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The Socialist 11 June 2014 |
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Obituary: George Duff
George joined the Socialist Party around the time I became branch secretary of East London branch in January 2013. He was an upbeat and treasured member of the branch.
Growing up in a Protestant household in Belfast during the 'Troubles', before moving to London, shaped his politics greatly. His experiences led him to strongly oppose sectarianism and all forms of bigotry and injustice. He followed with great interest and admiration the work of our sister party in Northern Ireland.
The poor treatment of disabled people in society today was also a driving force behind his political activism. George loved his job at a disabled charity. As a disabled man, he knew how little and just what poor quality services are available for disabled people.
Sadly he also felt the impact of the government's austerity first hand when he lost his job due to funding cuts at the charity. These cuts were passed on to the charity by Tower Hamlets council.
When the cuts were announced, with the help of Socialist Party members, George recruited a number of colleagues to the Unite union and tried to fight the redundancies. His efforts managed to postpone but sadly couldn't stop the redundancies going through.
I was always impressed by his warmth and confidence especially in political settings. He used his powerful Ulster brogue to great effect on street stalls and paper sales, ensuring passers-by were well aware of the branch's campaigns!
We had hoped he would be a branch delegate to congress this year for the first time but sadly he was already too unwell having just lost his job. But despite our best efforts to re-immerse George back into political activity he succumbed to acute depression and tragically took his own life.
While George was a very strong individual and class fighter, he was also a victim of government austerity and this uncaring capitalist system. Nonetheless, George's struggle to overcome great difficulties and to fight for a better world will always inspire comrades who knew him.