Desmond Greaves Journal, Vol. 38, 1988

1 June 1988 – 21 August 1988

EDITORIAL NOTE: This final volume of the two-million-word Journal covers the last three months of C. Desmond Greaves’s life, leading up to his sudden death on 23 August 1988 in the dining car of the train bringing him back to Liverpool following a meeting he had had in Glasgow the night before. The reader’s knowledge of his impending death lends some poignancy to these Journal entries. 

Desmond Greaves had acted as editor of the “Irish Democrat”, the monthly journal of the Connolly Association in Britain, for the previous forty years and his main income was a modest wage derived from this. Since 1966 his base had been his family home in Prenton, Birkenhead, Merseyside, which he had inherited from his sister on her death, and he travelled frequently from there to London, where the Connolly Association had its office-cum-bookshop on the Grays Inn Road, WC1, as well as to meetings in different parts of Britain.  The CA had had a succession of full-time organisers from 1960 until 1986, but this position had not been filled for the previous two years. Although the CA’s finances were in good shape, the London office was staffed by volunteers at this time, principally Jane Tate and Stella Bond, both Englishwomen who were committed to the Irish cause. Desmond Greaves had been acting as Connolly Association General Secretary as well as editor of its paper over these years and was probably seriously overworked. In these final months of his life he was preparing for a reorganisation of the Connolly Association at a jubilee conference to mark the 50th anniversary of its foundation in September 1938, but he died the week before. He left the September 1988 issue of the “Irish Democrat” half completed on his worktable at his home, together with the text of a draft resolution on Connolly Association reorganisation for its impending conference and a statement of his political wishes for the long-term future. This is given in the Closing Editorial Comments at the end.

THEMES: Attends foundation meeting in the House of Commons of MP Clare Short’s “England Out of Ireland” campaign on 16 June 1988 (16.6) – On the CPGB: “One suspects there is no revolutionary potential left in the CPGB. But the Birkenhead Branch have invited me to speak to them and I will see. If they were to go over en bloc to the CPB I would possibly go with them. The last trace of scientific thought has been expunged.” (6.7) – On world politics: “I gave them my broad summary of how things got to this pass. The western imperialisms rested on their robbery of the colonial world. They could consequently repair the damage of the two World Wars and buy off their local populations. Lacking this the Soviets did marvels, but in a sense there had to be ‘primitive accumulation’. This was achieved by Stalin, and people put up with him when the alternative was to join the Third World themselves. Stalinism led to stagnation because everybody’s aim was to keep his head down. The result was a series of mistakes in which the Western CPs were alienated. Whether what they did was worse was another matter; I think not, but there was a mass perception in the West that socialism didn’t work, capitalism did. Now if Gorbachev succeeds in the economic field the Western public will see an alternative to capitalism; the differences on the Left may be healed, the Labour Party will relax its anti-Soviet stance. Though by then the financial feudalism of the Single European Act will have been clapped down on us and we may spend thirty years in an ‘Austro-Hungarian monarchy’. Reactions will be encouraged when this increasingly displays its contradictions and breaks up under the impact of revolt in the Third World.” (7.4) – On the character of the 1930s: “I have known for years that the commonest mistake is to take what is, to be the normal. I am reading all I can about the thirties, and only now am seeing what a remarkable and unusual time it was.” (7.4) – On Provisional Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams: “This morning’s ‘Independent’ had a story about the split between Adams and the IRA. If Adams goes into politics he will take IRA arrogance with him, make all kinds of blunders and end up like Garland.” (7.12) – On the treatment for his glaucoma condition: “The extraordinary thing is the blind automatising of this appalling Health Service. I have not seen any specialist twice. If you were taking a dog to a vet you would expect similar attention. Of course I could get the appropriate medical books and study it all up. But I have other things to do. I very much doubt the approach that sees disease as a crop of independent symptoms to be dealt with according to set rules.” (7.21) – On the Connolly Association: “I have made progress on steps for reorganising the CA. I got the decision to reorganise through the E.C. by resolution. I want the proposals ready for the Standing Committee next Tuesday.” (8.13) – On his own health four days before his sudden death: “I’m getting bad on names, and hard of hearing, and less confident of balance, on top of eczema (very mild) and glaucoma. It’s astonishing how many degenerative diseases I’ve accumulated in less than a decade.” (8.19) – Concluding Editorial Note on Desmond Greaves’s last political lecture and wishes, his death, funeral and will.

Index to Volume 38: 1 June 1988 – 21 August 1988

[Editorial Note: In this and all the volumes of the Greaves Journal from No.28 to No.38 the Index is placed at the beginning rather than the end of each volume, following the summary of the main themes of the volume, the better to facilitate internet readers seeking knowledge of that particular volume’s contents.

The text of this Volume 38 of the Journal therefore follows rather than precedes the Index below.

In the Index references here and throughout, the month comes first and then the day of the month. Thus 6.7 means June 7th, 1.25 means January 25th, 12.4 means December 4th and so on. Where the entries in a particular volume extend beyond one year, so that monthly dates are repeated, the figure (2) is attached to each entry for the second year.] 


Greaves, C. Desmond 

Assessments of others: 6.1, 6.30, 7.18, 7.22, 7.26, 8.14 

Britain, public attitudes and assessment of trends in: 7.4, 8.2 

Campaigning on European supranational integration/the EEC: 6.7, 7.18, 8.19 

Meteorology, interest in: 6.12, 8.7  

Self-assessments and personal plans: 7.21   

Organisation Names Index

Birmingham Six Campaign: 6.16

Campaign for Democracy, Belfast: 6.3 

Communist Campaign Group: 6.1, 6.7

Communist Party of Britain (CPB): 6.7, 6.14 

Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB): 6.1, 6.3, 6.7  

Communist Party of Ireland (CPI): 6.1, 6.5

Connolly Association/Irish Democrat: 6.3, 7.4, 7.8, 7.16, 7.23, 8.2, 8.19 

Liberation, formerly the Movement for Colonial Freedom (MCF): 6.3

New Communist Party (NCP): 6.1, 6.20, 7.7   

Straight Left: 6.1, 6.3, 6.9, 7.7, 7.29, 8.5, 8.9 

Trade Unionists for Irish Unity and Independence (TUIUI): 6.13 

Personal Names Index 

Adams, Gerry: 7.12

Aherne, Tom: 7.14, 7.18 

Barnes, Leonard: 7.4

Barone, Rosangela: 7.13

Barr, Andy: 6.3 

Bernal, Prof. Desmond: 7.4

Bond, Patrick (Pat, Paddy): 6.11, 6.16, 7.9, 7.13-14, 7.21, 7.29, 8.2, 8.8-9, 


Boyd, John: 6.7, 7.18  

Brown, Gordon: 6.29  

Campbell, Flann and Mary: 8.2, 8.3 

Chater, Tony:  6.17

Collins, Martin: 6.16, 7.12

Coughlan, Anthony (Tony): 6.10, 6.15, 6.24-25, 6.30, 7.1, 7.5, 7.24, 7.26, 

7.28-29, 7.31, 8.1-2, 8.15 

Cowman, Eddie: 7.25, 8.3 

Crotty, Raymond: 7.1, 8.19 

Crowe, Michael: 7.8, 7.14, 8.3, 8.6 

Cunningham, Charlie: 7.12, 8.2

Curran, Gerard: 6.11, 7.1,7.5, 8.2, 8.6

Daly, Doris: 8.2 

Daly, Lena: 6.4

Davies, George: 6.1, 6.3, 6.8, 6.21, 6.23, 6.25, 6.29, 7.4, 7.13, 8.17, 8.19 

Dawson, Gerry: 7.4 

Deighan, Dorothy: 6.24, 8.7 

Deighan, Joseph: 6.3, 6.10, 6.24, 8.3, 8.7

Devlin, Bernadette: 6.6 

Dobb, Maurice: 7.4

Doherty, Pat: 6.18, 7.25, 8.14  

Donovan, Mable: 8.2

Edwards, Prof. Owen Dudley: 6.29-30

Evans, Peter: 7.4 

Freeman, John: 6.13 

Garland, Sean: 7.12 

Gaster, Jack: 7.15, 7.18 

Gibson, John and Veronica: 8.15 

Gilhooley, Paul: 8.15 

Goodman, Dave: 6.18 

Gordon, Noel: 8.15 

Grimsditch, H.: 8.19

Guest, David: 7.4 

Guinan, Martin: 8.19

Hain, Peter: 6.16     

Herbert, Michael: 8.19 

Hindley, Michael MEP: 8.19

Jackson, Stella and Vivienne: 6.21

Jamison, Joe: 6.3, 7.13

Johnston, Roy: 7.30, 8.3 

Keable, Ken: 8.15 

Kelly, Jim: 6.6

Kibble, Brett: 6.21 

Kilcommins, Danny: 6.4

King, Jim: 7.1 

Klugmann, James: 7.4  

Kneafsey, Michael: 6.1, 6.14, 6.21-22, 6.25, 6.28-29, 7.4, 8.19 

Livingstone, Ken, MP: 6.6

Lodziac, Con: 7.19

Logan, Josephine: 7.29, 8.4 

Mac Amhlaigh, Dónal: 7.17

Mac Aonghusa, Proinsias: 7.22  

McClelland, John: 6.2-3, 6.10 

McCorry, Kevin: 6.2-3, 6.15, 6.23 

Mac Craith, Dónal (MacGrath): 6.2, 6.11

McGill, Jimmy: 6.4

McGing, Teresa: 8.2 

MacLiam, Cathal and Helga: 6.18-19, 7.22, 7.24

McLoughlin, Eamon and Barbara: 8.2

MacLua, Breandan: 7.17

Mendelssohn, Felix: 6.24  

Mitchell, Ellen: 6.29, 7.29, 8.15 

Morgan, Austen: 6.29 

Morgan, Barney: 6.18, 6.22, 7.8 

Moriarty, Martin: 6.3, 6.9, 6.17, 6.21, 6.25, 7.9, 7.14, 8.2, 8.5-6, 8.9, 8.11   

Morrissey, Hazel: 6.13 

Morrissey, Michael: 6.13, 8.3 

Mortimer, Michael: 6.18, 7.8, 8.9 

Morton, Alan G. Prof.: 6.12, 6.29, 7.6, 7.21, 8.5, 8.8, 8.10  

Morton, Alisoun: 6.29, 810 

Mulligan, Peter: 7.15, 7.21, 8.18 

Myant, Chris: 6.14, 7.12 

Nicholson, Fergus: 6.3

Ó Brádaigh, Ruairí: 7.12

Ó Ceallaigh, Daltún: 6.15

O’Connor, Prof. Garry: 7.2

O’Doherty, Fergal: 8.9 

O’Doherty, Pat: see Doherty

O’Donohue, Pat: 6.16, 7.21, 8.1-2

O’Donovan, Mabel: 6.16 

O’Flaherty, Derek: 6.3, 6.21, 8.11 

O’Grady, Joe: 6.18, 7.8, 7.25, 8.9

Ó Murchú, Eoin: 8.15  

O’Riordan, Michael: 6.1, 7.25, 7.30, 8.3

Ó Snodaigh, Pádraig: (See Snoddy, Oliver) 

Ó Tuathail, Seamus: 7.30 

Philby, Kim and Donald Maclean: 7.4

Pocock, Dave: 6.14

Redmond, Sean: 6.13, 8.5, 8.17  

Riordan, Barry: 7.7

Rosser, Mary: 6.17 

Rossiter, David: 8.4-5 

Rossiter, Robbie/Bobby: 8.2, 8.12 

Saidlear, Muriel: 7.28 

Salveson, Paul: 8.17, 8.19 

Shields, Jimmy: 7.18 

Short, Clare, MP: 6.3, 6.16, 6.21, 7.12, 7.17 

Snoddy, Oliver (Ó Snodaigh): 7.13 

Stagg, Emmet: 8.5  

Stewart, Jimmy: 6.5, 6.14, 6.22, 8.3

Stowell, Brian: 8.15   

Tate, Jane: 6.16, 6.21, 7.14, 7.21, 8.2, 8.8, 8.15-16

Thomson, Mrs Patsy: following 8.21 

Westacott, Fred: 7.13, 7.30   


June 1 Wednesday:  I met George Davies at Lime Street at midday [George Davies was an active member of the New Communist Party (NCP), which had broken away from the CPGB in 1977. He lived in Blackburn, not far from Merseyside where Desmond Greaves lived in Birkenhead, and had become friendly with Greaves in recent years as he took a good stand on the Irish question. Desmond Greaves retained his membership of the CPGB, which he had been a member of since he was 21, although he did not agree with its general policy trend which led to its dissolution in 1991, any more than he agreed with the positions of the various CP dissident factions at the time – the Communist Campaign Group, Straight Left or the NCP]. He told me that a lady with a very Lancashire name had decided she wanted to do something about Ireland. She consulted Michael Kneafsey, who is a good lad, and they consulted George Davies, who advised them to start a Connolly Association [Kneafsey had been a militant Irish Republican in Lancashire and was now in or close to the NCP].  He has made all the arrangements for a meeting in August. I had thought this was presumptuous, which it is, but I was less alarmed when I heard Kneafsey was in it.  He sells twelve copies of the “Democrat” each month and when I said to George Davies that he was not a member of the CA, Davies replied, “Well, he thinks he is.” George Davies told me that when I advised them not to bother with their organisation “against interference in Ireland” and to support the Connolly Association instead, he had consulted Sean Redmond, who had agreed with me [Davies and the NCP had proposed to set up a new solidarity organisation with the Irish cause]. Of course I opened myself up to interference from the NCP but felt able to handle it. He said they have an “Irish Advisory” like the old CP, and that they have recommended this to their “political committee”.

