Dinah Murray 1946-2021

Dr Dinah Murray

A nature lover, mushroom finder, activist and fighter against oppression, for our future, thinker, speaker, writer Always radical, always left, sometime Green and Labour, A friend, a comrade, partner, mum, a new-found Scottish neighbour An organiser, platform builder, amplifier of … Read more

Dinah Murray RIP

Dinah Janine IFF18

This is the obituary of Dinah that I wrote for Solidarity  Workers’ Liberty is saddened to learn of the death of Dr Dinah Murray. Dinah spoke alongside me at two of our Ideas for Freedom summer schools and at an … Read more

Ribbons of Scarlet

Cush at my 50th birthday gig

– a golden shovel after ‘Scarlet Ribbons’, for Cush At the peal of the bell, they don’t tell you there’s a field that not everyone comes back from. The survivor’s been fearing that he’ll never stop hearing the gunfire even … Read more

Speaking out about deaths in care


Janine proposing a motion condemning deaths of autistic and learning disabled people in care, at TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference in May 2019. *** On 21 March this year, an inquest ruled that the death of Colette McCulloch was avoidable. Colette … Read more

Narrative Verdict


I rise to call my first dead witness Counsel may contest his fitness for his part to testify to tell you how he came to die He leads a host of souls to tell their stories from a bitter well … Read more

A Warm Hand


I wanted to clap at the funeral today But I think that is seen as poor taste I longed to applaud such a brilliant speech But I feared it would seem out of place I wanted to shout ‘Hear! Hear!’ … Read more

Bob Crow: an unapologetic socialist


Published in Solidarity 438, 17 May 2017. Janine Booth reviews Bob Crow: socialist, leader, fighter — A political biography, by Gregor Gall (Manchester University Press) As the first book about Bob Crow published since his untimely death three years ago, … Read more

Crazed Loner


R.I.P. Jo Cox MP Crazed loner Stay-at-homer Helpline phoner Hummer and groaner Window licker Timebomb ticker Deranged and estranged He’s a stabber, a shooter Overly obsessed with his computer He’s nothing to do with us, you see No link to … Read more



In memory of a young friend … There’s chaos at the centre of the classroom a big huddle, loud voices Teenagers talking politics Rachel making choices Labour member, Corbynista Feminist fighter, socialist sister Equality champion, bigotry battler Opposing racism, Black … Read more

Belligerent But Beautiful Songs


When I grew into adulthood in the 1980s, the Tory government’s onslaught saw us staring into a bleak future unless we fought back. So we did, and our fightback had a soundtrack. The better-known voices of that soundtrack — the … Read more

Stanley Spencer R.I.P.?


When Stanley Spencer died, was no-one worried No matter how far deep that he was buried He’d find a way to climb up through the soil And resurrect him to this mortal coil?

The Man who Made Me

a poem written for a dear friend following the death of her dad – published in Confluence Medway Around one in twelve single parents are fathers My dad wasn’t one in twelve My dad was one in a million He … Read more

Four Leaf Clover


The child amongst us Finds a four leaf clover On the woman’s grave next to her dad’s. The cynic amongst us says It wasn’t very lucky for her, was it? The herbologist amongst us observes that It’s not a four … Read more

Red-Hearted Man


For Brian Munro, 1968-2014 How are you feeling today, my friend? “Pretty shit”, you said And how do you feel at another year’s end? “Now I feel nothing – I’m dead” You said you’d be molecules when you’re gone To … Read more

Tribute To Bob Crow After His Speech At Book Launch


Click here to read this sad but fitting tribute to Bob Crow from UNISON activist Rosalind Hanmer, who had talked with Bob at the launch of Janine’s book ‘Plundering London Underground’ a few weeks before his death.

The King Is Dead

A poem on the occasion of the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Royal flag at half-mast flies Forgotten victim sadly sighs Only another despot cries When a bloody tyrant dies The great and good will eulogise Sing loud … Read more



When an officer was killed in World War One, the British Army told his next of kin by telegram. Lower-ranked men’s deaths were reported on Form B104-82. ‘Calamity’ is a poem by E.H. Visiak. Private Ted was my great uncle. … Read more

Sonnet for Shahrokh and Reza

Free Shahrokh and Reza

Shahrokh Zamani and Reza Shahabi are imprisoned in Iran for organising trade unions. Tragically, Shahrokh died on 13 September 2015 They hold in prison those whom power fears Shahrokh and Reza, Rajai Shahr’s closed doors Lock up these men but … Read more

Two Women Every Week


In England and Wales, women are killed by current or former male partners at the rate of two a week. Click the names highlighted in this poem to read the stories behind the statistics. Thanks to Counting Dead Women for … Read more

Duchess Departed

An alliterative ode on the occasion of the passing of an aristocrat:  Deborah the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire has died Did ever a life-end alliterate with such alarming aloofness? The chatelaine of Chatsworth, champion of chutney, Charles’ chum The Prince’s … Read more