant. But I knew what had happened. Jimmy Stewart and Edwina had exercised their vindictiveness through the agency of Myant. But it struck me that young man would have to be the chopping block. I was of course thoroughly alarmed, for the time is crucial, and there is no knowing what pompous vanity will do.
I wrote the above before going into the city. There I bought the Morning Star and found the review was quite short and gave little indication of what was in the book. It is the story of the crisis that irks him. First, I “stress all along the work that has been done in Britain to get a Bill of Rights abolishing Stormont’s repressive laws pushed through Westminster.” He sees no special importance in this; thus reflecting the Jimmy Stewart attitude. It is “particularly unfortunate that the CPI gets hardly a mention.” “For this reviewer the overall effect leaves a very black and white picture, with Catholic and Nationalist against Protestant and Unionist the dominant impression.” This means Edwina Stewart and her associates would take up their old quasi-NILP position if “normality” returned [ie. accepting the constitutional position of Northern Ireland within the UK and being reluctant to raise the Partition issue – this being a long-standing criticism Greaves had of those whom he characterised as “Orange Communists” in Belfast]. And we are told finally that the future depends to a great extent on the development of “vital subtleties in the structure of Northern Ireland’s politics and society”, which I have ignored. These are particularised as “divisions within the Unionist Party”. So here is what some of them really think when they come back drunk with Republican excitement and the cheering crowds. Elsewhere he says I tell the story in terms of personalities rather than “analysis of the classes and movement behind them”. It is only the most detailed such analysis yet published – but possibly the personalities mentioned are the wrong ones.
I spoke to Nan Green on the phone. the “black and white” part of the telegram was of course now understood. She said, “What other attitude can you take up when there are 700 men interned?” The same occurred to me. On the whole I did not think we would have a bad time if we could get into print. But when I rang Toni Curran I got no reply. I did not tell Nan Green about the Stewarts’ vendetta. I criticised the deficiencies as in part lack of space, and apart from that Belfast parochialism.
However, I was at the Free Trade Hall at 7.25. Apart from a few stewards only two people were there. Ann Hope arrived looking somewhat worn [ie. representing NICRA in Belfast]. Ann Doherty came – still very thin and worried looking. She disclosed to me that Bernadette Devlin had not arrived and could not be traced. “These politicians!” she fumed. She disclosed that she had lost her job and must appear before a disciplinary committee in London before she goes back into hospital to have corrected an operation that was botched. She seems subdued and could not stay for the meeting because of two cases she must attend to, though she came back later.
Well, there were only two speakers, thirty-one in the audience, mostly middle-aged, five belonging to Ann Hope’s family, and since Ann Doherty had to go away, Bannerjee was in the chair. I offered to speak first and extended my remarks to nearly twenty-five minutes. Tom MacDowell, also expected, had not by then arrived. I suspect he is finished. Jail will have deflated him. I was struck by Ann Hope’s speech – not its content which was nothing new, and consisted for the great part of repetitions, but by the manner. She had a type of desperate earnestness that came from a sense of total outrage. She is naturally a quiet friendly decent girl, by far the best of them there – totally superior to Edwina Stewart and even Madge Davison – and second only to Betty Sinclair, though softer. After about twenty minutes of speaking into the microphone, she had to sit down, admitting she was ill. The room had been spinning before her for the past ten minutes. I got brandy but she would not take it. However, she resumed and was even prepared to answer questions. It was a display of great pluck and determination and I must say my sympathy went out to her. She had just come back from an exhausting tour of Europe.
Ann Doherty came back in time to drive me to Oxford Road [Manchester local train station]through pouring rain – the weather is more like late October than April – and said she was coming to London and wanted my advice on personal matters. There was a general feeling that Heath’s “initiative” had created many illusions.
April 7 Friday: At last I banked the cheque. I went to the City as well and made some purchases. I spoke on the phone to Gerry Curran about the review, which he described as “scandalous”, and said others had expressed the same opinion. I began to reconstruct. Myant claimed he had sent in a review that was lost in the post. My guess is that he never read the book or wrote the review. Then he was pressed: he glanced through the book, took some suggestions from Jimmy Stewart and possibly Edwina, and sent this hastily constructed thing to Leeson, who is ignorant enough himself. Nobody reading the review would have the faintest notion of what was in the book.
April 8 Saturday: I asked John McClelland to come to London next week-end. He told me in passing that on the day Myant received my book from Lawrence and Wishart he called to John with it under his arm. He told John McClelland that he was going to attack it before he had even begun to read it! I asked why. “I think he’s influenced by the company he keeps,” said John.
April 9 Sunday: I was quite busy as the weather was dry for once. It is a long time since we had this windy wet type of spring with constant west winds. The fence on Borough Road is blown down, but as it technically belongs to the people next door (a rough crowd) I must leave it for the time being. If they delay long I shall get my own back on them for building the huge garage which blocked out all of Jean Hack’s view, and part of Phyllis’s. I was always angry at the way they took advantage of the two women. I shall build a very high one of interlocked material and object to the attachment of their one, which anyway they do not control. I have promised myself this little satisfaction over a few years. Let them have a little shade. I moved some of the things indoors that I brought from the cottage. Stella Bond phoned and commented on the “unfairness” of Myant’s review. It was so utterly inaccurate. But I was told that Klugman had some useful comment in “Marxism Today”[ie. James Klugman, 1912-1977, leading British communist and editor of the monthly theoretical journal “Marxism Today”].
April 10 Monday (London): I returned to London and found Charlie Cunningham and Jane Tate in the office. Later Michael MacDermott came in and we did some work on the paper. He has a degree of Kent University and is widely read on the Irish question. His projected PhD thesis is on the Irish in Britain, and my guess is that he will make a job of it.
April 11 Tuesday: I spent the day working on the paper. Tony Coughlan has hardly sent a thing he is so busy on the anti-EEC referendum. He tells me that he has not high hopes. The Government propaganda is ceaseless and skilfully directed towards the farmers. And thanks to Donal Nevin’s anti-national attitude the Workers Union of Ireland is disgracing itself. [Donal Nevin was a leading official of the Irish Congress of Trade Union and influential in the Workers Union of Ireland, founded by James Larkin, of which he was a member. Nevin was pro-EEC, whereas the ITGWU and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to which that union was affiliated, were opposed to Irish EEC membership. This was one month before Ireland’s EEC Accession Treaty referendum.]
April 12 Wednesday: Another day on the paper – except for the endless distractions and interruptions.
April 13 Thursday: Again a day of interruptions. I am three pages behind. In the evening Michael MacDermott came again and we finished Page 8, which he is taking over. I judge him to be extremely quick and intelligent and with sufficient self-assurance to bow to the judgement of others when necessary, and to urge his point when that is necessary. Jane Tate was there and Charlie Cunningham. In Neary’s Clann na hEireann was meeting. The personnel has changed. Roland Kennedy was not there but Landy was, and Ann Doherty’s old friend Dougal Eggon, a romantic old silly.
April 14 Friday: The Morning Star published a letter from a man called Boyd protesting about Myant’s review [ie. John Boyd, an Englishman who later became a Connolly Association member and a leading leftwing opponent of the EU, establishing the Campaign Against Euro-federalism]. Myant had a review of Beresford Ellis’s book yesterday in which the People’s Democracy tendency was shown again. I am glad somebody has taken up the cudgels.
In the morning Fiona came. Bert Edwards deposited another package of the Connolly papers at Marx House [Bert Edwards was Fiona Connolly’s estranged husband, who had held on to various letters of James Connolly that Roddy Connolly had lent to him.] They informed me and I informed Fiona. Unfortunately my letter was lost in the post. But finally I got the news to her. She is now afraid that Bert might die before she knew of it, and his relations ransack the house and sell her stuff. She had an appointment with Hostettler for this afternoon. I advised her to get Roddy over. Perhaps the Connolly Association would invite him for a lecture. Perhaps Bert might invite him to stay there. Once in the house he could say he was writing his memoirs and borrow back the archives which are his property, deposited with Fiona for safe keeping for fear his own wife should sell them. As a second string she should get Roddy Connolly to swear an affidavit and particularise what was his property, and she should do the same, and Jane Tate should be instructed to act as soon as it was heard that “anything had happened” to Bert. She rang me up later to say that Hostettler thought the affidavit idea a capital one and she will take the initial steps in Dublin in a week’s time.
She told me that of Connolly’s children she and Roddy were the closest. Nora does not get on with Roddy, Fiona believes because he is a man, the nominal head of the family, and has many sons who carry the name Connolly. The love-letters will not be published in their lifetime, but Fiona’s Roderick, and Roddy Connolly’s Seamus, will have discretion afterwards.
April 15 Saturday (London): I took the 10.15 to Birmingham and met Frank Watters and later Seán Kenny at the Star Club [Sean Kenny was a leading Connolly Association activist in Birmingham]. Toal came in later bringing Sean Morrissey. It seems that Toal went up against Tom McDowell for the presidency of Social Justice in Birmingham. On the night of the election the room was crammed. Dog, thief and devil had been mustered. Were they all members, asks Kenny. “What does it matter?” rejoins Tom McDowell, “They’re all good Irishmen.” Victory for McDowell was thus secured by the oldest Tammany dodge on earth. I wondered that Toal had challenged him. There is talk of breakaways. But Sean Kenny is secretary and will not want this. I thought the Connolly Association should be restarted as an affiliate. Slowly I am bringing Kenny round to this, but Mark Clinton has been a disappointment.
We went to the Transport Hall and there I met Brian Mathers, a very capable decent Trade Unionist, with plenty of brains and a sense of humour. The attendance was sparse. The MPs (Kevin McNamara and Kate Devlin) did not arrive and as is their wont, gave no reason. Nor did Joe Whelan appear. They had already asked me to make the “keynote” speech, and now it fell to me to reply to the discussion as well. Sean Kenny concentrated on Trade Union affairs to a great extent. But for the accident of being Catholic, despite his Republican record, I do not think he has a great interest in democratic issues. But he was lucid and cogent and well received. There was quite a useful discussion, mostly sensible, but for a few youngsters at the front who offered the simplistic nostrums of the Anti-Internment League. The vote of thanks was proposed by Tom McDowell.
I went to London on the 5.15 and after a quick wash went on to the reception to the Russian delegation at the Holborn Assembly rooms. The Cockpit is still there, saved by its attachment to the public house next door [ie. his former flat in Northington Street, Holborn]. And the curtains I left hanging are still there in the room I used to work in. But all the surrounding buildings have been knocked down.
This was not a formal “reception” such as there would be at an Embassy. There was a queue for tickets for drink, which were 6/- each, but you could buy with money so to speak on the black market, which many of us did. This must be because of some licensing regulation. There were two top tables for the delegates and the EC [ie. the CPGB Executive Committee; this was presumably a CPGB affair], and the remainder of the large room had tables scattered irregularly about, but all loaded with delicatessen. There was a general air of joviality and satisfaction as people greeted others whom they had not seen for years.
I sat with John Williamson and his wife, but had a word or two with Elinor Burns, Alan Bush and Dora Cox, Ivor Montagu and others. It was very interesting to meet George Whittenbury, for the first time surely since 1935. He was just leaving for Manchester when I came into student politics. He has been a teacher but has retired, still looking like a man in his forties and easily recognised, a pleasant intelligent equable fellow like Michael Crowe. I asked him what had happened to Ann Frankenburg, but he didn’t know. She may be married to a stock-broker. Dora Cox referred to the poems which Alan Morton and I had published. She had lost her copy. But I doubt if I have any spare copies left.
The spokesman for the delegation began like a visiting diplomat but grew less formal as he proceeded. When the audience applauded after the translator made some popular point, he clapped his fingers lightly together. This brought about the difficulty that nobody knew when to stop clapping without offending the guest. Afterwards I judged that he watched the audience, and that the applause ceased when either side showed signs of wondering if it had gone on enough. I thought it was a very clever thing that Gollan had done to invite this delegation. I told this to Gordon McLennan, who was very pleased [Gordon McLennan,1924-2001, CPGB Industrial Organiser, elected General Secretary in 1975]. But I did not see Andrew Rothstein there, though he may have been; for I was told Kay Beauchamp was there, though I did not see her [Andrew Rothstein,1898-1994, communist intellectual and writer; founder member of the CPGB in 1920; founder member of the re-established CPB in 1991].
There was a quick word for Maurice Cornforth. Yesterday the “Star” published a reply to Myant’s nonsense. “I don’t believe he read a page of it,” said I. “Well, let’s hope he didn’t,” said Maurice. “To my mind his review was absolute drivel. And this complaint about personalities. What about the 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon [by Karl Marx] It’s full of personalities. And they’re very important.” Quite a number of people present said they had read it, and nobody who spoke to me showed any sympathy with Myant.