During the conversation I got some picture of the world they live in. He is a dedicated activist with a finger in every pie. I don’t think he has any sense of humour. He is certainly not relaxed. Of course he doesn’t need to be as he is a young fellow with boundless energy. He says Martin Moriarty [Connolly Association activist in London who had recently joined the CA] is in “Straight Left” and that their aim is to capture the CP, with Fergus Nicholson as their guru. The “Straight Left” has an identical policy with the NCP but will not cooperate with them or reply to their letters (Of course not. Officially they don’t exist!)[The Straight Left group linked left-wing individuals both in the CPGB and outside it and had its own newspaper, but its CP members did not acknowledge their existence as a faction within that party as otherwise they would render themselves liable to expulsion]. He says they are cooperating with Gordon McLennan [ie. the CPGB General Secretary]. For what purpose? I ask. Does McLennan disagree secretly with what he is compelled to do? He would not say that. He says that Straight Left are “building international connections”, which is indeed what the NCP is doing, and he is annoyed that at a “Liberation” meeting on Afghanistan the NCP were not given equal billing with others, while they have “fraternal relations” with the Afghan CP. It is all status and recognition and no connection with the people. This is the penalty paid for the existence of Socialist Governments. Everybody wants their backing.

He gave me a copy of the “Collected Works of James Connolly.” This is a woeful production that won’t lie flat. As far as I can see, it is simply a reprint of Desmond Ryan’s selection. It was to have been published by Harney and Jones (the NCP). Its flyleaf says they printed it. But in fact it was printed in Czechoslovakia. George Davies complains that the CPI [ie. the Communist Party of Ireland, whose headquarters was in Dublin] got 8,500 copies and the NCP only 1,500, so that they make very little money. I’d like to knock all their heads together. They’ve thrown away an opportunity. Michael O’Riordan’s introduction contains absurd mistakes [O’Riordan was former General Secretary of the CPI]. He has Connolly going up for the Council at the age of 16. I told George Davies it was absurd to call this the “Collected Works” of Connolly. There is no doubt that O’Riordan is slapdash [See Greaves’s review of this volume under “James Connolly” in the category “Articles” on this website].

George Davies is going to the Belfast CP school. “I’ll be in a minority of one,” he said. I told him that Kneafsey and Martin Moriarty were going – none of them are going with my approval – but he found it hard to believe that they would support him. I think he has too rigid a conception of what people are like.

Later I met Joe O’Grady [Liverpool Connolly Association activist]. We discussed the trip to Manchester. And later still I spoke to Gerry Curran and Jane Tate on the telephone [Key CA activists in London; Jane Tate, an Englishwoman, was CA treasurer].

George Davies is in touch with John Boyd, and no doubt the cooperation will be fruitful [John Boyd, an English CA member, ran the Campaign Against Euro-federalism (CAEF), which sought to influence the British Labour Movement to oppose European supranational integration. He continued leading this body until the 2016 Brexit referendum, when the British people voted to leave the EU. His views on this issue had been much influenced by Greaves following his joining the Connolly Association.] but I never before appreciated the doctrinarism of the NCP Left [ie. the New Communist Party]. George Davies is afraid of “nationalism” in relation to the Single European Act [The Single European Act was the first major supranational treaty since the 1957 Treaty of Rome. It established the EC/EU single market and had been ratified in 1987, the year before]. He criticises the Rowntree workers who want to keep their works in British hands. And he is talking about sending up candidates for the European Assembly. And I do not think he has any notion of the transformations the SEA will bring about.  There is such a thing as a “principled opportunism” that is opportunism no less. Another absurdity: he is afraid of what he calls “nationalism” in York, where the Rowntree employees join with their English employers to resist the Swiss takeover. I would have thought it natural to prefer to have an employer within their own national State-system.

June 2 Thursday:  I got a deal of clearing-up done though the telephone never stopped ringing. Dónal Mac Craith said Derek O’Flaherty had called a meeting nobody came to ­­– I think I heard about that [These were London CA activists]. The conference is going ahead and is advertised as run jointly by the CA and the Trades Council. The secretary is an Englishman and, says Dónal Mac Craith, “They’ve a different way of looking at things.” He is trying to construct a “trendy” platform. There is Trotsky influence. Then Jane Tate rang to fix one or two dates. And later John McClelland rang from Belfast saying that he will be in Liverpool tomorrow with Kevin McCorry [Kevin McCorry and John McClelland were activists in the Campaign for Democracy in Belfast. McCorry had been organiser of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, NICRA, in 1970-72 and John McClelland had been a member of the Connolly Association in Liverpool for some years before returning to Belfast]. They will be staying in Southport.

June 3 Friday:  I agreed to sponsor Clare Short’s “England out of Ireland ” campaign and there arrived an invitation to a meeting of sponsors on the 16th[Clare Short was Labour MP for Ladywood, Birmingham, and a former Government Minister. Her father was a strong Republican who came from Crosssmaglen, Co.Armagh, whom Desmond Greaves knew personally].  This is an important development. Then a man called Filling rang from Glasgow. He wanted Kevin McCorry and thought he would be staying with me. “It may seem a funny way of doing things,” he said, “but I am making arrangements for them in London.” I began to smell a rat. Anyway I said I would pass on the request that they should ring him. Finally John McClelland rang up and we met and went for a meal. Apparently Filling was on some delegation from Glasgow to Belfast – quite possibly the “Morning Star” one that has already caused so much trouble. He has now muscled in on the campaign that Kevin McCorry, Joe Deighan and others have started and which Freeman has refused to support, though Andy Barr has [This was the “Campaign for Democracy” in Belfast which contained several former Connolly Association members. It sought to advance a political course there that was independent of Provisional Sinn Fein and IRA and would oppose militarism and forward political republicanism. John Freeman and Andy Barr were leading Northern Ireland trade unionists, although in different unions. Barr was also a member of the CPI].  I warned them that this Glasgow man might have ulterior motives. Then they told me they had been sent to “Liberation” [Formerly the Movement for Colonial Freedom], were seeing Tony Gilbert [ie. its secretary], and that Martin Moriarty was looking after them on behalf of Liberation. So George Davies was right. Martin Moriarty and others in Liberation are “Straight Left” and influenced by Fergus Nicholson [Fergus Nicholson, born 1935, had been student organiser for the CPGB. He founded the “Straight Left” newspaper in 1979, as well as the campaigning group of the same name that encompassed people both inside and outside the CPGB]. I told them the Connolly Association wanted right into this and they promised to make a point of it. It is clear that “Liberation” made much play of their MPs, though the Connolly Association has just as many. Kevin McCorry told me he had left the CP [Kevin McCorry, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, had been full-time organiser of the NICRA in the early 1970s and was on the lorry which led the civil rights march in Derry on Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972. He later established a solicitor’s practice in Queen Street, Belfast]. He doesn’t agree with the “devolved parliament” nonsense. But he also said that before he became a worker for NICRA he was in the London YCL. That I did not know. I suppose he’d be in his early forties now, so he was in London in his late teens. His practice as a solicitor is proving very successful. Anyway, that was that. George Davies says that the “Straight Lefts” are collecting international connections. Perhaps this is part of it. Joe Jamison was in Belfast and sent me his regards [Joe Jamison was chief research officer for the AFL-CIO trade union centre in New York City, a campaigner on the MacBride Principles in the USA, and a leading figure in the Irish-American Labour Coalition there].

June 4 Saturday:  I only went as far as the shops. It was dry but cool and blustery, and there is no sign of the 70F required for a good summer. I’ve had a slight sore throat for some days, and it seems to have developed into a feverish cold. I badly need a break and should go away, but as Phyllis used to say, when you most need it you can’t summon the energy. I slept in a chair most of the afternoon. There was a letter from Jimmy McGill [A Manchester CA member]. He says that Danny Kilcommins went back to Galway eight months ago [Kilcommins was a longstanding CA member in Manchester who had been especially active there in the 1950s]. Lena Daly has been in hospital three times and has lost the sight of her right eye, and Michael [ie. her husband] is not too well [These were longstanding activists in the Manchester Connolly Association branch].

June 5 Sunday:  It was dry and bright today and I got an hour in the garden. I am still not perfectly well though, and I don’t feel like expending much energy. I got a bit of clearing up done and wrote some letters. I was remembering some of the things Kevin McCorry and John McClelland said – the CPI is in a state and only the presence of Michael O’Riordan holds it together. Jimmy Stewart has moved to Dublin at last and will be a fish out of water there [Stewart was the leading political figure in the CPI in Belfast. It was thought that he would move to Dublin following Michael O’Riordan’s retirement as CPI General Secretary there, but he did not]. And they recently met a Russian delegation who were trying to think politically for the first time in their lives and couldn’t. I think there might be something in all these things!

June 6 Monday:  It was dry if a trifle cool and I got in a couple of hours in the garden. I rang Dónal Mac Craith who agreed to speak at the next London meeting. I am not pleased with Brent. Apparently they have got Bernadette Devlin and Ken Livingstone, but no Connolly Association speaker [This was for a meeting on the Irish question under the auspices of Brent Trades Council – the Brent area, which had a large Irish population, being the local political base of Ken Livingstone, who chaired the Greater London Council in the early 1980s and had been elected Labour MP for Brent East in 1987].  I must ring Derek O’Flaherty [who lived in Brent at the time]. I also rang Jane Tate. Jim Kelly has surfaced again [Kelly was a CA member in London who had been active some years previously]. He missed our last letter owing to changing his address.

June 7 Tuesday:  Either old age is advancing or I am paying the penalty for not having a holiday last year, but though it was a fine day I just couldn’t summon the energy for gardening. I have a sort of permanent cold, with a slight sore throat. I did however write six letters and posted them off and went on reading the O’Casey book I am reviewing. There was a letter from John Boyd to the effect that the anti-EEC committee had elected him on to their Executive in absentia. They have been wobbling so perilously that he had virtually given them up. He also enclosed a photostat of a page of “Seven Days” that had printed a reasoned argument he wrote for them [“Seven Days” was the new journal of the CPGB, now that it had broken with the “Morning Star” newspaper, which had come under the control of party dissidents].  That rat Bloomfield or some such name had come out hook, line and sinker for the Single European Act.  And now a pitiful sniveller writes a letter applauding the same thing, as it will “reduce the differences between Nations,” and if one country “goes Socialist” will point the way to a socialist Europe. One suspects there is no revolutionary potential left in the CPGB. But the Birkenhead Branch have invited me to speak to them and I will see. If they were to go over en bloc to the CPB [ie. the Communist Party of Britain, which had been established in April that year, mainly by the disaffected CPGB members who constituted the Communist Campaign Group], I would possibly go with them. The last trace of scientific thought has been expunged.

June 8 Wednesday:  I felt a bit better today, but didn’t it rain from early morning to around 6 pm. George Davies sent me a pamphlet on Ireland he had written. There was nothing wrong with it, and as he had asked my opinion, I wrote and told him so. I got some arrears of newspaper reading done.

June 9 Thursday:  The morning was bright but afterwards it turned dull and drizzly, so nothing got done in the garden. I’m getting to the end of O’Connor’s “O’Casey”. There was another letter from George Davies saying that Filling in Glasgow is “one of the leading lights of the Straight Left faction within the CPGB”, an element he considers intriguing and dishonest. I wouldn’t be surprised and that raises the question of how far Martin Moriarty is implicated. I spoke with Peter Mulligan in the evening. He had the highest praise for the Nottingham crowd [Peter Mulligan, a longstanding CA member, was President of the Connolly Association at this time.  He was the chief figure in the CA branch in Northampton and made it a significant element in the political and cultural life of that city well into the 2000s].

June 10 Friday:  It was not wet today, but insufferably dark and dull. I went to the Bank and bought a sleeper ticket for Thursday when I intend to go to Clare Short’s reception [ie. to launch her England Out of Ireland campaign]. I tried to get John McClelland as I’ve no notion what they got up to in London. Joe Deighan thought I was enthusiastic about what they are doing, and tried to put my mind at rest by saying Tony Coughlan was deeply involved in it. Unfortunately, I don’t know what it is, and I wish they would confine their operations to Irish soil. Joe is going into hospital for a test early next week and says he will not be able to do me an article this month. He says he is well enough, but he says it without much conviction. Old age is a divil [Greaves used pronounce “devil” and “devilment” with the colloquial “i” in each case].

June 11 Saturday:  When the sun shone the easterly breeze was quite chilly, but in the sunshine it was warm. I got a bit of gardening done. If I can get marrows and rocket I have something. Dónal Mac Craith rang saying he had got the Connolly Exhibition and wanted me to open it on September 5th. That was the day I had scheduled to go on holiday, but I agreed to do it. Gerry Curran wrote saying West London had started a Gaelic class. The woman from Cardiff whom Pat Bond chatted up in London and thought he had persuaded her to start the CA there, said she didn’t think she could get the support after all [Pat Bond, one of the Bonds of Castlebond, Co. Longford, and of Protestant background, was a leading Connolly Association activist in South London for decades and an indefatigable seller of the monthly “Irish Democrat”.  He was comfortably off and was generous in supporting the Connolly Association at times of financial crisis. He had worked in a bank in the City but was now retired and regularly came into the CA’s London office at 244 Grays Inn Road, WC1. His wife Stella, an Englishwoman, shared much of the running of this office with Jane Tate, another Englishwoman, at this time, when the CA had no full-time organiser for the first time in decades].  

