I FIRST MET GEORGE in 1948 after being introduced to the group by Peter Shepherd and after several sessions with Harold Walsby. My situation was rather different from that of other newcomers in that year – there was a campaign directed against the SPGB, as the result of which several new members were recruited. By contrast, I had already left the SPGB with a wider range of criticisms of its theoretical position than were being advanced by the Walsby Group (then known as the Social Science Association). Although persuaded by Walsby of the importance of a study of ideologies, I was never persuaded of the need for a neo-Hegalian under-pinning or formulation of a theory of ideologies. I was very active in the group until leaving these shores in 1952, returning only in 1969 by which time the whole enterprise was drifting. In the 70s, I supported Peter Shepherd’s efforts to develop regular group discussions. These were very interesting and useful, with meetings being held in the homes of different members. However, these also seemed to drift eventually. A few of us have been meeting very occasionally.
– Jack Taylor, May-July 1995
I CAME RATHER LATE to IC and George very kindly sent me a whole pile of back issues, which I devoured ravenously. I remember thinking what a decent chap he must be to trust me to send a remittance for the cost of the mags – and how unusual these days!
– Phil Shaw, April 1995
I STILL MISS the big yellow-covered paper that was so welcome over breakfast. I agree that IC could not have been carried on by anyone else, but I am delighted by your initiative. I am known in the transport industry for ‘saying the unsayable,’ and in that I always felt encouraged by reading IC.
– Professor John Hibbs, August 1995
I WAS INDEED SAD to hear of Mr. Walford’s death. I have a collection of IC which I often read and I am so glad I was at Conway Hall to hear him lecture and shake his hand. I expect it was Richenda who was with him then. Prior to this I had tried unsuccessfully to track him down at the shop. I do appreciate original thinkers.
– Mollie J. Walker, September 1995
I JOINED A NEW ANARCHIST CLUB in London called The Malatesta Club just after the Second World War, and met all sorts of interesting people including Harold Walsby. George Walford spoke earnestly to him, and obviously they didn’t want me, very much a new boy, to butt in! As time passed I myself began to think about ideology and similar things.
– Richard Stubbs, November 1995
I AM SO GLAD to hear that the propagation of systematic ideology, to which George Walford made such an invaluable contribution, will be continued. The present situation, in which we see the triumph of avowed economic individualism, despite the fact that about one hundred years ago (if not more) the establishment of Socialism in this Century was predicted, requires more than ever that the theories pioneered by Harold Walsby be propagated and developed. Many Socialists and former Socialists may fmd a reply to their dilemma.
– Frank Tutnauer, April 1995
I W AS INDEED SORRY to hear of the death of George Walford, as I had found his IC stimulating and thought-provoking. I was aware, too, that it was such a personal idiosyncratic venture that it would be difficult for somebody else to take it on.
– Martin Green, April 1995
ON A PERSONAL NOTE, I always found IC extremely readable and I had had correspondence with George in the post concerning points in it. I was inevitably stimulated (sometimes goaded) by what he had to say. He was an extremely lucid writer with a good sense of humour and is a great loss to the community of people who think about society and want to solve social problems. I do hope you find someone who is prepared to carry on his work, for although I cannot wholly agree with many of his ideas, as a friend of mine recently said when we were talking about George, his perspective is ‘one way of slicing the orange.’ I fear however that no one will do the job as well as George did. Despite the homage he always liked to pay to Harold Walsby, Walsby was not a patch on George for getting the ideas across in a meaningful and relevant way.
– Howard Moss (of the Swansea Branch of the Socialist Party of Great Britain), September 1994
IN NO MORE THAN 30 YEARS ideology went from being a mental activity firmly grounded in fact and waiving any attempt to explain ultimate causes, to virtually the exact opposite; a rootless and ultimately useless mental activity divorced from reality, a typical component of what Marx was later to dismiss as mere “superstructure.” This pejorative gloss on the term has by and large stuck, and it has taken George Walford’s majestic reinterpretation to rid it of ambiguity and bring it back into proper focus.
– J. B. Wright, 1995
continue reading George Walford, A Memorial (1998):
Introduction | Notes and Quotes | Trevor Blake | Alan Bula | George Gook | Mary Anne Knukel | Encounter in Autumn by Dr. Zvi Lamm | Seeking George Walford by Paul Minet | Peter Shepherd | John Rowan | George R. Russell, SPGB | Thoughts on Ideological Minimalism by Eric Stockton | Reminiscences of George Walford and the Walsby Society 1976 to 1994 by Adrian Williams | Jack as I Knew Him by Brenda McIntosh | Alison Walford, Sharon Goodyear, Richenda Walford