As I was going out I saw Joe O’Connor. Was he going for a drink opposite? He was, but, says he, Jim Prendergast will be there. “So what?”, says I, and we entrained Betty Reid. I remarked to her that that gathering was a study in the physiognomy of working class struggle and that portraits of the older members should be made. I also urged her to do a fuller study of leftism.
Prendergast adverted to his vendetta, but with a hint that he had given up pursuing it. “Really,” said I (though I still think him a drunken scoundrel), “I thought it was all forgotten about.” But he insisted on confessions. He had denounced me to Hughie Moore, who had replied, “He’s good enough for me, anyway.” And comparable representations in Dublin had met with a like rebuff. It struck me that very often to make a man a friend was the securest way of putting it beyond his power to be an enemy. Joe O’Connor hailed the reconciliation and they both bought whiskey, which was bad for Prendergast, as he can’t hold it. “I’ll send you a cheque and join the Connolly Association,” said the latter. I said neither yea nor nay. Let’s hope he was too drunk to remember.
April 16 Sunday: I spent the morning clearing things up in the office. Then at 2.15 we had the conference at the NUFTO hall [National Union of Furniture Trades Operatives; this was a Connolly Association conference in support of the Bill of Rights demand]. Sean Kenny and Tom McDowell came from Birmingham. I took the chair and John McClelland, who had been staying with Sean Redmond, gave the report. He has vastly grown in stature since he went home, and I would say he is head and shoulders above Sean Morrissey [Belfast trade unionist and CPI member], with a far wider political vision and an ability to argue his point forcefully. There were about 40 present as against 30 yesterday. Without a doubt there has been a falling off of interest since those fools in the Parliamentary Labour Party let Heath off the hook once more [Once “direct rule” was introduced bipartisanship on Northern Ireland was re-established between the two main British parties; previously there had been differences between them as regards appropriate reforms in the area]. But it was useful enough. Betty O’Shea loudly argued for “physical force”. But as Sean Redmond said to me, and he was at her committee in St Albans on Friday night, she is completely opportunist and not a word of this came out of her on Friday. Half the time she was asleep.
Afterwards Sean Redmond, Charlie Cunningham, Jane Tate, the Birminghams and John McClelland had a meal in the Cosmo Place restaurant. Then the Birminghams went home and we went to the “Henry Arms”. Stallard came in. He knew John, who had acted as chauffeur to him in Belfast. He disclosed that Fenner Brockway and Latham and he had re-drafted the Bill of Rights at a meeting last Tuesday. They had dropped the demand for proportional representation, possibly taking it for granted that the next step will be annexation. We objected. What right had they to decide to destroy local representation against the wishes of people in Ireland. He suggested a further meeting to take place on my return from Huddersfield. Charlie Cunningham seemed a bit in the dumps.
April 17 Monday (Liverpool): I had been assured by Tony Donaghey that trains would be normal today, but not a bit of it. I had to go to the bank, so went for the 11.5. I found the 10.30 had not left and though there is no restaurant car on it, everybody advised me to join it. At Leicester a guard told us there was a fast train on an adjoining platform. What could it be I wondered, as I knew the 11.5 goes to Nottingham. To my surprise whom should I see on board but the crew of the 10.5, and for all I know Tony Donaghey himself may have been in the van. I took taxis both ways, and on returning to Derby found that all the services to Crewe had ceased. Then the Manchester service was cancelled. But apparently the cross-country services from Newcastle to Plymouth were almost on time. So I went on a Plymouth train and got out at Birmingham. There was a Plymouth-Liverpool train waiting – it went on waiting a long time, but ultimately it started and came to Liverpool.
When I reached 124 Mount Road I found awaiting me a curious letter from Freda Morton, expressing her admiration of my writings, but remarking that she felt these things should be said, as who knew at our time of life, how long we still had to say them. This was a little disturbing, especially since the letter was irregularly written and seemed to show emotional strain. Now when men are ill they think of themselves, women think of other people. I resolved to invite her and Alan to dinner and find out what is the position. She told me Alan had got a Leverhulme grant and a “sabbatical year” and was busy on his history of botany. Of course I was unable to see Lenny Draper, whom I had engaged to meet in Manchester, but could not get there. There was a copy of the “Socialist Register” awaiting my arrival.
April 18 Tuesday: The underground service was badly disrupted. I went into town and bought food, some blackcurrant bushes and strawberry plants. I wrote to Brockway expressing surprise that he did not seem to have received my letter and book sent a week or two ago and mentioning Stallard’s suggestion. Of course they are afraid of clipping Stormont’s wings because it would clip those of Whitelaw! [William Whitelaw,1918-1999, the recently appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland]. They are cowardly as well as stupid.
During the day Michael Crowe phoned. He has everything arranged for the conference in Newcastle next month. Lenny Draper also rang. Nobody turned up to help him with the papers on Friday, and nobody to the branch meeting on Sunday. He is still the supreme optimist and expects a good crowd next Sunday. According to Michael Crowe, Feather of the TUC has sent out a circular to all Trade Union organisations urging support for “Direct Rule” and this no doubt has influenced people [Vic Feather,1908-1976, General Secretary of the TUC]. A new period of explanation and education has begun.
April 19 Wednesday: I spoke with Stella Bond on the telephone and she was able to get hold of John Platts-Mills and tell Jock Stallard that we would both be free next Tuesday, the date suggested for a discussion of the Bill of Rights. But I do not know how he will react. I think they are assuming Stormont will never be reconstructed but have no idea what is wanted.
April 20 Thursday: I worked a while on the “Socialist Register” article that is late enough, goodness knows. And I did a little in the garden. I rang Joe Cooper about Sunday [Joe Cooper, President of the Belfast Trades Council].
April 21 Friday: In the evening Lenny Draper phoned to say he was not hopeful about Sunday’s conference but did not want me to put Joe Cooper off.
April 22 Saturday: Despite the delay to the article, since the trains seemed to be running again I resolved to go to Manchester and as luck would have it, Lenny Draper rang just as I was about to leave the house. I met him at Albert Square, where he had taken papers to a Vietnam protest meeting. Askins was there, but though I understood Wilf Charles was going to speak he was not there. there was a woefully small gathering, but as I remarked, people have not the leisure for international solidarity when they are defending the right to organise against Fascist legislation. Lenny Draper reiterated his opinion that there would be very few there tomorrow. But his estimates fluctuated widely. I therefore decided that we must find something else for Joe Cooper to do. I thought we might get him to some of the twenty-nine “sit-ins” that are in progress in engineering factories. We started ringing up. But though I continued the process when I got back to Liverpool, we found everybody was in London. But hearing that the Trades Council was holding a conference on unemployment, I rang Frances Dean and she immediately invited Joe Cooper to speak for ten minutes.
April 23 Sunday: This was a day of mingled frustrations and achievements. Joe Cooper rang when the boat tied up. He was going to Mass and I arranged to meet him at Lime Street at 9.20. When I rang for a taxi I found Murphy’s [the local taxi company] were either engaged or not answering. I tried several other companies without success and finally got through to Murphy’s just before it was too late. The taxi driver was anxious for a “showdown” with the dockers, and wanted into the EEC. When I demurred and gave reasons, he remarked suddenly, “You see what’s happened – they’ve brainwashed all the patriotism out of us and the country’s gone soft.” He thought things could be put right by smacking children’s bottoms. Strange how public opinion draws irrelevant conclusions and retains them in the face of all inconsistency. For the majority of people would say the same. The truth is too complex and perhaps too alarming for analysis.
I met my man and we went to Manchester. There was a long wait at Oxford Road, so we were late. As we approached the AEWU building Lenny Draper ran forward. “We’re locked out.” There were fifteen people there. We waited till 11.20 trying to locate Wilf Charles or the caretaker. Everybody was in London or “sitting in”. Finally, having four cars, we went to the Brunswick. As soon as it opened I gave Joe Cooper the floor. Quickly realising he suffered from “direct rule” illusions I decided to say nothing myself and spent the whole time on the report. I was thus spared the necessity of contradicting him, as policy was excluded. A few new people came, some of them young, members who have joined by post – but only three Trade Union delegates. Belle Lalor was there and Bernard Collins. They are pleasant people, these Mancunians; there is nobody equal to them in England. I thought it was just worth doing.
After lunch we went to the Trades Council where Frances Dean invited Joe Cooper to speak as soon as we got in. There were about 40 there – but again no engineers. They set up a committee to consider action on unemployment. The secretary, Colin Davies, is a TGWU man, and showed great feeling over the £50,000 fine. “To think of the Government, for that’s who they are, putting wigs on their heads and dressing themselves in funny clothes, should have the audacity to steal £50,000 of our money that the members have scraped together over years!” There were very few young people present.
After we had set Joe Cooper on his way to the airport, we discussed future plans. The appearance of the new members encouraged Lenny Draper, who had been feeling depressed over the last few days. Then I came back to Liverpool and Barney Morgan rang up. First he told me of a meeting in the Irish Centre. Then he explained that he and Pat MacLaughlin (who was in Manchester today) had differences over Fred Lyons. According to MacLaughlin, Lyons had been suspended from the CP for three months. According to Barney Morgan he has been expelled. Anyway, I already had given my view that this did not concern the Connolly Association any more than it would concern his Trade Union. A man can only be penalised in respect of infractions of rules, and he has broken none of ours. Pat MacLaughlin, by the way, is loud in his defence and attributes all kinds of sinister motives. It crossed my mind, however, that there might be a touch of religious sectarianism somewhere. However, Barney wants the bulk of the papers sent to him. He also told me that Kevin McCorry had visited Liverpool and set up a NICRA branch. This will be an “Official” front. The Anti-Internment League is also established. That will be “Provisional” and the Trotskies will circulate in both. I think I can see a method in Edwina Stewart’s hatred of the Connolly Association. That it is not hers but belongs to somebody else. However the interesting thing, according to Barney Morgan, is that the non-political tradition of the Irish Centre is broken and some of its best elements have joined NICRA. Regarding Fred Lyons by the way, Pat MacLaughlin describes his penalty as that of being “suspended”. What good that is expected to do I do not know.
April 24 Monday (Huddersfield): I worked on the article until mid-afternoon when I took the 5.5 to Huddersfield. The students from the College of Further Education – I forget its exact title – met me and we had a meal at the College, which in some way was supposed to be special. The students are being trained to teach in Colleges of Further Education (or whatever they are) and some had degrees, most not, and many have come from industry. They are much older than ordinary students, contain rougher diamonds but are pre-eminently sensible. There was a very sane attentive meeting of the Socialist Society. The leading spirit who took the chair is a Londoner, a Mr Law, whose erratic driving nearly took us into a head-on collision with a bus on the way up. “Precious little law about you,” I told him. Quite a few came from Newcastle. There was a certain impatience with the “Smash bourgeois imperialism” and “Britain out now” sloganising of the Anti-Internment League and others – which was all they had heard, and they expressed pleasure at hearing a “balanced view”.
They ran me down to the hotel. Before we left a young man in gaily coloured cord jeans, jacket to correspond and copious black hair, challenged to say if he was a Catholic, said he believed in God, “That is, I believe he exists.” He did not say how he knew the correct gender to use. I mentioned my surprise, on the way down, that a young man of 22 or 23, for so I judged him, could seemingly abandon everything in religion but its most nebulous proposition. “He’s more than 23 – he’s thirty.” Law then said he too had a religion – Marxism. And that displeased me quite as much, not of course from adherence to Marxism, but from wondering what it might become if treated as a religion. One might just as well make a religion of mensuration. The form had taken the place of the substance in his mind, the means had replaced the end – or else he was giving expression to a sense of dedication. We will see what becomes of him.
April 25 Tuesday (London): I caught the 8.15 to Manchester, changed stations, and was in the office by 12.30. I found a letter from Brockway explaining that the meeting that cut out PR from the Bill of Rights was called by Stallard and Latham and he did not get the opportunity to contact me. In the evening John Platts-Mills rang but I was out. Charlie Cunningham took a message. Apparently Brockway has arranged a meeting for Thursday. So far so good. He has had a heart attack.
April 26 Wednesday: I was busy on the paper all day. I spoke to Barbara Haq who has arranged the meeting at the House of Commons. She has been ill but is somewhat recovered. I also spoke to Stallard who seems determined to keep PR out or the Bill. So I decided to invite Sean Redmond as well so as to strengthen our team. I addressed the Central London branch meeting in the evening.
April 27 Thursday: I was busy all day on the paper until I went to the House of Commons. Sean Redmond was there and later we found Brockway and Barbara Haq in the basement with a young man called Brian Lee, who explained that he was undertaking the underpaid job of trying to raise funds for the Movement for Colonial Freedom. Later Stallard came, and Joan Hyman. Brockway was very apologetic to me. He had been unwell and had not read my amendments but given them to Joan Hyman. He had not been able to invite us all to the meeting at which they made all the changes. But they decided to “confine the Bill to the Civil Rights issues”. This meant dropping PR and the United Ireland. Had I anything to say?
