Ian Mikardo

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Ian Mikardo (9 July 1908 – 6 May 1993), commonly known as Mik, was a British Labour and Co-operative politician.[1] An ardent socialist and a Zionist, he remained a backbencher throughout his four decades in the House of Commons.

He was a member of National Executive Committee of the Labour Party from 1950–1959 and 1960–1978, and Chairman of the Labour Party 1970–71.

Member of Parliament (Labour) for Reading 1945–50, Reading South 1950–55, Reading 1955–59, Poplar 1964–74, Bethnal Green and Bow, 1974–83, Bow and Poplar 1983–87.

Chairman, Select Committee on Nationalized Industries, State ownership, 1966–70; Chairman of the Development of an International Labour Movement 'Labour International'[2] 1973–78; Vice-President 1978–83, Honorary President 1983–93.

Early life and career[edit]

Mikardo's parents were Jewish refugees from the Tsarist Empire. (British responses to the anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire) – his mother, Bluma 'Bloomah' – who died 1961 in Hampshire – came from a town called Yampil, Khmelnytskyi Oblast in the Volyn region, of the Western Ukraine, his father, Moshe 'Morris', who died 1940 in Hampshire, came from Kutno, in Łódź Voivodeship, Central Poland. They came to East End of London separately around 1900, and married some years later. They worked as tailors and in 1907, they moved to Portsmouth where they were employed repairing uniforms for the Royal Navy. Mikardo was born in Portsmouth the following year. But it was a testament to just how hard Jewish emigrants found it to integrate that when he began school, at the age of three, his paucity of English words made him the butt of jokes – his parents spoke Yiddish – and meant he had a lot of catching up to do. [3] He attended The Old Beneficiary School[4][5] "The Old Benny", Portsea, Portsmouth, and the Omega Street School, Portsmouth,.[6] In 1919, he came top in Portsmouth's pass-list for the eleven plus exam, and went to Portsmouth Southern Grammar School for Boys.[7]

From the age of eleven he also attended Aria College, a rabbinical seminary.[8] He soon realised the life of a cleric was not for him however, and the bright pupil transferred to Portsmouth Grammar School, spending his leisure hours watching Portsmouth FC – even when the club’s glory days had gone he retained an encyclopedic knowledge of all their matches.[3][9]

His brother Neville Norman "Norman" Mikardo (1924–2004), a mechanical engineer, was a Labour Party, Brent councillor for Tokyngton Ward, Brent South, from 1978–1982.[10] His niece Barbara Tayler (1931–2012) was a publisher, writer and political activist. Ian Mikardo became a surrogate father to her after her father died when she was two-years-old.[11]

Concerned by injustice and inequality from boyhood, Mikardo was influenced by the works of R. H. Tawney and George Bernard Shaw in his teens. He attended political lectures at various clubs and societies in London in the 1920s, principally amongst the Jewish community. He joined both the Labour Party and Poale Zion (the Zionist Workers' Movement) in the late 1920s. He was already a Zionist, and had given his first public speech at a meeting of the Portsmouth Zionist Society in 1922, at the age of thirteen.

After leaving school, Mikardo settled in Stepney, where he had a variety of jobs. He married in 1931, Mary Rosette (born Rosetsky), who died Cheshire, Lancashire in 1994, and they had two daughters by 1936. He studied scientific management, but was sceptical about "Taylorism" and developed his own theories. He became a freelance management consultant and during the Second World War, he worked on increasing efficiency in aircraft and armaments manufacturing, principally at Woodley Aerodrome[12] in Reading. He was treasurer of the World Airways Joint Committee.(National Air Communications)


Ian's first constituency was Reading in Berkshire.

Houses of parliament London

At an interview, it was reported, they were initially quite unimpressed by the man. He appeared to have little charm in his general manner or in his appearance and down to earth harsh adenoidal voice. On every topic, whether it be, National Health Service, education, social deprivation, nationalisation or socialism, he was seen by them as an inspiration to others. Mik, as he introduced himself, showed he had planned where he was going and the constituency members wanted to go with him. His integrity was obvious and beguiling, quite rare amongst professional politicians.[13]

After settling in Reading and at the end of the war he was selected by the local Constituency Labour Party for the 1945 general election, beating James Callaghan and Austen Albu. At the 1945 general election, Mikardo was elected Member of Parliament for the Reading constituency overturning a large Conservative majority. Labour's effective get out the vote campaign system utilised in this election was universally adopted and came to be known as the Reading system. He held Reading, which became a highly marginal seat, until the 1959 general election when he was ousted by fellow Association of Supervisory Staffs, Executives and Technicians (later Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs and Manufacturing Science and Finance) trade unionist, Peter Emery. A road was named as a tribute 'Ian Mikardo Way' in Lower Caversham, Reading.[14]

