Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kel (1959 - 2010)

Many of you will have noticed the absence of posts on the Osterley Times. It is with regret that I have to tell you that Kel, the man behind the Osterley Times, died suddenly on 28 October 2010.

Kel was many things. A Labour man. A working-class hero. A socialist. All labels that could be applied to him, yet none that defined him. Kel's loyalty to the Labour party, or rather what the Labour party had stood for, did not preclude him from critiquing the failures of Tony Blair and others in New Labour. His socialism was not romantic, but pragmatic. He argued for equality and fairness for all, and pointed out where socialist experiments of the past had failed to deliver these very things. A modest man, he was proud of his working-class roots, but I think would have been embarrassed to wear the epithet of hero. He was just a boy from Cranhill who had made it, and he wished to see a world where his successes and expectations could be the norm, not the exception.

Kel had a biting wit and could cut down the mighty with a pithy rejoinder, amply demonstrated across years of blogging. I was perpetually amazed that by the time I had eaten breakfast, Kel could produce three or four compelling blog posts, fully researched, and often updated. He was incredibly aware of what was happening in politics globally, one minute talking about the Middle East peace process, the next keeping an eye on the progress of legislation through the American Congress, before returning to the UK to examine corruption in Parliament.

No political topic escaped his understanding, and nobody was above criticism.

Although a man of the left, Kel was inherently fair-minded. As scathing as he was when he felt people were plainly wrong, he was as quick to praise when he saw people doing right, even if politically they were on the other side of the spectrum from him.

In the month since his passing we have seen direct action on the streets of Britain by students, campaigning against the increase in tuition fees. The US mid-term elections have finished, and President Obama faces the run up to re-election with a Congress no longer fully controlled by Democrats. Wikileaks has taken on the might of the US Government, its founder Julian Assange is facing deportation to Sweden on allegations of sexual assault, and the US have indicated they want him extradited to America.

All these topics were the bread and butter of the Osterley Times, and I feel strangely out of touch with them now. I feel behind the times, as many news stories were brought to my attention, not by the mainstream media, but by Kel.

We who knew him will miss his compassion, his strong desire to see the right thing done, his warmth and humour, and above all his humanity. All these things were Kel, and all these things shone through on this website.

I can think of no better tribute to his memory than this site, where his words speak for him far better than I can.


Steel Phoenix said...

Oh dear.
He will be greatly missed, even by those of us who knew him only through this page.

Even though I generally found myself on the opposite side of the issues, he was one of my favorite and most trusted sources for the news of the day, and definitely the best for a good debate. He never left a comment unanswered.

Even from an ocean away, the world seems a little dimmer now.

daveawayfromhome said...

I was afraid of something like this.
Kel had been a valuble source of information, opinion and reason for me ever since I discovered him, and I will miss him dearly. Mornings have not been the same since his posts stopped appearing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear this has happened. Realised something must have happened with the blogger. After Postman Patel another good human gone.

nunya said...

RIP Kel, you will be missed.

Anonymous said...

So "Kel" was Gerard Kelly, eh? RIP.

Anonymous said...

Hi, i just want to say hello to the community

janinsanfran said...

Very sad news indeed.