Lord Lever of Manchester

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The Independent Online
Harold Lever was a Jew who succeeded in the worlds of socialism and capitalism and was resented by neither, writes Anthony Blond [further to the obituary by John Beavan, 7 August].

He and his brothers, Arnold, David and Leslie, were born in the Jewish enclave of Cheetham in Manchester; the Levers went every year, with the Sandelsons, the Roses and the Raffles, all to make their mark nationally, to a kosher boarding house in Blackpool for Passover, to avoid having to change the crockery.

Harold thrived in the law, in business and society, but retained Cheetham as his political fief, even to the House of Lords. Elegant, puckish and mondain, quite different from his solid and stolid brother Leslie, who was my father-in-law's pair in the House of Commons, Harold operated in many fields from his palazzo, with its onyx staircase, Russian leather library and - the only private house I ever knew to have one - its telephone exchange operator. When I asked him what his constituents thought of this splendour he replied they appreciated it as much as he did.

Harold staked Joan Littlewood and, through his bank, the Northern Commercial Trust, lent my consortium the money for Piccadilly Radio, in Manchester.

He was at ease in a Working Men's Club in Moss Side, in the Palace Hotel, Gstaad, playing chemmy, or in the Portland playing bridge, through which he met this third wife.

Harold Lever was perhaps too clever and too funny for the highest office, but he was the only man in the Labour Party to understand how to tax the rich and he once told me that the solution to the country's money problems was to print it. He was not being flippant and, with the misery caused by this government's fear of inflation, he might have been right.