June 12 Sunday:  This was a magnificent June day, with the sun blazing away in the Northwest well after nine o’clock in the evening. It must be four years since I saw that. So I was right about the weather. The formation of the past three years has altered. I told Alan Morton I thought this was so as soon as the early spring came after a very mild winter [ie. Professor Alan Geoffrey Morton (1908-2003), Desmond Greaves’s oldest friend. Both did their primary degrees in Liverpool. It was he who introduced Greaves to the CPGB in 1934, Morton at that time doing postgraduate studies in botany at Cambridge. He became professor of botany at the University of London and  was author of “A History of Botanical Science”, published in 1981, and other works on botanical history. He lived in Edinburgh at this time with his daughter Alisoun. See some reminiscence of Desmond Greaves by Alisoun Morton elsewhere on this website].  I also hazarded the prediction of a dry summer with a lot of East wind. That has been so, so far. Anyway, as a result I did several hours in the garden, cleared the weeds from round the Northeast bed gooseberries, went on mending the loganberry supports and cleared the Chenopodium bed. But one of the marrows I planted out last night has been destroyed, possibly by a cat.

June 13 Monday:  Another superb day, most of the time with not a cloud in the sky. The wind was basically easterly but blew in gusts from the Northwest in the afternoon. I took this to be a “sea breeze”, for the land breeze resumed in the evening. Then there was a high cirrus. Jim King rang from Manchester and promised to have a word with the city local history librarian about Connolly’s operations in Salford. Sean Redmond sent a pamphlet that TUIUI have issued as a counterblast to the Freeman/Morrissey efforts against the MacBride principles [Trade Unionists for Irish Unity and Independence had been established by Sean Redmond and other trade unionists in Dublin some years before. The MacBride principles were the basis of a campaign in the USA to discourage investment in Northern Ireland unless the firms concerned committed themselves to oppose anti-Catholic discrimination there]. Apparently Hazel Morrissey has been to the USA twice [She was a leading Belfast member of the CPI in Belfast and was not supportive of the nationalist line of policy Greaves advocated, mistakenly regarding it as “pro-Provisional”].

June 14 Tuesday:  Another fine day, but with rather more cirrus. I didn’t get much done. I am in real need of a holiday. But how get one? In the afternoon Kneafsey rang. He is going to Belfast on Thursday to the CPI school. I told him I disapproved of it. “It is a gross interference in CPGB affairs,” I told him. He told me then that Martin Moriarty had disclosed to him that Myant and Pocock are in Dublin registering a protest. “I’ve no time for those two characters,” I replied “but they have a right to protest.”[They were leading CPGB officials who were opposed to the Connolly Association’s policy line on Ireland and sympathetic to “Official” Sinn Fein, now the Workers’ Party, and its British support group, Clann na hEireann].  About seven from some “West of Scotland Committee” will be there, and he speculates about connections with the “re-established” CPB. It looked rather as if it was a hunting ground for communist factions. Of course, I understand Jimmy Stewart is in Dublin at last [ie. moving there from Belfast to become CPI general secretary]. Have the mice started to play after the cat’s departure? From talking to Michael O’Riordan I understand it was an All-Ireland decision [ie. by the CPI, which was an All-Ireland body]. Says Kneafsey, “It looks a bit like the work the NCP does, crawling round embassies looking for recognition.” The factions do love each other!

June 15 Wednesday:  Another fine day, though not I think quite as warm. A letter from George Davies in which he guessed the McCorry Manifesto (as I would call it) might be the work of Filling. I assimilate it more to Daltún Ó Ceallaigh’s “new departure”, which Tony Coughlan was up to his neck in but discretely said nothing about [Daltún Ó Ceallaigh’s “new departure” amounted to a discussion some years before about establishing a new political party in the South, a notion that was not proceeded with. Ó Ceallaigh, a Belfastman, had been a member of the Republican Club in Trinity  College in the 1960s and was active in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement. He was research officer with the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) in the 1970s and in that capacity liaised on behalf of that Union with Desmond Greaves when he was writing the Union history, which its Executive had commissioned. See the relevant Journal volumes for the late 1970s and early 1980s. He later became General Secretary of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT). He wrote and edited several books on Irish political and historical topics].  I did a little in the garden. I had a word with Jane Tate. She and Martin Moriarty sent out about 120 circulars in regard to the London meeting and the conference [ie. the CA’s Jubilee conference planned for early September].  

June 16 Thursday (London/Liverpool):  It was dry but cool and cloudy. The anti-cyclone has gone “bad” as they do from time to time! I went to London and saw Mabel O’Donovan in the shop. Pat Bond had been ringing up to see all was well and she is not entirely pleased that he didn’t trust her. “Ach,” I said, “he’s a fussy-breeches”, and Jane Tate volunteered when I saw her afterwards that Bond “treats Mabel as if she were an imbecile.” Anyway, he’s too old to change now. What’s particularly bad is that all the documentation related to the shop he keeps at home

I went to the House of Commons where Clare Short was entertaining the sponsors of her “Get out of Ireland” charter with wine and speeches. Peter Hain was there and Bernie Grant, who did not greatly impress me – nor does Hain, whom I don’t trust [Hain was a leading anti-apartheid campaigner at this time. He became an MP in 1991 and was later a Labour Minister; Bernie Grant, 1944-2000, born in Guiana, became Labour MP for Tottenham in 1987]. But one or two decent people were there, notably Sister Sarah [Sister Sarah Clarke, 1919-2002, was an Irish nun and civil rights activist who campaigned for Irish prisoners’ rights in Britain from 1970 onward and was particularly involved in the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four and Maguire Seven cases]. Martin Collins of the Labour Committee on Ireland was in evidence [He was a Parliamentary adviser and Northern Ireland civil rights advocate]. They all speak me fair[colloquialism for “with appropriate respect or approbation”], presumably estimating that they won’t have to wait long for my departure even if my presence is irritating. I hope I disappoint them. I had a longish talk with Clare Short recalling my association with her father, who was always “speaking to” the CA even when we were at loggerheads with the Anti-Partition League [This was in the late 1940s].  I came back on a sleeper.

June 17 Friday:  I was tired as I didn’t get a good sleep, so didn’t do anything worth talking about all day. I had a reasonable lunch at the “Armadillo”, but they can’t cook. The potatoes had obviously been left standing in water, the carrots were tasteless; so were the cauliflower and courgettes – and nothing was served with a sauce. The boeuf bourguignon was tolerable – that’s all you could say. Liverpool is alive with restaurants but there’s not a single good one. Perhaps I might give the St. George’s Hotel another try. The Chinese one in Hamilton Square is quite good. Both Tony Coughlan and Gerry Curran were favourably impressed.

Yesterday – it seems part of today – Jane Tate was telling me about the “Morning Star”. I had seen a piece in the “Manchester Guardian” to the effect that the USSR had warned the “Morning Star” that if they attached themselves to the new CPB [ie. Communist Party of Britain, which had been established in April by dissidents from the CPGB] they would forfeit their Russian circulation. According to her the People’s Press Publication meetings were chaotic [ie. the co-operative society whose members were the legal owners of the “Morning Star” daily newspaper], as Chater and Mary Rosser are pressing for precisely this [These were leading figures in the aforesaid co-operative society and later in the CPB], and there has been the dirtiest manoeuvring, accompanied by blatant lies, to secure a CPB majority on the committee. No doubt this is partly why Martin Moriarty is leaving the paper. I doubt it is long for this world.

June 18 Saturday:  I have good reason to be annoyed with Barney Morgan and to a lesser degree with Joe O’Grady [Leading members of the Liverpool Connolly Association branch, whose regular meetings Greaves attended]. At the last meeting I could tell that Barney would have been happy to avoid a committee meeting on Tuesday they had all agreed. He said he was on holiday. Joe O’Grady also said he could not attend. What about the Wednesday? No response. Thursday? Just as bad. It was clear to me that Barney either wanted no meeting or a night I could not attend, which of course he found. It was so blatant that Pat Doherty protested, but Barney and Joe O’Grady insisted. So I was wondering what tricks Barney was up to [In reality they seem to have been seeking to arrange a surprise celebratory dinner for Desmond Greaves at this branch meeting, to mark his forty years as “Irish Democrat” editor. That was the reason they did not want him at it]. I guessed he wanted to cancel the Manchester trip. Today came confirmation. Michael Mortimer [Liverpool CA branch secretary] was of course himself absent and in no way to blame, but for the first time he sent out minutes of a committee meeting with the notice, and sure hadn’t they cancelled the trip as I suspected. So I had to write to all the people I had been in touch with in Manchester. But there was more. Barney Morgan disclosed that some friend of his at the Irish Centre was organising a trip to Dublin. Why not go in with him? Another interesting thing is the sign of guilty conscience on Joe O’Grady’s part. He has not telephoned for nearly a fortnight. And it’s my guess that the sending of the minutes is Michael Mortimer’s way of notifying myself and others before the meeting. I guessed the way it was, and to show Joe O’Grady I was back I sent him an invitation to the Standing Committee. This would normally bring a phone call by return. Now I don’t want a promising branch beginning to develop to be hampered by unpleasantness. If I went next Wednesday I could not avoid making a protest, otherwise Barney Morgan would get away with it in my presence. So I think I’ll be very busy with conference work, and let Barney, Joe O’Grady etc. do the work they are supposed to do. They’ve arranged no speaker. But I’ve arranged one for July, if they don’t make a mess of that.

Dave Goodman has written a most interesting pamphlet on the old age pension agitation which Cathal mentioned to me, and Bebhinn dropped a copy into the office [Bébhinn was the younger of Cathal MacLiams’s two daughters and Greaves was especially fond of her].  He is married to Cathal’s eldest (and favourite) sister, but I knew him as early as 1939. About May or June, when the Anglo-Soviet negotiations were in full swing, I was travelling to Stockton-on-Tees to discuss with the Power Gas Corporation the purchase of a water gas plant for Synthetic Oils Ltd. There was a young fellow my own age in the same compartment – that age was 25 – who took out a “Daily Worker” and I did the same. So we travelled together. I think I later met his parents, who lived in Middlesbrough, but I don’t think I ever met him again. He is of course Maire’s second husband, the first being called Sheridan, a decent but somewhat unstable and crusty character, who nevertheless made history, for I remember the night he brought Cathal along to the West London Connolly Association meeting [Cathal MacLiam had been active in the Connolly Association in London in the early 1950s before returning to Dublin following his marriage to German physiotherapist Helga Böhmer. Greaves had been best man at their wedding. Helga and Cathal MacLiam had five children and their home in Dublin, first in Finglas and later at 24 Belgrave Road, Rathmines, provided a kind of vicarious family for him and he regularly stayed there when he came to Ireland. The children spoke German and when young they used call him “Onkel Schokolade”, as he used bring them chocolate].

June 19 Sunday:  I still seem to have a cold but had more energy today. I finished four pages of the paper and put in an hour in the garden. I spoke to Josephine Logan on the phone and then rang Cathal for Goodman’s address. He said his mother was with the O’Haras in Sussex, but is not well, and he is wondering whether to go there. She is ninety. Finula has gone down there from London and will pass on her estimate as a nurse [Finula was one of Cathal MacLiam’s two daughters].

June 20 Monday:  It was dry today, but more overcast. The barometer fell but then steadied. I went into town to post letters and make some purchases. Blackburn NCP wanted me to speak at a meeting which joined 1916 with 1917[ie. the Easter Rising and the Russian Revolution]. They asked me a few years ago and I declined. I did so again.

June 21 Tuesday (London):  I went to London and attended the Standing Committee at 6 pm. Gerry Curran, Pat Bond, Jane Tate, Pat O’Donohue and Derek O’Flaherty were there. There was a battle between Pat O’Donohue and Jane Tate over the question of transferring funds from the Connolly Association to the “Irish Democrat” account [Pat O’Donohue was financial controller of Connolly Publications, the company that published the “Irish Democrat” monthly, and Jane Tate was treasurer of the Connolly Association. In its early decades the monthly paper used subsidise the CA’s activities, but from the 1970s onward the fall-off in public house sales, which was partly the result of a decline in the Irish population of the districts where the paper was traditionally sold, meant that the CA financially supported the “Irish Democrat”].  Neither Pat O’Donohue nor Pat Bond ever consult Jane, and there is precious little information out of them anyway. Anyway, the problem was solved. After that we went to the London members’ meeting. Even though 120 circulars had gone out, I doubt if 20 people turned up. Derek O’Flaherty is shaping up very well and took the chair quite capably. Martin Moriarty was telling me about Belfast [ie. the conference there being organised by the CPI]. He found it “fascinating”, having presumably encountered it for the first time. He said that he, Michael Kneafsey and Brett Kibble were united on one or two issues. I said, “What about George Davies?” “Oh yes. He said the same.” All the sects are angling for advantage.

I stayed with Jane Tate. She had been thrown to the floor on a bus and had hurt her back. I never knew anybody like her for accidents. She told me that Stella Jackson is now living with Vivienne, who says, “I’ve never any privacy except when I’m sitting in the lavatory.” This refers to Stella’s endless prattle [These were the historian T.A. Jackson’s two daughters]. Unfortunately she is arthritic and had to have Leslie’s assistance [ie. Leslie Morton, her deceased husband] even when dressing herself, so I suppose she has to put up with Stella.

