Vic Feather

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The Lord Feather

President of the European Trade Union Confederation
In office
1973–1974
Preceded byHeinz Oskar Vetter
Succeeded byHeinz Oskar Vetter
General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress
In office
26 February 1969 – 7 September 19731
Preceded byGeorge Woodcock
Succeeded byLen Murray
Assistant General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress
In office
1960–1969
General SecretaryGeorge Woodcock
Preceded byGeorge Woodcock
Succeeded byLen Murray
Personal details
Born10 April 1908 (1908-04-10)
Idle, Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died28 July 1976 (1976-07-29) (aged 68)
1 Acting from 26 February 1969 to 2 September 1969
Levi Eshkol and Vic Feather at Claridge's, 1965

Victor Grayson Hardie Feather, Baron Feather, CBE (10 April 1908 – 28 July 1976) was a British propagandist and General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress in Great Britain from 1969 to 1973. During his time as assistant secretary of the TUC, he was secretly being paid to write anti-communist propaganda by the Information Research Department (IRD), a secret branch of the UK Foreign Office which delt in weaponised disinformation, anti-communism, and pro-colonial propaganda.[1] Feather's book Trade Unions:True or False was published via Background Books, a propaganda front for the IRD.[1] British propagandists also used Feather's services to promote anti-communist propaganda from within the TUC.[2][3][4]

Early life and career[edit]

Feather was born in Idle, Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire in 1908, and was named after the recently elected socialist MP Victor Grayson. He was educated at Hanson Grammar School in Bradford. He began work at age 14 and joined the Shopworkers' Union. He was elected shop steward at age 15, and chairman of his branch committee at age 21. In 1937 he joined the staff of the Trades Union Congress. He became Assistant Secretary (1947–60), Assistant General Secretary (1960–69), and General Secretary (1969–73). He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1961 New Year Honours.[5]

As General Secretary, Feather led the British trade union movement's fight against Heath government's Industrial Relations Act 1971. After retirement from the TUC, he was President of the European Trade Union Confederation (1973–74). He was created a life peer as Baron Feather, of the City of Bradford on 6 March 1974.[6] Lord Feather died two years later in 1976.

With his blunt Yorkshire manner, he was something of a "character" in British public life. He was often imitated by Mike Yarwood. When he appeared on Parkinson he admitted to stealing sheep in the 1930s. He was the subject of an episode of This Is Your Life (UK TV series), first broadcast on 28 November 1973.

Personal life[edit]

He married Alice Ellison in 1930 and they had two children together, Alexander and Patricia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lashmar, Paul (1988). Britain’s Secret Propaganda War 1948-1977. Phoenix Mill: Sutton Publishing. p. 100.
  2. ^ Maguire, Thomas J. (8 May 2014). "Counter-Subversion in Early Cold War Britain: The Official Committee on Communism (Home), the Information Research Department, and 'State-Private Networks". Intelligence and National Security. 30 . no 5: 650 – via Taylor & Francis Online.
  3. ^ Deery, Phillip (1997). "Confronting the Cominform: George Orwell and the Cold War Offensive of the Information Research Department, 1948-50". Labour History. 73: 220 – via JSTOR.
  4. ^ Wilford, Hugh (1998). "The Information Research Department: Britain's secret Cold War weapon revealed". Review of International Studies. 24: 364 – via Cambridge Core.
  5. ^ "No. 42231". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1960. p. 8898.
  6. ^ "No. 46231". The London Gazette. 11 March 1974. p. 3167.

External links[edit]

Trade union offices
Preceded by
George Woodcock
Assistant General Secretary of the TUC
1960–1969
Succeeded by
Len Murray
Preceded by
George Woodcock
General Secretary of the TUC
1969-1973
Succeeded by
Len Murray
Preceded by
New position
President of the ETUC
1973–1974
Succeeded by
Heinz Oskar Vetter