Mug shot of Don Urquhart

2 May 2024


A tribute.

By his family

Mug shot of Don Urquhart

The value of listening

The world can be a noisy place. People shout over each other to be seen and heard, to gain a platform and followers with it. What they actually think and mean doesn’t matter all that much. People manufacture images of a reality they want others to inhabit so that they can be rewarded with profit and perceived prestige. 

I learnt from a man who really understood the value of listening.

My dad listened as a colleague, as a boss, as a learner, as a writer, as a father, counsellor, dear friend and husband. He took time to think, consider, employ empathy and reason and humour.

Regular readers will recognise his use of analogy and anecdotes to break up social problems, international conflict or political scandal or drama into real, simple, fundamentals.

The author of Corbynista didn’t write for profit or power and yet he was happier and richer than all the hacks. He was loved widely, disagreed with often, respected universally and showered in kindness, gratitude, awe and warmth from everyone he met.

Motivated by debate

He had a morality that came from within. Not an external spiritual guidance but his own human compassion and experience, which he used to connect with people. He loved to talk with people of all persuasions. To him they were people who deserved to be listened to. His first instinct was to find common ground where we could all agree to disagree, before moving on. Maybe more than anything he just loved to talk. 

He was delighted to accommodate more than one opinion and was always ready to be wrong. He just wanted his take on events to be read, thought about, considered and debated. Criticism was all to the good. He just wanted people to engage, and he was thrilled when his readers did so. 

Passionate about our NHS

Corbynista was gifted 11 extra months by his medical team. He was the richest man alive as he spent his time meeting all his many friends; not ‘followers’ but real people who he continued to debate with, laugh with, support, and console. He profited from time spent retelling the tales of a life lived with true joi de vivre.

In the final days, his nurses and wider medical team showed him the spirit and selflessness of service that made him such a champion of the true NHS. He loved the social service that is so deeply engrained in our British psyche. In the cheerful briskness of a nurse, joking with him at the darkest of hours. In the commitment of consultants who moved mountains to give him some more precious time. And in the struggle for decent pay, respect, and power that never really ends.

My dad experienced the immense compassion of underpaid, under-appreciated and under-supported superheroes who should really be the proper influencers in our society. They rebuild us, prop us up when we are weak, guide us back to health and give us the real gifts in life: a bit of time with the people we love, some comfort through the pain.

He didn’t get to vote this year. If he had, we know for certain that it would not have been for the Tories. I know a few of his readers and friends lean right, and he loved that. But we will make no apologies right now. It’s pretty clear what he wanted to see.

‘Mean, Speak and Do well’

The author of Corbynista was my dad. My hero, my confidant, my counsel, my comedian and cheerleader. He believed in me, inspiring me to achieve more, to believe in myself and others. He set an example of friendship and a philosophy of life that will guide me always.

Look up the Urquhart clan crest and you will read our motto, our heritage: to mean, speak and do well. My dad made that motto real. 

Dad, you really meant every word. You cared about what people truly meant when they spoke. You spoke up. You shared your take on politics and your beliefs, and boy did you do it well.

Whether you were writing, laughing, coordinating, collaborating, quizzing, cheering on the Arsenal, or keeping us all connected and caring for your friends and family – you showed heart, strength, determination, action. I’m so very proud to call you my dad.

This is the end of Diary of a Corbynista. We as a family are so happy you could share the journey, and we thank you for reading, commenting, and debating with our dad over the years.

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