He was a member of the left wing of the Labour Party throughout his political career, writing for Tribune. In 1947 Mikardo joined Richard Crossman, Michael Foot and Konni Zilliacus[15] to produce Keep Left. In the pamphlet the authors criticized the cold war policies of the United States and urged a closer relationship with Europe in order to create a "Third Force" in politics. This included the idea of nuclear disarmament and the formation of a European Security Treaty.[16] The Keep Left Pamphlet.[17] Jo Richardson (1923–94) began her political career as Ian Mikardo's secretary. She co-ordinated the 'Keep Left Group' and went on to become the secretary of the Tribune Group before co-ordinating the Victory for Socialism Campaign.[18] In 1951 Richardson was elected to Hornsey Borough Council and became the full-time secretary and working partner of Ian Mikardo in his business which involved trade with eastern Europe.[19]

In the post-war period the Fabian Society was at the heart of Labour and social democratic thinking. The New Fabian Essays 'Fabians' of 1952, edited by Anthony Crosland, helped to reinvigorate debate on the left after the fall of the Attlee government: its contributors included Roy Jenkins, Ian Mikardo, Richard Crossman and Denis Healey.[20] Mikardo questioned Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in 1953 on Jewish descrimination at The Bermuda Club – Mid Ocean Club.[21][22]

In February 1958 Mikardo joined Stephen Swingler, Jo Richardson, Harold Davies, Konni Zilliacus, Walter Monslow and Sydney Silverman, to form Victory for Socialism (VFS). Mikardo was defeated in his Reading seat in 1959 but won Poplar (Parliament constituency) in the United Kingdom General Election of 1964, representing the area of London where his parents had first settled, and Bethnal Green and Bow in the 1974 General Election until 1983 and Bow and Poplar from 1983 until his retirement from Parliament in 1987. Mikardo served as member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party (1950–59 and 1960–68). He was also chairman of the Select Committee on Nationalized Industries (1966–70) and Chairman of the Labour Party (1970–71). Within Parliament, he was known as the Commons' bookmaker, willing to take bets on all manner of political events. Mikardo is seen in this video at The Labour Party Conference in 1968.[23]

Seen here at the British Labour Party Convention with former Prime Minister Jim Callaghan – 7 February 1973: A British Labour Party delegation comprising (left to right) Ian Mikardo (Chairman of the Labour Party International), James Callaghan (Shadow Foreign Secretary) and Tom McNally (Secretary, International Department) at Heathrow airport in London en route to the far east. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images).[24]

Parliamentary good manners is not simply a matter of my being virtuous. The two most effective purveyors of impalpable opinions were Ian Mikardo and Tony Benn, they both had exquisite parliamentary manners.[25]

The 'Ian Mikardo High School' was named after him.[26]

A necessarily anonymous and discerning experienced clerk of the House of Commons remarked 'Ian Mikardo was simply the most skilful operator in committee that any of us ever saw.' Mik would have been pleased to have been tagged an operator in excelsis. (b.Pimlott, Hugh Dalton, 1985, 596)(The Independent, 7 May 1993)

Mikardo Committee on the Docks[edit]

Along with Andrew Cunningham, leader of the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union (GMB) in the North-east, John Hughes, of Ruskin College, Oxford, Jack Jones, later general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union then directly responsible for dockers, Michael Montague, later of the English Tourist Board, and Peter Shore MP, were members of the Mikardo Committee on the docks set up by the Labour Party. Had the committee's proposals been put into practice by a minister with Mikardo's grip of the detail, the seamen's strike and its crippling effect on the economy, and the sourness engendered in the Labour movement by 'prime ministerial' 'Reds under the bed', would not have created the conditions for Labour's defeat in 1970.

The report produced in March 1965 exposed the ills of the docks industry by delving with a 'scalpel deep into its intestines' (as Mikardo put it). The report recommended a total restructuring of the docks under public ownership and with a system of decentralisation and of workers' participation in management much wider than had ever been envisaged for any other industry. It was vintage Mikardo thinking. The 1966 Cabinet accepted the report and George Brown fought hard for it against the resistance of timid ministers. But the Labour government were unable to produce the Ports Bill[27] until the last session of that parliament and the Bill when it came was something of a disappointment because it fell a long way short of implementing the imaginative proposals.[8]

The Gay Hussar[edit]

The Gay Hussar[28] and its restaurateur Victor Sassie (1916–1999),[29] immediately attracted the patronage of several publishers in the area, including Jonathan Cape and Rupert Hart-Davis, and it wasn't long before it could name T S Eliot among its regulars. However, it was the restaurant's discovery by the firebrand Welsh MP Aneurin Bevan that led to it becoming the unofficial headquarters of Labour's intellectual left. Several Party coups were plotted here. Fixtures at these occasions included Tom Driberg, Ian Mikardo, Michael Foot, and Barbara Castle, all Labour MPs. They were the high-living, seditious branch of the Party – not so much champagne socialists as Tokay Trotskyists. It was also the canteen for Tribune, and before long the Fleet Street political and industrial correspondents got wind of the fact that the Gay Hussar was where it was all happening. They, in turn, brought new guests, including top trade unionists and even the odd Tory MP: The 14th Earl of Home, Alec Douglas-Home was among them.

The Gay Hussar was sold by Victor Sassie in 1988 and again put up for sale on 25 October 2013 with a guide price of £500,000.[30]

13 Dec 2013: The Gay Hussar has been sold, it is reported, to an unknown party based in Malaysia. The Goulash Co-operative Limited, including members of the Labour and Conservative Party and other investors, supported by Lord Kinnock and Lord Ashcroft, did not make the highest bid and are now in talks with the owners.[31]

Keep Left and Keeping Left[edit]

During early 1947 a small number of the 'King's Speech dissenters' formed the 'Keep Left' group which published a pamphlet of the same name in May 1947, calling for, amongst other things, a 'third force' of nations led by Britain. The Keep Left pamphlet and grouping are again usually viewed as a result of the disquiet felt by MPs on the Left of the Party.[32]

As pamphleteer – his most famous were "Keep Left" (1947) and "Keeping Left" (with Dick Crossman, Michael Foot, Jo Richardson, 1950) – new Fabian essayist, staunch friend of Israel, a formidably active member of the NEC of the Labour Party for three decades, and as friend and mentor to many in the Labour movement, Mikardo made a vast impact. There were six-hour sessions in 1984 when he was engaged on 'the last proper thing I do' from a modest three-roomed apartment the an eighth floor in St John's Wood, producing the Foreign Affairs Select Committee's minority report on the sinking of the Belgrano. Mik would interrogate his group with the sharpness of a man half a century younger.

Keep Left (act. 1947–1951) was a small group of Labour members of parliament who, during the period of office of Clement Attlee's Labour government, attempted through discussion and pamphlets to produce practical proposals informed by socialist values. Meeting early in 1947, and did so on a regular basis throughout that year. Reconstituted in July 1949, the group survived until April 1951. In the aftermath of that month's ministerial resignations it became one element within the much larger Bevanite faction.

Keep Left's concern was with modernization and socialist ethics was evident in the language of the Harold Wilson governments during the 1960s. Such sentiments contributed to ministerial conflicts with the trade unions over incomes policy and most thoroughly over Barbara Castle's proposals for trade union reform. The vision of a more rational and ethical society discussed by a group of talented young politicians two decades earlier was at odds with sentiments that remained deeply rooted within their party. [17]

The Belgrano Enquiry[edit]

The Belgrano Enquiry: Ian Mikado MP outlines the attempts by some members of the Parliamentary Select Committee investigation into the sinking of the Belgrano to actually find out what happened. Ian Mikado MP 'Foiled Attempts to find the Truth' :: Belgrano Inquiry [33]

Sinking of the General Belgrano – HC Deb 18 February 1985 vol 73 cc733-826 Mr. Ian Mikardo (Bow and Poplar) Surely the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the Select Committee decided to conduct two inquiries, one with the terms of reference that he has just quoted, and the other on the events arising out of the happenings on 1 and 2 May. There were two separate inquiries.

Mr. Michael Heseltine If what the hon. Gentleman says is the case, I unreservedly accept that point. [Interruption.] However, that does not change the significance of the letter that we received in the Department from the Clerk of the Foreign Affairs Committee. This letter set the terms upon which the original advice and memorandum were placed. It asked for: A note of all changes in the Rules of Engagement issued to HM Forces in the South Atlantic between 2 April and 15 June 1982 and confinning the accuracy of Mr. Pym's statement to the Committee on 11 June that changes in the Rules of Engagement: 'happened quite a number of times in the course of the war.' This request presented my Department with a difficulty. A comprehensive list of all the changes in the rules of engagement would have been classified, but we were advised that the Committee would prefer the note to be unclassified. Ministers therefore received a draft addressing the issue which had provoked the original inquiry, but in a document which was not in itself classified.

Mr. Ian Mikardo (Bow and Poplar) If it is thought that this debate should be about what happened during the weekend when the Belgrano was sunk, I should point out that there is no reason to have a debate on that today. We could have debated it at any time in the past year or so with as much knowledge and authority as we now have. The time to debate that matter is not now but in a few weeks' time when we have the report of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs which has been going into the matter in great detail.

When I hear dogmatic views expressed, as we heard from the hon. Member for Hampshire, East (Mr. Mates), I recall that having spent months going through a mountain of evidence I still cannot make up my mind about the truth of the matter and I look forward to considering it further. How hon. Members who have not looked at the evidence can be so sure and so dogmatic passes my comprehension. As a member of the Select Committee, I take the view that the Government are throwing a grave insult at that Committee. Having already insulted it by withholding information from it, the Government are now gravely insulting the Select Committee by trying to get the House today to pre-empt and thus devalue its work and its report.

I appreciate, Mr. Speaker, that I may refer only to those parts of the Select Committee's work that are already publicly available. It is well known that the Select Committee has been working on this inquiry for some time — well known to everyone except, apparently, the Secretary of State. The right hon. Gentleman said today that the only thing being investigated by the Select Committee—he even read out the terms of reference—was the future of the Falklands and the peace process. We concluded that inquiry months ago and issued a report. The Secretary of State himself gave evidence to the Committee. The report itself, under the heading Foreign Affairs Committee, Minutes of Evidence, Wednesday 7 November 1984, right hon. Michael Heseltine MP has the following title in bold type: The events surrounding the weekend of 1–2 May 1982". When it became clear that the Secretary of State did not even know to what inquiry he had given evidence, I began to doubt the creditworthiness of the rest of his speech.

We are still taking evidence and the Secretary of State has today promised us two further pieces of evidence. He seemed to be claiming some special credit for letting us see the "Crown Jewels" — more than somewhat belatedly, as we had to drag it out of him—but no credit is due to the Secretary of State as it would have been unthinkable for him to withhold that evidence from the Select Committee. If it was not devastatingly damaging for the judge, the jury, the lawyers and their staff and the court officials and servants to know what was in that document, there can be no reason to withhold it from two right hon. and nine hon. Members of this House. I am surprised that the Secretary of State is not requiring us to be vetted by an Old Etonian as was the jury in the Ponting case.

When the House has the Select Committee report, irrespective of the conclusion that we reach about the Belgrano—I do not yet know what conclusion that will be—the House will clearly be in a much better and more informed position to pronounce on the matter than it is today.

The justification for today's debate is a justification for a debate on a quite different subject—the revelations and the things that crawled out of the woodwork during the Ponting trial. Those disclosures have confirmed and supplemented what we already knew about the Government's lying to the House, lying to the Select Committee and lying to the country. I use the word "lying" advisedly, strong though it is, because it is a cardinal principle that suppressio veri is equivalent to suggestio falsi, if only because it violates the second of the three requirements—the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The Legge minute has been mentioned several times. In that minute, a civil servant advised his Ministers to deceive the Select Committee by withholding information. What must concern the House is not that Mr. Legge offered that shabby advice to the Minister for the Armed Forces but that the Minister, with the consent of the Secretary of State, accepted and acted upon it. We now know from the evidence that the Minister for the Armed Forces accepted it enthusiastically—a good deal more enthusiastically than his boss the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State today listed the reasons which Mr. Legge gave for deceiving the Select Committee and which the Minister accepted. Those reasons were wholly bogus, hollow and meretricious and were clearly exposed as such in the Select Committee's examination of the Secretary of State, to which I referred earlier. If any hon. Member doubts my word about that, he should read the evidence, which makes it absolutely clear that those reasons did not stand up under questioning.

As time is limited, I mention just one of the reasons given by Mr. Legge for withholding the information. He said that the rules of engagement would have to be paraphrased at some length since their format would be almost incomprehensible to the layman".

Yet those rules were given to the War Cabinet, and all the Ministers who were members of the War Cabinet were laymen. I cannot imagine why it should be thought that what was intelligible to the laymen in the War Cabinet would be beyond the understanding of those on the Select Committee. Was the Chairman of the Select Committee, the hon. Member for Stroud (Sir A. Kershaw), for instance, assumed to be less intelligent and not so quick on the uptake as, say, Lord Whitelaw? The very idea is enough to make a cat laugh. The Secretary of State himself subsequently admitted that it was nonsense when, despite all the reasons that he listed for not giving the rules of engagement to the Select Committee, after much travail he finally gave them to us a few weeks ago. Layman though I am, I had no difficulty at all in understanding them.

