Dr Wainwright, we presume

In an unusual - possibly unique - pairing, Red Pepper editor Hilary Wainwright and her brother Martin, northern editor of the Guardian, have been awarded honorary doctorates at the University of Huddersfield for their 'distinctive and different services to journalism'.

November 28, 2007
3 min read

The awards renew a link with the university first established with their father, Richard Wainwright, who became a fellow of Huddersfield Polytechnic in 1988. Richard Wainwright was the Liberal MP for Colne Valley between 1966 and 1970 and again from February 1974 until his retirement at the 1987 general election.

In the oration awarding the doctorates on 28 November, Granville Williams drew attention to Richard Wainwright’s involvement with the parlous financial affairs of the Liberal Party in the 1970s and 1980s. He went on to say:

‘Certainly his daughter, Hilary, has inherited some of these financial skills in her own determination to sustain the socialist magazine, Red Pepper, which she edits. (The unusual title is taken from that of a Russian satirical magazine, Krasnyy Perets, published in the USSR between 1923-1926).

‘Papers and magazines on the left which are not connected to political parties often have a short life. They struggle to combine great aspirations with the scarce and uncertain sources of finance necessary to sustain them. It is a testament to Hilary’s stubborn determination and commitment to the magazine that it still prospers. Indeed Red Pepper was re-launched in October this year with a new colourful, well-designed format. Apart from the regular contributors the magazine also draws on a range of journalists and writers from the mainstream media who value it as a forum for political debate.

‘Hilary Wainwright is a scholar activist, a socialist and feminist, whose adult life has been intimately connected with a range of books and projects which demonstrate the resilience and staying power of her beliefs. She was the author, with Sheila Rowbotham and Lynne Segal, of the important Beyond the Fragments, published in 1979. A steady stream of books since then include Arguments for a New Left: Answering the Free Market Right in 1993 and Reclaim the State: Adventures in Popular Democracy, published in 2003.

‘Hilary’s interests and commitments are international. She is Research Director of the New Politics Programme at the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, and has held Visiting Posts at universities in the USA (California and Wisconsin) and Tokyo. In the UK she is Senior Research Fellow at the International Labour Studies Centre at the University of Manchester.

‘Hilary can often be heard as a commentator on topical events on BBC 1, BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. Apart from Hilary’s journalistic work for Red Pepper, she has also written for a range of other publications: The New Statesman, the US magazine The Nation, the important net forum Open Democracy and The Guardian.’


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