Obituary: Lord Hatch of Lusby

John Charles Hatch, author, lecturer, broadcaster, born Stockport Lancashire 1 November 1917, Tutor National Council of Labour Colleges 1942-44, National Organiser Independent Labour Party 1944-48, Lecturer Glasgow University 1948-53, Secretary Commonwealth Department Labour Party 1954-61, Director Extra-Mural Department University of Sierra Leone 1961-62, Director African Studies Programme Houston Texas 1964-70, created 1978 Baron Hatch of Lusby, Director Institute of Human Relations Zambia University 1980-82, books include The Dilemma of South Africa 1953, A History of Post-war Africa 1964, The History of Britain in Africa 1966, Tanzania 1969, Nigeria 1971, died London 11 October 1992.

JOHN HATCH had many remarkable attributes, not least among them the all-too-rare ability to speak without notes in grammatically correct sentences and paragraphs.

What he said from his place at the back of the back benches in the House of Lords was often the more irritating to those on the government benches and sometimes even to those on his own front bench because of the challenge his firm delivery presented to any proposition he believed to be lacking in logic or merit. And that was a very large proportion of the nostrums which came up for consideration within the area of his wide expertise and knowledge.

What is more he was undeterred by the relatively mild dissent which is all the Lords permit themselves and sat down when he had finished what he wanted to say and not before.

The last speech in the House by Lord Hatch was a seven-minute onslaught on 16 July. The Government made no serious attempt to answer the series of questions he addressed to them on their policy on the invasion of East Timor by Indonesia.

Hatch was born in Stockport in 1917. A Lancastrian brought up in Yorkshire, he went to Keighley Boys' Grammar School. He was a keen sportsman and played and followed cricket and rugby all his life. He graduated from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and, rejecting military service, became a tutor with the National Council of Labour Colleges and later National Organiser of the Independent Labour Party and a lecturer at Glasgow University.

In 1954 he was appointed head of the Commonwealth Department of the Labour Party and in 1961 he became Director of the Extra-Mural Department of the University of Sierra Leone. From 1964 to 1970 he was the Founder- Director of the African Studies Programme at Houston, Texasand from 1980 until 1982 Director of the Department of Human Relations at Zambia University. He knew most of the present African leaders before they were leaders and he became policy adviser to men he had taught as students. including Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda, with whom John and his wife Eva stayed on a recent visit to Africa. He was, of course, banned from South Africa for many years.

John Hatch was Commonwealth Correspondent of the New Statesman from 1950 to 1970 and wrote numerous books on Africa, from The Dilemma of South Africa (1953) to Two African Statesmen (1976).

For the last four years Hatch was honorary lecturer in the School of Development Studies at the University of East Anglia. In this latter time he found happiness with his devoted wife Eva. Not that the constant endeavour came to an end, for that was his life and he valued the Lords the more because the shape of his career had kept him out of the Commons and from ministerial office, which he would have filled with distinction.

John Hatch will be missed and remembered as a man of total integrity and of proud devotion to his socialist beliefs. He leaves two sons and four grandchildren from his first marriage.

(Photograph omitted)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn