| Vic Feather |
(trade unionist, propagandist)
|Born||10 April 1908|
|Died||28 July 1976 (Age 68)|
|Interests||Information Research Department|
General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress secretly working for the Information Research Department.
Victor Grayson Hardie Feather, Baron Feather was a British propagandist and General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress in Great Britain from 1969 to 1973. During his time as assistant secretary of the TUC, he was secretly being paid to write anti-communist propaganda by the Information Research Department (IRD), a secret branch of the UK Foreign Office which dealt in weaponised disinformation, anti-communism, and pro-colonial propaganda. Feather's book Trade Unions:True or False was published via Background Books, a propaganda front for the IRD. British propagandists also used Feather's services to promote anti-communist propaganda from within the TUC.
Early life and career
Feather was born in Idle, Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire in 1908, and was named after the recently elected socialist MP Victor Grayson. He was educated at Hanson Grammar School in Bradford. He began work at age 14 and joined the Shopworkers' Union. He was elected shop steward at age 15, and chairman of his branch committee at age 21. In 1937 he joined the staff of the Trades Union Congress. He became Assistant Secretary (1947–60), Assistant General Secretary (1960–69), and General Secretary (1969–73). He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1961 New Year Honours.
As General Secretary, Feather led the British trade union movement's fight against Heath government's Industrial Relations Act 1971. After retirement from the TUC, he was President of the European Trade Union Confederation (1973–74). He was created a life peer as Baron Feather, of the City of Bradford on 6 March 1974. Lord Feather died two years later in 1976.
With his blunt Yorkshire manner, he was something of a "character" in British public life. He was often imitated by Mike Yarwood. When he appeared on Parkinson he admitted to stealing sheep in the 1930s. He was the subject of an episode of This Is Your Life (UK TV series), first broadcast on 28 November 1973.
He married Alice Ellison in 1930 and they had two children together, Alexander and Patricia.
- Lashmar, Paul (1988). Britain’s Secret Propaganda War 1948-1977. Phoenix Mill: Sutton Publishing. p. 100
- Counter-Subversion in Early Cold War Britain: The Official Committee on Communism (Home), the Information Research Department, and ‘State-Private Networks https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02684527.2014.895570