Obituary: Peter Vasey, 1957-2012

It is with great sadness we are made aware of the passing of our comrade Peter Vasey, whose obituary is featured in this weeks edition of The Socialist, reproduced here.

Peter Vasey, called Pete by his friends, died on 17 July at the relatively young age of 54. Born in Batley, West Yorkshire in 1957 to a poor family, he instinctively fought any authority figures who tried to rule his life. He had a very keen and lively sense of humour and was generous to a fault. Much banter took place when he was around and you had to be on the ball not to get caught up in one of his jokes.

A member of the Labour Party Young Socialists and a Militant (forerunner of the Socialist Party) supporter in Batley in the 1980s, he used his artistic talent to good effect. He made a plywood effigy of Tory Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher, with a “Job Destroyer” notice around her neck, which had a good impact in the local campaign against unemployment. He will also be remembered for his adventurous approach. For example, he made a seven foot kite of Lenin to raise fighting fund, then tested it out on Bridlington beach in gusty conditions – terrorising those nearby!

After the defeat of the momentous 1984-85 miners’ strike, however, he lapsed into inactivity but always propounded Marxist ideas, especially those of his beloved Engels.The demoralisation of unemployment blighted his life at this time too and he developed a drink problem. But after years on the dreaded dole
he finally got a job and was determined to never return to the sub-life conditions of unemployment. Proud of the working class he belonged to and never corrupted by the greed of the capitalist system, he was an inspiration, especially to his brother.

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