Dónal Mac Craith gave the talk. He is a dull speaker. The Brent Trades Council is holding a meeting on Ireland and Derek O’Flaherty (mistakenly I think) agreed that the Brent Connolly Association (which is himself and his wife) would sponsor it. They have invited Bernadette Devlin and Ken Livingstone, but no CA speaker. Derek is not pleased and says their activities are linked with the Labour Committee on Ireland and Clare Short’s campaign. 

June 22 Wednesday (Liverpool):  I came back to Liverpool. Michael Kneafsey telephoned. He was not so starry-eyed as Martin Moriarty over Belfast. Apparently Jimmy Stewart is not in Dublin at all but is still “thinking about it”. The “devolved assembly” was being touted. They had a session on the movement in Britain and Kneafsey thinks the aim is to spread Fergal O’Doherty’s outfit throughout the country [This was a campaign advocating a devolved assembly for Northern Ireland which O’Doherty had established in Scotland and which elements of the CPI was supporting from Belfast. Greaves did not agree with this policy]. The penny dropped when Kneafsey told me they were asking those at the school to raise funds for them in Britain. They have not changed in the fifty years I’ve been working with them [The CPI seeking to raise money in sympathetic Irish leftwing circles in Britain had been a cause of contention with Greaves and his Connolly Association colleagues in the late 1950s]. And they want to publish a pamphlet on what should be done in Britain. He did not say Jimmy Stewart was there. The running is being made by this man Gormally who is from Blackpool.

I decided to go to the branch meeting, but it was over before I got there. Clearly Barney Morgan wants an anarchic situation where there is no discipline and he is not tied down to anything. So they must have all cleared off to the Irish Centre [ie. the leading social centre for the Liverpool Irish community].

June 23 Thursday:  I rang Michael Mortimer, who told me they had cancelled next Tuesday’s committee meeting. So Barney’s tactic was to meet in my absence and dismantle the branch structure. We’ll see about it, though for the moment he has got his way. George Davies rang up and gave me a third slant on Belfast. He thought on balance it was favourable. It probably was from his point of view – contacts for the NCP. He built up a relation with Martin Moriarty and Kneafsey was less cool towards him. He thinks they scotched the pamphlet on work in England. He got a favourable impression of the Democracy in Northern Ireland crowd [ie. the Campaign for Democracy led by Kevin McCorry and Joe Deighan in Belfast], classing them as well-meaning. Kneafsey had again been urging a tripartite meeting of himself and myself, so I invited him on Tuesday.

June 24 Friday:  I got off the front page of the paper. At about 5.15 the telephone rang, but there was silence when I lifted the receiver. I replaced it. About 15 minutes later it rang again. It was the Dublin operator saying Tony Coughlan was ringing [Anthony Coughlan was volunteer Dublin correspondent of the “Irish Democrat” since he took up work as a lecturer at Trinity College in 1961, and he continued in that capacity until the monthly paper ceased publication in the early 2000s]. When he tried to connect me it played a tune – yes, one with several notes, a tonic, a dominant and a third. The operator could not connect Tony, though he could apparently talk to him. “That’s the fucking British telephone system,” says your man. He promised to try again. He did so, and this time the music was even more sophisticated. “By Jasus!” said the operator, “Did you ever hear anything like that?” He passed on a message: would I ring Jane Tate. Her line was engaged for nearly 30 minutes. Finally I got her. She had been rung by the operator and given a Dublin number which was engaged. She tackled the manager in Dublin and was told the lines were badly out of order – in Dublin, not here. She had to go out. I tried the mystery number. It was engaged as late as 9 pm. I tried Tony Coughlan’s home; there was no reply. I rang Cathal; I couldn’t hear him but he could hear me. So we don’t know which of us Tony Coughlan wants, what it is or whether it is important.

I rang Dorothy Deighan to see how Joe Deighan was. He was taken into hospital last Saturday and was operated on on Wednesday, a colostomy. He still feels a bit sore and she expects him to be there another fortnight. As soon as I heard his account of it I feared something like this. But Idris Cox had such an operation twenty years ago and was prancing round like a two-year-old when I last saw him [Idris Cox, from Wales, had been CPGB international secretary some years before].

At last I got Cathal. He knew where Tony Coughlan was but not what he wanted. But he had bad news. His mother had died yesterday just before he could get to her. But he does not seem to be terribly upset. She was 90 and a half, and Finula was able to get down to her for the last few days.

June 25 Saturday:  Quite early Jane Tate rang with the surprising news that Tony Coughlan had not been trying to contact either of us. So the “Be Jasus” etc. was the sign of the hoax. But whoever it was stated clearly to Jane Tate that he was ringing from the Central Telephone HQ in Dublin. I wrote a letter to British Telecom protesting at the use of my ex-directory number, and asking for an investigation, and advised Jane Tate to do the same.

 It was cooler but still dry and I put in an hour in the garden. Blackcurrants are turning black. I don’t remember it in June before. It is usually July.

Through gardening I missed Mendelssohn’s “Lobgesang”. I would not have heard it through as I find Mendelssohn tiresome. But it was possibly the first thing I heard in rehearsal and I was very excited at the trombone opening. This must have been around 1921 when the Welsh Choral Union performed it and lost a lot of money over it. I think CEG [ie. his father, who was a figure in Liverpool musical circles] used to deputise for Tom Lloyd. Anyway I fell in love with the trombone. I found a score here – set for organ and not marked trombone. But my memory preserved the upswing perfectly over nearly seventy years. That at any rate I could check when I came in. The score does not describe the work as a “symphony,” but the BBC and [Burt] Bacharach do – though it is ridiculous. 

I spoke to Peter Mulligan late on. He asked how things were going. George Davies said that at Belfast he and Martin Moriarty and Kneafsey agreed they must build the Connolly Association. I can imagine useful competition developing!

June 26 Sunday:  It rained overnight, so there was no gardening today. I did a little clearing-up but did not get much done. Stella Bond rang to say that the Inland Revenue were threatening action because a return she had sent to Pat O’Donohue had not been activated upon. He was away. She had sent it to him in March! 

June 27 Monday:  Stella Bond negotiated an extension with the Inland Revenue. She also told Jane Tate that she received a mysterious call purporting to be from Ireland. Gerry Curran was convinced it was the political police. That crossed my mind as the most likely. On the other hand there might be some “disgruntled element”, as they used to be called, though I’m not aware of any grudges. At present we have singularly few enemies, openly anyway.

It was dry today, though cloudy, and I managed an hour in the garden. The little fellow – was his name Ian Dolan? Something like it – wanted to work for me. But he isn’t able for it and comes in interrupting me every five minutes and getting himself stung by wasps. I promised him some light work late in the summer.

June 28 Tuesday:  I went to Ripley again via Alfreton [ie. his monthly visit to this Derbyshire town to proof-read the “Irish Democrat” at the printers]. The proof-reading and correction took longer than usual. I was thoroughly tired when I got back to Liverpool at 8.15 and could not finish a meal I ordered in Lime Street Chinese restaurant. I only bought it because I was due to meet Michael Kneafsey at 9 pm. However, much to my annoyance he did not show up, and after waiting half an hour and having a drink I didn’t want, I came back to 124 Mount Road. I rang his home at 10.30. Either his wife or his daughter told me that he had said he was working late at the office, then seeing me. She did not know what happened to him. 

It was dull and cool at Ripley, but at Irlam the sky brightened and at Warrington the sun came out. It had been bright and warm all day in Liverpool. I have seen the same phenomenon when travelling from Newcastle to Corby and Edinburgh to Glasgow. I suppose the precondition is an easterly wind.

June 29 Wednesday:  It was warm but with a few light showers. I rang Michael Kneafsey. He had missed his train from St. Helens and had arrived 35 minutes late and was apologetic. Ellen Mitchell rang arranging a meeting in Glasgow and I spoke to George Davies regarding one in Blackburn. I arranged to see Kneafsey on Monday and George Davies said he would like to come. A letter came from Alan Morton. He had been to Hastings for Freda Morton’s brother’s 70th birthday and had been infected with some bug or virus. Doris Daly had written to him about putting on the Connolly play in Edinburgh. I presume this was Pat Bond’s work. The accursed ass. He never consults. Alan handed the enquiry over to Alisoun [ie. Alan Morton’s daughter] and she in all innocence is getting in touch with Dudley Edwards, the “fons et origo” of the whole anti-Connolly stream of revisionism[ie. Professor Owen Dudley Edwards, who wrote a study of James Connolly]. Alan also enclosed a review of Austen Morgan’s book [ie. Morgan’s biography of Connolly] by a man called Gordon Brown [then Labour MP for Dunfermline East, later UK Prime Minister].

June 30 Thursday:  It was dry most of the day and I planted out three tomatoes. So with luck I should have something. I also did some clearing-up and spoke to Jane Tate and Stella Bond on the telephone. Tony Coughlan sent me a copy of Dudley Edwards’s “Mind of an Activist“[ie. “Mind of an Activist: James Connolly”, published 1971] saying it was not too bad. It is not, though it contains some strange accounts of my views. But then he was only beginning. But perhaps one could say that possibly his students carried the thing further than he had intended it to go. The evening brought a thunderstorm – a bad sign.

July 1 Friday:  Again there was rain in the night and though the day was mainly dry, it was much cooler. This is a danger time. A real break in the weather in July is usually not rectified till September. The blackcurrants are turning black but the gooseberries are still hard, possibly because of the drought. I got some clearing-up done, but there is a mass of work to do. I have to hope for a month’s fine weather to get on top of the garden again. In the evening Jim King rang. He had got me material on Salford that would have been used for the visit if it had come off. Not a squeak from Joe O’Grady. He must be doubtful of the reception he will get. Tony Coughlan sent a copy of Crotty’s book – an autobiography which looks interesting [ie. Raymond Crotty’s autobiography and account of his constitutional action against the Single European Act: “A Radical’s Response”, published in 1988]. And Gerry Curran rang up. He has a purchaser for his London house, so I suppose it will not be long before he is away to Ludlow.

July 2 Saturday:  The day began fine but developed heavy showers and hailstones. Nothing could be done in the garden. I wrote one or two letters and did some clearing up and started on the review of Garry O’Connor’s book on O’Casey [ie. Garry O’Connor, “Sean O’Casey: A Life”]. He is a fraud. He uses material I was the first to publish, without acknowledgement. But he refers to me, not in the bibliography but in a solitary note. He says the death certificate of O’Casey further gives the cause of death as “disease of the spine”.  I have a copy of it here – the words are (as I put in my book) “Bronchitis, anasarca”, which I would attribute to cancer, possibly lung cancer. So I’m going to do a careful check on this fellow. He is of course, one of the “literary establishment” and is most happy in describing O’Casey when he was moving among the rich and famous. But these Eng. Lit. people haven’t a scrap of science.

July 3 Sunday:  Despite forecasts of showers today was dry and warm. I must have got in five hours in the garden. The loganberries have been ripe for several days – I have never seen them ripe in June before – the blackcurrants are black but the gooseberries are not yet ripe. I cut some rhubarb. The red currants have done well, and the Chenopodium that has given me two portions already looks like providing more. 

July 4 Monday:  I wrote a few letters in the morning but went into the city in the day and tried a Chinese restaurant in Bold Street that claimed “Good Food Guide” status. It was competent but not outstanding. I called into the bookshop where Gerry Dawson used to serve on Saturdays – he is dead now, I hear – and bought Leonard Barnes’s book on the Empire, more for the sake of auld lang syne. I had a copy when it first came out. I knew him in Liverpool [ie. Leonard Barnes, 1895-1977, British anti-colonial writer who lectured in education at Liverpool University from 1939 to 1945.The book mentioned was probably either “The Duty of Empire” (1935) or “Empire or Democracy” (1939)].  Also I got Andrew Boyle’s account of Philby, Maclean etc. [ie.“The Climate of Treason”,1979]. I have known for years that the commonest mistake is to take what is, to be the normal. I am reading all I can about the thirties, and only now am seeing what a remarkable and unusual time it was. The Cambridge CP apparently contained both Dobb and Bernal, but it was David Guest who started the activity that undergraduates could perform. [Maurice Dobb, 1900-1976, was a leading Marxist economist at Cambridge; J. Desmond Bernal, 1901-1971, born in Ireland, was a scientist and historian of science; David Guest, 1911-1938, was a communist mathematics lecturer, later killed in Spain, who was personally known to Desmond Greaves, who wrote a poem about him in his first published book of verse, “By the Clock ’Tis Day”]  Nationally apparently Klugmann was the key figure [ie. James Klugmann,1912-1977, communist student organiser in Cambridge in the 1930s; later a leading CPGB personality]. What this book says is broadly confirmed by what he told me. In Liverpool the Left-Labour move was started by Peter Evans. I kicked him out, but would not do things that way now [Peter Evans, leading figure in Liverpool University Student Socialist Society in the early 1930s; see Vols. 2 and 3].

