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Obituary: Gary Slapper

We regret to have to report the death of Gary Slapper, a member of long standing who first joined the Party in 1980. Gary was part of a large group of new young members who entered the Party around this time, many centred on his own branch in Islington, which became a particularly vibrant and energetic one throughout the 1980s. Gary played a very full part in expanding the branch to the extent that from small beginnings it became the biggest in the Party. He was a regular speaker and debater for the Party at this time and also regularly spoke on the outdoor platform at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.

In addition, he was a writer, contributing many fine articles to the Socialist Standard over the years under his pen-name of Gary Jay. A number of these focused on aspects of popular culture, often reflecting Gary’s deep interests in phenomena such as ‘new wave’ music.

Over time, Gary also pursued a very successful academic career – after a spell at Staffordshire University he became Professor and Head of Law at the Open University, before latterly becoming Director of New York University in London. Many readers will be aware that for years Gary was also a specialist law columnist for The Times, writing articles focusing on unusual and quirky legal cases, and which were illustrations of his good humour and keen eye for the absurd. He also wrote several well-regarded books in the field.

Gary’s death at the age of 58 was sudden and unexpected, and a tragic loss. He was a genuinely popular figure and a highly congenial man who will be missed greatly. The Party extends its condolences – including to his siblings Clifford and Maxine, both Party members.