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Pat Wall Memorial Meeting

“Go well, comrade”

(August 1990)

From Militant, No. 1995, 24 August 1990.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

On Friday 10 August a memorial meeting in honour of Pat Wall was held in Bingley. It was dignified but extremely political, presided over by Clare Doyle of the Militant editorial board.

All 700 chairs were taken and many more people were standing. From far and wide they had come to pay tribute to Pat Wall – labour movement leaders like Arthur Scargill and Dennis Skinner MP – but also a host of rank-and-file activists and working-class people mourning the Marxist MP who struggled so tirelessly for their rights.

Terry Fields MP said: “We mourn his passing and we celebrate his life. Sleep well, comrade, in the knowledge you gave your best. No-one could give more.”

Militant editor Peter Taaffe, in a message to the meeting, stressed the example Pat had set in building links with fellow socialists during trips abroad – in Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, South Korea and elsewhere. Other messages showed that Pat is remembered around the world.

Socialists from Pakistan expressed their shock at his death and paid tribute to his fight against racism in Bradford. The Marxist Workers’ Tendency of the African National Congress concluded their message: “Go well, comrade Pat.”

On behalf of Bradford’s Asian community, Ragvir Virdee described how Pat Wall had persuaded him to join the Labour Party 20 years ago despite his doubts about the right-wing policies of the Wilson leadership: “In the presence of Pat here today, I rededicate myself to the struggle he and I began 20 years ago.”

Speeches by Ted Grant, Keith Dickinson, Dave Nellist MP, Terry Harrison (see report), Bob Cryer, Max Madden, Mick Richardson and John Ingham were moving and sad, but above all the event was a celebration of Pat’s contribution to the struggle for socialism.

Brian Ingham conducted the funeral ceremony at the crematorium.

Fighting to the end

To the end of his life Pat Wall, the victim of much persecution by the Tory media and the Labour right wing, stood firm in his defence of the labour movement against attack by the capitalist class. On 18th July, in one of his last letters, he wrote to support Arthur Scargill and Peter Heathfield in the witch-hunt that has been launched against the NUM:

“Trade unions do not need any lessons from the capitalist media…Every concession, every reform has had to be fought for and in every battle the media has always shown which class it was backing.

“The NUM has for years been looked up to as the pride of the labour movement, and there are many today who could learn lessons on how to run a trade union from the mineworkers.”

On 25th July Arthur Scargill answered:

“Thank you very much indeed for your kind letter. At a time when we are under constant media attack it is deeply appreciated.

“You can rest assured that Peter Heathfield and I will continue to fight against this appalling witch-hunt, and that we will not abandon our principles or the defence of pits, jobs and mining communities.”

(Various messages of condolences)

The funeral indicated the tremendous support Pat had in the labour movement. It was the largest funeral gathering I have witnessed and it showed the respect and love that people had for him.

I first met Pat when I joined the Labour Party Young Socialists in 1958. He made an immediate impact on me as a speaker and a teacher. He had a tremendous ability to simplify complicated ideas and he espoused a very basic sincerity and humanity.

I’m proud to describe him as one of my mentors. It was Pat who invited me to make a real commitment to the ideas of Marxism and made me realise what this meant.

Pat played a tremendous role on the editorial board of Rally, the journal of the Walton Young Socialists. Although it was duplicated, it had a national and international circulation. He wrote for it and helped build a team.

Pat had 40 years’ Labour Party membership, yet some people persisted in describing him as an infiltrator although he did every job from collector to MP.

It is an indication of the sad state of the Labour Party today that only on the death of somebody like Pat Wall is it possible to stand up and say that he lived and died as a Marxist and a supporter of Militant without facing expulsion.


By Terry Harrison


Manchester Militants would like to express their appreciation of Pat Wall’s contribution to the struggle for socialism.

When Pat spoke in the city his speeches were a brilliant inspiration, a lucid and lively explanation of Marxism. For many of us Pat was a bridge to socialism. Too many have crossed that bridge for Thatcher to find lasting relief in the passing of this great workers’ tribune.

We will celebrate his life and honour, his sacrifice by completing the task he undertook – the creation of a socialist world.

Our sympathies go to his family and all those who were close to him.


Militant supporters in the MSF thank Pat Wall for a lifetime dedicated to socialism and the trades union movement. We offer our condolences to his family on their sad loss.


May I be allowed through your pages to express my deep-felt shock and sympathy towards the relatives and friends of Pat Wall MP at his untimely death.

Pat had travelled on a number of occasions to East Lancashire from the mid-70s to help fight against the emergence of racists and fascists, right up to the mid-80s when six Militant supporters were expelled from Blackburn Labour Party.

Having spoken on the same platform and worked with Pat on a number of occasions I can only say that he was a man who epitomised in many ways my ideal of a socialist.

His commitment and knowledge, coupled with his warmth and humanity, made him a man who earned respect for himself and for the ideas he so forcefully stood for.

The labour movement internationally has lost a tremendous activist. It must be our task to step up the fight to maintain and achieve the goals that Pat’s death so cruelly robbed him of achieving in his lifetime.

With deep-felt sympathy and fraternal regards,


Peter Harris
on behalf of all the other expelled Militant supporters


Pauline Wall and her family would like to extend their gratitude for all the love, warmth and help they have received over the last week, which helped to make Friday a very special day for Pat.


Liverpool City Council Broad Left send deepest sympathy to Pat Wall’s wife, Pauline, and her family. The left, not only in the city but in the whole country, will miss Pat dearly for all the good work he has done.

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Last updated: 3 December 2015