I met George Davies and Michael Kneafsey at Lime Street and we had a long talk. I gave them my broad summary of how things got to this pass. The western imperialisms rested on their robbery of the colonial world. They could consequently repair the damage of the two World Wars and buy off their local populations. Lacking this the Soviets did marvels, but in a sense there had to be “primitive accumulation”. This was achieved by Stalin, and people put up with him when the alternative was to join the Third World themselves. Stalinism led to stagnation because everybody’s aim was to keep his head down. The result was a series of mistakes in which the Western CPs were alienated – whether what they did was worse was another matter; I think not. But there was a mass perception in the West that socialism didn’t work, capitalism did. Now if Gorbachev succeeds in the economic field the Western public will see an alternative to capitalism.  The differences on the Left may be healed, the Labour Party will relax its anti-Soviet stance. Though by then the financial feudalism of the SEA will have been clapped down on us and we may spend thirty years in an “Austro-Hungarian monarchy”. Reactions will be encouraged when this increasingly displays its contradictions and breaks up under the impact of revolt in the Third World.

We discussed a whole range of matters relating to the Connolly Association and Irish movements.

July 5 Tuesday:  Despite the gloomy weather forecasts today, unlike yesterday, was dry and bright. I went into Birkenhead to make purchases. Tony Coughlan wrote saying he was coming over but could not speak in London in July [ie. at the CA Central London branch meeting. From the 1960s to the 1980s Anthony Coughlan used regularly spend some weeks every summer helping out in the Connolly Association office in London during his vacation period from TCD]. He offered August 2nd, so I rang Jane Tate about changing the date. She agreed we should try. Gerry Curran has made arrangements for firing a mug with Connolly’s picture on it. He rang Jane Tate asking for money for it. She thought it should come from Connolly Publications funds. In the end he wanted it to be a West London project for which the central fund made a loan. I agreed to let that happen – for a quiet life.

July 6 Wednesday:  The morning was dry but the afternoon was cold and showery. I filled in my tax papers, which took all afternoon. A letter came from Alan Morton saying he would see me in Edinburgh in August, but maybe in Liverpool before that. I didn’t go out.

July 7 Thursday:  There have been proposals to start CA branches in Sheffield and Falkirk as well as Blackburn and it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the NCP’s doing. So what will Straight Left do about it?[The New Communist Party and Straight Left were rival dissident groups vis-à-vis the CPGB].  Start other branches? The classic position is the Irish competing for the favour of the English. Is it to be reversed in this case? Anyway, I’m encouraging them.

In the evening Barry Riordan rang from Oxford. He had an aunt in the Republican movement who died 25 years ago. He deposited two cases full of papers in the Munster and Leinster Bank. Now he wants them out, but is told that there will be charges. What should he do? If the papers are of any use to the National Library they might be prepared to help with the cost. He is going to Dublin in September. I sent out a circular to all members of the E.C.

July 8 Friday:  This morning Joe O’Grady telephoned. I had sent him the agenda for tomorrow’s E.C. but had not telephoned. He explained that his sister had fallen downstairs last night and he thought he should stay with her, which was understandable enough. Then he turned half apologetically to Manchester. They thought they couldn’t fill a bus. That was his reason. I asked why it took them a fortnight to communicate the fact to me. He protested that Michael Mortimer had been requested to notify me at once. I was polite but not excessively cordial. There is a meeting next week to discuss the trip to Dublin, not under our auspices, and Barney Morgan will be there. I blame Barney for intrigue, and Michael Mortimer for irresponsibility. I understand Michael Crowe is in London, and indeed this was confirmed when Jane Tate rang in the evening [Michael Crowe was a leading CA member who taught French at Newcastle].  The promise of June has not been realised. Today was cool, dull and showery. We haven’t seen the sun most of the week. It is a very bad sign when it turns cold in July – though July is only a good month in a good year.

July 9 Saturday (London/Liverpool):  I went to London. There was a poor attendance at the E.C. – no Peter Mulligan, Flann Campbell, Derek O’Flaherty, Tony Donaghey, Michael Brennan or Mark Clinton, and no apologies. Josephine Logan’s brother was being married, Ellen Mitchell was on holiday and Joe O’Grady’s sister had fallen downstairs. Yet it was a more productive meeting than usual. Martin Moriarty told me he would take on the job of London secretary, and both Pat Bond and Pat O’Donohue were more tractable. This is the first important step towards reorganising London. I think, moreover, he is strong enough not to become a dependency of Pat Bond’s empire. That individual has had subscription forms printed “Pat Bond – Subscription Manager”. It is no harm but first it was never discussed; second, he flatly refused to be circulation manager. But he wants to be something but not to be bounden to anybody else. And you couldn’t help smiling – as several of us did – to see him lugging books into the meeting place, with head bent down and aged step and an inexpressible air of martyrdom. But you’d never know what other people get their enjoyment from – even being miserable. I came back on the 7.50.

July 10 Sunday:  I did some filing and wrote one or two letters. I got hold of John MacHenry in the evening. Hanna is still away. The young fellow England is on some cycling expedition. And Smedley was beaten up in a fish and chip shop on account of some letter in the local papers [These were probably members of the local CPGB branch in Wirral whom he had met when invited to their St Patrick’s Day social in March; see Vol.37].  It is obviously impossible to hold a meeting this July. Perhaps late October or November.

July 11 Monday:  It was a wretched showery day, with sprinkles of rain all the time and nothing could be done in the garden. I managed to get correspondence done.

July 12 Tuesday:  Morning and early afternoon were fine. I got some letters off, then had an hour in the garden and sowed erica. I look like having marrows, courgettes and tomatoes. But on the whole I am further behind than ever. The bad July has put the “caip bais” [ie. Irish for the “cap of death”] on my plans. Charlie Cunningham wrote sending cuttings. This morning’s “Independent” had a story about the spilt between Adams and the IRA. If Adams goes into politics he will take IRA arrogance with him, make all kinds of blunders and end up like Garland [ie. Sean Garland, leading figure in the “Official” Republicans/Stickies, which at this time had become “The Workers’ Party”].Well, Charlie told me of a Republican meeting in London that ended in chaos. He thought it was Adams versus O’Brady [Rory Brady – Ruairi Ó Brádaigh – was a leading figure in Republican Sinn Fein, which had split from Provisional Sinn Fein in 1986 over the abstentionism issue], but it may be a split nearer the centre. Rather to my surprise I see Myant has sponsored Clare Short’s demands [Chris Myant was a CPGB official who was opposed to whet he regarded as Greaves’s and the CA’s “nationalist” policy line and their unwillingness publicly to attack or criticise the Provisional IRA. He supported Clann na hEireann, the British support group of the “Official” Republicans/Workers Party in Ireland, whose members had been encouraged by their Dublin office to join the CPGB and turn it against the Connolly Association; see earlier volumes].  Also his name, like mine, was left off the published list [ie. Clare Short’s published list of names of those supporting the call for British withdrawal from Ireland]. That was probably that little fox Collins [ie. Martin Collins of the Labour Committee on Ireland; later an adviser to Labour MP Kevin McNamara].

July 13 Wednesday:  A letter came from Fred Westacott asking me to give a lecture which was coming off in September – a memorial I believe to his wife [Fred Westacott, 1916-2001, a Welshman, had been West Midlands secretary of the CPGB. His wife Kath was a community activist and a prominent CPGB member]. He told me that with most of the Chesterfield CPGB he had gone over to the CPB. But they had agreed to run it jointly. It is during the time I should be on holiday, but I decided to go. From Bari came some poems by Pádraig Ó Snodaigh in Irish, with Italian translations by Rosangelo Barone. There was also a reference to his poems in English. I never saw them. In the evening a Scot called Andrew Taylor, a mathematics teacher and part-time official of the University Teachers’ Association, called and drove me to Liscard [an area of nearby Wallasey]where I addressed the CPGB branch on the Irish Question. There were about nine there. The best of them was an elderly retired shipyard worker called (I believe) Gordon Nash, who looked Irish and who knew Joe O’Connor in the olden days [O’Connor was an old CA member in London, a railway worker who had “Official” Republican connections; he had died some years before]. The young woman from Little Sutton is apparently a big noise in the area and wanted me on some committee they are setting up – not to any great satisfaction on my part. I said I would do a school for them. Andrew Taylor drove me back. He has a great respect for George Davies but not for the rest of the NCP. They are all a bit confused about the Single European Act. I wrote to Joe Jamison [ie. his Trade unionist friend in New York, campaigner for the MacBride Principles]. He told me that Pat Bond was looking for subscriptions in the USA – but he told the E.C. nothing about it [ie. the Connolly Association Executive].

July 14 Thursday:  This was a miserable day, so dark that I had the light on most of the time. It did not rain, but blew very light drizzle from the North, and there was a gusty, worrying wind that never stopped. I spoke to Jane Tate. Martin Moriarty had been in and Michael Crowe was working on the Central London meeting envelopes. She told me of Pat Bond’s latest. He has sent out all the South London notices although he had installed Michael Brennan as secretary. This is preciselywhat I foresaw and feared. He regards the organisation as his property, and shamelessly interferes in everything. He cannot, maybe doesn’t wish to, delegate. And anybody given any responsibility is liable to have it snatched out of his hands. And he cannot see that this drives people away. The danger is that Martin Moriarty will be sucked into the Pat Bond whirlpool. His own picture is of course that nobody can be trusted to do anything and it is his martyrdom to have to do it for them. And though he knows everybody, he has no friends. You’d need the patience of Job!

There was a letter from him this morning. It was addressed to the Connolly Association, but he had read it. It asked for a list of CA publications to be sent to Bournemouth. They are on his booklist. All he has to do is to mark them in the margin and send it off. Why should he send it to me? Heaven knows. I sent it back. But he also said he thought Tom Aherne was dead and his son wanted a notice in the “Democrat”[Aherne had been an activist in the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) and also in the CPGB]. He said he thought Aherne was a foundation member of the CA. I came into it in the winter of 1941 – there was no sign of him then. And his role was far from constructive in the London District Committee [ie. of the CPGB] where he was addicted to imperialist economism [ie. concerned primarily with economic matters rather than political issues that might bring overall British Government policy towards Ireland into question]. I heard Republicans allege that he blotted his copybook in some way in Cork and came to England and changed his name. That is sheer hearsay. What there does seem to be is the old old story of the man who falls out with Republicanism and takes up Socialism.

July 15 Friday:  Of course one day doesn’t count, but St. Swithin’s day must have been the first wholly dry day of the month! The Northwest wind abated to a degree, and there were even bursts of sunshine. Tom Aherne’s son Daniel wrote, anxious for a write-up in the “Democrat”. They are having a reception at Jack Gaster’s on the 24th (Sunday) [Gaster was Desmond Greaves’s personal solicitor and was responsible for drawing up his will].  I replied suitably. I managed half-an-hour in the garden, mostly gathering loganberries. They are very early this year. Indeed all the fruit is coming together. I rang Peter Mulligan. He had been away in Manchester and only returned to Northampton late on Friday and did not open his accumulated mail till 3 pm., when it was too late to get to London. I also had a word with Gerry Curran.

July 16 Saturday:  An absolutely filthy day. Rain started at 8.30 am. and continued all day without a break. Two of my tomato plants are diseased and I suspect the trouble may be phytophthora infestans, though all the symptoms have not appeared. There remains one healthy plant, but without dry weather it will not remain so. I’ve time to use the ground for something else. I wrote one or two letters and started on the Annual Report [ie. for the impending Connolly Association annual conference in early September, its 50th jubilee event].  

July 17 Sunday:  It was dry but dull and cool with that Northwest wind, lighter, but still very much there. I wrote the Annual Report and there is no doubt this had been a good year, except for some of the weaknesses in London. I spoke to Peter Mulligan and Tony Coughlan, also Dónal MacCraith. He tells me that Mac Lua is no longer editing the “Irish Post” and the new man professes to be a simon-pure variety of Republicanism and has descended to attacking Dónal Mac Amhlaigh for being in the Free State army [Mac Amhlaigh was the well-known Irish-language writer who wrote a column in the “Irish Democrat” at this time. He lived in Northampton and belonged to the CA branch there run by Peter Mulligan].  Indeed he seems to be pursuing a policy of deliberately splitting the Irish community. I wonder has that any bearing on MacLua’s looking so glum when I met him at Clare Short’s party.

July 18 Monday:  Today was dry and at least we could see the sun still existed even if it didn’t do much shining. I got off two pages to the printer and an advert to the “Morning Star”. Jane Tate rang. Daniel Aherne has left a message that he would be pleased if Jane Tate or Pat Bond would represent the Connolly Association at a reception in memory of Tom Aherne at Jack Gaster’s.  He must have received my letter saying I would find it difficult to go. Apparently Ahern was married to Jack Gaster’s sister, something I didn’t know. The son says that Ahern grew more consciously Irish when he was an old man. Certainly when I had the war with the “imperialist economists” he was on the wrong side, so there was room for improvement [This was a reference to the policy dispute with leftist members of the CA and CPGB in the 1958-59 period; see Journals for those years]. Pat Bond does not remember him, nor does Jane Tate. But she is willing to go, and possibly Gerry Curran will go. So I who knew him as an opponent am asked to write something for Jane Tate to read out. As Jimmy Shields used to say, the best place for lies is a funeral! It seems Martin Moriarty is taking his job seriously and I think he will be tough enough not to be sucked into the Pat Bond maelstrom.

The “Manchester Guardian” carried the first letter against the Single European Act. And I rang John Boyd to say the reaction may be developing [John Boyd, an Englishman, was a member of the Connolly Association who shared Greaves’s concerns over the EEC. He and some colleagues later established the Campaign Against Euro-federalism (CAEF), which sought to influence the British Labour Movement against supranational integration up until the 2016 Brexit referendum].

