Obituary: Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle

Few members outside of Glasgow will have heard of Danny Boyle but his contribution to the party was immeasurable. He was 85 and had been in declining health for some time. Danny joined the party in 1961 but was a long-time supporter who had been arguing the party’s case for many years before this.

Readers who have enjoyed Robert Tressell’s novel The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists will remember Owen, the artistic house-painter, who used his workplace to expound his socialist ideas to his workmates, well, Danny was Owen in the flesh.

A painter and decorator by trade, Danny was a bit artistic too, and insisted on working to his own standards, something not always appreciated by foremen and employers, and he was liable to talk at length about the correct ways to plaint, varnish, hang wallpaper, etc, as well as deplore any shoddy workmanship he saw. Work for him was something to be enjoyed if it could be done in the way that he thought it should.

Danny also used his various workplaces as forums for his socialist views, especially during tea and lunch breaks when he would deal fearlessly with any nationalist, racist or other anti-socialist sentiments that were expressed, and down the years several of his workmates found his arguments so convincing that they joined the party while many more became sympathisers.

Throughout his life Danny never failed to take the soundest attitude on every issue concerning the international working class. He always rang true, for example, as a young man he refused to be conscripted in the last war and was a life-long trade-unionist, still attending and participating at his branch meetings until shortly before his death.

Although he never spoke on a party platform or wrote an article Danny was one of the best propagandists the party could have wished for—his ability to recruit many subscribers to the Socialist Standard was amazing, and a look through an old branch literature sales book reveals that even after he had retired he was selling fifty and even sixty copies a month. Yet so self-effacing was the man that he was always apologising for, as he saw it, not doing more.

Danny certainly lived a useful life but it was an active one too, and socialism and his trade union were by no means his only interests,. He was a keen swimmer as well as a lover of ballroom and old-time dancing, all of which he continued to enjoy until prevented by failing health. Above all he was devoted to his family and it is to them that we in Glasgow branch convey our deepest condolences.

Leave a Reply