I had. I said there was a Municipal election due in October. Then Arthur Latham came in and said what did it matter whether it was under PR or not, since his information was that the Republicans would boycott it. We went over all the ground we had covered last year, but with opposite positions. Sean Redmond reminded them of Frank Pakenham’s insistence that PR was the crucial thing, that it brought the opportunity of voting for alternative shades of Unionism. Platts-Mills came. Jock Stallard said at all costs they must increase their vote. “Not all the goods in the window,” said Sean. “Bad window-dressing,” said Stallard. “This is not just a propaganda exercise. This Bill will go through – or at least there’s just a chance that it might.” Latham said people would be afraid that before we’d be finished we’d have PR in England. They would lose support. He looked as foxy as possible. The man has imbibed the spirit of the place. Platts-Mills said we must allow the Parliamentarians to decide. And as Sean remarked afterwards we could hardly say, “Go to Hell, we’ll introduce it ourselves.” But I fear for the long continuance of that ancient institution, as people realise what it makes of people.
“Go to hell we’ll introduce it ourselves.” But I fear for the long coninuance[?] of that ancient institution as people realise what it makes Then Brockway said the original intention was two Bills, and I said we had eventually agreed to that. Barbara Haq confirmed that that was a compromise. “Ah – I forgot,” said Brockway, who reeks of gin whenever you meet him these days and looks very frail. So I said that since we had compromised on two Bills before, we’d have to do so again.
But would they introduce it? As soon as it was mentioned, loud protestations in favour of Proportional Representation poured from them. It became a motion, a question, and finally a vigorous reference in a speech on the emasculated Bill. Stallard was wreathed in smiles, Latham coldly calculating chances. But now Platts-Mills backed me up when I said we wanted PR to be on an equal footing with the rest. The MPs were called to a division and as they went Brockway called out, “Can you boys introduce a Bill.” Stallard was reasonably confident. “One or other of us”, he called. He is honest but weak. Latham is shrewd and calculating and has been here long enough to scent office. As Sean Redmond said, “All the honest ones are stupid.” “That’s why they remain honest,” said I.
Then Brockway said he was too tired to stay. Would we go over the Hyman draft, as altered by a meeting with John Platts-Mills and the other without him, and incorporate my amendments. But he stayed a brief while. For now he had left the Flags and Emblems Act and one or two other things. He declined to put them back. When he had gone we put back the section that kills the Flags and Emblems Act. Joan Hyman is an incredibly silly woman. She did not understand what my amendments meant. But with the aid of Platts Mills we got them all in. As we went out Barbara Haq, who is also ill, clawed the air desperately while they weren’t looking and asked me if I would draft the new PR bill – “or we’ll have something like Bing’s.”
I then went to the Emile Burns memorial meeting [Emile Burns,1889-1972, communist economist and author]. It was well attended, with Jack Cohen, Jack Woddis, Nora Jeffrey, Bill Ross, Jim Walker, Maurice Cornforth – oh, all kinds of people. In the Morning Star this morning there was a joint statement in which the absurd nonsense of an administrative assembly drawn from all political parties and people’s organisations was revived. It is of course a Republican dream to get out of British sovereignty and thus make possible participation. John Gollan spoke to me. He is a man of emotion, whereas Woddis is something of the apparatchik, if that is the right word. “We spent Monday and Tuesday there. I met the Republicans and was very interested as it was the first time. How those boys have come on. Mind, they’re somewhat woolly over what they mean by their democratic assembly. But they realise now that for the next step they must make contact with the Protestants. How can we, they’d ask. How can we contact the Trade Unions?” Unfortunately, quite a few people over here will be “woolly” after that statement went out. Then I returned to the office where I found Charlie Cunningham.
April 28 Friday: I was working on the paper all day, and as Tony Donaghey did not come in the evening because of having closed a door on his fingers. I carried on and finished at 11.35 pm.
In the afternoon Tony Chater rang to say that Krishna Menon and Forrester, who had been in Belfast on a fact-finding tour, wanted to meet the Connolly Association and the MPs who were pressing the Bill of Rights [Krishna Menon, 1896-1974, former Defence Minister of India, whom Greaves had known in London in the 1940s]. I say “pressing” – mostly backwards. I rang Barbara Haq who said she would ask Fenner Brockway to invite us to the Lords.
April 29 Saturday: I caught the 9.15 to Birmingham. Mark Clinton was to have met me, but he did not turn up. I went to the Building Workers’ conference. There were about 1000 there and it was very impressive. I met Pete Carter and saw Larry Fennell and a few others, though not Jack Henry. The thing was dominated by Liverpool speakers, though the policy statement was by Carter. It seems organisation in London has slumped badly. I came back in time to go to Camden Town with Chris Sullivan.
April 30 Sunday: We had a Standing Committee in the morning which Peter Mulligan attended. We had a thorough discussion of the need to get more workers in the office, and in view of the invasion of London by the Orangemen we decided on a conference in June, the day we are banned from Trafalgar Square [The Government had banned Trafalgar Square meetings on Irish-related issues because of the violence in Northern Ireland and its possible overspill in London]. Charlie Cunningham, Sean Redmond, Jim Kelly and Pat O’Donohue were there, and Jane Tate, but Paddy Bond has relations staying with him. In the evening Pat MacLaughlin rang to say that Fred Lyons and he are speaking at the University on Wednesday. So we must change our meeting night. In the afternoon we all went to the May Day march. I saw Pat Devine, Gabriel Carritt and Kay Beauchamp, and heard Barbara Castle being booed [Barbara Castle, 1910-2002, had been Secretary of State for Employment in the Harold Wilson Government]. They would not listen to her, though I must say she finished her speech and refused to be put off. The Clann na hEireann are arranging a protest on the EEC next Sunday. I think we will take part.
May 1 Monday: I was in the office before 9 am. and soon after that time Forrester of the World Peace Council rang. I arranged for lunch and booked a table at Bertorellis [well-known Italian restaurant in Charlotte Street, WC1] and invited Barbara Haq. I accompanied Barbara thither and soon Forrester arrived. I had thought I detected a slight Indian or West African accent over the telephone, but he proved to be a New Englander living in Francisco, whose mother came from Co. Cork. He described himself as a “party old stager” who joined in 1931 at the age of 20. Not that he impressed me much. Krishna was late. What they wanted I cannot tell, except possibly to add some names to the list that was going into the report. Krishna is of course quieter now – I would say as sullen and self-centred as ever. We talked about the old days and the food in the Dildar. I asked casually how Shelvankar was [KS Shelvankar, 1906-1996, Indian intellectual and later ambassador to the USSR. Greaves knew him when he worked in London during the Second World War]. “He is our Ambassador to Moscow.” I recall seeing a report but was not sure it was the same man. I did not think he had much interest in Ireland and he was probably sent because of his name. Of Labour he said, “They know the Common Market is coming, so they can afford to oppose it.” He seemed for the most part taken up with himself and it was clear that he was going to better himself. When he left to see Julius Silverman [1892-1982, Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington] Forrester, who had shown him deep deference all the time, commented, “A remarkable man”. But when Barbara Haq and I said he did not impress us, he discovered all his faults. Actually Barbara knew him well and he gave her a bust of Lenin at her wedding party. She told me privately that he was up to his neck in black market operations and that another Indian went to jail for it. This was during the war. And well do I remember the dance he led us [This is a reference to relations between the India League, the CPGB and the Connolly Association in London during the World War].
We went to the Lords. Charlie Cunningham was waiting there. When he saw him Brockway remarked, “Dear me, how many more. It’s like a demonstration.” I think his idea was that there was a fresh pressure group. So I went out of my way to tell him there was not. Now they told us nothing. And before we knew where we were Charlie Cunningham was buying brandy for half a dozen MPs and a queer little Scotch peer with a bow tie and an expression of incredible artfulness on his face. Krishna talked with Silverman. Every effort to get Forrester to state his business failed. He said he had a document signed by 31 members of the Finnish legislature in his pocket, but he didn’t get it out. After that they went to a Movement for Colonial Freedom Executive and Charlie and I came to the office
May 2 Tuesday: I went to Ripley on the 9.5, took a taxi up, finished the paper in record time – 2 1/2 hours, an unheard of speed, thanks to the little girl of Fermanagh descent who corrects the galleys so carefully – and was back in London for 5 pm. I then saw Charlie Cunningham, and the Central Branch Committee came in. Brian Crowley had been bitten by a dog this morning. It resembled a Kerry Blue and attacked a small dog. He tried to drive it off because the small dog’s owner, a woman, had become hysterical, and was shouting for help instead of leaving the big dog to eat the little one while they got something to knock it on the head with. He has lost his affection for the canine tribe.
May 3 Wednesday (Liverpool): I spent the morning clearing up in the office and later in the day came up to Liverpool.
May 4 Thursday: I did a little work on the article for the “Socialist Register”, though it is so late that I doubt it will be in time. The Connolly Association branch met in the evening.
May 5 Friday: I got on with the article, but the weather is so damp and changeable that I cannot touch the garden.
May 6 Saturday: I didn’t do much. Lenny Draper came for lunch and we discussed Manchester. He is working in a factory – on the night shift and though he now has plenty of money, he has no time.
May 7 Sunday: The weather was just a little better. On the radio there were two Beethoven sonatas that AEG [ie. his mother] used to play. I would say she played them better – not at the constant break-neck pace, but with due variation.
May 8 Monday: I went on with the article. Now it is getting too long. So I will have to go over it again to compress it.
May 9 Tuesday: A bit on the article, a bit on the garden. And that is all.
May 10 Wednesday: I finished the article, so that was something out of the way, and got in a little time in the garden.
May 11 Thursday: I typed the article and posted it off to Miliband [Ralph Miliband, Editor of the “Socialist Register”]. Throughout the week I have been in touch with Joe Deighan and others about meetings in Liverpool and Manchester. I also spoke to Tony Coughlan on the phone. He seemed very edgy and I suppose he is concentrating on the referendum [Ireland’s EEC Accession Treaty referendum was held on Wednesday 10 May. This was the day of the result, with 83% of those voting for Yes, and 17% for No].
May 12 Friday (Chester-le-Street): It seems clear that Tony Coughlan’s efforts have not borne the fruit he would have wished; very much the reverse. The rail “work to rule” having been resumed, I travelled to Newcastle. I had been told at Lime Street that the 5.5 pm. was only going as far as York, so I took the 4.0 as far as Leeds. It was nearly an hour late and I had just time to get off it and get on the 5 pm., which was scarcely late at all and going through to Newcastle all the time. Michael Crowe had arranged for a man with a car to meet me. But he could not get in from Sunderland himself.
It was noticeable of course, and of course this is the north of England, that everybody on the train was talking to everybody else. The first man I had opposite me in the buffet car of the Hull train was about fifty. He was benevolently neutral to the railwaymen [There were strikes and go-slows on the railway network at this time] and thought pop singers earned so much for nothing that it was inviting others to get what they could. Next, after he had gone out at Manchester, a man of about 40 who had been ten years a teacher in Canada. He was all for the railwaymen and very concerned at “pollution” and thought industrial development should stop. He described the state of the lakes in Canada. Then after Leeds, on the Liverpool-Newcastle train, was a boy of 20, a printer’s apprentice who spent two days a week at College. He was a complete rebel, but a sensible one. It looks as if the young workers are looking for something as new as the Labour Party was 60 years ago. He was so delighted to find a man of the older generation who shared his views on modern society that he insisted on shaking hands as he left at York. A man called Hull, aged 57 but looking 47, drove me out to Michael Crowe’s at Chester-le-Street.
May 13 Saturday (Newcastle): I did not leave for Newcastle until later than Michael Crowe, as he wanted to call at Sunderland. As luck would have it, I chose the most circuitous bus route imaginable but managed to arrive at the conference on time. Ann Hope was there – still looking very pale and tired, and finding it hard to get out of herself. There was quite a good representation. Afterwards there was a social evening. But I felt dog-tired and merely sat and drank lager beer. Among those present was Mallock, with whom I stayed last time.
May 14 Sunday: Hull picked us up in his car in the morning and drove us to Otterbourne where TASS was holding a weekend school in the Percy Arms Hotel [ie. the Technical Administrative and Supervisory Section of the Amalgamated Engineering Union]. All kinds of influential officials were there. Both Ann Hope and myself said a few words and when it was over Hall drove us to Corbridge to look at the ruins of a Roman Fort and to other points on Hadrian’s Wall, nowhere more than two or three feet high, We then called on the Mallocks.
May 15 Monday (Liverpool): I took the bus to Durham and picked up the Liverpool train. It was an hour and a half late, and it was late afternoon before I was back at 124 Mount Road, too late to do much.