July 19 Tuesday:  Though there was only a sprinkle of rain it was cloudy, chilly and dull. The forecast sunshine never arrived and this is proving a sunless July. I went on with the paper and got two pages off.

July 20 Wednesday:  I went on with the paper and in the evening went to the Liverpool CA branch meeting. It was well attended – about 20 in all – with Barney Morgan, Joe O’Grady, Pat Doherty, Alan Morton 2 [A lecturer in Sociology at Edgehill College], Michael Mortimer, Ian Foster and quite a few more. Con Lodziac had come from Nottingham to speak, but though he is a Polytechnic lecturer he proved an indifferent speaker, was too quiet, didn’t look at the audience and even put his hand over his mouth while he was speaking [Son of a Polish immigrant who married in Britain, Lodziac taught at Trent Polytechnic; he wrote “The Myth of Consumerism” and “The Power of Television”]. Some of his material was good however. Afterwards we went to the Irish Centre, after Josephine Logan had taken Lodziac down to see the Pier Head. Ian Foster is going to Ireland next week, so I gave him one or two addresses.

July 21 Thursday:  Today began with “Cauneas” [ie. Beware of them].  I had to go to the hospital after six months. An 18 bus did not turn up and I was waiting three quarters of an hour – an inspector also waiting telling me that these days he didn’t know who was his boss. Routes could be run by one company in the morning and another at night. I had plenty of time in hand and was away quite quickly. But according to the specialist pressure was up. The number he gave was 57. So I have to increase the dosage of steroid, and instead of having six months clear he wanted me back in two. The danger may not be that great as he willingly extended it to three, so as to clear my holiday. I wasn’t too pleased. The extraordinary thing is the blind automatising of this appalling Health Service. I have not seen any specialist twice. If you were taking a dog to a vet you would expect similar attention. Of course I could get the appropriate medical books and study it all up. But I have other things to do. I very much doubt the approach that sees disease as a crop of independent symptoms to be dealt with according to set rules. Of course I do know Alan Morton suffered a pressure rise after the death of Freda. So it can happen. But there is nothing on which you can found a course of action.

I had a letter from Pat Bond saying that the young girl Teresa McGing was going to work in the bookshop during the holidays, and as Connolly Publications had no money he was going to pay her himself – which probably means out of the money he got from the Greater London Council [ie.This was a grant to support the Irish bookshop run by the Connolly Association next to its office in 244 Grays Inn Road. See earlier Journal volume regarding this. When Ken Livingstone was leader of the Greater London Council in the early 1980s he systematically supported Irish causes and Irish support helped elect him MP for Brent East in 1987. He later became Mayor of London]. Jane Tate has heard about this. But it was not brought before the E.C. but just done unilaterally. I asked him for an account of outstanding bills. He replied that he merely passes them on to Pat O’Donohue. Pat Bond does what he pleases and never reports. But he has money and that gives him independence. He has told O’Haire (of Southwest London) to tell him what his expenditure will be and he will pay it. But when the branches were divided the funds should have been divided too. So Pat Bond controls Southwest London through the purse. And Jane Tate says he has dreams of being the president in place of Peter Mulligan [who was then President of the Connolly Association]. She and I agreed we will keep Peter. Into the bargain we install Martin Moriarty as London Regional Secretary and ask him to contact the South London branches, and Pat Bond knocks two of his branches out of his hands. But by the way, the power struggle is beginning – Martin Moriarty proposed Brett Kibble for the E.C.[ie. for the Connolly Association Executive Committee]. So we face a “Straight Left” faction, and Ian Foster is coming to London and we may then have an NCP faction [These were factions within the CPGB in the years before its dissolution and Greaves was afraid that they might also manifest themselves on the CA Executive]. And in the middle of it all the megalomaniac Paddy Bond!

July 22 Friday:  I finished the paper and that was about all. Another day without a glimpse of the sun. It is not cold like last year. The temperature was quite reasonable. But it must be the most sunless July for years. A letter came from Cathal MacLiam [ie. his old friend in Dublin]. He had been looking through his mother’s papers and found the letters he had sent her from England. He was very pleased that he had shown due filial respect. That of course he would do. I remember how worried he was by the possibility of a breach with his father, whom he didn’t get on with. Proinsias Mac Aonghusa had been mischief-making, telling old Wilson that Cathal was not going to Mass [Mac Aonghusa, an Irish-language journalist and a leading member of the Irish Labour Party when this was written, had been a classmate of Cathal MacLiam’s when they were students in Galway]. I was able to advise him. I got him to write that the tittle-tattle was mischief-making and as for himself, when he got home they would see whether he went to Mass. I shrewdly estimated that Mass in Galway is “faut mieux” than Mass in London.

July 23 Saturday:  Another day of gloom, though with only a few sprinkles of rain. I gathered the red currants. One bush was loaded, the other had hardly any fruit on it. And I’ve forgotten the names, so I didn’t know what I would buy if I thought of a replacement. I planted out a zucchini and the existing marrows seem to be doing well barring the cats. They are nice little animals but have a habit of breaking leaves off things.

The “Morning Star” rang me. They want me to review the Connolly book and do an article on the Connolly Association jubilee.

July 24 Sunday:  There were a few showers in the morning, but the greater part of the day was dry. But it was cool and a gale was blowing. I got a bit done in the morning. I rang Cathal. He told me that the same people who did it before, or somebody linked with them, had libelled Tony Coughlan again and he had secured an injunction restraining publication[This was over a history of the IRA by Messrs Bishop and Mallie, published by Corgi Books, in which the authors suggested that Coughlan has been a member of that body, which was not the case. This was seemingly an accidental repeat of an earlier libel for which Coughlan had got damages, so he had to be financially compensated twice].  He confirmed this himself in the afternoon. It would not surprise me if there were circles who would like to do a bit of gunning for him. When I rang both him and Cathal there were mysterious clicks and it was an unconscionable time before the ringing tone began.

July 25 Monday:  There was a very high wind, but by midday the sky had cleared, though there seemed to be the remains of a front to the south of us, the cirrus and cirro-cumulus hanging round the zenith till 3 pm. Northwest there was a splendid blue sky and a warm Southwest wind. I went into town, and posted letters to Michael O’Riordan, Eddie Cowman and Ian Foster, who is going to Dublin on Wednesday. Joe O’Grady rang up with particulars of delegates to London [ie. from the Liverpool CA branch to the annual CA conference being planned for early September] – CDG [ie. Greaves himself], Joe O’Grady, Pat Doherty, Ian Foster and Miss Rosemary Bell.

July 26 Tuesday:  I took the 10.30 and changed at Manchester and found a taxi at Alfreton. Certainly the Eastern route is more interesting. I loathe that dreary ride from Derby to Crewe. Of course today the Pennines were blotted out with savage rainstorms and there is no sign, or scant sign, of the weather taking up. All went well. I left Alfreton on the 4.20, changed at Sheffield and was in Liverpool by 7.20. Tony Coughlan sent a newspaper cutting about his libel case. He gets the best of two worlds. Nobody thinks it is a terrible disgrace to be in the IRA and some will think he must be a bit of a dog. On the other hand his professional colleagues will see him defending his respectability.

July 27 Wednesday:  I was busy today but not with great result. It was showery in the morning, so no gardening. I went for some eye drops, then went to the Bank. I bought some household requirements.

July 28 Thursday:  The bad forecasts were fulfilled. I was up at 7.50 am. just as it started to rain. It eased off for five minutes around 9.30 am., when I went for a newspaper, then rained heavily till 7 pm., when breaks and blue sky came out of the Southwest and I could go over for an evening paper. I got some letters done and some clearing up. I spoke to Jane Tate. She says the Connolly Association is about breaking even. But she had another fall on Friday and had to have six stitches in her head. She thinks she tripped. I wouldn’t be surprised if her cataract was affecting her attention. She is the most accident-prone person I ever met. In the evening Muriel Saidlear telephoned on Tony Coughlan’s behalf. He won his case with costs today, then went to TCD, glutton for work as he is. He has postponed his visit here to Saturday, something I rather expected, and am not sorry about as I have so much to do.

July 29 Friday:  The high wind continued, and the fence supporting the loganberries that I mended a month ago is blown down. There was very little rain, though some, but it looks as if the garden is a virtual write-off. I did some clearing up. Tony Coughlan rang in the evening saying he could not get space on the Dun Laoire-Caergybi service and would be coming direct to Liverpool [Caergybi is the Welsh name for Holyhead and the name Greaves regularly used].  Pat Bond sent the delegation nominations and resolution from Southeast London. Yet he says he got Michael Brennan to agree to be secretary. He is utterly impossible. He gives the young man responsibility and snatches it away when he feels like it. And it was not in any way his responsibility to find a secretary for Southeast London. I notice two of his female admirers are proposed for the E.C. – Doris Daly and Theresa McGing. There is absolutely no basis for either of them but that they pander to Pat Bond’s ego. So we have the “Straight Left” nominations. Now we have the Pat Bond. I wonder why he left out Ellen Mitchell? He included Josephine Logan. I could find myself with a fine old rabble if they all had their way!

July 30 Saturday:  I spent most of the day clearing up, and in the evening Tony Coughlan arrived. He had taken a cab from the dock. He told me he had won his court case with costs. The sums were undisclosed, but apparently amounted to £10,000 of which the lawyers took £4,000, leaving him £6,000 which he proposes to spend on house repairs. Seamus O’Toole (formerly “Misneach”) handled the case for him [Séamus Ó Tuathail SC was an old friend of Anthony Coughlan’s. He had been a junior counsel for Raymond Crotty in the 1986/7Crotty case on the Single European Act. Later he acted in the 1995 McKenna case and the 2000 Coughlan case, two constitutional actions before the Irish Supreme Court, as well as in the defamation action referred to here. As a young man in the early 1960s he had been active in the Irish-language group Misneach (Courage) that had been established by Irish writer Máirtín Ó Cadhain, and Greaves used refer to him by that name]. Michael O’Riordan is calling a conference of Communist parties early in October. If I go it will curtail my holiday. First I put it off to be able to open the Connolly Exhibition in Brent. Then I sliced off another week to do Fred Westacott’s meeting in Chesterfield. So there may be only a fortnight left. Perhaps I could get another couple of weeks at the end of November. Tony tells me that Roy Johnston is dabbling in EEC slush funds and offers “advice” in an anti-EEC sense but insists that it must remain secret. He’s completely shameless. He will do almost anything for money.

July 31 Sunday:  Today was (miraculously) dry and sunny. Tony Coughlan and I went to West Kirby – first to Arrowe Park, then to Upton, where we finally got a bus that took us all the way. We had quite a reasonable lunch and a drop of wine, and then walked along the track of the old Railway line which is now a “country park” and very pleasant, with views of Flintshire across the Dee. I think the railway closed before the war. I’m not sure. It may have been when the Wirral Line was electrified and it was pointless to go to West Kirby via Hooton. There used to be substantial sidings at West Kirby, and I remember the carriages with the particoloured Great Western style. And people did go from Rock Ferry via Hooton. Now that the services have been wrecked, more people are using the suburban railways and new stations are being opened.

One suspects the possibility of the weather taking up. This is said to be the wettest July since 1939. I do recall that because I was to go cycling in Ireland with John Lancaster and the weather was so wet that I postponed it for a week. Myddleton left it till August and had cloudless skies [Myddleton was his superior at work at that time. It was he who got Greaves his first job at Epsom Fuels as a research chemist in 1937. See Vol.4]. He was brought up in the Co. Antrim and I don’t think he had been south before, except possibly on some shopping excursion to Dublin.

August 1 Monday:  Tony Coughlan left in the morning and there was another quite reasonable day, but on the cool side. I think the weather must be taking up and not before time. I felt tired, with a bit of a cold. But I got a financial plan worked out. Pat O’Donohue is on a collision course with Jane Tate. He wants to transfer the loss on the Connolly Publications account to the Connolly Association so that he doesn’t have to go “cap in hand” to Jane. I suspect they all discuss plenty I never hear about. I want to persuade them to tackle the deficit rather than shift it from hand to hand. The proposition is in effect to accept the loss on the paper and deplete the reserves of the Connolly Association, which is just breaking even, until we are broke again, by handing over £250 a month [At this time the Connolly Association was subsidising the “Irish Democrat”, owned by Connolly Publications, out of its reserves  because of the fall-off in pub paper sales during the period of the previous two CA organisers].

August 2 Tuesday (London):  I went to Euston and found Tony Coughlan and Jane Tate awaiting me. We went to the Cosmoba for a bite [The Cosmoba was an Italian restaurant in Bloomsbury]. Then I sat at one of the tables outside and read the correspondence Jane Tate had brought. A Sheffield woman planted herself on another chair and began to give out about the Government (“I’ve no time for women after her.”[ie. Mrs Thatcher]) and religion. “It’s all my age. I don’t want to go anywhere when I’m dead. I’ve seen enough of them.” She was 73. Then I went to 244 Grays Inn Road and found Pat Bond with Mabel Donovan and Teresa McGing, a very nice girl, who was cleaning the windows. Pat Bond had tripped in his bedroom and given himself two black eyes. I didn’t stay long but returned to Jane Tate and Tony Coughlan, after which we went to the Standing Committee.

