Writer, campaigner and passionate critic of austerity who found fame late in life with his bestselling book Harry’s Last Stand
If proof were ever needed that it is never too late to make a major impact, Harry Leslie Smith, who has died aged 95, surely offers it. He was 91 when his bestselling memoir-cum-polemic in defence of the welfare state, Harry’s Last Stand (2014), was published, winning him a mass following in Britain’s ascendant left and beyond.
Following the book’s publication, he was invited to address that year’s Labour party conference before a speech by the then shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham. His passionate denunciation of benefits cuts and austerity – including the line “Mr Cameron, Keep your mitts off my NHS!” – reduced delegates to tears and made headline news.