May 16 Tuesday: I pottered round the garden till midday. Then came a letter from Nan Green asking for more work on the Italian translation [ie. of “The Irish Crisis”], and in a hurry as they want it out next month. They must be far quicker at printing in Italy than they are here. So I did what was necessary and sent it off. By then there was little to be done before going to the Liverpool branch meeting. Only Brian Stowell and a new girl whose husband is an actor at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin were there, plus her brother, a young fellow of about 19 with long black hair, wearing a crimson corduroy jean jacket and multicoloured trousers who did not open his mouth once during the entire proceedings. They had been at the last meeting. Later Pat MacLaughlin came, and O’Doherty, May Nolan’s friend. Pat MacLaughlin had found some fresh lame ducks in the persons of the people across the road whose house he must look after while they are away. He had to leave early. He started to tell those present about the latest in the battle around Fred Lyons, who now stays at home unless Pat gives him his bus fare. He is still unemployed and, says Pat, is blacklisted. One suspects the whole story is of demoralisation in conditions of widespread unemployment. However, I stopped him and he was not pleased. Barney Morgan did not turn up. The position was one where there was less difficulty than usual in pressing things into sensible channels. Thus O’Doherty and Pat MacLaughlin were out for winning the “good elements” in the Anti-Internment League. I persuaded them to try to influence the public. The Orangemen had put out a statement. Let us do the same.
We went for a drink afterwards and Mrs Hardie, for such is her name, was involved in a long argument with Doherty. He tried to justify IRA reprisals, while she took up a somewhat of a pacifist position and argued it with ability, occasionally reverting to the subject of the play her husband has written, which is to be performed in Liverpool. She is the first person with brains to come near us and I asked Brian Stowell how he coaxed her, as I felt sure she was his client rather than Pat MacLaughlin’s. She was. She had attended the meeting of the CP at which Betty Sinclair spoke [ie. at the meeting in Liverpool]. O’Hara had said that some members of the Connolly Association were present (give him his due!) and she had approached Brian Stowell there and then. She had been one of the original members of People’s Democracy at QUB [Queen’s University Belfast] in 1969, and is now a teacher, about 26 years old. She teaches in a Catholic School. The head teacher has forbidden her or the others to discuss Ireland, such is the timidity of the Catholics, inculcated in every possible way. She is a vegetarian on pacifist grounds, so one imagines there is a share of crankery emotion in her composition. Nevertheless, she is a breath of fresh air contrasted with the dreary droning senilities of MacLaughlin and Mr Doherty – whose main stock in trade is for the first personal grievances, for the second lengthy reminiscence.
May 17 Wednesday: I was able to do a little to bring the garden into order, though there is much more to be done.
May 18 Thursday (London): Again I got a little done in the garden, but had to return to London because of a promise to address West Ealing No 2 branch of the NUR whose secretary is Tom Leonard [National Union of Railwaymen]. There was a poor attendance and I doubt if proper arrangements had been made for notifying people. We went for a drink afterwards and it transpired that Tom Leonard is very confused about the Common Market, something which shows the state of the Labour Party. His is the same trouble as Orme’s and Stallard’s. They have not the faintest grasp of theory or principle.
When I got back to the office Charlie Cunningham was there and a note from Jack Woddis. Jane Tate told me that Egilnick had arranged his “Irish Committee” which was (rightly) half composed of English people, and they were among other things to make approaches to the Irish Community. We will see what happens in this, whether the time is ripe or not.
May 19 Friday: I began work on the paper with a view to minimising the next issue, and in the evening was out with Charlie Cunningham.
May 20 Saturday: Another similar day in which a little was done on the paper, and I was out with Charlie again.
May 21 Sunday (Liverpool): I caught the midnight train to Liverpool and slept reasonably well. Quite early Bobby Heatley rang [former Connolly Association member, now back working in his native Belfast]. I put him on to Brian Stowell as I had arranged this. But about 10 am. both of them turned up. Brian Stowell had collected him at the boat. We spent quite a time talking and I got no gardening done. I found Heatley more relaxed and showing less of that contrary destructive spirit that used to get hold of him. He is hoping to go to Queen’s University next term and the opportunity to escape from the frustration of a good brain’s confinement to routine work must have cheered him up. I mentioned the “Commission” the CPI had committed themselves to. When speaking to Woddis I told him I thought it was nonsense. Bobby Heatley said the same. He has a sharp mind, not easily put off with wordy fluff. He described the frustration of the Protestants and the chaotic state of the Unionist party.
We held a meeting at the State Hotel. About 18 turned up – Pat Doherty, Pat MacLaughlin, Mrs Hardie the playwright’s wife, and some NICRAs and Provisionals. On the whole I was encouraged, especially as it was wet. Then we went to Manchester and about 24 turned up. Lenny Draper had been in Liverpool and came back to Manchester with us. His friend drove Bobby Heatley back for the evening boat. Unfortunately Belle Lalor is ill and can do no more selling, and so is Mick Rabbitte who has had a heart attack and is in hospital. Manchester certainly has had a pasting. I returned to Liverpool on the 10 pm. from Victoria. It was so late that I could only just get the last Mersey train and had to walk from Hamilton Square in the rain because there were no taxis [Hamilton Square is on the Birkenhead side of the Mersey and Greaves would normally get out at the underground stop either there or at Rock Ferry when crossing from Liverpool.]
May 22 Monday: I noticed something which annoyed me. On one of the NICRA bulletins was a picture of Fenner Brockway and under it an announcement that Lord Brockway was about to introduce “The NICRA Bill of Rights”. After cold-shouldering the idea for three years, when they are finally forced to back it, they calmly appropriate it, though they have contributed not a thing towards it. I made a mental note of that little piece of opportunism, and will try to find out who is responsible [The Bill of Rights concept had been pushed in NICRA and Official Republican circles from late 1968 onward by Anthony Coughlan, Kevin McCorry and Dalton Kelly(O Ceallaigh), and in CPI circles by Noel Harris and Tom Redmond in Dublin and Joe Deighan, Bobby Heatley and John McClelland in Belfast, who all shared Greaves’s view of it as the most sensible policy for Northern Ireland at that time].
I got more done in the garden and would have spent the evening at it but Brian Stowell’s wife telephoned. Brian had a migraine, only the second in his life, and he could not move. He was engaged to address the English-Speaking Union in the Strand Hotel. I agreed to relieve him, though it would mean leaving later tomorrow and doing the paper in a rush. I left the wheelbarrow, rake, hoe and things in the garden, hastily changed and set off. There were about 60 there, the Chairman a Presbyterian barrister, somewhat biased against me, we thought. The proceedings were conducted somewhat like a debate, but without a vote. My opponent was a little stocky Liverpool man, Councillor Hughes of the Protestant Party. I made a reasoned case and kept to my twenty minutes scrupulously. The chairman allowed Hughes to rant and rave for thirty, then passed him a note, which he took notice of five minutes later. It was a middle-class audience. The chairman several times referred to Dr Kelly, a chemist I gathered, who was present. There was no vote, but I gathered that I had won a moral victory merely by dint of sounding more reasonable. People said they were glad to hear an “impartial” view.
May 23 Tuesday (London): I did some work in the garden, then caught the 2.30 pm. to London. There was a letter from Tony Coughlan suggesting coming over some week-end shortly. In the evening Michael MacDermott came in and did some work on Page 8, which he is learning to take over. Charlie Cunningham was there and later Jim Kelly arrived, in a quite unusually good mood.
May 24 Wednesday: I worked on the paper and went to see Jack Woddis at 5 pm. His new book has just come out and he seemed (presumably about that) cock-a-hoop. We had a talk about his visit to Belfast. He was asked by Kevin McCorry if he would arrange a tour for him but thought perhaps we would be better. I said to myself I will think about that – a tour for the Bill of Rights for example! Later I showed Jane Tate the Bulletin [presumably that produced by the NICRA]. “My God!” she said, “The opportunism.” I told Woddis I might think of accompanying Kevin McCorry or whoever it was. I told him my views on the “Commission” thing. Bobby Heatley told me it came from Kevin Boyle, the People’s Democracy man who hates the Connolly Association. But Woddis says the Republicans are for it. I said I considered it void from uncertainty. They were asking for a commission of representatives of “all political parties and people’s organisations” to implement certain demands, which included the passing of the Bill of Rights at Westminster. I did not believe it was possible to get a committee of “all political parties” to work together before the Bill of Rights had been implemented, quite apart from the contradiction of Westminster setting up a Commission to supervise itself. Woddis said, “But who is to supervise the election?” I replied, if it was not Westminster it would have to be international. And when he spoke of “fighting for it” (just what he meant I do not know) I told him that if they stood for representative government and a Bill of Rights, they would isolate their enemies; but as I saw them going on, they were in greater danger of isolating themselves. I think in the end I convinced him. He is an intelligent man, though he suffers from the delusion that things thought of in his own office are likely to be sounder than things thought of anywhere else. But he is not the only sufferer from that disease.
The branch meeting took place in the evening, and Charlie Cunningham spoke. There was a general dissatisfaction with Berresford Ellis who spoke last week. He seems anxious to establish himself as a writer by cashing in on the interest in Celtic affairs. He is a Celtic League man and of course his interest is genuine, even though he writes to exploit it.
Evans from Bristol wrote – the Anti-Internment League crowd there are trying to get the affiliation of the Bristol Trades Council and are swearing that only the CPI is against the immediate withdrawal of British Troops. I rang Joe Deighan to ask for NICRA material. I said we were pleased with Bobby Heatley who seemed to have developed. “Ah. He was on his best behaviour,” said Joe. “He can be very awkward still.” Now Heatley told me that Joe Deighan, John McClelland and he had saved NICRA from the People’s Democracy. He and John McClelland had not been co-opted to the EC despite a series of retirements [ie. from the Executive Committee of the NICRA]. “We must be very far down on the list,” said he. He added that he thought John was the most hated man by the Trotskies, and that he had done the best work. “What of Joe Deighan?” I asked. “Ah – he takes up a fatherly position.”
May 25 Thursday: Amphlett-Micklewright rang up and kept talking for half an hour. He was full of the troubles of the Haldane Society. Apparently the International Socialist Trotskies are busy there too. They are co-operating with some Trotsky lawyers by means of joint meetings. The only meeting the secretary made a job of was one for Kevin Boyle. “But he’s a Trotsky himself,” said I. “My God! So now I see what’s been happening. Mind you, you’d never have believed it. He didn’t put a foot wrong.” I rang Carmody who agreed to speak in Liverpool and Manchester [Paddy Carmody of the CPI in Dublin, who wrote articles under the pseudonym “A. Raftery”]. I got most of the paper done and posted it off. In the evening Charlie Cunningham and Jim Kelly came in. But this time Jim was suffering from a bad cold. Tuesday’s good mood must have been “pre-coryzal euphoria”.
May 26 Friday: I got the last copy off and arranged to go to Ripley on Tuesday. In the evening with Chris Sullivan in Camden Town, we were accosted by Jock Stallard, who sprang from his car waving to the Mayor who happened to be sailing past in his Rolls. He said that Fenner Brockway has a date on which his Bill will be debated. I think he said 24 June. But in the Commons the guillotine is in operation on four major Bills. They don’t know when they will get an opportunity. Would I be sure and put it on the Democrat that they were doing their best? I said I thought that since Merlyn Rees has said that the next Six Counties election must be under PR, or the NILP would be obliterated, he should put PR back into the Bill of Rights [Merlyn Rees,1920-2006, Labour shadow spokesman on Northern Ireland; later Secretary of State there,1974-76]. He said he had no objection to doing this, and indeed they envisaged it owing to the guillotine. He is taking a group of MPs over to Belfast for a week. Stan Orme is connected with it in some way. And (said I to myself) he is a rare fool, and imperialist through incapacity to conceive anything else.
May 27 Saturday: I was in the office in the day. Chris Sullivan and Charlie Cunningham were the sole sellers at Wembley. Max Egilnick had telphoned saying that his people proposed to distribute leaflets and could I tell him some Gaelic to put on them. I told him not to be silly. “But we put other languages on other leaflets.” Well, what could you say! Here are people going into something they know nothing about with cheery optimism. Their only salvation is that they are no more deterred by failure than driven to examine causes. However, Charlie Cunningham said more of them were there.
I was in Camden Town with Sean Redmond in the evening. He told me that Tom Redmond had passed through London on the way to Italy representing the CPI [ie. at the Congress of the Italian Communist Party]. He had now finally broken with Aine Redmond and has a room in Conor Farrington’s house.