I had wondered how to operate and decided to present my proposals first. I neutralised Pat O’Donohue by saying I had no objection to reviewing the distribution of assets between the two funds. He sat silent for a long time, but then seemed to decide to cooperate. But I didn’t want the redistribution yet. The priority was to end the loss on the paper, for which I proposed an increased price to 40p. and a total campaign to increase circulation by 400. I got unanimous support for putting this to the conference. But Pat Bond had prepared his own proposal. It was to raise the CA subscription from £6 to £10. Now this was probably the sweetener. Jane Tate was to hand over £3,000 a year, but in return get in £1200 extra in subscriptions, but once they had accepted my plan this was quite needless and indeed ran counter to my plan for an increased and more active membership. Bond brought out all his babyish tricks, slamming down his papers on the table, pouting, whimpering, appearing to be about to walk out in high dudgeon and indeed excelled himself in pettishness and obstinacy. Pat O’Donohue was intelligent enough to see this plan had been made irrelevant. Jane Tate, Martin Moriarty and Gerry Curran stuck out for no change. Finally Bond offered compromise, which the rest accepted without very good grace. Gerry Curran and I went for a drink before the second meeting to wash him out of our thoughts.  Incidentally Chris Maguire had been in, protesting at Pat Bond’s removal of the East London branch from Hackney to Forest Gate, and Martin Moriarty concurred: “It should be in Hackney.” He appears just to have called a meeting in Forest Gate, ignoring the Hackney people, and said here was the East London branch! He does not consult me or Martin, who was London secretary. Likewise he did not consult Jane Tate about his financial proposals.

The meeting was quite a success. Flann Campbell [son of the poet Joseph Campbell; editor of the “Irish Democrat” in the late 1940s before Greaves took it over; a Labour Party member]. and there were 23 present, among them Martin Moriarty, a Liverpool man called Pat Faul – quite young, 30? – Teresa McGing, Mabel Donovan, Bobby Rossiter, whose son is not going to be a policeman after all, much to Bobby’s relief, MCa. [name unidentified], Gerry Curran, but neither Derek O’Flaherty nor Michael Brennan showed up. I am afraid Pat Bond may have annoyed Michael Brennan without telling me, by sending out the notices without consulting him. Charlie Cunningham was there but was very defeatist, and into the bargain Roy Johnston on holiday in London. There was a young man – a mile high – who was at my talk in Galway and missed me at the London meeting, and Doris Daly. Tony Coughlan stayed with Flann Campbell [This was the last time that Anthony Coughlan was in Desmond Greaves’s company. When in London Coughlan normally stayed with Jane Tate at her flat in 3 Hunter Street, Bloomsbury. Greaves stayed there on this and other occasions since he had given up living full-time in London. His flat in that city from the 1940s to the 1960s was at 6 Cockpit Chambers, 20 Northington Street, WC1].

August 3 Wednesday (Liverpool):  I came back to Liverpool, where I found a letter from Eddie Cowman [He had been Connolly Association organiser in the later 1970s and was now living and working in Dublin and active in progressive causes there]. He is coming to the conference and as two of his younger brothers are in London he will not need accommodation.

This morning Jane Tate told me an interesting thing, though it is hearsay. A Newcastle man went to the CPI school. When he got back he told Michael Crowe of a cabal in Belfast to get rid of Michael O’Riordan as president and replace him with Jimmy Stewart. The secretary would then be Michael Morrissey! “A Euro takeover” I said. “Indeed. I hadn’t thought of that.” Another thing is that Eamon McLaughlin, who was supposed to have had a heart attack, had only got heat stroke, but Barbara was so frightened that they’ve both come back to England. He is pretty far gone in the drink but goes swimming [Eamon McLaughlin had been CA General Secretary in the late 1950s. He and his wife Barbara had gone to live in France for some years. He was originally from Coleraine, Co Derry. Barbara McLaughlin was English].  When he rang Jane Tate he said he had lost Barbara at the baths and gone home alone. “But,” he adds, “I’m afraid she’ll find her way back all right.” Last night Roy Johnston said that Joe Deighan was out of hospital, looked well, but had lost a lot of weight. Bobby Heatley was not too sure of the prognosis. It was warm in London but cool back in Liverpool, which reminds me when I got up yesterday I could not see across the road. It was if an unusual mist obscured the building. Then I heard things coming down the chimney and put my glasses on to look out properly. The lawn next door was white and huge hailstones as big as marbles were bouncing off the walls. And it went on a good half-hour.

August 4 Thursday:  It rained early, so everything was wet. But the rest of the day was dry but warm. I wrote about 15 letters and spoke to Josephine Logan in the evening. I’m getting a trifle tired of the constant cloud cover. Even before the weather broke at the beginning of July there was no consistent sunshine. And though there are constant favourable forecasts, they never come to anything.

By second post came a large cardboard roll, which when opened contained a picture done by the South London artist David Rossiter, called “Am Bodensee”, a picture of tourists in the dark on the shores of Lake Constance. He is willing to do illustrations for the “Irish Democrat”. I must go and look for a frame for it. He is apparently trying to make a living as an artist and this work he sent to me was on exhibition with the Royal Academy in 1981.

August 5 Friday:  I took David Rossiter’s picture down to be framed, and the art-dealer was quite struck by it. I had intended to go on to the Bank but found I had not brought my cheque book. So I didn’t look for duplicating paper, but came back. On the second journey I found the office suppliers had ceased to keep it in the shop, so that I had to order. The minute I got back through the door Sean Redmond rang. And later Alan Morton rang to say he is coming to see his sister next week and suggesting lunch. He sounded on top of the world and seems to have got over the loss of Freda quite quickly [ie. his wife]. Of course he has children and grandchildren. He was concerned when I told him about the optical set-back.

A letter came from Emmet Stagg who will write an article for the souvenir “Democrat”[Emmet Stagg was an Irish Labour TD for Co. Kildare who was then a leading left-winger and opponent in that party of its policy of regular coalition with Fine Gael in government]. I asked Sean Redmond to do likewise [This was to be the special September issue of the “Irish Democrat” to mark the 50thanniversary of the Connolly Association’s foundation]. Martin Moriarty sent the minutes of Tuesday’s meeting. It may be we have a “find”, even if he is a “Straight Left”[Martin Moriarty did in fact play a valuable role in helping to run the Connolly Association in the years following Greaves’s death].

August 6 Saturday:  At last a real “summer’s day”, with temperature around 70F, not too hot and not too cold – the way we wished it was all the time. I collected the blackcurrants, though many of the best were blown off by last week’s winds. Michael Crowe rang and said Sean Corcoran had decided to concentrate on the CA and was coming to London as a delegate. Later Gerry Curran rang about photographs. I spoke to Peter Mulligan in the evening. He seems very pleased with Martin Moriarty, whose minutes of Tuesday’s Standing Committee were sent out in two days.

In clearing some of the garden jungle I disturbed a hedgehog. The gardening dictionary says they are beneficial.

August 7 Sunday:  Another summer’s day, this time classified as “hot” – middle or high seventies. I remember the wet July of 1939 was followed by a long hot autumn and the coldest winter ever. But I also remember the wet July of 1931 followed by those magnificent days over the bank holiday, and then from the day I went with Be. cycling to London, the torrents went on. So there’s little in records. In the evening Joe Deighan telephoned.  He is at home and on the mend and mowed the lawn yesterday. He lost a deal of weight but is putting it on again, and he and Dorothy are trying to get to London for the Connolly Association jubilee.

August 8 Monday:  Another very warm day, though it turned wet at night. Pat Bond, who seems in an unaccustomed good mood, told me Jane Tate had gone away for a week. I have noted her increasingly frequent visits to her brother and I know he would like her there all the time. So how much longer we’ll have her I don’t know. This is probably what has put Pat Bond in a good mood. In the afternoon Alan Morton rang up from St. Helens.

August 9 Tuesday:  The Nottingham branch resolutions and nominations arrived. They nominated Feargal O’Doherty of Glasgow, a somewhat nasty piece of work, and in the thick of this “Civil Rights” outfit; also Martin  Moriarty but not Derek O’Flaherty. I checked with Pat Bond. Feargal O’Doherty is not a member, nor has he been for years. I naturally suspect the hand of “Straight Left”, but if so it is a somewhat amateurish hand. 

The day was unsatisfactory. I was to meet Michael Mortimer at Lime Street and arrived a few minutes early. He was not on the expected train. I met two more, then gave up. Later I rang him. He had arrived early and waited by the escalator. I must have missed him by seconds, possibly when I went to get a newspaper, though it is surprising that we didn’t see each other. He was convinced I had a heart attack and had rung the police who called to my neighbour in Borough Road. So we decided to meet tomorrow. Now exactly the same occurred when I was to meet Joe O’Grady. 

August 10 Wednesday:  Today things went better. I met Alan Morton at Lime Street and we had a reasonable lunch in the St. George Hotel, which was surprisingly quiet. I see he is wearing an (unobtrusive) hearing aid, and he says his eyes are misty from time to time. Of course he is 78 – nearly 78 and a half. He says he has got over the loss of Freda reasonably well [ie. his wife]. Alisoun Morton’s disease having been at last officially recognised, she is drawing a disability pension. John Morton still has a job but is afraid of losing it and is considering giving up science [Alisoun, John and David were Alan and Freda Morton’s children].

August 11 Thursday:  A dark, damp, miserable day, when it hadn’t even the guts to rain decently. I am always at my worst when in weather like this. I got very little done, a little clearing-up, attending to mail and reading the papers. Martin Moriarty rang up. He will call up the committee members for next Tuesday’s meeting. Derek O’Flaherty has gone to Ireland, and I’m told the “Irish Post” has a substantial article on the Connolly Association [ie. to mark its 50th anniversary].

August 12 Friday:  Not quite as bad as yesterday – the afternoon was dry – but there was a strong chilly west wind. I picked up David Rossiter’s picture from Rennies and had lunch in Birkenhead. I didn’t get much done. The many things I have to do need thinking over and you can’t just plough through them. I saw the “Irish Post” article, which was favourable. But it says Tomás MacGiolla used to be in the CA. I never heard it said – also Ruairi Quinn, again I have no recollection [MacGiolla was President of the Workers’ Party in Dublin, formerly “Official” Sinn Fein, and Ruairi Quinn was a Labour TD and later Labour Party leader. Neither were ever Connolly Association members].

Mrs Brown next door brought me a greengage which she said had fallen off my damson tree – so it has been growing there under false pretences for years, as it isn’t a damson at all.

August 13 Saturday:  The summer was indeed short-lived. This was another dark gloomy damp day. I finished an article on the Connolly Association for the “Morning Star”[This was Desmond Greaves’s last article. Titled “Alliance for Irish Freedom”, it was carried in that paper on Friday 2 September 1988, a week following Greaves’s death, and is reproduced in the “Articles” section of this website under “Connolly Association”]. I have made progress on steps for reorganising the CA. I got the decision to reorganise through the E.C. by resolution. I want the proposals ready for the Standing Committee next Tuesday. And I want them water-tight so that they can’t be frustrated by Pat Bond. I know it’s just self-glorifying nonsense, but he exasperates me with his ultra-individualism.

August 14 Sunday:  The heavens opened in the morning, so there was no gardening. I did some more work on the Connolly Association reorganisation. In the evening Pat Doherty rang. He is coming to London but doesn’t know about his wife, so will ring Jane Tate. He says that Barney Morgan takes “early retirement” this month, and we suspect will be shortly off to his “dream cottage” in the Isles of Greece. Pat Doherty strongly disagrees with this as a form of imperialism. The English wreck their own country, then make financial invasions on the pensions they draw from the “third world”.  But Barney Morgan is basically “consumerist”, though I suppose there’s a romantic streak. My guess is that if he goes he will be back again [This was an accurate judgement. Although Barney (Bernard) Morgan regularly visited Greece in later years, it was only on holiday; he never left Liverpool, where he remained a well-known member of the Irish community. He died there in 2021; see obituary of him by Kevin McNamara MP]. He is talking of learning Greek. One should hear him trying to pronounce Welsh placenames. The accent is gruesome.

August 15 Monday:  Another morning of wretched cloud and gloom. Tony Coughlan rang. His telephone has been out of order. He says Michael O’Riordan has injured his back and Sean Nolan is in hospital after a mild stroke. He is seeing Eoin Ó Murchú today about the conference in October. I went into the city to book a sleeper for tomorrow night. I’ll swear there were 70 in the queue. I didn’t want to, but called to John Gibson [a veteran CPGB activist in Liverpool] and had lunch. I rang Jane Tate. She says John O’Haire is in hospital but she does not know what’s on him. Martin Moriarty has been busy contacting people. Pat Bond, who runs his own private organisation parallel with the public democratic one, blandly informed her that Ellen Mitchell is staying with him. Everybody else fits in with him. Now Jane Tate had Ellen Mitchell listed for the Keables, as she thought Kevin might like to discuss music [ie. with Ken Keable, an English member of the Connolly Association]. It was Pat Bond who ruined Noel Gordon and went a long way to ruining Paul Gilhooley [These were the two previous CA organisers], for he tried to use them as his private office-boys. He is utterly destructive of the collective discipline of anything he is in. One of the reasons I want to get a lot of money before we employ a full-time worker is that I don’t want him being dependent on the goodwill of Pat Bond. While I was talking Brian Stowell called bringing an article [Brian Stowell, 1936-2019, a Liverpool member of the Connolly Association, was a leading campaigner for the Manx language and became a Manx writer and radio personality. He lectured in physics at John Moore’s Liverpool University at this time]. He said Bernard Moffat had given up as secretary of the Celtic League. A Cornishman, Dafyth Fear, living in Caernarfon has taken over.

