Over a pint of vegan beer me and Steve Connor reflected on some of the characters involved in student politics at Manchester University in our years, 1985-1988 in my case, dragging on for a year or two more for Comrade Connor.
Derek Draper is perhaps the most high profile Labour hack from that era. Following his showbiz marriage to Kate Gerraway of GMTV no more needs to be said. And no more can be said that would be digestable to readers of OK Magazine.
David Pannell veered from Tory student, through Labour, to the SWP and was nearly thrown out for trying to land one on a Tory minister. He was last spotted as an investment banker with Durlacher predicting the house price crash of 2005. Yes, that one.
But what ever happened to Viraj Mendis? I was told in Fresher’s Week by a leading lefty thug that this Sri Lankan communist was under no real threat of deportation, but was being used by this nasty little sect – The Revolutionary Communist Group – to wave a fist at the establishment.
Poor Viraj even had a stammer, prompting some graffiti in the library “V V V Viraj, F F F off”
He eventually took refuge in Hulme Church and as he became a rallying call for the ragbag army of crusties in pre-regenerated Hulme, the cops eventually stormed the church and sent him back to Sri Lanka. One of his supporters reflects on that here.
Some of my friends speculated that he’d be running his Dad’s tea plantation by now. He isn’t. He did go back, he wasn’t killed, but now lives in Germany. He’s even been back to Hulme. Which you can read about here.