One must make allowances for Sean Redmond, who is far the more stable character, and who is not pleased when Tom Redmond shines too brightly. But there is good sense in what he says. Tom is now Dublin area secretary [ie. of the CPI] looking after six branches. So he is an important figure. At the Italian Congress he was accommodated in the super-luxurious Hilton hotel where each bed had a built-in vibrator said to help induce sleep. Sean thought it ridiculous and I agree. I know Tom. He will do anything for praise. The approval of people near him is the most precious thing to him. By near I mean near in terms of being in a position to applaud him publicly. Thus when the struggle in the North London Branch was at its height around 1959, he was the one who wavered and is to blame for the fact that to this day we have never recovered the minutes. He felt his manhood had not been asserted until he had an affair with a woman at work. That was when I packed him off to Manchester. There he was not happy till he had taken part in a “sit-down” and been arrested, though there was no need for it. He wobbled and wavered after John McClelland left, playing about with the Manchester Martyrs Plaque Committee and letting the CA branch disintegrate, isolating Michael Crowe, but never omitting a chance to be seen on television. In Dublin he appeared in Abbey Street speaking for the emigrants. Send a man like this to Italy, put him in the Hilton Hotel, it is “Hollywood at last”. The movement is all glamour and romance. The sun is shining on Tom Redmond. But then multiply the process. Attract this type of person into your leadership, and you surround your necessary strong central group with men of consent.
No doubt every ruling class, every association, has its own way of recruiting its leaders. Thus again it gets the leaders it deserves. But I am not sure that the right magnet is being held out, and I would fear more for the Italians than the Irish in this matter. I asked Sean Redmond why he thought they did it. The only thing he could think off was vying with other countries over who could put on the best show – influence on the international scene. It is above all in their international dealings that men’s absurd foibles and vanities display themselves. But now there is to be a visit to Russia to “put the Russians in the picture”. Quite unnecessary, says Sean. The Russians should come here. What he means is that another trip is being arranged. This time it is Andy Barr, Michael O’Riordan and Tom Redmond. And already Jimmy Stewart has been busy trying to revise the arrangement in favour of Edwina.
It is dangerous when leadership brings perquisites. Perhaps up to a point it is inevitable, and it need not necessarily prove injurious. But I recall the time when I had just taken up the “Democrat” full-time, and that rat Prendergast came to see me.
“Now you’ll be in a responsible position now.”
“Well at least you’ll need to be on good terms with everybody.”
What came out of it was a suggestion that I should use my influence at King Street to secure that Sean Nolan [leading Dublin communist figure; manager of the CPI’s bookshop at 16A Pearse Street] had a holiday in one of the Socialist countries. I passed the request on and this was the beginning of it. But then of course apropos Tom and Sean Redmond, Sean has chosen the road of domestic bliss and evidently enjoys it.
May 28 Sunday: This was the so-called “spring holiday” that has replaced Whitsun for fear the poor factory owners might have to look up an ephemeris and untidy their well-organised brains. I was in the office all the day and saw Charlie Cunningham and Chris Sullivan. Then I got ready for Liverpool.
May 29 Monday (Liverpool): I caught the 12.50 am. train to Liverpool, and slept reasonably well, but not powerfully. When I arrived at 124 Mount Road I found a letter from International Publishers expressing pleasure at a review in the Irish Echo [an Irish-American weekly] (which they seem to regard as a “breakthrough”) and promising me two copies of the American Edition of Connolly.
May 30 Tuesday: I went to Ripley to read the proofs of the paper. This time things were not so easy and I was not back in Liverpool till very late.
May 31 Wednesday: I started work on the review of the “Green Flag”, but it is a rather dull book and as the author breaks the rules of chronology, it is hard work catching him out [This was a three-volume history of Irish nationalism by Robert Kee]. I was at the branch meeting. Brian Stowell is away, but Barney Morgan was there.
June 1 Thursday: I had thought of having a couple of days in Wales, but it is clear that the weather is uncertain and there is a mass of work to do in the garden, which I began.
June 2 Friday: Another day mostly spent in the garden so far as weather conditions permitted.
June 3 Saturday: Once again I pottered round the house and garden. I spoke to Gerry Curran about Manchester and Lenny Draper phoned.
June 4 Sunday: I caught the 3.30 train to Manchester and reached the Mitre before the meeting closed. Gerry Curran was dealing with a Trotsky. I gathered the talk had been disappointing. Perhaps Gerry had one of his “off days”. Hayward was there and it was discussed that he had invited Gollan to Manchester on the day we have our conference. Apparently he had forgotten what Lenny Draper told him. He promised to do what he could to get the arrangement changed.
June 5 Monday: A letter from Tony Coughlan said the “Irish Crisis” is in the Dublin bookshops and he has heard favourable comment. Perhaps he thinks of me as sitting here waiting the least sign of a kindly comment! He will come over for a long week-end on July 1st approximately. On the papers I saw that Michael Callanan had been arrested for sedition. He had urged people to go to Northern Ireland and fight against England. I must say I was puzzled. He is a Belfast man. I understand his father is, or was, a head policeman. He was in Australia. Some say he went to cover up some blotting of his copy book. When he returned to London at about the age of 30 we were in the midst of the ructions with that snake O’Shea and the general run of the gutter surrounding Furlong and the O’Neills [This refers to the conflict with the leftist dissidents in the North London branch of the Connolly Association in the late 1950s]. He supported Cal O’Herlihy, Gerry Curran and myself. Both Eamon McLaughlin and I had a good opinion of him. He used to speak as if he had opposed Santa Maria in the Australian Labour Party, but others told me that on the contrary he supported them. I was in his flat once. There was not a single political book, but he had about a hundred books. When he left the Connolly Association he wrote to a newspaper that he had only joined it to try and split it. He resigned because Gallacher was invited to speak on our platform, the day Callaghan’s crowd tried, but not successfully, to prevent our leaving Hyde Park in procession to Clerkenwell [Willie Gallacher, former communist MP]. Bosco Jones did trojan work with a poster handle. That must have been in 1958. From all accounts his approach was right wing, and he was fiercely anti-communist.
But then he appeared in Hyde Park, as an anarchist, then setting up this new splinter organisation, then that. Of late he has adopted the practice of wearing combat jacket and black beret. I was always surprised at what the ultra-left were allowed to do. But now apparently he is arrested. And he is the last man I should have imagined taking the risk of getting arrested, let alone going where there was fighting. It is a very puzzling case and we will see if he is let off or not.
June 6 Tuesday: At last I got the back garden reasonable, and most of the vegetables in. I rang Hayward [Manchester CPGB official] who told me that they have switched Gollan to Liverpool so as to give us a clear field, but Lenny Draper does not yet know. Brian Stowell is back and promised to speak next Wednesday. Pat Bond is arranging a meeting in Croydon and wants Betty Sinclair. I went into Birkenhead to make purchases in the afternoon. At one point I had a brief – it seemed almost instantaneous – sensation of losing my balance. Afterwards I found it hard to decide whether it was my imagination or not. But one would presumably counsel taking care. The last two years have been terribly strenuous, and there has been next to no assistance coming from places where it should come from [This is presumably a reference to lack of support in CPGB circles, and perhaps to the interventions of NICRA, Belfast, whose support groups in Britain, alongside Clann na hEireann, diverted politically minded members of the Irish community from getting involved in the Connolly Association].
June 7 Wednesday: It was wet and cold again – this has been the state of affairs since the end of March after the mild winter. It is strange to be looking back on a “Golden December”. I had little left to do in the garden, and instead of staying up reading into the small hours I had gone to bed at midnight and felt better except for a cold. I wrote and posted off the review of Kee’s monumental work of “brainwashing”, which Conor Cruise O’Brien thinks so well of [Robert Kee, 1919-2013, historian and broadcaster, author of “The Most Distressful Country”,1972, Volume 1 of “The Green Flag”]. I also wrote to Lenny Draper. In the evening I learned from Jane Tate that the meeting in Acton came to nothing. And of course – Sean
Redmond’s method is to send out a circular and leave it at that.
June 8 Thursday (London): I went to London on the 12.30. In the evening Charlie Cunningham came into the office, and Larry Fennell came in for advice on how to move a resolution at UCATT conference in Blackpool next week [Union of Construction Allied Trades and Technicians]. He was not too pleased at having it thrust upon him. “See Desmond Greaves,” his colleagues said, however this was to be interpreted. For I had drafted it and thus provided them with something too complex for them to defend. He thought the English also should be prepared to learn. I almost wrote out a speech for him and he was highly delighted. Would we join him in a drink?
“Mind,” said he, reflectively once we had the White Shield Worthington in front of us, “I wish I didn’t take so much of this stuff. Maybe I’d do more thinking. Look at Charlie here. Done up in a mask. You couldn’t do a sheet metal worker’s job if you had a drink during the day. But to us it’s a matter of course.”
He recalled his arrival in England from West Clare in 1952. He had bought the Democrat from me in the Old Crown at Harlesden. He was only two months and I had him written up in the paper. His family were strong Republicans, but he had plunged into the Communist Party. “I never joined the Connolly Association,” he said. “Time you did,” replied Charlie Cunningham.
“If I were in it I’d give it my full energy to it. That’s how I am. All or nothing. It would have been better if I had joined it, I am sure, now I’m looking back. But that’s that.”
And despite all that Charlie Cunningham could say, he stuck to his opinion that you must have either bread or cheese and could not take them as one meal. However, he fell to talking about the Electricians’ Trade Union. He was aware of course that Patsy O’Neill posted the bogus votes [In 1961 a Court judgement found that the communist leadership of the Electricians’ Trade Union had won their positions by ballot-rigging, which led to their expulsion from the union. Patsy O’Neill and his brother Andy were leftist members of the Connolly Association’s North London branch in 1957-58 who disagreed with the Association’s policy. They were electricians and were involved in this episode]. But he told me a thing I did not know, namely of Bob Doyle’s involvement [Bob Doyle, 1916-2009, former International Brigader in the Spanish civil war and longstanding Connolly Association member. It was he who proposed the change of name of the CA’s monthly paper from “Irish Freedom” to “Irish Democrat” in 1945]. It was at Bob Doyle’s flat that the arrangements were made. Now he is not an electrician and never was.
Bob Doyle has come back to us. He is a gay rogue, politically on the right side. He was brought up in the Dublin slums. He told the story of how he and his brother were in Gardiner Street or somewhere near there when they saw the IRA raid a bank. Bundles of pound notes were being thrown through a window and plopped on the pavement where the IRA men scooped them up and put them in a car. An old woman saw a bundle that had rolled into the gutter, picked it up and shoved it under her shawl. “Come quick,” says Bob’s brother, who rushed into their basement dwelling and emerged with a blanket. He was to walk in front of the old woman while Bob came behind to throw the blanket over her head. The brother walked on. Bob was holding the blanket paralysed with laughter. “You bloody fool”, shouted the brother,” Hurry up.” This happened twice, until the old woman looked round, saw Bob and the menacing blanket, and walked smartly into a courtyard and was away.
He joined the International Brigade. When he returned he settled in London and got a job with Central Books as a packer. He was virtually illiterate and unable to make a speech. He joined the Connolly Association. I remember – it must have been around 1947, or more likely 1948 – I had him down in King Street, helping him to prepare a speech in Hyde Park. “That’ll be the greatest oration of the century,” said Jimmy Shields with a smiling reference to the long labour undertaken in his room. When we got into Hyde Park he completely forgot about the prepared speech. For he discovered in himself the gift of talking – his strong emotions immediately provided themselves with words. But emotions are not arguments. He must have spoken for us for a year or two, when it became clear that his extreme leftism was arousing antagonism. Whenever he was in a corner he blamed the Catholic Church and would slightly lose his head. Once we heard the fatal words, “I was in Spain,” we knew we were in for a frequently tearful tirade. The crowds grew increasingly menacing and ultimately I persuaded the committee to keep him off our platform. The next thing I heard of him was that he was selling Chilean wine. Later he was in some trouble over bogus insurance stamps but got out of it. When that rat Prendergast started his faction-making, Bob joined him at once. Just what part he played I do not know. That Patsy O’Neill contacted the Trotsky Sean Gannon on arrival in England, I know. That there was a McCrystal element in it is also true [This is a reference to a dissident IRA group who burned down a number of customs posts on the Irish border before the main IRA Border campaign, 1956-62, was launched]. Prendergast had drunk himself out of a job as a commercial traveller and would probably have liked the Democrat if he could keep sober enough to manage it. We fell to talking about those days. “Yes,” says Fennell,” I remember you expelled all those fellows. And when the ETU scandal broke you were proved right.”
June 9 Friday: I started on the job of clearing away a “back-log” of letters and did some preparatory work on the paper. According to Sean Redmond, who goes to Blackpool for his Union Conference this weekend, the Acton meeting was quite a success. The reason nothing “came of it” was because he wanted to keep the next initiative in his own hands.
June 10 Saturday: I was in the office all day. Pat O’Donohue, Jim Kelly, Charlie Cunningham and Pat Hensey came in and in the evening I was in Camden Town with Jim Kelly.
June 11 Sunday: I was in the office all day once more. Charlie Cunningham came in on his way to see his brother, who has arrived at Stevenage. He was raging at having to pay £2.50 for a 7/6d teddy bear for the baby.
