Many comrades will be sad to learn of the death last week of Colin Tipton after a decades-long battle with MS.
Colin joined the International Socialists (forerunner of the SWP) in the early 1970s when he was a young sociology lecturer at the University of Surrey.
He remained a stalwart of the local SWP branch in Guildford until the effects of MS eventually made it impossible for him to continue as an activist in the late 1990s. He was an SWP member for over 40 years.
Comrades who knew Colin owe him a huge debt for our political education and development. Always a kind and generous man with a wicked sense of humour, he embodied a deep understanding of Marxism and an abiding hatred of capitalism.
His enthusiasm for the need to fight for a revolutionary transformation of society was infectious. He had the knack of explaining complex ideas and issues in clear, accessible ways—an all too rare skill.
He was a voracious reader, ready to debate issues even as his illness progressively undermined him physically. He loved teaching and continued as a sociology and politics lecturer at Surrey and member of the AUT union until he was almost 60.
Two of his other great loves were books and music. He built an impressive collection of blues and jazz music and left books. He contributed to a book on the history of blues and jazz, treasuring the memories he had of the one visit he was able to make to New Orleans in the 1980s.
Colin is survived by his wife Heather, children Polly, Ross and Becky, and his grandchildren. Colin’s funeral will be at Guildford Crematorium on Thursday 13 December. His family have asked people to wear something red.
Laura Miles and Sheila Hemingway