One further matter arises out of the Ponting trial. I mention it again as it deserves special attention. A number of people have said that they could not understand why the Government made the mistake of prosecuting Mr. Ponting and that they could not understand what the Government hoped to get out of it. I was not sure myself when I first thought about it. In the light of what has happened, I now know what the Government hoped to get out of putting Clive Ponting in gaol. They hoped to establish, as the judge tried to establish, that their lying to the House was in the national interest. They wanted to protect themselves against any criticism from the Select Committee or anyone else and to be able to say that, however reprehensible the deed, it was done in the national interest.

The acquittal gets rid of all that well and truly. Twelve British citizens have summarily dismissed the judge's monstrous opinion – clearly shared by the Prime Minister and at least some of her Ministers—that the national interest is whatever the Government of the day want to do. That is a monstrous doctrine, because if confers on a Government a cachet of papal infallibility. I do not doubt that all Governments do what they judge to be in the national interest, but no Government have the right to assume that their judgment can never be wrong.

Mr. Speaker Order. The hon. Gentleman has reached the end of his time.

Mr. Mikardo I shall just finish my sentence, Mr. Speaker, if I may. No Government should assume that they can never be wrong and that what they do cannot sometimes therefore vary from the national interest. As has been said, that is the cherished doctrine of General Pinochet and of General Jaruzelski. It is the codex of all courts in police states. Before the time of our present Prime Minister and Mr. Justice McCowan, that doctrine was unheard of in our country.

Mr. John Browne (Winchester) What greater test can any Government face than to fight a military campaign and have a disloyal adviser in a key area of defence? I am reminded of the betrayal of the Spartans at Thermopylae to the Persians. In what other country would the Government have to balance disclosure against national security in such a blaze of examination, comment and publicity?

Mr. Mikardo The United States.

Mr. Browne No, not the President.

Mr. Mikardo Yes.[34]

Harold Laski[edit]

On Harold Laski's death (1893–1950),[35] the Labour MP Ian Mikardo said: “His mission in life was to translate the religion of the universal brotherhood of man into the language of political economy.” He was a great influence on one Miliband. Let us hope that, more than 60 years on from his untimely death, Laski can be an influence on another.

Poale Zion of Britain (Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland)[edit]

Ian Mikardo 1930 met Mary (b. 1907), the daughter of Benjamin Rosetsky. They married at Mile End and Bow District synagogue on 3 January 1932,[36] and joined the Labour Party and Poale Zion of Britain (Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland), the Zionist workers' movement, which was affiliated to the party. All his life they were immersed in Jewish causes, and help for Israel, which they often visited. He worked with Mapam (the united workers' party), and abhorred anything which smacked of gratuitous provocation of the Palestinian Arabs.[37]

7 March 1948: A vote of “no-confidence” will be sought against the government by some members of the British Labour Party when the bill to terminate the Palestine Mandate has its second reading in the House of Commons next Wednesday, it was revealed this week-end by Ian Mikardo, Labourite M.P., at the opening of the annual conference of the Poale Zion of Great Britain. He declared that the motion ?f "no confidence" will be made because the bill provides for termination of the mandate without mentioning the successor states of the Mandatory and without prodding for transfer of power to the U.N. Palestine Commission.

21 July 1950: The British Government does not now contemplate changing its policy of supplying arms to Egypt, Kenneth Younger, government spokesman on foreign affairs, declared today in the House of Commons. He added that the policy was under constant review. The question was raised by Ian Mikardo, Labour M.P., who asked that the policy be changed in view of Egypt's stand on the Korean situation. The opposition members of the House cheered when Mikardo pointed out to Younger that arms shipments to Egypt were premised on their use in collective defence and that Egypt had made it very clear that it would not join the collective effort on Korea.

6 October 1950: Ian Mikardo, M.P. and member of the national executive of the Poale Zion of Britain, has been named a member of the new British Labour Party executive. Mikardo is the representative for Reading.[38]

16 January 1951: Mr. Mikardo added, however, that he had been queried about his article and that Mapam leaders had expressed hostility to his idea. But, he insisted, Mapam leaders believe “less and less in their own line” that leasing a base to Britain would make “Israel a British vessel.” He also disagreed with a fellow Labour M.P., Richard Crossman –currently a guest of President Weizmann–who has asserted that there is antipathy in Israel toward Americans. The Israelis, Mikardo said, are more impressed by the British attitude in international affairs than by the American, which he characterized as more explosive than the British.