June 12 Monday (Liverpool): I caught the 12.50 train to Liverpool. My desire to get out of London grows stronger every day, so that I can’t wait. When I arrived a letter from Miliband [Ralph Miliband, Editor of “Socialist Register”] awaited me, rejecting my article, I think on the grounds of deviating from academic detachment. But I can’t write like a gentleman about what is going on in the Six Counties and don’t propose to try. I wrote him a nice letter telling him not to apologise but to send me the article back as I might publish it as a pamphlet.
I am in some difficulty over what to write next. The main line would seem to complete the trilogy of modern Irish history. But I had intended to do it on Frank Ryan. Michael O’ Riordan said he was writing the life of Ryan. But will he be able to finish it? [He was not]. I agreed to move to Murray [ie. to write the biography of Irish communist leader and War of Independence veteran Sean Murray, 1898-1961]. But will I not come up against the antagonism of some of the Belfast crowd? Am I not too much involved personally in some of the debates? And would Lawrence and Wishart think it would sell? [Greaves began collecting material for a biography of Sean Murray and Mrs Margaret Murray gave him her husband’s papers, including letters from a number of Irish International Brigaders whom Murray had encouraged to go to Spain for the 1930s civil war; but he later abandoned this project, remarking that he had come to the conclusion that he would never be able to get the full truth of that period]. Then there was the idea of a handbook of the less quoted rebels, Fr O’Flanagan, Tom Johnson, Con O’Lyhane. Would this sell in England? There is the old idea of the work on the theory of aesthetics, but I can’t find the notebooks. Immediately of course I can do the WMA songbook [Workers Music Association]. But there’s not much in that. I was thinking there was a need to write something to educate the young people on the practicalities of politics. But the subject is so complex that it would be necessary to present it by means of art, which means writing a novel. Where could I base a novel? Only where I can do dialect, or where dialect is unnecessary. And what place do I know enough about? Finally the criticism of Berresford Ellis’s book in the “Irish Socialist” (which by the way contained a most generous notice of my own book) tempts me to look into the question of a history of socialism in Ireland. Sean Redmond thinks “Wolfe Tone” should be reprinted by Lawrence and Wishart. And then there are the poems. At the moment I can only think of things which require years of work, or which would be of dubious public acceptance. I must have a few days in Dublin.
June 13 Tuesday: The weather was still cloudy, but there were only a few spots of rain at intervals and it seemed warmer. I still have the front garden to get tidy and I got some of this done. Lenny Draper and Jane Tate phoned.
June 14 Wednesday: I got a great deal done in the garden on the first reasonably fine day since March and got stung by mosquitoes for my pains. In the evening I was a little late at the Branch meeting and Barney Morgan had occupied the chair – I usually keep him out, he is so negative and ineffective. Brian Stowell gave a good talk on 1798. I had written to Pat MacLaughlin asking why Meany had cancelled his order for papers. He told me a letter was in London. He said Fred Lyons was in good form but that his wife was ill and he was still unemployed. He had expected him. A young girl who has a brother in California was there. Her name is Heaney. I suspect the brother of adherence to the Brian Heron crowd, but do not know [Brian Heron, 1941-2011, grandson of James Connolly, Irish-American leftwing cultural activist]. Apart from a friend of this girl the only other one present was Roy Frodsham. But still I am getting a regular meeting and in time we may pull something together. Of course the only man of ability apart from Fred Lyons we see little of, is Brian Stowell himself.
June 15 Thursday (London): I came to London on the midday train. In the dining car was a rather expensively dressed young man of 28 who told me, “I’ve just sold Coopers.” “Ah Will you knock it down?” No it’s an adaptable old building.” Quite obviously he had bags of money and was on top of the world, a director of a property company, born in London, though with Liverpool connections. What was interesting however was his reference to his grandfather who died when he was about eleven. “D’you know he was a remarkable man. He was a Marxian Communist. I’d like to have known him better.” So there is an insight into English society.
In the evening Charlie Cunningham came into the office. and then Michael MacDermot who mostly casually volunteered the information that he was getting married in a fornight’s time, in a Catholic church. The letter from Pat MacLaughlin was there all right. It seems that Meany had suspected his wife of illicit relations and had as good as put her out. Now the very interesting thing is that Fred Lyons told me that she started the cabal against him because he would not respond to her advances. So that is why Fred Lyons is “in good form”.
June 16 Friday: I spoke to Tony Coughlan on the phone. He has hardly any time and can make only a flying visit to Liverpool on 2 July. He complained of the ineptitude and “bumbling incompetence” of everybody in the Six Counties, which he thought was unique in Irish history. I had asked Joe Deighan to get me material for Fenner Brockway. But today I got a letter from Edwina Stewart saying she had sent it direct. So I do not know what she sent. I wrote and asked her to let me know if he had all he wanted. Her object is to deal directly with Brockway as it will please her ego and cut us out. But she expressed her confidence that we would do all in our power to get Trade Unions to attend the NICRA meeting on the 9th. But, she added, this will be difficult because of the ultra-left! Amazing! She interferes by setting up these NICRA branches in defiance or disregard of her constitution. She thereby splits our front, sabotages our work while claiming credit for it, opens the door to leftist lunacy which we had painstakingly closed, then expresses confidence that we will pledge our reputation bringing back those her friends have alienated! I felt disposed to echo Tony Coughlan’s complaint. And of course it is just that she is stupid, and has the arrogance of stupidity.
I learned from the MCF [Movement for Colonial Freedom] that Brockway is holding a meeting on Monday to decide whether to proceed with the PR Bill. I had a word with Sean Redmond and others and they agreed with me that the best thing would be to let it drop, but see what we can get in return. I was in Hammersmith in the evening with Charlie Cunningham.
June 17 Saturday: I was in the office most of the day. Paddy Bond telephoned. South London had received a letter from Edwina Stewart asking for immediate action on prisoners now on hunger strike in Belfast. They want political status. It seems she wants to take over our organisation. She sent me nothing. And of course the emotional women, to which has been added the excitable Gallivan, who having left us to join Clann na hEireann has now come back, bag and baggage, wanted everything dropped for that. Sean and I told Pat Bond it was nonsense to try to do what he wanted – march our entire conference off to Downing Street tomorrow. Why not do something on Monday, we asked. “Oh. They might be dead then, and then all hell would break loose.” I don’t know what made him think that a picket at Downing Street would be sufficient to prevent “hell breaking loose” on Monday, if it was going to break loose. But he said he’d go and take anybody who would go with him. He wanted Charlie Cunningham to stop work on the invoices and find posters. But there was no material. So Pat Bond himself brought it in and started on the job. I asked why those who had pressed for instant action were not with him. “Because they’re not on the telephone.” He stamped like a spoilt child when I pulled his leg by suggesting he should get a machine gun behind them. For I knew damned well they would not have been there even if they had telephones. They give themselves the luxury of noble emotions, while Pat Bond, the muggings, does the work. And he has not the imagination to puncture the pretensions of talkers.
In the evening I was in Hammersmith with Michael Crowe who is in London for the conference. I arranged for him to stay with Eamon McLaughlin who is going to Manchester tomorrow.
June 18 Sunday: The conference was quite successful [This was the Connolly Association annual conference]. Micklewright was in good form and Joe Deighan spoke reasonably well, with Michael MacDermot and Jack Henry. I was just a little amused at Joe Deighan lecturing them all in thunderous terms upon the need for them to concentrate their efforts on a Bill of Rights at Westminster, while Edwina Stewart is circularising everybody (the Movement for Colonial Freedom as well) urging political prisoner treatment as the main issue [ie. for the internees in Belfast, some of whom had gone on hunger strike for political status]. Michael Crowe told me however that she throws tantrums in EC meetings and is forever demanding apologies for fancied slights from Joe who, incidentally, can be annoying enough. Anton Coyle of Highgate NICRA (an “Official” front, of course) came at the end, though they had been invited to send delegates, and asked permission to hand out leaflets for July 9th. Of course we allowed him. And Paddy Bond was there with his posters, just as I had told him, and nobody willing to carry them, least of all the people of noble sentiment who had demanded action from the conference! Sean Redmond and he decided on a poster parade next Saturday.
There were brief exchanges of information. Joe Deighan has opened his own chemist’s shop in a mixed (60/40) area [ie. of Belfast]. Bobby Heatley has been threatened by the UDA as he lives in an area from which all Catholics have been driven [ie. the Ulster Defence Association, Loyalist paramilitaries]. They are now starting on the “rotten Prods” [ie. Protestants who were friendly with their Catholic neighbours such as Bobby Heatley who was of Protestant background]. In the evening Charlie went off with Una Milner and I had a drink with Chris Sullivan, Jim Kelly and Pegeen O’Flaherty [a Connolly Association member who was daughter of the novelist Liam O’Flaherty].
June 19 Monday: There was a letter from Sam Levenson’s wife, Lee, this morning, saying that Sam’s book on Connolly has at last been accepted by a London publisher and will be out in the spring. Also Professor Salmon of the University of Saskatchewan invited me to give a lecture at their summer school (on drama) in Surrey in July. There is thirty guineas in it, so I hasten to accept. I worked on the paper during the day.
At 6 pm. I was at Westminster. Brockway and Lord Archbold [1903-1979, former Lord Provost of Edinburgh] were absent when I arrived but came in saying that they had been hustled to a division. After a few minutes Stallard arrived. It was clear from the start that Archbold was very pleased to be off the hook. His artful face took on a look of benignity as he dictated his part of the press statement. Of course Edwina Stewart had not sent Brockway what he wanted, though (as he said in a scribbled note while the other talk was proceeding) she had provided a sheaf of documents and one poem. I did not demur of course, while trying to get them to introduce the Bill, make speeches, then agree to its withdrawal. This had been suggested by Enid Lakeman whom I consulted in the morning [Enid Lakeman,1903-1995, Director of the Electoral Reform Society and advocate of the single transferable vote form of proportional representation in elections]. Fenner Brockway of course will proceed with his Bill. And there was an interesting thing at the end. Both Brockway, Archhold and Latham, who had come in late and looks more foxy than ever, wanted to express a desire for the end of violence. I said, make it a wish for general peace. “Aha,” says Stallard, “these women who have been petitioning for peace have not been properly reported. I was in Belfast a week or so ago and they all told me that they had added the words ‘with justice’.” Latham had gone before we finished this, so when Archbold (knowing nothing about it) said, “With justice! Capital!”, Stallard and I quickly overbore Brockway’s hesitations. Archbold would have had a canary fit if he had known what he was proposing. But as it was, he even grew reminiscent and told us of a miners’ gala in Scotland in 1917.
We went for a drink. But Fenner Brockway soon left us. Archbold had gone to seek the Government Chief Whip and make sure he got his Bill withdrawn. “Archbold’s very cautious,” says Stallard almost wonderingly. “He’s involved in something he knows he knows nothing about,” said I. “Obviously,” he replied, chuckling. “You see I’m quite a bit of a ‘Provisional’ and as for my wife – I don’t know what she is.” Of course it is she who keeps him straight. He told me that he has no time for the SDLP. Hume is Fianna Fail. Fitt is a vain fool. And I told him about Currie, the “student of politics”. He told me that Stan Orme and Kevin McNamara will ask unnecessary questions in the House merely so as to give Hume and Currie publicity. “Is the Minister of State for Northern Ireland aware that Mr John Hume is a very fine fellow?” Yes, it’s almost as bad as that, says Stallard. And then they are for ever making statements and running like hares to the Press Association. As for Bernadette Devlin, he thinks her the worst menace of all and “rapidly growing rich on it”.
He had a meeting of returning officers at 8 pm. but at 8.15 he was still walking with me round Parliament Square. He wants to know whether the “GLC” talk originated from Whitelaw and whether Merlyn Rees is acting as kite-flyer [ie. suggestions that something on the lines of the Greater London Council (GLC) should be set up in Northern Ireland]. I had told him that I believed the most practical solution, since we couldn’t get it under Dublin yet, was to reconstitute Stormont with the protection contained in the Bill of Rights. He was prepared to accept that. I suggested starting a discussion in the Irish Democrat. He thought small select meetings might help. He was assured there was no prospect whatsoever of giving Faulkner his job back next year. He remarked that so many people had blossomed out with jobs, offices, secretaries and cars, paid for by American money, that there must be a strong vested interest in keeping the “violence” going. But he may have learned less about the EEC, for he is now talking about “practical” reasons to adapt to it.
I came back to the office. Michael McDermott had called but gone. Charlie Cunningham was there with Geraldine Joyce, a new member now helping Peter Mulligan with the books. She is a pale rather tired-looking girl, a badly paid worker in a bookshop, but I thought very capable and pleasant, about 22 says Charlie, though I thought nearer 30.
