LETTER : Harold Wilson: a practical, caring and unfailingly kind man

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From Mr Giampi Alhadeff

Sir: As many tributes flow in for Lord Wilson, we at War on Want will remember the man who was deeply committed to world development and a founder of our organisation. Indeed, Lord Wilson's greatest gift to us has been the name, allegedly thought up while he was in the bath. When the Second World War was over, goes the story, Harold Wilson was inspired by the vision of a new war - a war to fight poverty. He was very clear that what was needed was not charity but solidarity, and this has guided our efforts ever since.

The new name encompassed the aims of the Association for World Peace, set up a year earlier in 1951 by the publisher Victor Gollancz. By June 1952, Harold Wilson had coined the new name in a pamphlet setting out the aims of the organisation, which sold 20,000 copies within a few months. From the start, War on Want set itself apart from other bodies by stressing the political nature of aid and development.

Lord Wilson remained close to War on Want and its endeavours. It was one of our greatest pleasures when he inaugurated our new building here in Southwark in July 1988. We and all those around the world who continue to fight for education and organisation as weapons against poverty are indebted to him for the lifelong friendship and strength of purpose he showed to the development movement.

Yours faithfully,


War on Want

London, SE1