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Pete Watson


Keith Narey

(May 1997)

From The Socialist, No. 15, 17 May 1997.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

KEITH NAREY has tragically died aged 50. While Keith might not be so well known to newer members of our party, he was certainly unmissable to anyone around in the 1970s and 1980s.

He was a first-class public speaker. He had the ability to see what was in an audience’s hearts and then the power to express it. He had a razor sharp wit. Many a right-wing Labour councillor would cross the road rather than be confronted with Keith’s tongue.

His political contribution lay in being one of the founders of Militant [the Socialist Party’s predecessor] in the Bradford area. His abilities at rallies and demonstrations meant that Militant maintained a high public profile. Eventually our growing support led to the election of Pat Wall as MP for Bradford North in 1987. Keith had an important hand in this historic breakthrough.

Keith was a larger than life character. He was the organiser of the first (and only) Yorkshire pudding eating competition in aid of Militant’s fighting fund. On one occasion he took to wearing a full North African Tuareg outfit around the pubs claiming that he had swapped it for some Old Holborn rolling tobacco while on holiday in Morocco. Whether his stories were true didn’t really matter – the art was in the telling and listening.

He eventually took to writing plays, getting some staged in the Bradford area. Keith was an important figure in the earlier years of our party. What we have now is partly up to him. He will be badly missed both by his family and his comrades.

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