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The life and work of the self-employed socialist intellectual,
Humphrey McQueen


There is a tradition in academia of dedicating to veteran
or retiring scholars a "feschrift", which is usually a collection of essays
by other scholars about the scholar's chosen field and their contribution to it.
Humphrey McQueen has done his prolific and wide-ranging intellectual work mainly
outside academe, and is a self-employed freelance historian and journalist, so
he has no institution to give him a feschrift, but some of his writing is available
on the web, so Ozleft has put together a list of this material as a kind of virtual
feschrift. This is not to suggest that Humphrey may be about to retire, as he
shows no sign of running out of intellectual steam and he has no great pot of superannuation
to live on in any case. In fact, circumstances have made him into John Howard and
Peter Costello's ideal citizen: he is forced both by economic necessity and by
the passionate nature of his intellectual activity to work on past the standard
retiring age — although the serious products of his work are not likely to please
Howard and Costello at all.

have a lot of sympathy for Humphrey in this respect. He is a little younger than
me, about 60, and at the age of 66, I am in pretty much the same boat myself.
The cynical thing about the insulting rhetoric of Howard and Costello on these
matters is that their appeal to people in the age group of Humphrey and myself
to work on is clearly linked to their intention to cut the pension and associated
social benefits. We should fight that intention of the Tories with every piece of
resourcefulness we can muster. The right to the pension and associated social benefits
was won in struggle, and we should defend it.

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