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Your tributes to Vladimir Derer: all in one place

Vladimir DererSince the death of Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) founder Vladimir Derer on Tuesday, numerous tributes have appeared in both short and long form across the web and press. We’ve collected some below: and feel free to add your own in the comments.

Two full length obituaries have appeared so far, which we have linked to already: by our own Jon Lansman here at Left Futures, and by ex-MP Chris Mullin, a former editor of Tribune and one time CLPD activist, who wrote in the Guardian that Derer “was among the first to grasp that there was no point in endlessly passing resolutions on policy if the party leadership took not the least bit of notice”.

Equally touching is the comment posted below Mullin’s article on the paper’s website from Meg Russell. She writes:

Chris Mullin communicates well Vladimir Derer’s significant role in the development of the Labour Party’s organisation, which I wrote about in my 2005 book Building new Labour: the politics of party organisation. When researching that book, I visited the Derers’ home on one occasion to use their substantial archive of Labour and CLPD materials, and the trip proved memorable. First, their record-keeping was impeccable. Barely an inch of wallspace seemed free from shelving that housed myriad books and papers, rivalling the official Labour archive in Manchester – thus allowing me to fill key gaps left from my visit there. Second, while no doubt steely political opponents, and despite never having met me before, they were also impeccable as hosts – first serving up Sachertorte then, as I worked on into the evening, an equally delicious rice dish, which I have frequently sought to recreate. Library visits aren’t always enjoyable, or even fruitful, but this one ranked pretty high.

Below Jon’s Left Futures obituary, CLPD treasurer Russell Cartwright recalls:

With English as a second language, Vlad had a better understanding than many for whom it was a first language. I shall remember his nuancing of articles at 2am during Conference weeks and not his d(u)ancing!

And former NEC member and Vladimir’s successor as CLPD secretary, Peter Willsman, had this to say:

Jon has spoken for all of us and has brought out Vladimirs many strengths,including his sharp sense of humour. Vlad (as I always called him) was in a class of his own as a political organiser and strategist within our Party.We were all aware of that at the time,as Vlad came up with one clever tactic after another. As the situation changed so did the tactics. He always saw the extent to which the working class are kept under the heel in our society. He often said that in Britain the class system is more like a caste system.

In shorter pieces, Carol Turner remembers Vladimir’s commitment to nuclear disarmament at Labour CND, while Socialist Action pay tribute to his zeal and success in party reform.

To Twitter, where tributes appeared from MPs, activists who knew the Derers in their home CLP of Finchley and Golders Green, and those who were inspired by Vladimir without ever having met him:

NPF member and Barnet councillor Alon Or-bach:

Simon Fletcher, who works in Ed Miliband’s office and formerly chief of staff to Ken Livingstone:

Tameside councillor Adam White:

Brent councillor Tom Miller:

Young Labour committee member Max Shanly:

Lawyer and University of Cambridge researcher Charlotte Proudman:


  1. Jenny Manson says:

    I knew Vladimir and Vera quite well for many years in what was then Hendon South CLP. While the CLPD were expert tacticians and I preferred their ends to their means, Vladimir himself and his group as a whole were personally affectionate and kind. I always remember Vladimir and his then cohort Sean Clegg welcoming me to once to a meeting with “here comes the soft left”.

  2. Robert says:

    Very sad lost of a real socialist not many left now.

  3. peter willsman says:

    Some thirty years ago Ferdinand Mount wrote an account of a visit to a CLPD Rally.He said that standing quietly at the back was ‘an old buffer in a cardigan who knows a thing or two’.Mount added that this was Vladimir Derer, who was the mastermind behind the organisational changes in the Labour Party.Mount was spot on,whereas most political journalists did not know what day of the week it was.Nothing has changed there!!

  4. Nicola Seyd says:

    We’ve lost one of the most reliable comrades. My thoughts are with Vera.
    Back in the ’60s I helped on one occasion at their house, addressing envelopes for a CLPD mailing. Vladimir welcomed my few hours of work, while Vera was uneasy at my being there. That was a long time ago, Vera. I don’t expect you to remember. I am so sorry we are now without your lovely Vlad.

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