Thursday 12 August 2010

Jimmy Reid 1932 - 2010

We are not going to strike. We are not even having a sit-in strike. Nobody and nothing will come in and nothing will go out without our permission. And there will be no hooliganism, there will be no vandalism, there will be no bevvying because the world is watching us, and it is our responsibility to conduct ourselves with responsibility, and with dignity, and with maturity.

I really don't want this blog to turn into an obituaries column, I'm no Mathew Bannister but I thought that it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the passing of a hero of mine.

Jimmy Reid was just an "ordinary working man who believed in equality and fairness". I became aware of him through a TV programme in which he travelled around the Soviet Union,  a country which for a 15 year old studying the Russian Revolution fascinated me.

I found out that he had led a work in in the shipyards in Govan and asked my uncle Jimmy, who was a figure in the steel workers union around the same time about him and the quote above was the response that he gave me.

From then on I followed Jimmy through his columns in the Glasgow Herald and The Scotsman but drew a line at buying The Sun, I always thought that it a strange decision to write for that paper although I suppose he was trying to convert the readership of the rag to socialism, fat chance.

I didn't agree with all of his columns but his arguments were persuasive and eloquent. I was also dismayed in his decision to back the SNP post 1997, I understood why he did it but just thought it misguided.

In Reid's passing, I think we have lost one of the last heavy weight political activists and politicians we had in Scotland. One thing is for sure Jim Murphy and Nicola Sturgeon and the rest of our representatives couldn't hold a candle to the likes of John Smith, Donald Dewar or Jimmy Reid.

Dick Gaughan - The Freedom Come-All-Ye


exilestreet said...

Beautifully written, as a just about to be teenager in Glasgow when the UCS dispute was on the news it has to be said it was the dawning of my socialist principles that I still try to hold true. RIP Jimmy.

exilestreet said...

Drew, would you mind if I reposted this as is over at 'Exile'?

drew said...

Be happy for you to repost Mona and thanks for the comment

exilestreet said...

Cool, my friend will do - with a direct link