I am taking a break from the fun and frolics of my usual blog posts to pay my own small tribute to Harry, who passed away at the end of November.
I followed Harry for some time on Twitter, but right from the first it became apparent that he was something special. He had the ability to engage with people of all ages, from across the world. His biggest assets were his incredible humanity and empathy. Not to mention his energy to make change for people who are struggling to make a living, or displaced, for the most part following military action in their countries by western governments. He introduced us to refugees as individual people and not a faceless group, to be ignored and dismissed. They are us and we are them. Harry knew that and wanted as many people as he could reach, to know that too.
Harry was just a year older than my own mother and like her grew up in a poverty-stricken working class world. That experience made them both staunch socialists who abhor the evils of austerity and self-serving Conservative rule.
They both also saw the horrific rise of right-wing politics during their childhoods and have been, rightfully, alarmed at the way the western world once again seems to be moving that direction.
I am grateful that Harry got the message out to so many people, that Muslims and Eastern Europeans are the new targets to blame the ills of society on, instead of the Millionaires who won’t pay their taxes and governments who are devoid of compassion.
I’m sure I wasn’t alone in experiencing, along with sorrow, some degree of panic as Harry’s life drew to a close. He had become so influential for those of us who want a more equal and compassionate world. Of course it felt like we had lost one of our strongest and most relevant voices.
But it became very apparent from the time of Harry’s passing that his son John is committed to taking up the baton and continuing on with his Dad’s work. I told him he was his father’s son just the other day, when he had a few words to say to Lord Alan Sugar on the subject of a decent, living wage.
I shouldn’t have doubted for a second that a man like Harry would raise a son with the same moral courage and compassion.
Over the time I followed Harry on Twitter, for a long while on an older Twitter account and this year, on my new one, I grew to absolutely love him. I’ve learned from him that striving to leave the world a better place for those that come after us, should be paramount to us all, in whatever way we can help to achieve it.
In closing I’d like to send my very best wishes to John. I know not everyone believes in an afterlife, but I do, and as John takes up the reins of his fathers work, I know Harry’s hand will be holding them with him.
Thank you Harry for all you did. Yes, you made an impact.