August 16 Tuesday (London):  I took the 1.10 pm. to London and called to Jane Tate at 5.30, then went to the Standing Committee. Pat O’Donohue was there, with Gerry Curran, Flann Campbell and Martin Moriarty. But there was no Michael Brennan. Pat Bond was worse than usual. He sat there pouting with his head hung down and the few things he said were to show how far he knew something the rest of us didn’t. Of Michael Brennan he said, “Tuesday’s inconvenient for him.” Now I had written to him twice. I presume he rang Pat Bond, naturally thinking he would pass it on. He sat on it until he could show he was the well-informed one. He wouldn’t come for a drink as the others did, but took himself off without a word. Jane Tate commented on his capacity to create an “atmosphere”. He has no manners and behaves like a spoilt child. But my resolution went through and I several times insisted on being told what was going on. I stayed with Jane Tate.

August 17 Wednesday (Liverpool):  I came back on the 10.50 am., which diverted through Nottingham and was late. Yesterday was a fine day, but by evening today it was getting ready to rain again. George Davies rang. I can see I’m going to be like Sir Michael Scott, and I won’t be able to set him spinning ropes of sand. He has captured Paul Salveson as chairman of the Northeast Lancs branch [ie. a proposed new branch of the Connolly Association, which George Davies had committed himself to supporting and pushing in NCP circles in Lancashire].  I told him he had jumped the gun – I don’t think he respects very deeply the democracy of other organisations. But he seems to have some good promising initiatives. Sean Redmond rang promising me an article, and I spoke to Peter Mulligan and Joe O’Grady.

August 18 Thursday:  I finished the drafting of the main resolution for the conference. I’ll have to duplicate it myself as Jane Tate is going away. She thinks she has concussion. I had intended to go to Edinburgh next week but it is doubtful if I’ll be able to manage it. I met Joe O’Grady, who gave me some literature for Blackburn [ie. for a meeting to establish a new CA branch there, stimulated by George Davies of the NCP]. Apart from that Peter Mulligan rang. It poured rain most of the day today.

August 19 Friday (Blackburn):  I didn’t get much done today but caught the 5.15 to Preston and Blackburn where George Davies and H. Grimsditch met me. Mrs Grimsditch proved to be an attractive young woman – I would place in her late twenties – who lives near Ribchester [a village in Lancashire]. We went to the Trades Club and quite a reasonable gathering assembled, including Paul Salveson, Michael Kneafsey, Martin Guinan, George Davies and the man in a wheelchair who went to be an Anglican parson. George Davies took the chair and Michael Hindley (pronounced with a short “i”), the European Assemblyman for East Lancs, spoke first [Michael Hindley, born 1947; Labour MEP for Lancashire European Union constituencies from 1984 to 1999]. Then I said a few words myself. Thirty-two people attended and I know some joined the Connolly Association and others indicated their intention of joining. I had a word with Michael Hindley after the meeting and he told me he had been in Ireland to help Raymond Crotty with his campaign and had indeed met him at one meeting [This would have been during the campaign on the Irish constitutional referendum on the Single European Act in 1987, the previous year, which was initiated as a result of Raymond Crotty’s constitutional action. In this Hindley was opposed to the European Community, later Union, as Raymond Crotty was]. The Irish Government had accused him of interference in internal Irish affairs. H. Grimsditch was elected secretary and Paul Salveson chairman.

I stayed in the village of Harwood with a Wexford man and his wife whose name I have forgotten! I’m getting bad on names, and hard of hearing, and less confident of balance, on top of eczema (very mild) and glaucoma. It’s astonishing how many degenerative diseases I’ve accumulated in less than a decade. Later Michael Kneafsey and Grimsditch called for a drink. Kneafsey lives close by. Kneafsey did four years in Walton jail for conspiracy.  He is from Mayo but has Sligo connections. George Davies is greatly respected.

August 20 Saturday (Liverpool):  I was brought into Blackburn. We passed through Rishton [a town near Blackburn], where everything is called after Mercer, who discovered that treating cotton with sulphuric acid could put a silk-like sheen on it. I caught the 10.04 am. to Preston and came on to Liverpool. It poured rain all morning and all evening it was so chilly that I put an electric fire on and it was dark by 7 pm.! This is a desperate summer.

August 21 Sunday:  Though it didn’t rain for once, it was cold and dull. I doubt if it made 60F – nine days after the thermal solstice. However, I got an immense amount done. I laid out six pages, including a complicated middle-page spread for the special 12-page jubilee “Democrat”. And of course I didn’t do anything else. I don’t think I ever managed six pages in a day before.

                  (End of Vol.38, c.17,000 words)



The above is the last Journal entry, written on Sunday 21 August 1988.  In his “Table-Talk” – see elsewhere on this web-site – Desmond Greaves expressed the view that the best death was a sudden one, in the middle of the work one wished to do. This happened in his own case. He travelled to Glasgow on Monday 22nd, the day following the last Journal entry, and spoke to the Connolly Association branch in that city that night. He died suddenly, of an aneurysm, in the dining car of the train bringing him back to Liverpool from Glasgow on Tuesday 23 August 1988. His body was taken off the train at Preston. Two further days passed before his Liverpool colleague Barney Morgan learned of his death. It was Greaves’s Connolly Association colleague Pat Bond, phoning from London to Greaves’s house in Birkenhead and getting no reply, who asked Morgan to call to the house. He was told by the neighbours that the police had called earlier to say that the owner of the house had died. Barney Morgan then contacted the police and informed Greaves’s political colleagues in Britain and Ireland.

The Connolly Association 50th anniversary conference was held in the Kenilworth Hotel, Bloomsbury, London, in the following week, on Saturday-Sunday, 3-4 September, and Desmond Greaves’s funeral took place in Liverpool on the ensuing Tuesday, 6 September. The service was at Anfield Crematorium, Liverpool. An Irish piper led the large cortege that walked from the Cooperative Funeral Home to the crematorium, with a police motorcycle escort. The Irish flag draped the coffin. Several people came to the funeral from Ireland. Sean Redmond and Michael O’Riordan from Dublin, John Boyd from London and Tom Walsh from Liverpool [Walsh was a leading member of the Liverpool Irish community], each introduced by Barney Morgan who acted as master of ceremonies, spoke at the service, whose details were organised by Anthony Coughlan.  CPGB General Secretary Gordon McLennan represented that party at the event. A few days later Desmond Greaves’s ashes were buried in the family grave of his parents and his sister Phyllis in Bebington Cemetery, Wirral, in the corner to the left of the main entrance to the cemetery. The gravestone there reads:

                       Charles Desmond Greaves 

                       Born 27th September 1913

                       Died 23rd August 1988

                       Internationalist, historian, poet

The special 12-page Jubilee issue of the “Irish Democrat”, which Greaves had begun, and the first half of which lay on the worktable at his home in Prenton, Birkenhead at the time of his death, was completed by Gerry Curran, Martin Moriarty and Anthony Coughlan. On his worktable also were notes on planned activity for the Connolly Association’s 51st year, following its jubilee conference, as well as the text of draft Executive resolutions for this event. There was also a hand-written statement that seems, from some other dated notes written on it, to have been composed on his last visit to Dublin the previous May. It set out a personal political wish, as if he felt he had not long to live and desired that this should be communicated to others. It read as follows:  

“The nation state remains the most effective vehicle for the expression of popular democracy, but is now under threat from the transnational institutions typical of the late 20th century, cultural, economic and military. These have created a species of international imperialism, originating in the old colonialism but reacting back on the former colonising powers much in the same way as repression in Northern Ireland has reacted back to the detriment of British democracy. I would like to see an international campaign for the defence of the nation state as an institution and the extension of national democracy to wherever it is a matter of public demand.”

Connolly Association member Mrs Patsy Thomson chaired the Connolly Association meeting in Glasgow at which Desmond Greaves spoke on the night before his death. He stayed at Mrs Thomson’s home overnight following this meeting.  She made the following notes on what he said at the meeting and she included with them the poem below which she wrote on hearing of his death some days later. The phrase “Declaring his intent”, which she uses in the poem, echoes the longstanding call by Greaves and the Connolly Association that the British Government should declare its intent to base its Irish policy on working towards Irish reunification in cooperation with the Irish Government (See Mrs Thomson’s contribution to “Memories of Desmond Greaves” on this Archive web-site):-

“ Here are the details I can remember of Desmond Greaves’s last address at our branch meeting in Glasgow. I am only sorry not to have taken fuller notes of what he said:

  1. He was specific about the British Government needing to give a declaration of intent to withdraw its rule from Ireland and to work towards that end over a period; 
  1. Transitional arrangements would obviously need to be made and massive cash incentives would be needed;
  1. A Chair of Reconciliation at Queen’s, Belfast, would be symbolic, as well as having intrinsic merit in helping to forge a new united country;
  1. He referred to Ulster’s historical provision of Protestant radicals and republicans and how that heritage – the US Constitution, John Mitchel etc. – had been allowed to be lost;
  1. He referred to “real middle-class golf-club people” he had met on his last visit to the North who were beginning to talk with interest – and some cupidity! – about higher salaries in the South. Pragmatically,  he saw that as a hopeful sign;
  1. He endorsed nationalism for Scotland, seeming easier and freer about this than some of his listeners might have expected. I am a Scots Nationalist after many years of Labour Party membership and was very heartened to hear his views; 
  1. He was basically optimistic about the future of Scotland and Ireland and urged positive exploitation of the larger European and global setting;
  1. He underwrote the importance of Irish pressure groups and consciousness-raising in Britain. He felt that an Irish Centre in Glasgow would be a step forward and encouraged me to start campaigning for that.

I wrote the following poem after I heard a week or so later that he had died on  the day after our meeting on the train he had taken to go back to his home in Liverpool:-


The night before he died,

Desmond, nearly done,

Spoke to us of Ireland.

He used broad strokes, 

Swept over times long past

With grace and great good humour.

He probed the present, paused to cough,

Then planned a future, positive and plain –

Declaring his Intent.

Disarming us, he spoke as one old man

Who saw clear hopes and 

Pledged that others, if they willed,

Could multiply those hopes and 

So make Ireland whole.

His words were often broken by that cough –

“A summer cold” – a nuisance to those views

He shared with us in Glasgow,

Declaring his Intent. 

The Union room was close and full,

Young men and older women too,

All fired by Connolly and by Greaves, 

For Ireland and her fate.

Desmond disappointed any there

Who wanted no way out.

Indefatigable in old age

He spoke with optimistic heart,

Declaring his Intent.

Let England now confess the sin – 

That long mistake of staying on.

Algiers was quoted – the Congo too.

He swept the globe in one last overview.

Precedents were named for righting wrongs, for crying halt,

For proper passing on to peaceful times.

Let Dáil and Parliament seize the hour,

Agree transitions, name a date, make clear

Their Declaration of Intent.

He spoke of Emmet and Wolfe Tone,

Reminding Scots that

Nationalism has no church,

That Ireland’s cause is more

Than that of Rome.

John Mitchel, Ulsterman,

Socialist and Unitarian,

Should be a model now for

Any Declaration of intent.

Above that nagging cough

He spoke of reconciliation.

A Chair could be established soon at Queen’s

And academics sieve through Ireland’s past

For times of shared endeavour.

Resources would be needed – sure –

Great golden splints to mend those broken halves.

Money and goodwill could heal, was Desmond’s case,

Declaring his Intent.

He spoke of Scotland too,

Its socialism and its past,

Of Connolly and Maclean.

But always Desmond claimed our forward view.

He made us look to Europe and the modern world,

Showing us all a gainable goal:

Ireland at last united, calm and free.

Firing us to work for this, he left and so he died,

Declaring his Intent.”

Postscript:  Desmond Greaves made a will some years before his death, leaving his estate to Anthony Coughlan without condition.  Coughlan did not know this until Greaves’s London solicitor, Jack Gaster, contacted him following his client’s death. In the Journal entry of some years before where he referred to his making this will, Greaves implied that it was a short-term expedient until he decided on more detailed dispositions later. The years passed, however, and he never got round to making these, or else he decided that he was happy to  leave the original disposition stand. Anthony Coughlan assumed that it would be Greaves’s wish that his estate should be used for political purposes, and this was duly done; for instance over half of the value of Greaves’s house in Prenton, Birkenhead, which was his principal asset, was spent following its sale on Raymond’s Crotty’s unsuccessful campaign to be elected to the EEC Assembly (Parliament) in 1989 – Anthony Coughlan being Crotty’s election agent on that occasion.  Coughlan in turn has made dispositions to leave his own estate on his death for the purpose of drawing attention to the importance of Greaves’s intellectual legacy and his political work.  

Anthony Coughlan was unaware that Desmond Greaves kept a Journal until he found  the 38 hardback copybooks in which it was written on the bookshelves in his house after his death. The full Journal, some two million words in length, is now available on the internet in this electronic edition, with a personal names Index and an organisation names Index for each volume. The Indices are at the end of each volume for the first 27 of these volumes, and are placed at the start of each volume for the last 11. 

In the Journal from the 1970s onward a couple of dozen sentences or phrases have been omitted as being possibly defamatory of persons living at the time this electronic edition is published, or likely to be hurtful to people still alive. None of these few omitted phrases or sentences relate to Anthony Coughlan, who is Editor of this edition. They have been indicated in the original manuscript Journal and the printed-out copy thereof that has been prepared for deposit in the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin, where it was Desmond Greaves’s wishes that his papers should go.