June 20 Tuesday: I was in the office early. Lenny Draper rang up. Still there are no applications for credentials for next Sunday’s conference. Lenny called to see Dave Hayward but got no sense out of him. “He was in a bad mood. Had gone to the docks and not sold a paper. There’s something very funny going on in that office.” I mentioned that Frank Cartwright was coming to London. Lenny Draper did not know. I would imagine this is Gerry Cohen wanting his own people around him. But it will be a bad day for Manchester. As well that Vic Eddisford has gone back, else we will have Roger O’Hara [ie. the CPGB organiser in Liverpool] there – and we still may. Cartwright had for some reason not developed the characteristic Liverpool unpleasantness. I think the seamen have it rubbed off them. I rang Edwina Stewart and warned her not to expect much. It looks as if anti-Irish feeling is established. Bob Doyle was howled down in his Trade Union branch and told to “go back to Ireland”. At SOGAT his resolution was cut out of the agenda. “If that is discussed we’ll lose thousands of members.” And the same happened at UCATT – an innocuous statement was adopted. Betty Sinclair said the same happened at the ITGWU at Galway [These were popular reactions in Britain and the Republic to the Provisional IRA bombing campaign in Northern Ireland, which was now in full spate, and Loyalist reactions thereto].
In the evening Michael McDermot called, but as we had a Standing Committee he went to Euston to see some friends off. There was a useful meeting, with Sean Redmond, Jim Kelly, Charlie Cunningham, Jane Tate, Pat O’Donohue and Pat Bond. A young man from Boston, Matt Cronin, had called earlier and I, mistaking the day of the week, told him there was a lecture on Tone tonight. He came back. Jim Kelly announced in his best truculent manner that he couldn’t add up his figures if people were talking in the room, so we went to Neary’s. I would not say the young man was much older than 21. He had a long sallow face and longer dark hair. He said he was born in Boston but finished his schooling in Colorado. He is of Irish descent – third or fourth generation – but doesn’t “feel” American and wants to settle in Ireland. Naturally he has a number of expedients to recommend to the natives, such as driving out every industrialist and going back to the land. He did not buy any drinks, but we “shouted” him [ie. treated him to drinks] as he was pleasant and interesting – full of Celtic romance, much of it culled from tourist advertisements. Then we learned that he had settled in London and gone into partnership with another youngster importing sun-glasses from Italy. We were very amused. Apparently the other people go back to the land – not he! He then lives by trade.
I must say, however, I never saw a man about to be married so casual about it as Michael McDermot. He came in here last night and tonight and agreed to come in tomorrow to complete the paper. But he has negotiated a flat in Ealing.
June 21 Wednesday: I worked on the paper all day. But how I am getting to loathe the sight of London. I count the days before I can get away! In fine weather of course it would be more tolerable. But one never sees the sun. The branch meeting took place in the evening. Afterwards Jane Tate and Tony Donaghey were talking about the London District Irish Committee, which seemingly revolves round Joe O’Connor, whom I regard as primarily an “Official” Republican and only secondarily anything else. Another luminary is Betty O’Shea! There were only four at the last meeting, and Joe O’Connor is proposing absurd resolutions at the NUR [National Union of Railwaymen, of which he was a member] so that he has annoyed even Prendergast! Tony Donaghey thought the committee “positively dangerous”. But I thought if only four attended it, it was little likely to do much harm and would probably fade away. Personally I can’t conceive what they started it for. Another talking shop.
As anticipated, Michael McDermott called. As he left I asked, “When’s the happy event?” “Oh,” he replied with cool casualness, “at the end of the month supposedly.” Then he mentioned Friday week! But I would not think him a person who does not know his own mind. It is as if he said, ”We’ll start a revolution tomorrow if we can get up in time.” Charlie Cunningham and I had a brief chat with Pat O’Donohue who is attracted to Crowley. That individual I distrust, though probably he is harmless enough. He is interested in poetry and music and sang in a Dublin male voice choir. He has all the characteristics of the “second class brain” which cannot stand up in the wide world, but seeks a limited number of admirers, except of course even qualifying for that grade [These were momentary harsh judgements about an excellent person, which Greaves later revised].
June 22 Thursday: I was working on the paper all day. But in the evening I went to South London. At the Standing Committee last Thursday we had discussed an application for membership from one Johnston, who had appeared in Hyde Park reeking like a distillery and heckled our meeting in a completely ungovernable way. He then came to a conference and heckled there. I told Pat Bond not to accept his membership and to return his subscription. Pat Bond, while not issuing the card, took no other action and permitted him to attend the branch meeting. I was angry at this and brought it up at the Standing Committee. It was decided not to accept his membership. Sean Redmond, with characteristic shrewdness, proposed that Pat Bond should write so that he would then know he would not have Pat on his side. (Also it would stiffen Pat Bond’s resolve and commit him, but Sean refrained from making this point). At South London Pat Bond told me that Johnston had met him in the public house before the meeting – which must mean that he rang for an appointment and Pat Bond weakly granted it – and that Bond told him he could “appeal” to the EC! So he got the responsibility off himself again – as usual. And as if such nonsense was necessary!
June 23 Friday: I was finishing the paper when Alan Morton unexpectedly arrived. So we had lunch. He was full of himself and his plans, so I let him talk and did not try to obtrude my own affairs, which in any case nobody is interested in but myself, but myself not less so for that reason. He decided to retire early because of the earlier differences with the Principal. But then he found that he would be deprived of a pension and the Government refused to stretch the rules. So Alan told the Principal that he had retired early on his account and that he (the Principal) knew now that he was at fault over the whole thing and that he now wanted a year’s extra service without having to do anything for his pay. After some discussion Reading appointed him a Research Fellow, and as his successor as Professor of Botany is already appointed, they agreed that he would regard his “research” as the writing of his history of Botany. This he will do at full pay in his new flat in Edinburgh whither he departs on July 14th! He will continue to edit the “Mycological Journal” from an office in the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. But against this good fortune his daughter Alisoun is ill,
with an intestinal complaint, and Freda travels up to Edinburgh each weekend and is exhausted.
June 24 Saturday (Liverpool): I took quite an early train to Birmingham where Mark Clinton met me. He said he had suffered from a stomach ulcer and for that reason had shown so little initiative. But he also said he was going to marry a English girl whose social views coincided with his. And I had guessed that the reason was really something like this. He intends to stay in Birmingham through the vacation “to keep up the paper sales”, but we will not grudge him any other advantage it might give him. He will book a room for a lecture. I found a letter from Enid Greaves saying that Kathleen has married again and has moved somewhere (not far) out of San Francisco. I came on to Liverpool.
June 25 Sunday: I went over the Manchester to the conference. Only fifteen people turned up in response to 2,000 circulars. Lenny Draper said Hayward gave him no help and indeed would not listen to him. “There’s something wrong in that office,” he said, and indeed this may be true if Frank Cartwright is leaving at his own wish, as Lenny says. But I would not blame Eddisford. Possibly it is lack of finance. It is clear that thanks to the folly of the IRA and the way NICRA (Edwina Stewart to be exact) has sabotaged and wrecked the work of the Connolly Association by constantly setting up rival organisations, the English Labour Movement is not prepared to challenge Wilson’s bipartisanship. Betty Sinclair understands this and was very accommodating.
I came back to Liverpool quite early in the afternoon. In the evening Fred Brown [his next door neighbour in Prenton] told me over the fence that Lily Worthington was with them and was nearly 80. It was not very convenient, but I went in. She recalled how every year CEG [ie. his father] was asked by old Mrs Worthington to “let the New Year in” at her house, for it was necessary for this to be done by a black-headed man. I was occasionally there myself, I think, as a small child, though I am not sure. I know the entire household walked into the street just before midnight and then returned immediately after the stroke, CEG leading the way. She recalled the musical activities of CEG. “A marvellous man”, was her summary. She was very surprised at Phyllis’s death. I could recognise her quite well, though it must surely be 40 years since I saw her.
June 26 Monday: The day was just tolerable enough for a little to be done in the garden. Stella Bond rang to say that John Meehan of Huddersfield had applied to join the Connolly Association. She had sent the letter on to Sean Redmond.
June 27 Tuesday: I went to Ripley to read the proofs – a long dragging excursion these days – but all went smoothly.
June 28 Wednesday: I went to the CA meeting. Brian Stowell rang and said he had hay-fever. Pat MacLaughlin and Barney Morgan turned up and one or two others. Gradually we are collecting a group. I spoke to Sean Redmond who will handle the Meehan thing.
June 29 Thursday: For the past two days Mrs Campbell, secretary of Liverpool NICRA, has been trying to make contact with me. They have organised a “seminar” on the “Special Powers Act” and she wanted me to go. I went. They had sent out 150 invitations to County Councillors and others. Not one turned up. But for me it was useful. I met a number of people who promised to come on Sunday. But the confusion that was displayed on all sides was unbelievable.
June 30 Friday: I was able to do more in the garden and at last it looks presentable, if not powerful. I have radishes ready, quite a few leeks – coriander, fennel, thyme, parsley, tarragon, rosemary, lavender, mint, sage in full flower, and seedlings of basil, marjoram and rue. But the dill has died. The chervil survives but is sickly. And other edible salads are lettuces, dandelions and saw-thistle, which I have not tried though Alan Morton says it is edible – and of course tansy, chives, onions and garlic. I have more vegetables this year than ever; the rain has been favourable to them and there is at present an almost complete absence of pests. Very surprising.
I learned from Paddy Bond that owing to his plan of bringing over Belfast children for a holiday, Stella will not be in the office for some weeks. There is a strong touch of the dilettante in Paddy – politics as a hobby.
