For my sins, and believe it or not, I was a member of the Poly's Socialist Worker Party when I was a lad (primarily because we went on lots of coach trips to throw bricks at the police, the girls were really fit and 'easy' if you were a working class hero - allegedly
). My socialism came from my Dad, rabid he was/is, but this was the time of Militant and Derek Hatton etc.
I have to say, despite the idealism of youth, that I was horrified by what I witnessed during that period. I did an HND in electronics at Poly and had a work placement with Liverpool Council. The blokes I worked with were great pisstakers, friendly, and family men. They were my friends and I would call them working class socialists.
But I saw the same men threatened with being forced out of work; on one occasion, one lad was physically assaulted and another was told that he'd never be able to work in Liverpool again - and this young lad a two kids, with one on the way.
Who was threatening them? Representatives of Militant. Why? because they wanted a 'support fund' to pay for their (our) trips around the country to throw bricks at the police (and get pissed).
I remember the fear in the eyes of these poor guys - and they paid up, despite the hardship it caused them.
Hatton lived across the road from me at the time, his dad, George, was a fire bobby with my Dad, they were good friends. But I remember my Dad, after he witnessed some of the antics of Militant himself, going across the road to 'Degsy' and telling him that he and his 'cronies' were like the 'brown shirts; and were a 'disgrace to Socialism'.
The actions of Hatton and his followers have a lot to answer for, not least giving Thatcher a stick to beat all true socialists with.
Degsy - prime tosser, enemy of socialism and now living in Manchester - good riddance.