It is with a really heavy heart that I write to let you know that my very close friend, comrade, fellow UCU activist, London Met advocate and lecturer – and bane of its various managements, Cliff Snaith has died.
Cliff died peacefully in his sleep at 5pm last night at home with his partner Rose, his close friend Jacquie, and myself at his side. Cliff was 57. He had been battling a virulent form of cancer for the last year and took a significant turn for the worse a few short weeks ago.
Cliff was irrepressible and he never let his illness get in the way of his righteous anger at the latest in a seemingly never ending line of management idiocies. However, he was also warm, caring, and one of the most interesting people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. His encyclopaedic knowledge of almost everything – apart from anything technological or requiring physical construction, was quite astounding and always an education to witness. Like me, he liked ancient political history and we had much pleasure assigning our various VCs and managements to failed Roman Emperors and their ineffective senators.
Some people can suffer fools gladly, Cliff wasn’t one of them. He had a well-honed, and certainly well-used, ability at puncturing inflated egos and grounding flights of fancy.
Cliff was a class warrior and would have no time for maudlin introspection and sympathetic platitudes. He would self-classify as a ‘Don’t mourn, organise’ type. However, he was never an automaton or particularly politically disciplined – much to the loving annoyance of some of his close friends, so he would most certainly have added, ‘but let’s have a good chat, reminisce, and a few drinks first’.
So that’s exactly what Rose and I are planning to do for Cliff’s funeral. We want banners (providing someone can actually manage to find the London Met UCU and the London Region UCU ones – something Cliff spent an unconscionable amount of time attempting over the decades), noise, emotion and good comradely humour and warmth. Details will follow in due course.
Cliff was one of us and we will not be alone in missing him.
Mark Campbell, London Met UCU (Chair)
London Region UCU – Higher Education (Chair)