(End of Volume 23; c.70,000 words
GREAVES JOURNAL, VOLUME 23, INDEX
1 AUGUST 1971 – 30 JUNE 1972
Greaves, C. Desmond
Aesthetic and cultural matters: 8.25, 10.22, 11.17, 12.25, 1.3, 1.16, 2.9, 2.14
Assessments of others: 8.19, 8.31, 9.10, 10.30, 11.3, 11.8, 11.17, 11.19, 12.6, 12.8, 1.11-13, 2.10, 2.15, 2.17, 2.22-23, 2.26, 3.2, 3.10, 3.13, 3.20, 3.23, 3.27, 4.1, 4.27, 5.12, 5.16, 5.21, 5.24,
5.27, 6.5, 6.8, 6.17
Britain, public attitudes and assessment of trends in: 10.7, 10.27-28, 11.18, 1.13, 1.16, 2.8, 2.21, 2.26, 3.6, 6.15
Civil Rights Campaign on Northern Ireland: 8.6, 8.9-10, 9.10, 9.13-14, 9.20, 9.23-25, 9.28, 10.21-23,10.28, 11.9, 11.14-15, 12.21, 1.26, 2.7, 2.16, 2.18, 2.20, 2.23, 2.24-26, 2.28, 3.24, 3.3, 4.18, 5.22
European supranational integration/the EEC:12.23,1.23, 2.16, 3.10- 11, 3.24, 4.11, 4.23, 4.30, 5.11-12, 6.19
Family relations: 6.24-25
Holidays/cycle tours: 8.11-13
Mellows research: 8.1, 11.1, 3.8
Self-assessments and personal plans: 8.6, 8.19-20, 10.5, 10.22, 10.27, 11.3, 12.23, 1.3, 1.13, 1.16, 2.15, 2.21, 2.25-6, 2.29, 3.6, 3.12,
4.6, 4.18, 6.12
Organisation Names Index
Anti-Internment League: 8.17, 9.22, 10.6, 11.7, 11.19-20, 11.28-29, 1.6,1.15,1.17, 1.25, 2.1, 2.5, 2.17, 2.20, 2.24-25, 3.13, 3.26, 3.31, 4.1, 4.23-24, 5.24
Campaign for Democracy in Ulster (CDU): 9.19, 9.21, 3.24
Campaign for Social Justice:
Clann na hEireann: 8.17,11.7, 11.14-15,11.20-21, 11.25, 11.28, 1.6, 1.28, 2.24, 2.28, 3.5, 3.17, 3.26, 4.1-2, 4.30, 6.17
Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB): 8.17, 8.19, 8.31, 9.13,9.17, 9.21, 9.23-25, 10.21-22, 10.28-30,11.3, 11.5, 11.9, 11.13-15, 11.18, 11.25,12.21, 111-13, 1.28, 2.24, 2.26,3.19, 3.27, 5.18,
Communist Party of Ireland: 9.10, 9.13, 9.17-18, 9.24,11.9, 11.25, 11.29, 12.6, 3.24, 3.26, 3.31, 4.15, 5.21-22, 5.24
Communist Party of Northern Ireland: 11.9
Connolly Association/Irish Democrat: 8.1-2, 8.17-18, 8.21, 9.5, 9.10, 9.14,10.21-22, 10.28,10.30, 11.7, 11.9-10, 11.13-14, 11.20, 11.25,11.27, 12.21,1.11-12, 1.24,1.26, 1.28, 2.7, 2.15, 2.19-20, 2.24-26, 2.29, 3.4, 3.18, 3.24-26, 3.31, 4.3, 4.18, 4.27
Labour Party (British): 3.24-25, 4.16
Movement for Colonial Freedom (MCF): 12.21, 1.17, 1.21, 3.17, 4.27, 5.1, 6.16, 6.18
National Council for Civil Liberties: 8.4, 9.20,
Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), including support groups in Britain: 9.10, 9.17, 9.20, 9.23-24, 10.21-22, 10.28,11.9, 1.6, 12.21, 1.13, 2.3, 2.16, 2.18, 2.20, 2.23, 2.25-26, 2.28, 3.31, 5.22, 5.24, 6.16, 6.25, 6.29
People’s Democracy: 9.10, 11.13, 12.6, 2.20, 5.24
Sinn Fein/IRA-“Officials”:9.10, 11.25,12.6,2.31, 1.17-18, 2.22, 2.26,4.2,
4.23, 6.21, 6.25
Sinn Fein/IRA-“Provisionals”:8.17, 11.7, 11.13, 11.15, 11.29,12.6,12.31, 1.6,1.28, 2.7, 2.26, 2.28, 3.10, 4.1-2, 4.23, 6.25
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP): 12.7, 2.20
Trades Union Congress (British): 9.6-7, 9.10
Trotskyite and far-left organisations: 8.10, 8.18, 9.20, 10.6, 11.3, 11.18, 11.25, 11.28, 1.6-7, 1.28-29, 2.17, 2.20, 2.22-23, 2.25, 3.2, 3.6, 3.13, 4.23, 5.25
Young Communist League (YCL): 9.17, 10.22, 10.29
Personal Names Index
Amphlett-Micklewright, Rev.: 5.25, 6.18
Archbold, Lord: 6.19
Asmal, Kader: 9.10
Barr, Andy: 9.7, 9.10, 9.13, 3.24, 5.17, 5.27
Beauchamp, Kay: 2.15-16, 2.24-25, ,3.12, 3.17, 3.19
Bellamy, Ron and Joan: 9.17, 9.24, 12.21, 2.21
Bond, Patrick (Pat, Paddy): 11.19, 2.7, 2.19, 2.22, 3.25, 6.6, 6.17, 6.23, 6.30
Bond, Stella: 4.9, 4.19
Bourne, Harry: 8.17, 10.30, 1.11, 1.28, 2.24
Boyd John: 4.14
Boyle, Kevin: 9.20, 10.6, 12.6, 2.20, 3.26, 5.24-25
Bradley, Ben: 2.23
Brennan, Eileen: 11.19, 2.17
Brockway, Lord Fenner: 10.22, 12.21, 1.21, 1.26, 3.14, 3.20-21, 3.24- 25,4.16, 4.18, 4.25, 4.27-28, 5.22, 5.26, 6.16, 6.19
Callanan, Michael: 6.5
Carmody, Paddy: 9.1, 4.14
Charles, Wilf: 8.31,10.24, 2.20, 2.24
Chater, Tony: 9.23, 10.8, 10.21, 11.3, 11.9
Clancy, Basil: 3.1
Clifford, Brendan and Angela: 8.22, 10.18, 10.22
Clinton, Mark: 10.30, 12.7, 1.1, 1.11, 2.12-13, 6.24
Cohen, Gerry: 8.31, 10.24, 2.24, 6.20
Cohen, Jack: 10.28
Comerford, Maire: 9.10
Connolly-Edwards, Fiona: 4.14
Cooper, Joe: 2.16-17, 2.19, 2.26, 4.22-23
Cornford, John: 10.22
Cornforth, Maurice: 4.6, 4.15
Coughlan, Anthony (Tony): 9.4, 9.4-7, 9.9, 9.11, 11.13, 1.23, 2.16, 2.19, 3.29, 4.11, 5.11-12, 5.23, 6.5, 6.16
Craig, William MP: 3.31
Crowe, Michael: 9.5,11.27, 2.5, 2.27
Crowley, Brian: 11.29, 3.17, 5.2, 6.21
Cunningham, Charlie: 8.17, 9.6-7, 9.10, 10.25, 11.7,11.14, 11.27, 12.4, 2.15-16, 2.18-19, 3.1,3.4, 3.21, 3.25-26, 6.8
Curran, Mrs Antoinette (Toni): 8.1-2, 8.18, 1.26, 3.11-12
Curran, Gerard: 4.3, 4.7
Currie, Austin: 12.6, 6.19
Daly, Lawrence: 9.8, 1.10
Dalton, Liam: 2.11
Davison, Madge: 9.20, 2.28
Davoren M.: 8.17
Deasy, Joe: 9.10
Deighan, Joseph: 12.5-6, 2.20-21, 2.24, 2.26, 2.28,3.24, 3.26,
Devine, Pat: 11.28, 3.13
Devlin, Bernadette: 9.22, 11.13, 2.20,2.24, 2.28, 3.13, 3.17, 3.30-31
Devlin, Paddy MP: 12.6, 3.11, 6.19
Donaghey, Tony: 9.4, 11.5, 11.15, 4.17
Doyle, Bob: 11.25, 11.29, 12.21, 6.8
Draper, Lenny: 8.5, 9.11, 12.7, 3.4, 3.6-7, 5.6
Dromey, Jack: 8.4
Dunman, Jack: 1.11, 2.25
Dunne, Bill: 9.13
Dutt, R. Palme: 10.22, 10.31
Eddisford, Vic: 10.24, 2.24
Edwards, Bert: 4.14
Egan, Bowes: 8.17,10.30, 11.28, 2.7, 2.20, 2.25,
Egelnick, Max: 11.5, 11.28-29, 5.18, 5.27
Ellis, P. Berresford: 5.24, 6.12
Farrell, Michael: 8.10
Faulkner, Brian MP: 11.5, 3.23, 3.30, 5.23-24, 6.19
Fennel, Larry: 6.8
Fitt, Gerry MP: 12.6, 1.26, 6.19
Fitzgerald, Jack (Fitzie): 11.25,11.29
Francis, Dai: 1.10
French, Sid: 10.28-29
Gallacher, Willie MP: 6.5
Gannon, Jack: 2.23
Gollan, John: 10.24,10.29, 11.15, 4.15, 4.27
Goulding, Cathal: 11.13, 12.31, 2.22, 3.10
Gray, John: 11.19, 2.1, 2.7-8, 2.20
Green, Nan: 3.27, 4.4-6, 5.16
Guinan, Martin: 8.21,9.5
Haq, Barbara: 12.21, 1.21, 1.26, 4.27,5.1
Harmel, Michael: 3.17
Harris, Noel: 9.10-11
Harrison, Betty: 8.2
Heath, Edward MP: 12.21, 3.23-24, 4.6
Heatley, Bobby (Robert): 12.6, 3.26, 5.21, 5.24
Henry, Jack: 11.16
Hensey, Pat: 9.19, 1.17, 2.16, 3.11
Heron: Brian Connolly: 6.14
Hope, Ann: 4.6,5.13-14
Hostettler, John: 1.29, 4.10, 4.14
Hume, John: 9.23, 3.11, 6.19
Jeger, Lena MP:
Jenkins, Clive: 9.28
Johnston, Roy: 8.2, 8.17, 9.10, 1.7, 1.17-18, 2.26
Jones, Jack: 9.28
Keating, Justin TD: 1.9
Kee, Robert: 6.7
Kelleher, Derry: 9.10,
Kelly, Dalton: (See O Ceallaigh, Daltún)
Kelly, Jim: 9.18, 2.1,3.26, 3.31, 5.23, 5.25
Kenny, Sean: 2.3, 2.11, 2.13, 2.15,3.4
Klugman, James: 4.9
Latham, Arthur MP: 10.22. 4.16, 4.25, 4.27
Lehane, Con: 9.10, 11.13
Levenson, Sam: 2.29, 3.1
Lipton, Col. Marcus MP: 1.26
Lynch, Jack TD: 12.7, 2.11
Lyons, Fred: 8.10
McCabe, Jack: 12.31
McCann, Eamon: 2.25, 3.13
McCarthy, Charles: 3.1
McClelland, John: 3.26, 4.8, 4.16, 5.24
McCorry, Kevin: 8.10, 9.20, 9.27-28, 12.6, 2.17, 2.28, 4.23, 5.24
McDermott, Michael: 5.23, 6.15, 6.20
McDowell, Tom: 10.30, 11.29, 1.6
McGill, Brendan: 2.28
Mac Giolla, Tomás: 1.10
McGurran, Malachy: 12.6
MacLaughlin, Pat: 12.19
McLennan, Gordon: 11.15, 4.15
MacLiam, Cathal and Helga: 8.7, 8.11, 8.16
McManus, Frank MP: 2.20
McNamara, Kevin MP: 10.4,11.5, 1.28, 6.19
Matthews, George: 9.13
Meade, Tony: 9.10
Menon, Krishna: 4.28, 5.1
Menzies, Edwina: (See Stewart, Edwina)
Miliband, Ralph: 4.25, 6.12
Milne, Ewart: 3.20
Moore, Hughie: 4.15
Morgan, Barney (Bernard): 12.1, 12.5
Morton, Alan G. Prof. and Mrs Freda Morton: 10.13,10.16-17,12.21,1.16, 2.9, 4.17, 6.23
Mulligan, Peter: 8.18, 11.14, 12.21, 1.26, 2.1,2.16, 3.1, 4.2
Murray, Sean: 6.12
Myant, Chris: 3.29, 4.6-9, 4.14-15
Nevin, Donal: 4.11
Nolan, Sean: 9.10, 11.13
O’Brien, Conor Cruise TD: 6.7
O Ceallaigh, Daltún: 9.10
O’Connor, Joe: 11.25, 11.29, 4.15, 6.21
O’Donohue, Pat: 8.18,10.25,11.10, 11.20, 11.27, 12.21,1.26, 2.20,
O’Dowling (née Timbey), Elsie: 10.22
O’Hara, Roger: 10.6 11.11
O’Herlihy, Callaghan: 6.5
O’Higgins, Paul: 3.20-21
O Loingsigh, Micheál S: 9.10,
O’Neill, Patsy and Andy: 1.10, 2.11, 6.5, 6.8
O’Neill, Siobhán: 11.4, 11.19, 1.1
O’Riordan, Michael: 9.13, 9.24, 11.13, 11.15, 3.24, 5.27, 6.12
Orme, Stan MP: 10.30, 5.18, 5.26, 6.19
O’Shea, Dr Elizabeth (Betty): 3.13, 6.21, 6.26
Paisley, Ian MP: 9.23, 3.31
Pakenham, Frank (Lord): 4.27
Parker, Bill: 11.4-5
Pearce, Bert: 1.10
Platts-Mills, John QC: 12.21,1.21, 4.27
Powell, Pat: 10.6, 3.6, 3.24
Prendergast, Jim: 11.5, 3.17, 4.15, 5.27, 6.8, 6.21
Redmond, Sean: 8.17-19, 10.27. 2.16, 2.24-25, 3.31, 4.27, 6.22
Redmond, Tom: 3.31, 5.27
Rees, Merlyn MP: 5.26
Reid, Betty: 4.15
Rose, Paul MP: 9.24, 10.22
Ryan, Frank: 6.12
Shields, Jimmy: 10.22, 6.8
Sinclair, Elizabeth (Betty): 9.7, 9.20,10.23, 11.15, 11.28-29,12.5,1.12, 2.24-25, 3.17, 3.26-27, 4.6, 6.25
Smythe, Tony: 184.108.40.206
Stallard, Jock MP: 10.22,1.24, 2.23-24, 3.17, 3.19, 3.21, 3.31,4.16,
4.25, 4.27,5.18, 5.26, 6.19
Stewart, Edwina (née Menzies): 9.8, 9.10, 9.17, 10.30, 12.6, 2.18, 2.26,
3.26-27, 4.1, 4.6, 5.27, 6.16-18, 6.25
Stewart, Jimmy: 11.13,11.15, 11.29, 3.26, 4.6, 5.27
Stowell, Brian: 8.24,12.2, 5.16, 5.31, 6.14
Tate, Jane: 11.20-21, 12.21, 2.1, 2.29
Taylor, John MP: 2.25
Trench, Brian: 2.21, 2.25
Watters, Frank: 8.17, 10.30, 1.10, 1.27, 2.15, 2.24, 2.28, 4.1
Widgery, Lord: 2.25
Wilson, Harold MP: 11.5, 11.26, 12.7, 12.21, 1.26,6.25
Woddis, Jack (Hillel): 8.17, 8.19, 9.17, 9.23-25, 10.28, 11.9, 11.15, 1.25, 12.21, 2.15, 4.27, 5.21, 5.24