Leslie Spoor 1910-2011
12th October 1910 – 13th March 2011
I am sad to report that Leslie Spoor, the principal founder of the Scottish Green Party, died last Sunday aged 100.
A political activist all his life, Leslie was involved in the 1936 Battle of Cable Street, when 300,000 antifascists stood against the British Union of Fascists’ planned march through the Jewish East End.
Leslie was a long-time member of the Labour Party and close friend of the late Livingston MP and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, but in 1978 founded the Scottish Ecology Party, which would become the Scottish Green Party. He remained active into his hundredth year, campaigning for Robin Harper in last year’s General Election.
During that campaign, he said, “In a long and active life I have seen political fashions come and go, and when you have such a wide perspective, you realise that what matters is long-term vision. I continue to back the Greens because they alone have a sense of urgency about the future of the planet.”
A teacher by profession, Leslie taught history at Musselburgh Grammar School and lectured with the Open University.
The funeral is next Monday, the 21st of March, at 12 noon, at Edinburgh’s Mortonhall Crematorium. Leslie’s widow, Pat, has kindly welcomed Green Party members to attend, whether or not they knew Leslie personally, as Green politics was such an important part of his life.
How wonderful to see all these tributes to Leslie. It was to my home in Stratford, Ontario that Pat and Leslie came every Summer for thirteen consecutive years staying three or four weeks each time. Many, many people here were quite definitely disappointed that they missed last year, although we were understanding. They always attended several performances at the Shakespeare Festival theatre and were always well prepared by reading and discussion beforehand. I am honoured and privileged to have had Leslie a part of my life and I already look forward hopefully to Pat’s resuming visits in the future.It is true to say that I adored Leslie and I will revisit treasured memories of him with individual mutual friends and often by myself here at Iona Cottage where he loved to stay.
Thanks to all who have posted the above comments. Leslie was my Grandad and I have so many good memories of time spent with him over the years. He lead a full life and achieved so much. I used to love to listen to his stories of history and you could ask him any question and he would know the answer.
He loved to talk politics and I listened to many a friendly debate round the dinner table. His love for politics lead him to start the Scottish Ecology Party with other family members behind him.
Grandad you will always be in my thoughts and will be missed by us all
Leslie Spoor, (or Mr Spoor) was my history teacher at Musselburgh Grammar School in the early fifties. He was well respected & liked, & as one of my contemporaries said, “he was the only teacher who treated you as a human being” His party piece of bending a six inch nail with his bare hands, contributed to the respect he had, but it was the warmth of the man that shone through. He regularly took pupils on school trips, mostly Youth Hostelling by bike, & many a Musselburgh boy & girl have fond memories of that time. It was at Easter 1956, that I was with him in the Borders, & on the Saturday, we stayed at Melrose Y.H. after watching the sevens in the afternoon.
I later became a life member of the Scottish Youth Hostelling Assoc. – have loved sevens ever since, & had my love of Scotland, & her tumultuous history reinforced. I was so pleased to make contact with him in later life, & to share moments with him, not least when he & Pat attended a re-union of pupils in 1995, though he apologised for not being able to come until 10 P.M. as he had a prior engagement. Not bad for 95!
Not too long ago, during his Sunday sermon, my minister asked the congregation to quietly remember the three people who had contributed most to their lives, & Leslie was in my thoughts. I was pleased that I had the opportunity to actually tell him that he was on my “short list” I looked forward to receiving a postcard each year from he & Pat, mostly from Canada, with one saying I hope to be back in time for my 99th birthday! What a man! Condolences to pat & the family.
could some who knew him well write an obituary for the scotsman please it sounds like I missed out on someone quite special oh well perhaps in my next life
You don’t need to know someone very well to be able to draw inspiration from their life.
Here’s to Leslie and being an activist not a passenger in life
Thanks Gary, and Gavin. I met Leslie a few times, always charming. Sad to hear he’s gone, grateful for all he did.
I met Leslie a lot over the last 20 years and had the chance to spend a bit of time with him in the last year of his life. Latterly, his memory began to fade but he remained clear-headed about what it was like in Britain between the first and second world wars: when free market dogma was exposed as a sham and fascism grew up like a weed between the cracks.
I am sure that it was this memory that kept Leslie politically active all of his life. Remember, he was 68 when he proposed that then Ecology Party form a Scottish Ecology Party, at an age when many are setting up the slippers and settling down.
Bad things happen when good people do nothing. That’s not something that Leslie need worry about personally. I don’t know what he would have made of blogs and twitter and facebook; I am almost certain he would have approved. Let’s hope we fulfil Leslie’s dream and take progressive Green politics to the next level.