29 October 1951: In the Holborn constituency in London, three Jews, Labour, Conservative and Liberal, contested for the seat which was won by Labourite W.S. Jager with a slim 179 vote lead over his Conservative rival, Col, L.Y. Gluckstein. Emanuel Shinwell, a member of the last Cabinet, and Ian Mikardo, a supporter of Aneurin Bevan, dissident Labour leader, were also re-elected.

11 July 1952: British Labour Party leaders today praised the courage and enthusiasm of the new State of Israel and expressed the opinion that it would overcome the great odds which it faces. Speaking at a reception given by Labour M.P.s in honour of a Histadrut delegation of 62 American and Canadian Jews who are here en route to Israel, the British Labourites stressed the close relations between the Israeli and British labour movements. Speakers included Arthur Greenwood, treasurer of the British Labour Party, Glenville Hall, chairman of its Parliamentary caucus and Alice Bacon, former chairman of the party. Earlier, Ian Mikardo, Labour M.P., addressed a Labour Zionist reception for the Americans and Canadians, who will leave for Paris this week-end to spend several days before proceeding to Israel for a three-week stay.

27 March 1974: Ian Mikardo,66, Immediate past-chairman of the British Labour Party and Labour member of Parliament, has been elected chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party (the Labour faction in Parliament, and now of great importance because Labour is in government). Mikardo is on the left of the party, and he defeated a candidate from the right of the party, Arthur Bottomley, by 99–85 votes. Mikardo is a lifelong Zionist, and an inactive member of the Poale Zion. His time and his great abilities are devoted to the Labour Party.

Books, journals, pamphlets, and articles[edit]

Consultation or joint management? : a contribution to the discussion of industrial democracy / by J.M. Chalmers, Ian Mikardo, G.D.H. Cole – [ Book : 1949 ] Management – Employee participation – Great Britain.

Labour : party or puppet? / [Frank] Allaun, [Ian] Mikardo, [Jim] Sillars – [ Book : 1972 ] Labour Party (Great Britain); Democracy.

Sense about defence : the report of the Labour Party Defence Study Group / foreword by Ron Hayward ; introduction by Ian Mikardo – Labour Party (Great Britain). Defence Study Group – [ Book : 1977 ] Great Britain – Defences.; Great Britain – Military policy.

Back-bencher / Ian Mikardo – [ Book : 1988 ] Mikardo, Ian, 1908–; Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons; Legislators – Great Britain – Biography.

The Labour case (Choice for Britain series) [ Paperback : 1950 ] – Herbert Morrison (Foreword), Ian Mikardo (Author)

Keep Left (1947), Keeping Left (1950) by Ian Mikardo – a Group of members of parliament, Michael Foot, Ian Mikardo, Ian Crossman

New Fabian Essays by Ed. R H S Crossman. Preface by C R Attlee. R H S Crossman; C A R Crosland; Roy Jenkins; Margaret Cole; Austen Albu; Ian Mikardo; Denis Healey; John Strachey ( Book : 1952 )

The Problems of Nationalization (Current affairs) by Ian Mikardo (1948)

It Need Not Happen, The Alternative to German Rearmament by Barbara Castle, Richard Crossman, Tom Driberg, Ian Mikardo, Harold Wilson, Aneurin Bevan. ( Book 1951 )

The Immigration Story (What we are doing in Israel. no. 2.) by Ian Mikardo MP (1953) JEWISH IMMIGRATION-ISRAEL-PALESTINE-ZIONISM.

Electioneering in Labour marginal constituencies by Ian Mikardo (1955)

Docklands Redevelopment: How They Got It Wrong by Ian Mikardo (1990)

Centralised Control of Industry – [ pamphlet : 1944 ] Advocating the Extension into Peacetime of Wartime control of Industry.

It's a Mugs Game – [ Pamphlet : 1951 ] The bookmakers trade.

The Second Five Years – [ Pamphlet : 1948 ] Sets out a radical programme for the second post-war Labour Administration.

Tribune No 723 January 12–25, 1951 by Ian Mikardo Michael Foot, Evelyn Anderson etc. Ronald Searle (1951)

La Tribune des Peuples, N° 4, septembre-octobre 1953. Contient entre autres : Il faut gagner la paix, par Aneurin Bevan (13 p.). Réflexions sur la décadence du capitalisme français, par Alfred Sauvy (14 p.). Le dilemme du Parti travailliste anglais, par K. Martin (8 p.). COLLECTIF, Aneurin BEVAN, Alfred SAUVY, Kingsley MARTIN, Lucien WEITZ, Guy THOREL, Ian MIKARDO, Frederick MANSFIELD, Roy JENKINS, Douglas JAY, Pierre HOUËL, A DOISY, K S KAROL, Jean ROUS, Jean DANIEL

Esprit, N 188 ( 3 ), mars 1952 . Contient entre autres : Il est temps encore, par l'equipe de Esprit. Sur la route vietnamienne, par Paul Mus. L'Experience Travailliste :Socialisme et travaillisme, par François Sellier. Necessites economiques, par Henri ESPRIT. Paul MUS, François SELLIER, Henri BARTOLI, Rene LEMNIS, Georges E. LAVAU, John HUNDEC, Norman McLAREN, Ian MIKARDO.



He published his autobiography Back-Bencher in 1988. Joining Parliament as M.P. for Reading in 1945, Ian Mikardo has had a long career as a backbencher and here he paints vivid pictures of Barbara Castle, Michael Foot and Richard Crossman and chronicles his struggle to keep successive Labour Prime Ministers true to their socialist ideals.

What Mikardo did in 1944 was possibly the single most influential act of a remarkable parliamentary career. In his beautifully written autobiography Backbencher (1988) he ascribes the fact that he did not become a minister in the Attlee government to a meeting of the inner cabinet – described by Ben Pimlott in his biography of Hugh Dalton – which agreed that Mikardo and Austen Albu were unsuitable, Attlee apparently on racial grounds: 'They both belonged to the Chosen People and he didn't think he wanted any more of them.

In his 1988 autobiography, Ian Mikardo wrote: "It is still a source of puzzlement to me that our thoroughly documented exposé of the government's duplicity aroused so much less interest throughout the country than one might reasonably have expected. But I have the consolation of a firm conviction that some day, though probably not in my lifetime, the full truth will emerge." Perhaps now that the foreign affairs select committee has a Labour majority, they will answer the question left open by their colleagues in 1983. For the real point here is that the Falklands war should never have been allowed to start.


It was on 6 May 1993 that Ian Mikardo died after suffering a stroke, whilst being treated for sarcoma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, Cheshire, Lancashire, he was 84 years old. Ian was survived by his wife Mary, to whom he was devoted, and daughters Ruth and Judy. Mary suffered a heart attack in 1959 that proved to be progressively disabling.[37]

The abiding memory of Mik, however, and many thousands in the Labour and trade-union movement was the tour de force which he provided every year at conference and at party rallies as a fund-raiser. Never was money – notes not coins – extracted with more elegance, style, wit and Cockney good humour from the pockets of an audience. Mik – no one called him Ian – was sui generis. 'The Latin we all use in the pubs in Poplar,' as he would quip. (The Independent – Tam Dalyell, (7 May 1993)

During his lifetime, he wasn't without his critics. George Orwell accused him of being a "fellow traveller", a covert communist who didn't have the courage to declare his convictions. Others would point to decades of solid service to the public, and it is for this that one of the true personalities of post-War British politics will be remembered – and fittingly marked by Ian Mikardo School. Wealth at death £107,176: The Times (5 Aug 1993)


