David tells us he doesn’t know when he became a socialist although admits to never voting for the incumbent Conservative MP where he lived. He was brought up in a family where a sense of right and wrong was a core value. His parents were both teachers who pushed him to succeed academically and, as he puts it, “blessed with a good memory for facts I managed to pass exams”. This enabled David to secure decent jobs in construction as a surveyor, a path chosen because he did not want to be office bound and enjoyed being outdoors.
He ended up working for Housing Associations and saw the daily struggle of residents to get good quality and safe housing.
Through his wife he got into the pleasures of gardening. After attending the Big Green Gathering they made a big change to their lives by moving to Wales, buying a derelict property with a large garden and, whilst renovating this, odd jobbed at a local organic veg box scheme and attended festivals working free tickets by offering craft workshops. They then started their own veg box scheme on some rented land serving over 80 local families with fresh grown fruit and veg.
He later worked in a homeless hostel and after some further education got a job as an arts and crafts teacher working and supporting people with learning difficulties. He is now retired and, in between tending his garden, writes regularly for Critical Mass.
|Which book do you think all socialists should read?
|I am well read & have tended to find an author I like & then read all their books. Steinbeck & Orwell have been indelible markers so to choose one book is difficult but I will recommend Down & Out in Paris & London by George Orwell as it highlights the unnecessary suffering of those in poverty & the fringes of society & brought home to me the reality of my maternal grandfather’s struggle to survive & finally die as a pauper in a spike.
|What was the most important event in the history of socialism?
|The most important event in the history of Socialism for me was the founding of the NHS.
|Who would you rate as the outstanding political leader of your generation?
|The most outstanding political leader of my generation has to be Nelson Mandela.
|Which film should socialists watch?
|Well, tricky; Ken Loach has made many brilliant films dealing with socialist issues but to understand capitalism & all its ills then ‘They Live’ 1988, directed by John Carpenter is a must watch.
|Which single political event was most instrumental in your political development?
|The single event that was instrumental in my political development was Jeremy Corbyn getting on the list for Labour leadership. At last a vision of a better world of fairness, equality & peace being possible hit all the right buttons for so many people as, up until that moment, we could only vote for more of the same old same old, offering no real change for ordinary folk.
|With which historical socialist do you most identify?
|Fidel Castro. Not always a saint but his answer to sanctions has to be admired, city farms & a healthcare system capable of offering help to other counties.
|Which single reform could make capitalism work?
|No single reform can make capitalism work but high on any agenda of change is the ending of corruption, better tax laws, the breakup of large corporations & an end to their political influence.
|Have you ever been on strike, if so, did you win?
|I am a member of Unite but have never been on strike. Whenever I have been dissatisfied with my employment terms & conditions I have changed jobs.
|Do you think we can get socialism through the ballot box?
|We can only get socialism at the ballot box if we change the parliamentary system introducing fixed terms for MPs, an elected second chamber & a fair & free media.
|What do you do when you are not doing politics?
|When not ‘doing politics’ I run a community Facebook page, find jobs around the ongoing project that is my home, walk my dogs, potter in the garden & go camping.
|Do you ever feel like giving up politically and why don’t you?
|There have been times, I won’t lie. But Tony Benn, whom I mentioned earlier, taught us that there were two flames burning in the human heart. One of anger against injustice and one of hope for change. As long as there is injustice, I won’t give up.
|Are you an optimist or a pessimist when you think of the future for the left?
|Politics is hard & sometimes difficult to motivate those who need to have an interest in politics to get the change they need. I will never stop trying though.
|Is socialism inevitable?
|We stand at a crossroads now where the greed by a few individuals has put our planet’s ability to sustain us all in jeopardy.
The only model that will now bring us back from this brink will be a return to equal contribution and equal shares for all across the planet.
Our tribe now lives all over the world and unless we embrace socialism for all we risk our future to satisfy the greed of a few.
There is a massive struggle ahead as the wealthy control many of the levers of power even shaping the thinking of people but as more people find the present system is not working for them they will realise they need socialism to survive.