Obituary: Ron Huzzard

RON HUZZARD was a pacifist who encapsulated all that is best in the British left and peace movement, adhering to principles of peace, justice and socialism over a lifetime.

In many ways he was unusual for the peace movement: he did not fit the stereotype of sandals and woolly jumpers. His approach was always practical and businesslike. He would clinically explain to numerous meetings the moral case against the use of nuclear weapons and of arms spending, but also the drain on health, education and housing they represent.

Whilst holding strong principles he was very keen on engagement - after the election of Tony Blair as leader of the Labour Party he organised delegations to meet the Shadow Foreign Affairs and Defence teams. Well aware that those who work in the Defence industry can feel that the peace movement is their enemy, he vigorously supported the concept of arms conversion and sought to engage them in debate. He was a proud recipient of the Frank Cousins Peace Award, while the Imperial War Museum recognised his role by recording his life and views as part of an oral history project.

He was born in Hull in 1920, the son of a foreman printer who was an active trade unionist. He too had a lifelong commitment to the trade union movement. He gained his membership of the Mechanical Engineers Institute after studying at night school, and then worked in engineering companies. He joined the Labour Pacifist fellowship during the Second World War; this later became the Labour Peace Fellowship and in 1980, at the resurgence of the peace movement, Labour Action for Peace (LAP).

Huzzard maintained a zeal for activity in his union, the Draughtsmans' Union (Data), later the Union for Manufacturing Science and Finance (MSF), where he argued for peace. A religious man and a Quaker, after his redundancy at the age of 59 he worked full time for five years for the Quaker Commission on Peace. As a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament he brought an incisive mind to branch and National Council meetings.

Meeting Ron Huzzard for the first time was slightly intimidating. He was a smallish man with a direct and clear countenance, well organised and efficient, who got straight to the point and asked pertinent questions that required direct and immediate answers. Various Defence establishment figures found this uncomfortable.

LAP had him as General Secretary from its inception, and the efficiency and single-mindedness of the group were a tribute to him. A keen supporter of the United Nations, Huzzard was in the tradition of his old friends Philip Noel-Baker, Fenner Brockway and Gordon Schaffer in believing in the importance of the a world body for peace. He was appalled by the Gulf War in 1990-91 and its consequences. Just before his death he was distressed that a Labour government should order the bombardment of Iraq and felt it was a betrayal of the principles of the Labour Movement.

Huzzard would write or edit a pamphlet every year for LAP on the UN, the arms race and many other topics. These, and the excellently written LAP Newsletter, sold well. While not well known to the public, LAP has influence within the Labour Party and holds large fringe meetings at the Party Conference.

Despite living in a Tory/Liberal battleground Huzzard helped to ensure Orpington had a strong Labour Party. Somehow he managed to get elected to Bromley Borough Council for the first time in 1968, the worst ever year for Labour electorally; he served until 1982 and then 1986-90.

Ron Huzzard was an efficient and open man of high moral principle. To him, as he once said, if something was morally wrong it could not be politically right.

Ronald William Huzzard, engineer and peace campaigner: born Hull 29 February 1920; married 1952 Rosalie Raymont (one son, one daughter); died Orpington, Kent 30 December 1998.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones