Obituary: John Ball

John was someone I first came across in the early 90s in Norwich along with Heather prior to us all being properly acquainted with the Socialist Party. Our enthusiasm for responsible antiauthoritarian values and the politics of a world so different from this one, along with the reasonably close proximity of our houses helped to create a lasting bond and friendship.

John was born in Plumstead, in London, is 1932 and worked for most of his working life as an electrician. He was a warm and generous person, very down to earth who would call a spade a spade; at the same time he could be very understanding with people he got close to whose conclusions may have been  different from his own, seeing the basis of those conclusions as a possible connection to build on. He was well-read and enjoyed connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds and had a penchant for helping the underdog sometimes to the detriment of his health. He was a vegan, painted in oils, and loved upbeat music and dancing.

Towards the end of his life John would say that he felt ever more convinced that the Party’s sole pursuit of socialism and not reformism was the correct and only practical solution to the ongoing problems that a capitalist world is always throwing up. He recognised the importance of humour, connected to a  constructive politics and philosophy in contrast to the sober authoritarian politics of the Left he was always falling foul of in the earlier period of his life (he had been in the Communist Party, which he left in 1957, and then in the Trotskyist SLL, from which he was expelled in 1960).

John died in February. I’m sure his way of being would and did affect positively many people he had come across throughout his life.


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