Obituary: John Auld, 13 October 1940–19 May 2019 • by Richie Venton • It was with great sadness and sense of loss we said goodbye to longstanding SSP comrade and friend John Auld, who died peacefully, aged 78, after a couple of years declining health.
John was born in Lochwinnoch but lived most of his life in Pollok, Glasgow, where he became actively involved in the socialist movement during the 1980s struggle against the poll tax.
One of everyone’s abiding memories of John will be his big, warm, friendly smile. And his ready laughter.
He was a warm, absolutely sincere man, dedicated to his large family, and to the profoundly-held socialist beliefs that he never wavered from acting on.
Devotion to cause
John’s reliability and dedication were legendary, first in Militant, then Scottish Militant Labour, and subsequently when we went on to help found and build the Scottish Socialist Party.
He put many half his age to shame with his devotion to the socialist cause, even in later years.
He was a modest man who never sought the limelight, but applied himself selflessly to fighting injustices within his community and the wider working class, with unswerving loyalty to the party and its socialist aims.
He would hunt you down to pay his party subs—from his modest pension—and money from socialist paper sales, diligently accounted for.
He built up and unfailingly delivered socialist papers round the doors of greater Pollok, seeking to convince people of a different world.
He never flinched from travelling to demonstrations, or from facing arrest for his peaceful protests.
He was always one of the first to volunteer for street stalls at the Pollok Centre, and far beyond—right up until declining health stopped him about two years ago—and was also always the first to arrive.
Being on time wasn’t good enough for John! Many a time I and others arrived punctually, at the appointed hour for campaign activities, only to encounter John tapping his watch, admonishing us, “What time do you call this?” But never in anger.
A modest man, John was certainly no fool. His keen intelligence meant he often turned up with paper cuttings, suggesting a new issue we should campaign around; woe betide the right-wing Labour representatives who John fearlessly challenged with devastating facts and arguments; and at every twist, turn and crisis in the party, he would listen, ponder the arguments, speak his mind, and on every occasion sided with the right principles, regardless of the fame of those he differed with.
He had no time for those who put self-interest before the socialist cause.
John was a sincere, absolutely dedicated socialist stalwart, and a lovely, warm human being we are heart-sore to lose.
We need a lot more John Aulds, from all age-groups, to achieve the socialist future he so diligently pursued for well over 30 years. Goodbye, dear comrade and friend.