This is the story of my life; always part of a minority within a minority. Sometimes because I’m something of a rebel, though it could be said I’m just an independent thinker who refuses to let others think for me. Sometimes because I’m just different; an individual who won’t follow the current herd.
In my early teenage as a churchgoer I stopped putting money in the collection because I knew about the vast properties the Church of England owned. Not only churches, cathedrals, archbishops’ palaces, etc. but many other properties which they let out. When my mother encouraged me to join the boy scout movement I objected to swearing allegiance to The Queen and the general militaristic paraphernalia, so soon left. As a jury member I chose to affirm, but felt refusing to swear an oath to the Queen would have disbarred me from jury service. On both cases I went with the minority opinion of the jury, naturally. OneÂ trial at the MiddlesexÂ Guildhall (now the Supreme Court)Â was stopped when a friend of the accused approached me outside the courtÂ and, finding this intimidating,Â I reported this to the judge.
As an early supporter and full-time worker for CND (the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) in the early 1960s I didn’t follow the official line of only legal demonstrations, but also supported the Committee of 100 and its Direct Action protests and other actions which broke the law.Â This came to a head on my first Aldermaston March in 1963 when I was confronted by my boss at CND Head Office, Peggy Duff, shouting thru a loud-hailer telling marchers to keep straight ahead to the lunch stop. I defied her by turning left with the anarchists and direct actionists to view and protest a top-secret nuclear bunker, known as an RSG or Regional Seat of Government in times of crisis/nuclear war. This was at Warren Row, and as I followed those protesting at this bunker I wondered if I still had a job the Tuesday after Easter, but nothing was said about my disobedience. Peggy Duff years later wrote in her autobiography ‘Left, Left, Left’ that it was a mistake to try to stop marchers visiting the Warren Row RSG just off the route of the Aldermaston March.
As a member of the Labour Party at various times I have always opposed the official line. As a member of the Young Communist League and later the Communist Party, I again joined other minority comrades in opposing the official line. This was brought to a head when I and some comrades attended a YCL Congress in Scarboro’.Â Leading comrades in the YCL booed the fraternal Soviet delegate because of the recent invasion of Czechoslovakia; IÂ and my hardline comradesÂ gaveÂ him a standing ovation, as we did for theÂ DPRK (North Korean) delegate who presented a statue of Kim Il-Sung to the embarrassed British YCL leadership.Â As a current member of Left Unity Party I find myself again opposing official policies in various areas, notably uncontrolled immigration and, for that matter, uncontrolled emigration. I still, for instance, believe the Berlin Wall was an absolute necessity to stop the flow of professionals from the GDR, the commuting between cheap subsidized flats in the East and high paid jobs in the West,Â and the emptying of subsidized goods from GDR shops by Westerners, though IÂ am now against the minefields and shootings. I think financial measures could have controlled movement between both parts of Berlin along with the Wall.Â Westerners should have been barred from buying subsidized goods in the GDR capital, and GDR citizens should have hadÂ to forfeit a huge deposit if they didn’t return to the GDR after visits to the West. These deposits could have been collected by public subscription, and used over and over again to fund visits to the West to visit family, etc. Commuting to work from East Berlin to West Berlin would have been made impossible by the formalities necessary to get a visa for each visit to the West.
As a rationalist who rejects all organized religion I belong to the minority, albeit growing one, of agnostics, atheists and freethinkers who accept the overwhelming evidence of the afterlife. As a gay man I detest all the current gay fashions in dress, hairstyles, music, etc. As a Teddy-boy/1950s rock”roll fan I am one of the very few ‘out’ gay men, so again in a minority within a minority.
My views have changed over the decades. I am no longer a Communist, but still call myself a Marxist Socialist.Â I naturally now condemn Stalinism and the invasions of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, etc.Â I now am agnostic rather than an atheist, but a firm believer (if that is the right term) in the afterlife because of the scientific evidence for it, which most mainstream scientists refuse to even study because it is taboo to do so. However my views change I always seem to end up inÂ a minority. Take reincarnation – most who believe in it think the individual keeps coming back in different lives. I take a more complex view of it, again based on evidence, that the individual does not come back, though other aspects of his or her greater soul (for want of a better word) may incarnate and all life experiences are then shared.
As a Socialist I reject widescale nationalization apart from the transport network, utility companies and telecommunications service, postal service, etc. which all have national grids/networks best maintained by a central unified authority. I instead support other forms of public ownership for most industries and services; cooperatives and mutuals, and also individual publicly owned companies, all competing in a Socialist market place.
As a pacifist I reject all war and indiscriminate weapons and killing, but support the idea of a United Nations Security Force armed with weapons which target only those committing atrocities.
I was always good at English Language, a born writer, but I reject the restrictions on spelling which British opinion tries to inforce. I pick and choose from all recognized English spellings in USA and UK, and would be all in favor of more spelling reform without making present books unreadable.
It is difficult perhaps being someone who thinks things out for themselves. You are derided by many or ostracized in some of the minority groups you belong to. As a believer in many conspiracy theories, again based on the evidence, I am ridiculed by many.Â But there are UFOS, they are visiting the Earth regularly, there is on-going contact with the U.S. and other governments, Diana Spencer was murdered, JFK was not shot by a single assassin, and 9/11 was not just a group of terrorists flying airliners into buildings.Â The evidence for all of this can be disputed, but only if it has been thoroughly researched and alternative explanations proposed.
While I don’t claim to beÂ right in all my views, and have been proved wrong in some in the past, I do believe thinking for oneself is the only way to learn and progress. It is positively dangerous to let others do your thinking for you. On the other hand, in dictatorial societies, it is perhaps best to keep you views to yourself, or at least offerÂ constructive ideasÂ through the official channels rather than come across as a dissident. For example, the woman heroine in the German film about the demise of the GDR ‘Goodbye Lenin’. She supported the ruling GDR coalition, loved the GDR, but through the official organizations proposed improvements to the system.