The life long member of the Socialist Health Association, Dr Julian Tudor Hart died on July 1st 2018. The following is the funeral tribute paid to him by Dr Brian Gibbons who worked with Julian in the Upper Afan Valley Group Practice  in south Wales.

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There is no great forest that is made up of a single tree, no great river made from a single tributary or no great mountain range with single peak.

And as we come here to remember and commemorate the life of Julian Tudor Hart—we realise what a multi-faceted individual he was.

He embraced and embodies such a broad range and depth of
subjects, knowledge and skills, accomplishments and life experiences

 

To say that Julian was interested in politics and the life of the community that he served for almost three decades would be like saying that Gareth Bale was known to be able to kick a football.

Julian’s politics were principled, passionate and undiminishing right up to the final months and weeks of his life.

Even then he was involved in the Labour Party, Swansea Labour Left and in the affairs of the Upper Afan Valley — in campaigns to keep the key community facilities open such as Cymer Swimming Pool open.

And he was revived and renewed with Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership election and the outcome of the last year’s general elections which showed that British elections no longer had to be won from the middle ground of politics.  And that it was possible to offer people, and particularly the young, a radical alternative for change

And, I’m sure, Julian was not only pleased to see a leader from the left at the helm of the Labour Party.
But he would have also been pleased that that leader shared another of Julian’s great passions — gardening.

If Julian had a chance to speak to Jeremy Corbyn he would have talked not only about politics but also runner beans, carrots, radishes and lettuce.

And those discussions would have given a new meaning to the idea of “organising a left wing plot “ !!!!

 

Julian’s politics came from the heart

But it found expression in the head and in the hand.

He investigated and analysed and applied the scientific method to his political beliefs.

And Julian respected all those who did the same even those who took a diametrically different point of view from him.

It was all the more than painful for him, therefore, to see over recent years to see that ignorance, prejudice and bigotry is too often used as evidence in much of the present political debate.

Karl Marx said, and I am sure that to quote him here this morning at a humanist funeral for Julian Hart is in order.
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”

And this is what exactly what Julian did.

Yes he used the scientific method to interpret the world but not with some sort of detached view of the ivory tower academic or to provide frothy intellectual fodder for the chattering classes.

But to intervene to make a difference, to make society a fairer and more equal place for us all to live, a place where we can all work together for our own mutual benefit and the common good, where we all live a more enriching and enjoyable life.

Where all would contribute according to their ability and receive according to their need.

 

Julian was a man of action.
From campaigning side by side with the people who lived in Glyncorrwg and the Upper Afan Valley, through writing papers, pamphlets and books, giving interviews and partaking in debate, peaking and organising meetings,

He was an active, conscientious and creative member of many organisations as diverse as the Socialist Health Association of which he was the first honorary president and the Royal College of General Practitioners of which he was a council member for many years – where he constantly took the view that high professional and clinical standards, particularly for those with the greatest health care needs, were the natural ally of a thriving NHS.
He advised national political parties and governments in various parts of the world.
And he had a particularly important role in the development of health policies in the run up to and in the early years of Welsh devolution.

In short he walked the streets with the people of Glyncorrwg in their campaigns and he also walked on an international stage.

And in mentioning all of this, we do need to remember the support he received from his wife Mary and his children whose home was often a cross between a Heathrow terminal and Piccadilly Circus as people dropped in from far and near from the Afan Valley to the Appalachian Mountains and even further afield.

He also brought his activism and creative thinking to many local campaigns.And we can see the physical legacy of that in the Upper Afan Valley – the South Wales Miners Museum, Glyncorrwg Ponds and Glyncorrwg Mountain Biking Centre.

Of course Julian would agree that none of this would have been achieved without the co-operation in local community efforts and a massive amount of hard work and effort by many local people.
But equally I am sure that there are few who would disagree that none of these projects would have achieved what they did without Julian Hart.

 

Julian Hart was an unrepentant socialist …but he was most particularly committed to promoting and protecting the NHS.

He saw the NHS as being the embodiment of the values of a socialist society, where people contribute, through their taxes, according to their ability to pay – unless you are Google or Amazon, of course — and you receive according to your need.

Nye Bevan was, apparently, once asked how long he thought the National Health Service would last and he is reported as saying “ The NHS will last as long as there’s folk with faith left to fight for it.”

But one of our most resolute fighters for the NHS has left us.

Already many people have started to consider what sort of monument or memorial would be fitting to commemorate Julian Hart’s life work.

But I am sure that Julian would be first to say – the greatest of all memorials would be the continuing campaign to protect the NHS and the work to allow it to innovate and expand, to develop and to flourish as an even greater public service than it is now.

One of Julian’s favourite singers was Paul Robson, who was once one of his patients, and one of Paul Robson’s most popular songs was Joe Hill which you will hear later.

Joe Hill was a Swedish immigrant and trade union organiser in the USA who was framed for murder and executed in Salt Lake City.

The song reminds us that even though Joe Hill did die, his spirit lived on wherever there was a the struggle for trade union rights and a campaign for social justice

And Julian’s spirit will live on to be a similar source of
inspiration though he is no longer with us.

Joe Hill said is his last letter – “Don’t mourn, organise!”

Julian would have repeated that message

Organise to protect and build the NHS.
Organise to build a better, more caring and equal society.

That must the first and enduring monument and then we can get on with the rest.

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