  1. ^ The New York Times : http://www.nytimes.com/1993/05/11/obituaries/ian-mikardo-84-dies-led-british-labor-party.html
  2. ^ http://www.labourinternational.net/
  3. ^ a b Ian Mikardo, East End MP | eastlondonhistory.com http://eastlondonhistory.com/2011/06/16/ian-mikardo-east-end-mp/
  4. ^ Old Beneficiary School Ghost Hunt Investigation- Portsmouth Hampshire http://www.southernghostsociety.co.uk/past-ghost-hunts/ghost-hunt-old-beneficiary-school.html
  5. ^ Ghost Hunt Gallery for – The Old Beneficiary Hampshire http://www.southernghostsociety.co.uk/ghost-hunt-gallery.asp?ghost-hunt=The%20Old%20Beneficiary
  6. ^ Another view of Omega Street School taken on same day as previous | Page 1 | Omega Street JMI | Friends Reunited http://www.friendsreunited.co.uk/another-view-of-omega-street-school-taken-on-same-day-as-previous/Memory/ac4e32ac-45b4-4f71-8823-f557de412c88
  7. ^ Memorials and Monuments in Portsmouth – (The Former) Southern Grammar School http://www.memorials.inportsmouth.co.uk/others/sgs/index.htm
  8. ^ a b Obituary: Ian Mikardo – People – News – The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-ian-mikardo-2321404.html
  9. ^ Has anybody actually seen a person with a sandwich board proclaiming: 'The end of the world is nigh'? | Notes and Queries | guardian.co.uk http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,,-1116,00.html
  10. ^ Brent Council Meeting: http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/Data/Council/20040628/Agenda/cm28jne.pdf
  11. ^ Barbara Tayler obituary | From the Guardian | The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2012/jan/31/barbara-tayler
  12. ^ Former Miles Aircraft Factory, Woodley – | http://digitalnoisephotography.co.uk/2013/05/15/former-miles-aircraft-factory-woodley/
  13. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-ian-mikardo-2321404.html
  14. ^ Street map of IAN MIKARDO WAY in CAVERSHAM in READING in RG4 http://www.streetmap.co.uk/street/IAN_MIKARDO_WAY_in_CAVERSHAM_in_READING_in_RG4_583010_285944.htm
  15. ^ Konni Zilliacus : Biography http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/TUzilliacus.htm
  16. ^ Ian Mikardo : Biography http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/TUmikardo.htm
  17. ^ a b Oxford DNB article: Keep Left 2013-05 http://www.oxforddnb.com/templates/theme-print.jsp?articleid=92511
  18. ^ Jo Richardson – Archives Hub http://archiveshub.ac.uk/features/jorich.html
  19. ^ Obituary: Jo Richardson – People – News – The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-jo-richardson-1391377.html
  20. ^ The Fabian Society: a brief history | Politics | theguardian.com http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/aug/13/thinktanks.uk
  21. ^ http://www.jta.org/1953/06/25/archive/churchill-exonerates-bermuda-club-says-it-doesnt-bar-jews
  22. ^ http://www.jta.org/1953/06/18/archive/president-of-bermuda-club-denies-barring-jews-from-member-ship
  23. ^ Labour Party Conference (1968) – YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuTBl5q-K1I
  24. ^ http://cache1.asset-cache.net/gc/3378301-7th-february-1973-a-british-labour-party-gettyimages.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=Fmcgg%2BDW9I5P1Wlo38MMeyi5u0mHXlfklordVdH9ToCr2ia2Xzq7ufxK5B6YYBke
  25. ^ Mind how you speak to the Speaker | Tam Dalyell | Comment is free | theguardian.com http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jan/22/speaker-john-bercow-commons
  26. ^ Ian Mikardo High School – Our School http://www.ianmikardo.com/page/?title=Our+School&pid=2
  27. ^ Port of London Act 1968 http://www.pla.co.uk/Port-of-London-Act-1968
  28. ^ The Gay Hussar, 2 Greek Street, London W1 – Reviews – Food & Drink – The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/reviews/the-gay-hussar-2-greek-street-london-w1-1919273.html
  29. ^ Victor Sassie | News | The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/news/1999/jun/09/guardianobituaries.ianaitken
  30. ^ Gay Hussar – the left's London canteen – goes up for sale | Life and style | The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/oct/25/gay-hussar-soho-restaurant-for-sale
  31. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/dec/13/gay-hussar-soho-restaurant-sale
  32. ^ http://www.bus.lsbu.ac.uk/resources/CIBS/european-institute-papers/papers2/498.PDF http://www.bus.lsbu.ac.uk/resources/CIBS/european-institute-papers/papers2/498.PDF
  33. ^ http://belgranoinquiry.com/sound-archive/ian-mikado-mp-foiled-attempts-to-find-the-truth
  34. ^ Sinking of the General Belgrano (Hansard, 18 February 1985) http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1985/feb/18/sinking-of-the-general-belgrano#column_795
  35. ^ Harold Laski – the man who influenced Ralph Miliband http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk-politics/2013/01/harold-laski-man-who-influenced-ralph-miliband
  36. ^ http://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/london/EE_mile-end-bow_utd/index.htm
  37. ^ a b Oxford DNB http://www.oxforddnb.com/templates/article.jsp?articleid=52289&back=
  38. ^ Ian Mikardo Named Member of British Labour Party Executive; is Poale Zion Leader | Jewish Telegraphic Agency http://www.jta.org/1950/10/06/archive/ian-mikardo-named-member-of-british-labor-party-executive-is-poale-zion-leader

External links[edit]

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Member of Parliament for Reading
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Reading South
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Member of Parliament for Poplar
1964Feb 1974
Constituency abolished
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Feb 19741983
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New constituency Member of Parliament for Bow and Poplar
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