Unexpected connections are always fascinating. For weeks, if not months, I have accepted that Hilary Clinton’s nearest Democratic opponent was a leftie named Sanders, in fact, Bernie Sanders. I was regularly surprised that Americans were even being given the choice to elect a person described as a socialist!
However, I had never made the connection from this American Democrat presidential candidate to an Oxfordshire leftie with the same surname whom I have always known as “Larry the lawyer”. Larry Sanders was born in Brooklyn in 1934 of Jewish immigrant parents, originating from Poland. He graduated from Brooklyn College and Harvard Law School. Coming from a country overrun by successful and wealthy lawyers, it always puzzled me that he chose to come to this country to make his fortune. He moved to the UK in 1968/69, becoming a social work student at this advanced age and then graduating to be a lecturer, first at a polytechnic and then at Oxford University. Later, he was employed by Oxfordshire Carers’ Forum and Oxfordshire Community Care Rights. Some might feel he has never had a proper job. I suspect such jobs are rarer in the USA!
Larry Sanders was active in the Oxford Labour Party in the 1980s but left to join the Green Party when Tony Blair became Labour leader, feeling Labour had moved too far to the right! He was a Green Party Oxfordshire county councillor from 2005 to 2013 and I saw a good deal of him because he ground on endlessly about the health and social care services, grumbling bitterly about privatisation and economic realism. He became chairman of Oxford School’s Board of Governors in September 2009 following the resignation of the previous chairman and six other board members. In December 2009, the Department for Children, Schools & Families approved an application by the county council to disband the Board of Governors and replace them with an interim executive board. Read into this what you will.
Larry Sanders fought the 2015 general election as the Green candidate for the Oxford West & Abingdon constituency and came in fifth. He retains US citizenship so Bernie Sanders can count on at least one vote in the US primaries in addition to his own! With Jeremy Corbyn leading the Labour Party, I wonder if Larry is wondering about a return to his UK roots? Larry is probably a bit to the left of Corbyn but I guess they could rub along well enough. On the other hand, much of the Green Party is on the same political scale so he may well feel safe there where he is their national spokesman on health issues! It’s a funny old world!