FRANK ALLAUN, who died recently, was a principled Labour left winger who never lost his burning desire to make the world a better place. MP for East Salford for nearly 30 years until 1983, Frank declined a peerage and spent the next 19 years in activity outside parliament. Under Harold Wilson Frank was briefly appointed parliamentary private secretary to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
But he resigned after a few months in protest at Labour’s policy of arms sales to Nigeria during the Biafran war. Born in 1913, Frank became an engineer and then a journalist. He joined the Communist Party but left it in 1944.
Frank was especially active as a peace campaigner, from the 1930s until his death. He never ceased to expose the horrors of militarism. He helped found CND in the late 1950s. He was appalled by the build-up to war against Iraq.
Frank was also a tireless campaigner for improved housing for working class people. He exposed the slum conditions in which people lived and demanded proper council housing.
Frank was a warm and much respected figure in his native Manchester. He was always ready to join other socialists, even those he disagreed with, in public campaigning. Most Labour MPs today would probably see Frank Allaun as nice but hopelessly old-fashioned. In fact the issues he championed are as relevant as ever. The left has lost a true comrade.
Anwar Ditta, a heroic anti-racist campaigner, died last week.